BWW Reviews: American Tap Dance Foundation Celebrates National Tap Dance Day
Happy National Tap Dance Day! I know I'm a little late, but that's because on the actual date, which was chosen to commemorate Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's birthday, I was too busy celebrating with the American Tap Dance Foundation!
I joined over 100 members of the American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF) at Pier 45 in the West Village in a fun celebration of tap dance and the life of Mr. Bojangles. Tony Waag, one of the original founders and artistic director of ATDF, thought it would be fun to just celebrate National Tap Dance Day by getting a bunch of tap dancers together, not necessarily professionals or advanced tap dancers, but beginners, in order to celebrate tap in the best way he knew possible. The group of dancers did not rehearse for the celebration because it wasn't really a performance, but rather an event filled with improvisations and routines known by tap dancers all over the world.
The foundation appropriately performed the shim sham shimmy, which can be considered the "national anthem" of tap dance, and was likely performed by many other tap dancers all over the world to celebrate National Tap Dance Day. The group also performed the "Mayor of Harlem," which is Bojangles' nickname, in order to honor him on his birthday.
The youth ensemble alone consists of about 75 children, and at least 100 dancers in total attended the event on May 25, members of the foundation coming and going all day long. Even after the event was officially "over," many of the dancers stuck around and continued to tap on the pier.
ATDF has been around for 27 years. Originally called the American Tap Dance Orchestra, Waag was a featured dancer and executive director. In 2001 Waag took over the artistic directorship from Brenda Bufalino, a fellow founding member.
Anyone can get involved with the ATDF. It is open to all, beginner, intermediate or advanced dancers of all ages. Waag invites anyone and everyone to come to any class. You can look up the class schedule on-line at atdf.org. The American Tap Dance Center is located on Christopher Street and offers year-round programming for kids, students, and adults.
If you're not a dancer, Waag encourages you to still support ATDF by coming to all of their events. Tap City Festival is celebrating its 15th year on July 11 at the Five Points District. The Adult Program Showcase is also coming up on June 7 at PS3, and the Youth Concert will be on June 22 at Tribeca Pac.