AS A D.C. DANCER, I ALways cringe when I hear of yet another local dance studio going under (“Last Dance,” The District Line, 6/9). I read Michael Dolan’s article with great sympathy until I got to the description of how well-situated and well-equipped the Ballet Center of Washington was from its inception, and found this offensive statement: “Still, the start-up was no tap dance.”
The inference is that tap dance is an easy art, cinchy in fact, and certainly less challenging than the European-American art form ballet. As Mikhail Baryshnikov discovered in the movie White Nights, where he maladroitly tried to keep up with tap dancer Gregory Hines, tap dance is a highly skilled percussive art form.
I was insulted by Dolan’s dogging America’s true classical dance from and maligning this invaluable contribution of African-American performers. Since tap is both music and dance, it is anything but easy. One has only to go as far as the nation’s premier tap studio, Woodpeckers in New York City, which is having tremendous trouble staying open in this anti-art era, to know that the business of tap dance is every bit as challenging as that of ballet.
I wish Irene Klores luck in her post-ballet center life, and I wish Mr. Dolan a good dance appreciation course in the very near future. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that Washington City Paper employed racist Philistines.
Executive Director, T.A.P. America Project, Dupont Circle