Let's Hear that Tap

Dancers from the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project in Chicago perform tap

Dancers from the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project in Chicago perform tap

Dancers from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project perform

Dancers from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project perform

What is Tap Dancing?

Tap is an exciting style of dance where the dancers create different rhythms and sounds using the metal on the toe and heel of their shoe. The combination of striking, brushing, hitting, stomping, and stepping with the metal creates the technical movements and rhythms of tap. In tap dancing, the sounds created by the shoes are just as important as the movements of the dancers. 

Famous actor, singer and dancer Gene Kelly.

Famous actor, singer and dancer Gene Kelly.

The History of Tap

Tap began under the influence of Irish dancing and English Clogging and has been performed in shows and a part of social dancing since the mid 1800’s. Today there are professional tap companies that perform around the country and the dance style is also seen in many Broadway shows by corps dancers.  

Taking Tap Classes

How Can Tap Benefit My Dancer?

Tap dancing is a great way for dancers to learn different rhythms and meters in music such as 2/4, 3/4, 6/8 and 9/8. By creating these rhythms with different moves in tap, dancers develop a great understanding of musical  structure. Tap also teaches dancers how to create their own music in silence, called acapella tap dancing.

What Do You Do In A Tap Class?

Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts Instructor Ms. Lauren Ader-Cumpston teaches beginning Children's Tap

Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts Instructor Ms. Lauren Ader-Cumpston teaches beginning Children's Tap

Tap class begins with a warm up consisting of tap, shuffle, and flap combinations to warm up the dancers ankles. From there, the warm up advances by focusing on different tap moves such as riffs, shuffle switches, cramprolls, time steps and other technical steps to continue warming up and practicing movement that will be latter seen in the class.

After warm up the dancers will work on across the floor combinations that consist of different tap movements and rhythms that can be up to 2-8 count phrases or more. The class then ends with working on a combination either to music or acapella that puts all the steps from the class into choreography.  

What Does Tap Dancing Look Like? 

Though old movies are certainly not the only place where tap dancing was used or is today, the video clip below, from the classic 1950's movie Singin' in the Rain, is a great example of tap dancing that is tons of fun!