Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Theatre and Dance

Document Type



Tap dance is an indigenous American art form that not only holds a valuable presence in the world of entertainment but also boasts an important historical background. From the slave quarters on plantations to Hollywood’s silver screen, the development of tap dance mirrors the story of American history. Tap dance must be preserved because of its cultural significance in American history; likewise, it is imperative for dancers to understand its development in order to appreciate the art and for today’s artists to continue the growth and presence of tap dance in America. However, many dance educators today focus solely on teaching a vocabulary of steps to students and fail to also impart knowledge of the traditions and significance of tap dance. This study examines the development of the styles and education of tap dance from both historical and contemporary perspectives by using traditional research methods as well as personal experiences of taking dance classes from a variety of instructors, performers, and choreographers, conversing with other artists, and teaching practice. The collected information has been analyzed from a pedagogical standpoint in order to develop a tap dance curriculum with syllabi and lesson plans for students of varying skill levels.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Amanda Clark


American Popular Culture | Curriculum and Instruction | Dance | Performance Studies