"Riverdance" Comparison Essay by BrainC

Examines the African-American tap dancing origins of the Irish dance production, "Riverdance".
# 53412 | 2,500 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on Oct 25, 2004 in Dance (History) , African-American Studies (General)

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"Riverdance" is arguably Irish step-dancing at its best. This paper shows that it is, however, as much a stepchild of African-American tap dance as it is of the eons-long Celtic heritage. In fact, without the renaissance of African-American tap dancing between the 1960s and 1980s, it is unlikely "Riverdance" would ever have happened. African-American tap dancing, then, is at least the godparent of today's most popular dance show and a true foundation of what might be called World Dance, just as African-American music can be argued to be a strong basis for World Beat. This paper outlines the seminal events and essential figures that led directly from African-American tap dancing to "Riverdance". The method used to demonstrate the probability that "Riverdance" could not have been created were it not for African-American tap dance is to draw parallels and elucidate convergences between the ancient Irish step-dance and the African-American tap dance forms.

From the Paper:

"The event that began to put African American dancers back in the public eye was the Civil Rights act of 1964. 39 After that, the African American performer was not considered just an entertainer, but an artist, a full-fledged member of the mainstream of dance. 40 Although modern ballet artist Alvin Ailey was becoming famous, there was renewed interest in Master Juba, long deceased, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who had done a "stair dance" on film with Shirley Temple in the Depression; black dancers from the 1930s and 1940s were overcoming the pejorative aspects of the old minstrel show and coming back as highly sought-after dance artists.41 "

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"Riverdance" (2004, October 25) Retrieved September 28, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/riverdance-53412/

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""Riverdance"" 25 October 2004. Web. 28 September. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/riverdance-53412/>