The Dance: Tap Dance, from Master Juba to Hip-Hop

Join Prospect Park Alliance and joseph webb and friends for an interactive and engaging exploration of tap dance, affectionately called The Dance by tap dancers, and its historical relationship to New York City.

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Starting with African American Master Juba, considered the father of tap dance, this performance takes the audience on a journey from the early 1800s, through the swing jazz and bebop era to modern-day hip-hop. Africans enslaved in Kings County brought their dance traditions and creativity to Catherine Market on the East River in lower Manhattan where they sold produce in the early 19th century. The “dancing for eels” competitions they held to make extra money at the market inspired the tap dance traditions that came to define American dance today. Some of the Africans enslaved at Lefferts Historic House likely attended or even shaped the development of this dance culture. Come experience dance history at one of its origin sites and try the tasty fried eels early tap dancers won for their skills!

Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts initiative.