What is Tap Dancing?

What is Tap Dancing?

If you are looking to take up a style of dance and you have always admired the talents of people such as Fred Astaire and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, then get yourself some Tap Shoes because Tap dancing may just be the style for you.

The Dancemania team can appreciate that when you are learning a new skill, having a basic background knowledge about the style is always a good thing to have.  So we invited a Tap expert, Jordan Mills, to take us through everything we need to know about Tap Dancing.  Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Tap Dance from the history to the technical aspects and about the different styles.  So read on, because throughout this blog you will be treated to an insight into every aspect of the world of Tap!

The History of Tap

Tap dancing is a type of American Theatrical dance which involves percussive footwork.  The footwork includes rhythmic patterns and sequences on the floor.

Tap Dancing originates from various different sources and has influences from such dance styles as; the English clog dance, the Irish solo step dance and Afrian dance movements.  During the American slave trade, dances such as the ‘buck-and-wing’ and ‘clogging’ could be seen aboard the slave ships, which were all carried out in leather-sole shoes.  The ‘slave dances’ were what first inspired the popular Blackface Minstrel show, with the famous Thomas “Daddy” Rice in 1828.  The Minstrel shows continued to be popular throughout the 19th century and showcased two techniques; a fast past style in wooden-sole shoes and a soft-shoe, leather-sole style who was made famous by George Primrose.  These styles gradually morphed together and by the 1920s metal taps/plates were added to bottom of leather-soled shoes.  Tap Dancing as we know it today was born!!

The development of Tap dancing had progressed massively by the 1920s and 30s and Black dancers began to showcase new styles of Tap dancing.  These new styles became very popular for their acrobatic stunts and often satirical themes.  Dance teams began to form which was a bench mark for tap at that time and introduced such double acts as “Slap and Happy” a.k.a Harold Daniels and Leslie Irvin and “Stump and Stumpy” a.k.a James Cross and Harold Cromer.  These double acts performed exciting and fast paced tap with intricate rhythms and acrobatic stunts.  Other famous Tap dancers such as “John Bubbles” developed slower, more syncopated style of tap and such stars as Bill “Bojangles” Robinson combined jazz and tap together which made him America’s most famous tap Dancer.

The Jazz/tap style grew even more in the 1930s, 40s and 50s when dancers such as Fred Astaire, Ray Bolger and Gene Kelly added movements from other dance styles such as Ballet and Modern dance.  Tap dancing has progressed through the years and now can be seen in such musicals as “42nd Street” and “Hot Shoe Shuffle”.  Shows such as “Tap Dogs” and “Stomp” take rhythmic tap to another level, showing the dancers tapping on unusual materials such as metal and with the use of water.

Our Tap expert Jordan Mills

Jordan is an extremely talented young dancer whose dancing  skills do not just stop at tap dancing, he is also trained in other styles such as Ballet, Jazz and Street Dance.  Recently Jordan was awarded a place in the youth company Tap Attack, who you may have seen on the recent “Got To Dance” series on Sky1.

Jordan is currently rehearsing for the World Tap Championships with Tap Attack.  Look out for further blogs from Jordan as he shares his preparations for the World Championships with us at Dancemania.

Tap Shoes and Accessories

Dancemania have a huge range of Tap Shoes, Clothes and Accessories.  So if you are looking to get fully kitted out with Tap gear….we are your people!!

Tap Shoes

Tap shoes come in a range of all different styles and sizes and will depend on what type of Tap dancing you are doing.  Dancemania stocks all different styles, we have Low heel and Cuban heels, Oxford boys tap shoe, hologram tap shoes and many more.  Check our full range today by clicking on the link: Tap Shoes.

Tap clothes and Accessories

Dancemania does not just supply Tap shoes, they also have a fabulous selection of Tap Dance Clothing and accessories.  If you are looking for a stylish, slick catsuit for that Tap solo or need some practice clothes for those hours of Tap rehearsals….then look no further.  We also supply extra taps and screws for when you have tired those taps out!!

STOP PRESS!! Watch this space for a new selection of great Menswear, which will be coming to Dancemania soon!! 

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2 thoughts on “What is Tap Dancing?

  1. Pingback: A Journey to the World Tap Dance Championships 2011- Part 1

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