Politics? Paul Draper says it with his feet. 1

Dance · Ideas & Opinion

Would that certain people would zip their lip — and tell it like the great tap dancer Paul Draper does in this footage from 1948.

Draper, in that year, was on the cusp of being blacklisted in the reign of terror foisted on thinkers, artists and other creatives by the House Unamerican Activities Committee.

In a profound dance documentary Draper notes that tap dance employs only a limited vocabulary of steps — six or seven possible movements of the foot.

Then, he explains, comes dance expression.

To dance, says Draper, is to “move in such fashion that you make someone else understand something about the relationship of a human being to the rest of the world that they haven’t understood before.”

That is as good a definition of dance as I have heard.

Pictured at right, Draper and partner harmonica player Larry Adler. Both blacklisted artists.

arts·meme thanks Bob Boross for pointing us to the Draper material.

One comment on “Politics? Paul Draper says it with his feet.

  1. Wendy Perron Mar 9,2018 9:33 pm

    Thank you. I remember him as a tap dance teacher at ADF at Connecticut College in 1967. He was relaxed, challenging, and had a sense of humor.

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