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Tap dance is an artform that is rapidly declining in popularity in dance training, especially in post-secondary dance education. To answer the questions of how and why a quintessentially American artform has so faded in dance teachings, this paper analyzes the history of tap and its creation by marginalized individuals, the Eurocentric legacies that influence our definitions of 'technique' in dance training, and how tap dance is currently being taught today. Evidence for the conclusions of this paper include current discussions of tap among dancers and dance educators as well as a review of recent scholarship on the history of tap and its importance to being taught in collegiate dance programs. These scholars have found that the inclusion of tap and tap history in college dance programs not only to creates well rounded students, but also furthers the mission of decolonizing these programs and exposing students to important aspects of the history of marginalized groups in America.


This Paper was selected under double-blind peer review as one of the best academic papers in dance of by a review committee consisting of members of the LMU National Dance Education Organization Student Chapter, Dance department students, William H. Hannon Librarians, Dance faculty and an external scholar.

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