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How tap dancing was made in America

Imported from immigrants but assembled in America.

The Nicholas Brothers, Savion Glover, Fred Astaire, and many others are known for the magic they created with their feet — and it wasn’t wine.

Tap dancing is an easily recognizable form of music. Similar to the improvisation in jazz, tap dancers also improvise but instead of relying on traditional jazz instruments like the piano, saxophone, or bass, the music comes from a dancer's feet.

Tap dancing can be traced back to the Five Points district, now known as Chinatown in New York City. Though cultivated in a fusion of cultures, tap dance also has roots in minstrel shows, where it was viewed as American comedy. Over the decades, styles of tap dance have changed, but one thing has always remained the same: the need for self-expression.

To learn more about the history of tap dancing, check out the video above, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more explainer videos.