Strictly come tap dancing, with “Strictly” winner Tom Chambers (Sunday Telegraph, 16th September 2012)
I’m putting’ on my top hat, tyin’ up my white tie, brushin’ off my tails…”
There. I’ve typed it, but it hasn’t helped. For weeks now, the Fred Astaire classic has been going around in my head. And now that Strictly Come Dancing has started again – starring Olympians Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith – I’m gearing up for more dance mania.
My children started it. I have a four-year-old daughter and three-year-old twins, and ever since they watched Shall We Dance with my grandparents they have been obsessed with tap dancing.
This week it was revealed that the West End musical Top Hat is having its run extended until September 2013. It was also announced that the 1975 musical A Chorus Line, which features one of the most extravagant tap displays ever staged, One Singular Sensation, is returning to the West End. And then there is the enduring popularity of Singin’ in the Rain. My kids are on to something.
“The impact of television talent shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Got to Dance has been huge,” says Caroline Miller, director of the national advocate for dance, Dance UK. “And a new generation of charismatic tap dancers like Savion Glover, who provided the dance for the film Happy Feet, and Matt Flint, who won So You Think You Can Dance, are making tap dance cool again.”
Annette Walker, a dancer and tap teacher, agrees. “People have always loved tap,” she says. “When it is more visible, they get excited and want to take part.”
Annette is one of a new breed of dancers (known as “hoofers”) of “rhythm tap”, a vibrant, looser form that originated with American slaves and focuses more on improvisation and self expression than polished moves. This is also enjoying an underground revival in theatres and jazz clubs.
So my wife, Isobel, and I took the children to a matinée performance ofTop Hat at the Aldwych Theatre in London. Thereafter, Tom Chambers – the Holby City star who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2008 and now who plays Fred Astaire’s role in Top Hat – gave us an introduction to tapen famille. Read on the Telegraph website