BILL "BOJANGLES" ROBINSON
About Tap Day
Under the direction of Gracey Tune, noted tap dancer, choreographer, and historian, Arts on Tap, Inc., now doing business as ARTS FIFTH AVENUE, held its first official celebration on May 25, 1990 with retired Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jim Wright, as Master of Ceremonies and continues to celebrate this uniquely American art form today. Of note, The City of Fort Worth was the first and only city in the Southwest to celebrate Tap Day until 1995 when a small group from Fort Worth (also under Gracey's direction) helped Gloria Whetstone establish a similar celebration at the West End in Dallas.
A Bill to designate May 25th as National Tap Dance Day was introduced
in the House of Representatives in September of 1988 and on November 7, 1989,
President George H. W. Bush signed this into law. May 25th was chosen to
commemorate the birth of Bill Robinson (May 25, 1878 - November 25, 1949) and
his outstanding contribution to the art of tap dancing on both stage and in film through the
unification of diverse stylistic and racial elements.
TAP DAY BILL signed into law by Pres. George H. W. Bush on November 7, 1989
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 131 Introduced by John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 53 Introduced by Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY)
TO DESIGNATE MAY 25 AS NATIONAL TAP DANCE DAY
Tap Day Proclamation
Whereas, the multifaceted art form of tap dancing is a manifestation of the
cultural heritage of our Nation, reflecting the fusion of African and European cultures
into an exemplification of the American spirit, that should be, through documentation,
and archival and performance support, transmitted to succeeding generations;
Whereas, tap dancing has had an historic and continuing influence on other genres of
American art, including music, vaudeville, Broadway musical theater, and film, as well as other dance forms;
Whereas, tap dancing is a joyful and powerful aesthetic force providing a source of enjoyment and an outlet for creativity and self-expression for Americans on both the professional and amateur level;
Whereas, it is in the best interest of the people of our Nation to preserve, promote, and celebrate this uniquely American art form;
Whereas, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson made an outstanding contribution to the art of tap dancing on both stage and film through the unification of diverse stylistic and racial elements; and
Whereas, May 25, as the anniversary of the birth of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is an appropriate day on which to refocus the attention of the Nation on American tap dancing:
Now therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that May 25 is designated "National Tap Dance Day." The President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such a day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
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