The yesterdays of tap are rich indeed. Sally Sommer, a dance historian, described the history of tap this way: “When you go back in tap history you’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces missing.” It’s the missing pieces that we hope to add to this living library.
At the 2008 Women in Tap Conference in UCLA, Constance Valis Hill, a dancer, author and scholar of performance studies, described her research as being a “detective” looking for the clues that will identify the female tap dancers, the overlooked pioneers of tap in America. She added that the act of “giving name” energizes the soul. So from Lotta Crabtree, Ada Overton Walker, Katie Carter, Cora LaRedd, The Whitman Sisters and Florence Mills, to Shirley Temple, Juanita Pitts, Ruby Keeler, Eleanor Powell, Jeni LeGon and The Silver Belles, we have just begun to empower our soles.
Yesterday contains stories from Jeni LeGon, Delno Polk Bailey and a trailer from Taps Are Talking: Women In Tap, a theatrical dance production celebrating the history of female tap dancers. Some of the most important resources in Sole Stories will be found here.
Now it’s up to us to create some new history …