Tap Treasures is a new program that was introduced at Tap City 2016, the New York City Tap Festival. It is designed to provide numerous opportunities for festival students, and the general public, to learn more about, and experience, the rich evolution of tap dance in its birthplace, New York City.
Upon arrival, participants first receive an attractive “Tap Map” identifying key locations that are important to tap’s history, as well as detailed information and a schedule for the week ahead. Each event is hosted by a local iconic tap dance figure who shares their own personal relationship to tap, while also presenting historic and related information through fun interactive discussions, film clips, classes or performances.
On Monday, July 11th, the uptown tour began in Harlem at the legendary Apollo Theater where participants took a tap specific private tour of the theate and ended up on the stage where everyone got a chance to perform the "Shim Sham" and the “Coles Stroll” in honor of the late Charles “Honi” Coles who created the dance. That evening everyone met at the Circle Line Marina, Pier 83, to embark on the annual Copasetic Boat Ride and Jam where additional festivities continued as we celebrated the legacy of the amazing Copasetics.
On Tuesday evening July 12th at 7pm, there was a candid conversation with Broadway choreographers Randy Skinner & Mercedes Ellington at the Duke on 42nd Street about the “The New 42nd Street” and the restoration of seven historic theaters (with a focus on the Liberty Theatre and the New Amsterdam Theater), where numerous tap dance luminaries started their careers, including Fred and Adele Astaire, Bill Robinson, Ray Bolger and Ruby Keeler.
Participants then attended the Tap City Awards Show, also at the Duke on 42nd Street, where the 2016 Hoofer, Tap Preservation and International Hall of Fame Awards were presented as we also celebrated the Gregory Hines Collection of American Tap Dance archives at the Lincoln Center's New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
On Wednesday evening, July 13th at 7pm we began our tour at the former Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center where a short video created by Tony Waag was presented about the history of the space. Following that was a personal reflection by tap master Brenda Bufalino and a reunion of former American Tap Dance Orchestra dancers who danced a bit and then talked about their own memories of the tap dancers that taught and danced at the center, and the productions that occurred while in the space. Brenda Bufalino and the American Tap Dance Orchestra operated the center from 1989-1995 and it became the model for most of the current programs produced year-round by the ATDF today.
At the conclusion of the festival, participants received a flash drive containing numerous related images, bios, videos and additional information to take home, share and enjoy with their own community, dance studio and family.
"Tap Treasures reinvestigates and revisits eight historic locations in Manhattan that contributed to the evolution of tap dance. As we celebrate an almost forgotten history of this fascinating art form, let us not forget the people, the places and events that have influenced, perpetuated and molded our very own American art-form Tap Dance, born and raised right here in New York City.” Tony Waag, Artistic Director & Producer