For the black slaves brought from Africa to America and Europe, the beat was a necessity -- it was in their blood. But the heart of their tribal rhythm, the drums, were forbidden in the aftermath of the Stono Rebellion in 1739. This revolt that occurred in South Carolina ended with more than 20 white people and 40 slaves dead.

The drums were banned because the authorities believed the blacks had communicated with each other through the beat. So, without the drums, they had to make do with what they had -- their feet -- and tap dancing was born.

The Broadway musical "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk" tells the history of black American culture through the sound of tap dancing and the beat of the drums. Directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by tap dancing ace Savion Glover, the musical won four Tony awards including "Best Choreography" in 1996.