Golden Gate Bridge
Labor Day 1976
The first Tap Dance Day was proclaimed by
on this historic
in 1976 and the story was told around the world.
For 30 years without fail each year since, Rosie and her Rad Tap Team(TM)
have celebrated Tap
Dance Day and every mayor of
San Francisco since 1976 has issued a proclamation to make it offical.
solo national television commercial for Sunsweet and her numerious Guinness World Records have made her the subject of numerous
national and international news stories.
Rosie's tap dance adventures and pioneering discoveries have changed
the world of tap forever and this site tells that wonderful story.
Welcome to perhaps your first but certinally not your
last taste of Rad Tap(R)
Touring to spread the word about Rad Tap(R)
she infuses different cultural influences in to her dance. Back from Japan, Rosie taps in wooden shoes
Radical tap: Follow your
St. Louis Today
Thursday, Jul. 29 2004
The mother of Rosie Radiator - one of the St. Louis Tap Festival's
performers - found her daughter tap dancing on a tree stump at age 3 and
enrolled her in tap class. Luckily,
her teacher had danced with Bill
"Bojangles" Robinson and was, Rosie eventually realized, "very close to the
of what's real in tap. This is an art form made up by people who never
went to dancing school. All the original steps
and moves and combinations were
accidents - every shuffle, riffle, brush step, flap or walking riff. By the
turned into time steps, shim shams, softshoes, paddle and rolls, the
old guys couldn't tell us how they did it. They'd
just say something like, 'Get
in the groove,' because it felt so natural."
She solved the mystery when she was
30. "I was using my foot to do a little
shuffle," she recalls. "The phone rang, and I turned to answer it and three
fell out of a shuffle I was not doing." By turning her upper body, she
had triggered her foot, unconsciously, to move.
She named the move the San
Francisco Supershuffle and developed her patented Rad Tap technique, using
and muscle isolation to tap with the feet entirely relaxed.
Meanwhile, she'd made enough money as an auto mechanic to
build her own dance
studio, starting in a cold-storage warehouse turned artists' commune. "My
actual career began
on Labor Day in 1976," she said. "My grandmother had been
the queen of the Pan-Pacific Exposition in 1915, and one day
I was driving back
across the Golden Gate Bridge after visiting her, trying to think of something
I could do for her.
I remembered what she always used to say to me: 'Honey,
whatever you need to say, say it with your dancing and people
So that Labor Day Rosie put on sequins and stepped out into the fog. Waving the
Mrs. Thomas Edison had presented to her grandmother, she tap-danced
across the Golden Gate Bridge. "It must've been a
slow news day," she says
wryly, "because everybody showed up." She started organizing annual events,
the city on Tap Day or in the Tour de Tap for clean air. Her
team of 10 holds the current Guinness world record, 9.6 miles
choreographed unison tap dancing. And she thinks it's made a difference in San
"There's a whole generation of people here who have grown up seeing tap on the
news," she points out.
"We're not up on a stage, we're not Broadway babies and
we're not jumping around like little kids. It looks good up close,
comfortable and natural, and people say, 'If I had those shoes, I could do
"Tap is such a natural dance
form that when you look at it, your body begins to
identify with the movement," she says. "It's not like ballet. The lazier
more comfortable you are, the more you can access this pathway. Plus, there's a
pleasure endorphin that's released
behind the kneecap when the foot is relaxed
and the kneecap is gently squeezing." She hesitates. "I'm not sure we should
tell the world that. They might make it illegal."
- Jeannette Batz Cooperman