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Youtube 1801 Tap Dancers

posted Nov 6, 2012, 3:41 PM by Beth Sartor Obermeyer   [ updated Nov 6, 2012, 3:44 PM ]

The First Biggest Tap Dance Flash Mob


1,801 tap dancers entered the 1981 Guinness Book of World Records and were reported by AP, UPI, in the Asahi Evening News, Japan, and on Good Morning America. They opened the Hennepin Center for the Arts in downtown Minneapolis, on October 15, 1979, 6:17-6:32 p.m, accompanied by the Minneapolis Police Band, Robert Falk, band master.

They were sponsored by the Minnesota Dance Theatre, tenant of the arts center.

Organized by faculty member Beth Obermeyer, the tappers came from ninety towns, and were lined into rows A-Z, AA-ZZ, through row QQQQQ-1, 15 to a row. Kids, ex-vaudevillians, families, lovers, church ladies, ladies of the street, arts boards, downtown workers, dance schools...learned the dance, and donned tap shoes and anything red, white and blue. 

They took over Hennepin Avenue at the Hennepin Merchants Block Party, which opened Business Salutes the Arts Week,
sponsored by the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Council. The following year, artist Hiromichi Yamagata chose the event for a ninety-color serigraph, "The Great Tap Festival," which 32 years later is the cover of a book documenting the spectacle, by organizer Beth Obermeyer, now 70. The Biggest Dance; a Miracle on Concrete, North Star Press of St. Cloud, tells the little-engine-that-could story, including the organizational plan, signatures of the 1,801, awards, press, 96 photos. For more information: http://www.bethobermeyer.com




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