In the 1600's, what ultimately became Tap dance originated in America with its roots in clogging and Irish step dance, Juba dance and African drumming. It is a uniquely American dance form, however, the term "Tap" did not come into popular use until the late 1800's and early 1900's during the era of minstrel shows and vaudeville.
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.
Under the direction of Gracey Tune, noted tap dancer, choreographer, and historian, Arts on Tap, Inc., dba ARTS FIFTH AVENUE, held an informal celebration of Tap Day on May 25, 1989 and 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 establish a similar celebration in Dallas. 2018 will be our 29th celebration of Tap Day, please join us.