Dancing with the Ghost of Minstrelsy: A Case Study of the Marginalization and Continued Survival of Rhythm Tap

Posted: November 23, 2011 in Donna-Marie Peters, Minstrelsy

Author: Donna-Marie Peters
Source : The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 4, n°6, September 2011



This article examines the obstacles faced by rhythm tap to gain artistic acceptance throughout seminal periods of its evolution as an entertainment art form. The legitimating of the art is discussed in consideration of its marginal, historical status and its identification with subservience and the minstrel tradition. This study, based on ethnographic field work and in-depth interviews, describes the 1990’s as a crucial period in community building by rhythm tap artists. This examination sheds light on the purposive actions of tap cultural workers during this period, to finally gain artistic legitimacy for their once dying music/dance art form.




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