Everything You Need To Know About Tap Dancing

Tap or Tap dance is one of the most popular dance routines today. This type of dancing is defined by the percussive sound made by the metal plates — called taps — on the shoes; thus called tap dancing. Due to the musical quality of the sound made by the shoes, performers are described as both musicians and dancers that keep their audience glued to their performance.

Types Of Tap Dancers

There are two types of tap dancers — the tappers and hoofers. Tappers are made distinct with their upper body and footwork. Dancers of this classical tap dance are often seen blending their footwork with upper body movements similar to that of jazz and ballet. Tappers are more popular in live performance and shows.

Hoofers, on the other hand, are more focused on their footwork than upper body movements. They use very little arm and body movements during performance. Also, the hoofer’s footwork is said to create more accented tapping sounds than tappers. This type of tap requires complete control over your footwork.

History Of Tap

Tap dancing has a very involved history. According to historians, the origin of tap dancing is influenced by dancers from England, Ireland, Africa, and Spain.

England’s version of the tap is called the Lancashire Clogging. Modern-day tap is also quite similar to Irish performance and social dances, like the Sean-nos and “stepdancing” — as seen in the performance of “Riverdance” in 1994. The intricate footwork of the Juba dance of Africa also influenced modern-day tap dancing; as well as the Spanish Flamenco.

Despite its lack of accurate historical background, tap dancing has been in the limelight of many performance and events in the early 1900′s. From 1930 to 1950, tap has made it into broadway shows, movie flicks, and even television series that is quite popular even today. In most cases, experts agree that tap is a blend of cultures as dancers spread the art to different countries around the globe.

Tap Shoes

The shoes for tap dancing are simple footwear commonly in colors black or brown with metal taps on both heels and front. White is also a favorite color for stage performances. Though shoes with heels are preferred due to the sounds they make that goes well with intricate footwork, many have found flat shoes to be comfortable as well and is a common choice for simpler tap routines. Also, tap shoes should have a snug or tight fit on the dancer’s feet for better control over their footwork.

Taking Classes

If you want to learn tap dancing then it is best if you take classes where instructors can fully supervise your movements. This dance routine might look simple at first, but the intricate footwork takes a lot of practice to master. In most cases, instructors would often start with warm-up exercises and stretching before moving on to basic tap movements for dancers to produce tapping sounds and avoid excess taps. Classes would normally take an hour and a majority of the time is spent producing quality tap sounds and mastering your footwork before moving on to more complicated dance routines.

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