By Natasa Chanta-Martin
Sunday, Nov. 2nd 2014: I am very happy to contribute to this month's Choreomundus alumni blog as an important event has taken place in Greece: the Athens Tap Jams have finally begun! After almost a month's preparation, and just 4 months since Choreomundus 101 ended, I managed to make a contribution to the Greek tap dance community.
A tap jam is a gathering of tap dancers and (most likely) jazz musicians who engage in a live session of music making and rhythm trading! Tap Jams can be found in many parts of Europe and the USA, Australia too. In the past few decades, Europe has created its own style and attitude towards tap dance and has managed to host tap jams in a variety of European capitals. Today we can find the London Tap Jam, the Paris Tap Jam, the Amsterdam Tap Jam, the Basel Tap Jam, the Berlin Tap Jam etc…'So why not start the Athens Tap Jam as well?', I thought…
It all started from my active participation in the London Tap Jam (LTJ) during the last semester of Choreomundus. Participation meaning not only attending, but dancing, bringing friends and musicians along, even helping out in its organization! The lived experience of a monthly tap jam got me very excited and made me feel that sense of community through dance practice. My previous training in dance such as classical, modern, and jazz genres did not fulfil me in the sense of belonging in a community of equal dancers and dance enthusiasts maybe because I would either find myself in the dance studio or the theatre stage. In tap -rhythm tap that is-, I have had the opportunity to dance with live musicians, on the streets, with the spectators being next to me and/or right in front, on the same level…
So after Choreomudus ended and having obtained so much useful information and training on community dance practice, I decided to attempt organizing the first Athens Tap Jam. It took place at Kreuzberg Urban Culture Bar in the hot spot of Athens, Kerameikos area. My friend and fellow tap dancer, Elina and I took care of the organization- we found musicians, printed flyers, spoke on the radio, and spread the word to anyone we saw! The ATJ was becoming a reality!
In the late evening of this Sunday night everything was ready: wooden floors were installed in the bar, musicians had connected amps to instruments, our host and tap dance mentor, Thanos Daskalopoulos, was fully excited and we let the jazz-tap improvisation begin! Men and women, ladies and gents, youths and elders, beginners and pros took the leap and made their way on the wooden floor, where no-one knew what would come up next: swing, funk, bossa nova?? Musicians were dancing, tap dancers were playing music and the audience was cheering…
Not many people had seen such a dance event before and the fact that they first witnessed it in Athens and through the Athens tap dance community put a great smile on my face. My smile is now even bigger since the second Athens Tap Jam will take place on the 21st of December!! Stay tuned…
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in all posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the association or the MA program.