Tap dance has its roots in the fusion of several ethnic percussive dances, including African tribal dances, English clog dancing and Irish jigs; the relative contribution of different traditions is a point of disagreement among historians and dance scholars.Tap dance is believed to have begun in the mid-1800s during the rise of minstrel shows.
Famous as Master Juba, William Henry Lane became one of the few black performers to join an otherwise white minstrel troupe, and is widely considered to be one of the most famous forebears of tap dance.
As the minstrel shows began to decline in popularity, tap dance moved to the increasingly popular Vaudeville stage.
They never looked less than suave and were always in total control of their dancing, even in childhood numbers such as Stormy Weather.
A notable scene in the movie Stormy Weather features the pair dancing up a staircase and then descending the staircase in a series of leapfrogs over each other into a full split from which they rise without using their hands. "Flying swing-outs" and "flying circles" are Lindy hop moves with tap footwork.
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