SLC Tap was created by Debby Robertson over a decade ago, with the intention to promote tap dance in Utah in as many ways as possible.
Debby has been teaching and preaching tap for the past thirty years in Salt Lake City. By producing events, teaching classes and performing, she has introduced tap to broader audiences, and raised the artistic and technical bar for dancers. In the process she's created a supportive community and a secure future for tap in Utah.
Tap dance originated in the United States in the early 19th century at the crossroads of African and Irish American dance forms. When slave owners took away traditional African percussion instruments, slaves turned to percussive dancing to express themselves and retain their cultural identities. These styles of dance connected with clog dancing from the British Isles, creating a unique form of movement and rhythm.
Early tap shoes had wooden soles, sometimes with pennies attached to the heel and toe. Tap gained popularity after the Civil War as a part of traveling minstrel shows, where white and black performers wore blackface and belittled black people by portraying them as lazy, dumb, and comical.
Later on, tap dancers began collaborating with jazz musicians, incorporating improvisation and complex syncopated rhythms into their movement. The modern tap shoe, featuring metal plates (called “taps”) on the heel and toe, also came into widespread use at this time. Although Vaudeville and Broadway brought performance opportunities to African-American dancers, racism was still pervasive: white and black dancers typically performed separately and for segregated audiences.
Tap’s popularity declined in the second half of the century, but was reinvigorated in the 1980s through Broadway shows like 42nd Street and The Tap Dance Kid.
Today's tappers are incredible dance artists who've expanded boundaries and pushed the envelope, bringing tap to incredible new artistic heights. Public perceptions are changing, and tap has developed into a valid contemporary art form.
Hi Tap Lovers!
Salt City Tap Fest 2018 was a fabulous success.
History was made by the forces behind SLC Tap, and our special guests Brenda Bufalino and Dorothy Wasserman.
I will not be producing a tap fest in 2019, but I am eager to help anybody else who'd like to step up and organize an event.
Thanks to all who've supported these efforts over the past 5 years!