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Tap Dance

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 815
  • Category: Dance

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Tap Dance is known as a favorite discipline because the students are making music with their feet. Students learn to improve their rhythm and co-ordination to energetic music. Tap dance concentrates on rhythm and timing, and requires interpretation of music through sound, creating regulated and controlled sounds through intricate footwork. More advanced levels of tap teach syncopation and more complex rhythms and combine a variety of styles of classical tap dance. Tap classes are offered in all levels. INVENTOR

It originated in America when slaves where not allowed to use instruments and used hands and feet as an alternative around the time that Irish clog dancing was becoming popular (so it has some influence from that). No one person “invented” it. Though the Floradora Sextet performed the first synchronized tap routine and from there was used in Hollywood and Broadway musicals. One person did “invent” “Broadway style” tap (which is the one usaly taught to beginners in America) DEFINATION

Tap dance is an example of a non-partnered dance that is generally choreographed, with one or more participating dancers. A rhythmical tapping sound is attained by the dancer from the small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes. It is in his way that the dancer also becomes a percussive musician. Tap dance is often characterized by syncopation and improvisation. Tap can also be performed without music, known as ‘Capella’ dancing. Another type of Tap dance is the ‘soft-shoe’ form, which is a style that is performed in soft-soled shoes without metal taps. The nature of the tapping in this style of Tap is more leisurely and smooth, and there is generally an element of humour within the dance routines. In contrast, the ‘buck-and-wing’ Tap technique is danced much more vigorously in wooden soled shoes. Tap dance became popular from mistrel shows in the 19th century.

It essentially derives from a number of sources, including the traditional clog dance of northern England, which requires no accompanying music, traditional Irish and Scottish step dances, and even African dances, which involve much rhythmic foot stamping to drumming. Even Spanish flamenco is thought to be a precursor to Tap, where the sound of the rhythm of the dancers’ steps is essential to the performance. During the first half of the 20the century, Tap dance flourished throughout the US. It was at this time that Tap was performed mainly to jazz music, earning it the alternative name ‘Jazz dance’. However, from the 1950s, jazz music and Tap dance saw a decline in popularity. Rock and Roll music became popular and at the same time a new form of Jazz dance emerged. Although this new Jazz dance, as we know it today, may have emerged from Tap, it has since evolved separately, and so even though there may be some similar moves, Jazz dance is a dance form independent from Tap.

Nobody could have predicted that the collision of cultures in the New World centuries ago would result in Tap, the uniquely American dance form. Yet the fusion of British Isles Clog and Step dancing with the rhythms of West African drumming and dancing in colonial times created an ever-evolving art form that continues to flourish today.


In the mid-1600s, Scottish and Irish indentured laborers brought their social dances to the New World. Slaves in the southern United States imitated the rapid toe and heel action of the Irish Jig and the percussive sensibility of the Lancashire Clog, and combined them with West African step dances that were known as “Juba” dances and “Ring Shouts.” As a result, African dance styles became more formal and diluted, while European elements became more fluid and rhythmic, eventually resulting in a uniquely American Tap hybrid.

It is believed to have begun in the mid-1800s during the rise of minstrel shows ENGLISH FILMS

An American In Paris (1951)
Bamboozled (2002)
The Band Wagon (1953)
The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)
Bojangles (2002)
Brigadoon (1954)
Broadway Melody of (1936)
Broadway Melody of 1938
Broadway Melody of 1940
Carefree (1938)

Ramble On – Patricia Maertens (acoustic Led Zepplin cover) Upside Down – Jack Johnson
Man with the Hex – Blue Babies
Man with the Hex – The Atomic Fireballs
We Speak No Americano (Mafia Boys Mix) – Yolanda Be Cool
Drive My Car – Bobby McFerrin
Showbiz – Mike Stern
Mr. Success – The Hit Co.
Creep – Richard Cheese
Jungle Drum – Emilliana Torrini
Mr. Pinstripe Suit (live) – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

A tap dance costume can start off with a simple design, such as a brightly coloured leotard.
Add a circular or fringed skirt.
Bring glamour to the costume by adding to this, such as ruffles, fringes, bows, feathers and sequins.
Add a top hat or a diamond/triangle shaped headpiece with a bow or feather.

Other ideas to add include gloves, armbands, or braces.
Top Hat

Tapworks: A Tap Dictionary and Reference Manual
The Souls of Your Feet:

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