Our preservation efforts keep the oral history of tap dance in America thriving in the next generation.
LEON COLLINS PRESERVATION
Tap Dance is an American dance genre that developed over the course of 300 years to reach its peak in the 1930s and 40s. Leon Collins, a tap virtuoso who inspired a new blend of jazz and classical music, placed an innovative focus on melody rather than rhythm alone. He believed that "Dancing is the poetry of the body as music is the poetry of the soul,". His style embodied a clean, clear tapping with an emphasis on melodic line, which set him apart from other dancers. Much of his work consisted of 8 educational routines that covered virtually the entire spectrum of his own tap vocabulary. Mr. Collins passed his legacy on to his protégé, Dianne Walker. Ms. Walker, also known as “The First Lady of Tap” and a 2012 Dance Magazine Award winner for her lifetime achievement in dance, has selected Brenna Kuhn and Art Beat Dance Center to be one of the few chosen homes of the Leon Collins catalogue of work. The Art Beat Foundation is committed to preserving this work and making sure it has a home at Art Beat Dance Center and with Ms. Kuhn.