‘Tap Dance Knowledges’ A Panel

We are thrilled to be presenting a Panel at the Modes of Capture Symposium held by the Irish World Academy, University of Limerick, Liz Roche Company & Dublin Dance Festival. This year’s symposium explores the theme of decolonising structures, thinking and embodiment within current modes of dancemaking and documentation.

‘Tap Dance Knowldges’ is a panel exploring the concepts of legacy, tradition, innovation and authenticity within today’s global tap scene. 

This paper/practice sharing discusses tap improvisation practices as knowledges in teaching, creative process and performance. We explore the concepts of legacy, tradition, innovation and authenticity, as well as reflecting on the rich and diverse global tap scene of today. An important part of skill acquisition, transmission and dissemination of information about the art form is from preservation of twentieth century American tap performance repertoire and understanding of improvisation practices from jazz music. Applying a historical framework reveals how this initiated with the performances of American tap dancers being celebrated and presented as a form of legacy. Our questions are: How and where are these knowledges held? What role does legacy have in evolving performing knowledges? How do we acknowledge the history and legacy of American tap dancers and produce new knowledges in the twenty first century?

Furthermore, we explore the under-representation of tap dance in UK Higher Education, in teaching and research. We advocate for rethinking curricula and decolonization of tap dance as a form created through African American cultural practices. The UK has a particular context within which tap dance sits, linked to the US, Ireland and other communities. We seek ways to highlight cross-disciplinary connections and evolving interpretations of tap dance legacies, different methods of practice and performance that may evoke new knowledges, the importance of communities of practitioners in disseminating information, performer identities and embodying new knowledges.

Become a TDRN UK member

Become a TDRN UK member

TDRN UK provides a space for researchers, artists, academics, educators and enthusiasts to share knowledge, information, and research around Tap Dance.

As a member you will benefit from:

  • Free access to 4 ticketed events per year (normally costed at £6 each)
  • Automatic links to join our monthly Network Sessions
  • Discount ticket price for our annual Research Festival events

To become a member register here and pay £20 annual membership fee (valid until August 2023) via the PayPal link in the registration form. Thank you for supporting our work as a non-profit organisation.


You are welcome to attend one of our monthly FREE Network Sessions to see if TDRN UK membership is for you.


More about TDRN UK membership benefits

Free access to 4 ticketed events per year – online

Hear from a diverse range of researchers, artists, practitioners and educators. Learn about people who have shaped the past and present of tap dance, creative processes and different approaches to teaching and learning. Each 1.5 hour session includes a presentation to gain more knowledge as well as interactive activities, discussion and a Q&A.

Our first Online Talk Series event of this annual cycle will take place on 16th November 2022 with Jane Goldberg and Brian Harker author of ‘Sportin’ Life: John W. Bubbles, An American Classic’.

Monthly Network Sessions – online

Members of the steering group will host informal but structured sessions that are FREE and open to all. You can connect with other people that are interested, or involved in doing research around tap dance. Hear from researchers and practitioners about what they are working on and have learned through their projects. Learn about different approaches to learning in the field and pick up valuable tips and insights to help you pursue your own tap dance learning. A great opportunity to ask questions, swap tips for researching and developing projects, share information about resources and opportunities.

These sessions are FREE to all, so you can join prior to becoming a member to meet the team and the research community.

Our annual TDRN UK Research Festival – online and in-person

Get a discount on the ticket price for our annual TDRN UK Research Festival which will bring the tap dance research community together with researchers and practitioners from other fields to explore, discuss and enjoy all things related to tap dance. There will be workshops, discussions, Keynote speakers, sharings of performance work, networking and social events.


If you have any questions about our membership offer or how to get involved, contact us at info@tdrnuk.com