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. 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 usually more popular for performing live and shows.

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 “step dancing” — 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 dance 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 colours black or brown with metal taps on both heels and front. White is also a favourite colour 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 typically 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.