Broadway is the last place you would expect to find a celebration of the classical phase of a dying dance form, especially one whose most expressive effects are miniaturist and of a rhythmic complexity that requires close attention, not just visual but aural, from the audience. But in Black and Blue, Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli have succeeded double-handedly in rescuing tap dancing from the show-biz novelty into which it has largely declined, revealing it as the dazzlingly virtuoso and intensely personal kinetic and acoustic expression that it is—one whose long apprenticeship, strict discipline, and reverence for tradition bestow upon it and its practitioners the moral vigor of every classical art.

Of course, classical tap never actually disappeared; it merely went out of style. Its creators and guardians, now mostly elderly men, bided their time with the same forbearance with...


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