Monday 27 April 2020

North Indian Kathak and American Tap: KA-TAP: Column by Janaki Patrik

Tatkar and Tap. In my mind the combination was a no-brainer.

By the time I hit my 20th anniversary as a Kathak dancer, I had thought about the similarity of Kathak tatkar and Tap dance steps for almost as many years. The opportunity to create a Kathak-Tap duet presented itself at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, where I was an artist-in-residence from January through March 1990.

In conversations with Michael Simms, the ballet teacher in Stephens College's Dance Department, I learned that he had been a "hoofer" - a slang term for tap dancer. Michael somewhat reluctantly agreed to bring his tap shoes out of the back of his closet, but once we got into the studio, he enthusiastically joined in our "foot play". We decided to perform a duet to conclude my Kathak demonstration for the Dance Department's Spring concert. We chose an American standard composed in 1930, entitled "On the Sunny Side of the Street".

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