My Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
Your Majesties, Your Highness, Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
My legs cannot stand still when I am honoured by your decision to reward me with this prize. Although I understand that the prize must have a clear winner, I feel tonight as a representative of million other pairs of legs who are being rewarded as well tonight for their tremendous achievements.
The streets of Oslo, as well as its theatres and dancing schools, are merely a reflection of a world-wide phenomenon. We can now safely say that we have prevailed in our endeavour to bring our basic message of sound and movement into the heart of the consensus.
Across borders and time zones, regardless of race, religion or economic standards, people have found tap dancing to be a possible answer for nature of being. We succeed where many have failed before, not only because we believe in the right way, but more importantly because we use the right kind of shoes. This is our little secret; this is what makes this century to be the golden era of humanity.
But what stands behind it? Shoes, effective as they are to provide stability and marvellous tapping sound, are only shoes. But like a scalpel in the hand of a trained surgeon, our shoes allow us to penetrate all outer layers and touch the building blocks of human life.
Our ancestors walked barefoot on the face of the earth. Being occupied with survival, they quickly learned to be careful from bigger animals, whose footsteps could be heard from a distance. Many of these mammals were rather harmless or even prove themselves as friendly to mankind; think about the horse, the donkey and the elephant. Humanity learned to respect and cooperate with them. They inspired us to hope that someday man will learn how to make noises while moving.
And indeed, some of us have never lost that hope. Mankind have developed and reached prosperity. The shoe, perceived by laymen as merely isolation between the feet and the earth, has been adopted by early tap dancers to fulfil the ancient dream. And the rest is history.
In the early days of my lifetime tap dancing career I often felt as the sole carrier of the message. People have always enjoyed the dance; however, those who dedicated their lives to it, with whom I became acquainted throughout the years, protected the streets and the dancehalls from the invasion of popular trends over the years which tried to prevent us from understanding. From this stage I thank them for their support and hope that they will thank their shoes on behalf of all nations of the world.
I would also like to use this opportunity to encourage young scholars to take the lead of the future of tap dancing. There is so much more to do and so much more dances to compose, and it is the young generation’s duty to bring us all forward and to the sides, as long as they remain on a solid surface.