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Tap

Tap originated with the Irish and African-American cultures, a method of rhythm and syncopation executed with the feet.

Dress Code
  • Girls: Any colored leotard and tights or fitted exercise clothing. Mandatory flat-heeled Bloch tap shoes.
  • Boys: Any colored T-shirt, sweat pants or dance pants. Black Tap Shoes.

Beginners to advanced classes offered.

Tap is an excellent way to increase coordination of the mind and body and to develop a sense of rhythm, timing, and expression. It explores the use of smaller muscles of the feet and body, along with the larger ones. Significance is placed on the articulation of tap sounds while working to perform them “close to the floor” and on the “balls of their feet” along with “style and presentation.” Emphasis is placed on the fundamental rhythms, body alignment, vocabulary, level, accenting, shading and weight changes of tap dancing. Simple steps follow a warm-up involving flexibility and strengthening exercises. Steps are ultimately choreographed into short combinations. As the student advances, the steps and combinations become more intricate and challenging.

Creating rhythms and sounds, tap dancing is truly unique. Tappers develop musicality, rhythm, quick thinking, and the ability to "hear" music. Our tap dance curriculum includes Traditional/Broadway Tap (e.g., 42nd Street), Rhythm Tap (e.g., Gregory Hines and Savion Glover) styles.

Background:
Tap dance is a style of dance which developed in the United States in the 19th century. Originally, tap dance appeared in black minstrel shows, but by the 1920s, it had become popular with both blacks and whites.

In tap dance, performers wear shoes which have been equipped with metal plates. As the dancer moves, the plates click against the dance floor, creating a characteristic tapping sound. Tappers can create a variety of percussive rhythms with their feet by tapping, sliding, and clicking the metal plates. Observers can enjoy both the movements of the dancer and the sound of the tapping, with tap dancers performing either alone or with musical accompaniment. Some composers have even created compositions for tap dancers and orchestras, using the tap dancers like drummers and other members of the percussion section.

The roots of tap dance are a bit obscure. Several cultures have dance traditions similar to tap dancing, such as clogging in the British Isles, which utilizes movements similar to those used by tappers. Some African cultures also have percussive dance traditions which were undoubtedly brought to the United States on slave ships, and flamenco, a style of Spanish dance, also features a version of tap dancing called zapateado. Whatever the origins of tap dancing, it has become a quintessentially American dance form.

Tappers usually utilize a lot of syncopation, creating unexpected and very lively rhythms in their works. They are also fond of improvisation, and they can perform alone or in groups. In classic tap, the dancer's whole body moves along with the feet, often in very showy, stylized movements. Broadway tap is a highly formalized version of this style of tap dance. “Hoofers,” on the other hand, prefer to focus just on the movements of their feet, keeping their upper bodies still. Softshoe is a variant on tap in which metal plates are not used, making for a much quieter series of dance moves.