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Though a basic vocabulary does exist for common steps found in tap dancing, still there is great variation from one dancer and teacher to another, depending on where in the world the step was learned, the age of the step, and the tapper's everyday vocabulary. Hence the need for dictionaries.

The year 1998 brought out several new tap dance dictionaries, two by legends of tap that should be added to every dance teacher's library. Of course, they should be on every reference librarian's list, too, and they are also easy to read and to use for serious students.

Tapworks, by tap master teacher Beverly Fletcher, is a dictionary and reference manual. It is a labor of love and concern that brings to the reader all the years of Fletcher's expertise and knowledge as a dancer and teacher. This is the only book I have read that talks about the two different forms of tap.

This book is packed with information on tap history, from its beginning to the present, and the impact tap dancing has had on dance as an art form. This historical prelude is followed by standard abbreviations for steps and figures and the most comprehensive and accurate dictionary this tap dancer has ever seen. In the remaining pages, she gives considerable insight into theatrical staging of dance, and theatrical terminology. The book ends with a glossary of styles and dances as well as specific types of tap dance steps.

Tapworks has been adopted by the Dance Masters of America, Inc., as the official tap manual to be used in conjunction with the organization's tap teaching syllabus, which was also written by Ms. Fletcher. I highly recommend this for its clarity and thoroughness.

To order Tapworks from the author, write her at 1336 Garrett Ave., Niagara Falls, NY 14305 ($35 plus $5 shipping--New York residents add $2.45 sales tax); or you may order [Pi] from Dance Masters of America, Inc. (national).

Al Gilbert's Tap Dictionary is also an invaluable aid for every dance student and studio owner. The renowned and beloved dance educator and tap legend has used his years of experience to lay out thorough, easy-to-follow, progressive instructions. He has also filled this book with information far beyond a dictionary of tap terms and abbreviations. This manual also includes different styles of tap routines. musical terms and theory, and theatrical terms. Gilbert includes a section on how to read and write tap dance notation, which he has so generously provided his students with for more than fifty years.

Known as the "Pied Piper of Dance," Gilbert continues to pioneer educational dance material from his graded tap technique, his Stepping Tones recordings, and now, his long-awaited tap dictionary.

Al Gilbert's Tap Dictionary is available through Stepping Tones Ltd. Books, P.O. Box 35236, Los Angeles, CA 90035; (323) 965-5500; fax (323) 965-7717. ($40 plus $5.50 postage--California residents add $3.30 sales tax).

The Tap Dance Dictionary, by Mark Knowles, published by McFarland & Company, Inc., limits itself to a brief introduction on how to read tap notation and then launches into a dictionary description of tap from chugs, flaps, and the shim-sham to the zank and zink. It may be ordered from the publisher at Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640 ($49 postpaid); (910) 246-4460; fax (910) 246-5018. If you ask your local bookseller to order it, refer to ISBN: 0-7864-0352-7.

Debbi Dee, a protegee of Henry LeTang, is now a master tap teacher, choreographer, and producer of instructional recordings.
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review; Gilbert, Al; Fletcher, Beverly
Author:Dee, Debbi
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1999
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