National Jazz Museum of Harlem

So the National Jazz Museum in Harlem is more of a room than a museum, in the sense there’s nothing to look at and no regular visiting hours. So Katherine and Allison went to an event: Rhythm and Dance with Michela Marino Lerman.

Between the two of us, Allison was the tap expert: she had lessons at the local community center when she was 7. What do jazz and tap have to do with each other? Apparently, tap dancing was always a part of jazz, and musicians and tappers (called “hoofers” if you’re in the know. Now you’re in the know) improvised together. Then the golden feeling of brotherhood soured, as it always does, with two competing styles developing in rancor: the Hoofers and the Copacetics.

Michela didn’t look like a dancer, but it turns out that jazz tap is percussion more than dance. And she tore the roof off the one-room storage unit/museum. She also spoke with the same blowsy unhurried inclusivity of the veteran jazz musician to an audience which seemed to consist mostly of those who know Michaela. Then everyone was invited to get their dance on. Allison didn’t bring her shoes. Katherine was happy about that.

National Jazz Museum of Harlem. Perhaps not a museum, but ….. 3 stars.


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