Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What the Eye Hears: Tap Dancing and Bird Song

In the Nov. 30th, 2015 issue of The New Yorker Joan Acocella has an article titled Up From the Hold: the Story of Tap, pages 80-83.  She reviews the new book, What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing by Brian Seibert.  Apparently there has been very little written on tap dancing and this dance form may be in danger of disappearing from our culture.

Although I'm not knowledgable about any kind of dance, I read the full article probably because tap is my favorite form of dance.  Many years ago I saw Savion Glover's "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk" and was smitten by this live performance.  Then there are the old movies with tappers like Bill Bojangles Robinson (mentioned in the article), Shirley Temple, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and many others all thanks to Turner Classic Movies.  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the great Gregory Hines.

What does any of this have to do with bird song?

The book's title, "What the Eye Hears" ... is what happens when we watch a bird sing.

Early in the article Acocella writes, "And that sensory doubleness, sight combined with sound, makes for a psychological aesthetic doubleness.

I read this and immediately thought of my love of seeing a singing bird. Unless the bird flies first, I have to watch it sing.  It's a thrilling sight. The sight and sound of a bird singing enhances our sensory doubleness.

I don't know about anyone else, but I need beauty in my life.  Seeing and hearing a bird sing ... well, you get it.

No comments: