For the last event of the inaugural Cleveland Book Week, Brian Seibert rolled up his cuffs and gave the audience at the Beck Center for the Arts what they had been waiting for: a live tap dance performance. Seibert, a New York Times dance critic and himself a studied dancer, chronicles the roots of this uniquely American art form in What the Eye Hears, winner of our 2016 award for nonfiction.
His remarks were peppered with video and audio from tap dancing’s origins, including some of the earliest recorded footage from the 19th century. To cap off his reading, Oberlin student Chandler Browne accompanied Seibert for a few minutes of breathtaking hoofing, inviting the audience to soak in both improvised rhythms and their rendition of the “Shim Sham Shimmy,” a tap dance classic. Take a look below: