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Tap dancing on the radio

The Story


"Step. Step. Step. Now be sure that you're changing your weight each time that you do a step," instructs tap dance expert Cecil D'Costa. The Second World War has begun, and Canadians are being urged to save money and gasoline by staying home more often for their entertainment. And what could be more entertaining than tap dancing at home? In this 1941 clip, D'Costa tries to teach listeners how to tap, step and shuffle over the radio airwaves. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Fireside Fun
Broadcast Date: Jan. 9, 1941
Speaker: Cecil D'Costa
Duration: 8:30

Did You know?


• The Oxford English Dictionary defines tap dancing as "a dance performed wearing shoes fitted with metal taps, characterized by rhythmical tapping of the toes and heels." 


• Tap was at its most popular in the first half of the 20th century. According to a 2004 Dance Magazine article, "Throughout most of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, tap ruled Broadway musicals. It was the dance vernacular, a home-grown popular entertainment that had sprung from the uniquely American intersection of African and Irish dance forms."

• Tap began to decline in popularity during the 1950s. The dance style experienced a "rebirth" in the late 1970s and 1980s, however, with the emergence of popular American tap dancing stars like Gregory Hines and Savion Glover.

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