Keep Tappin' In
I'm delighted to say Tappin' In has received Arts Council funding so we can interrogate the next stage of making this razzmatazz, outdoor, spectacle happen.
Working with Lou Lomas and Orit Azaz, this stage will see finding a collaborator for the outdoor project and finding partners to engage participants.
We tested a pilot back in March with some wonderful ladies. You can watch the outcome here https://vimeo.com/398853422/77a23554ae
What is Tappin’ In?
Tappin’ In is an ambitious large-scale community project tackling loneliness and isolation for a diverse range of individuals by learning tap dancing, meeting new people, sharing stories and exploring their creativity in their local communities. The project will culminate in a minimum of 100 participants taking over the streets of Birmingham with a mass co-created tap-story celebration. The whole process will be documented throughout, and a film created which will premiere at special red-carpet screening in Birmingham. Participants, friends, family and guests will share and celebrate the project, creating a unique moment to commemorate all corners of the regions and its people.
The idea for this project came out of working from home and spending a lot of time on my own. It made me think about others in similar situations who don’t connect as much as they should. As a working-class artist who has had lived experience of mental health issues, I wanted to create a project that brought people together and was fundamentally joyous. A celebration of life and humanity. To provide support, care and space to learn a new skill and share experiences whilst feeling safe.
Tap dancing is uplifting and versatile in nature - people can stand, stand with support, sit and tap or use hands to create rhythm. The rich, diverse history, the crossover of African American & Irish American dance in the early 1800s, also acts as a jumping off point for participants to reflect on their personal and their village/town/cities history through the story exchange sessions.
At the beginning of 2020 we spent 10 weeks working with participants from Midland Heart Housing. For two hours a week we learnt to tap dance and then spent time sharing stories, opinions and outlooks on the world. The sessions culminated with a sharing at the Belgrade Theatre where we presented a dance, a film of the process and the ladies’ lives and experiences as well as inviting the audience onstage to learn the first half of the dance.
This was only made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England