Tap and Jazz Dance in Higher Education: Uncovering the Significance of Tap and Jazz Dance Training in University Dance Studies
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The values system in the United States is based in Western intellectual tradition, which has caused an imbalance in the availability to study certain forms of dance at the collegiate level. Ballet and modern dance are accepted as individual art forms that are culturally rich. Meanwhile, tap and jazz dance are often viewed as subordinate dance forms. Even today, some people consider these forms of dance as mere entertainment and will not credit them as true art forms. Likewise, a majority of dance programs in United States’ universities do not offer courses in these forms, and even fewer require students to study them. Unfortunately, the United States has turned away from its own cultural forms of dance rather than nurturing their practice and growth. History shows that this neglect is rooted in racism and classism, which also permeates the education system. Tap and jazz dance are sophisticated art forms that have moved audiences for over a century. Yet, there are extremely limited opportunities to study these forms in the university system. This research project was designed to demonstrate through multiple lenses the dire need for a stronger presence of tap and jazz dance in higher education. The historical suppression of these art forms is examined while considering how the dichotomy of the development of ballet and modern dance versus the development of tap and jazz dance affected the cultural response to each. A case study is presented in which classically trained ballet and modern dancers received tap dance training, and then analysis and observations were collected on the benefits of this training in all of their dancing. Lastly, four voices from the professional realm of dance speak to the importance of the availability of tap and jazz dance in the university setting.
- OU - Theses