Rhythms worth shedding : reconciling Jewish participation in tap dance through the 're-appropriation' of the Morton Gould Tap Dance Concerto




Arnold, Jeremy Caleb

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As a uniquely American artform, tap dance reflects American culture. Throughout its history, from vaudeville to the movie musical and then to its presentation on concert dance stages, tap dance has gone through multiple cycles of appropriation. Jewish performers, producers, and directors were directly involved in many of these moments. As a white Jewish American professional dancer and dance scholar, I have studied tap dance’s appropriative history and examined the white supremacist structures that have dominated and continue to dominate the presentation and production of the form. Rhythms Worth Shedding is a research-driven tap dance performance that that re-imagines an appropriative moment of Jewish intervention in tap dance’s history. Through the process of creating this concert, I sought to confront and leverage my own privilege in service to culturally correcting a problematic yet seminal component of the tap dance archive - The Morton Gould Tap Dance Concerto. This thesis seeks to explore Jewish identity through tap dance performance and grapple with the responsibility of contemporary Jewish tap dancers given the historic role of Jewish appropriation in tap dance.


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