Tap dance

Tap dance

Tap dance was developed in the United States during the nineteenth century, and is popular nowadays in many parts of the world. The name comes from the tapping sound made when the small metal plates on the dancer's shoes touch a hard surface. This lively, rhythmic tapping makes the performer not just a dancer, but also a percussive musician (and thus, for example, the American composer Morton Gould was able to compose a concerto for tap dancer and orchestra).

The Encyclopedia Britannica definition for tap dance is: "“A style of American theatrical dance using precise rhythmical patterns of foot movement and audible foot tapping. It is derived from the traditional clog dance of northern England, the jigs and reels of Ireland and Scotland, and possibly the rhythmic foot stamping of African dances. Popular in 19th-century minstrel shows, versions such as “buck-and-wing” (danced vigorously in wooden-soled shoes) and “soft-shoe” (shoes) developed as separate techniques; by 1925 they had merged, and metal taps were attached to shoe heels and toes to produce a more pronounced sound. The dance was also popular in variety shows and early musicals.”" [ [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/583059/tap-dance Tap Dance] from the Encyclopedia Britannica]


The influences of tap dancing may include: ["Tap Roots: The Early History of Tap Dancing" by Mark Knowles Pub: Mcfarland & Co, Inc, 2002]
* African
** African dances were often used as a form of communication and reflected most aspects of daily life
** Drum rhythms are often highly complex and syncopated
** African gumboot dance were developed in the 1970s in South Africa by mine workers and may have derived from Tap.
** Steps included gliding, shuffling, and large amounts of improvisation
** There seems to be no historical evidence of percussive (heel toe) dance footwear in this culture predating tap.
* Irish and English
** Irish Sean-nós step dancing
** Clogging, where there may be no accompanying music, just the noise of the shoes
** Step dancing
** Stomp dancing, where the sound of other objects are used to enhance the stomping sound of the foot
** Masters would often challenge each other to be the best dancer and win students
* West Indies
** Complex rhythms dictated by drums
** Juba Dance a competitive dance involving intricate foot work, hand clapping and patting
** There seems to be no historical evidence of percussive (heel toe) dance footwear in this culture
predating tap.
* Spanish
** "Zapateado" of Spanish flamenco, where nails are hammered into the heel and the front
part of the dancers' shoes, so that the rhythm of their steps can be heard
** Spanish mad-step (practiced by early tap practitioners Eduardo Corrochio and Henry Rogers)

During the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, the best tap dancers moved from Vaudeville to cinema and television. Steve Condos, with his innovative style of percussion tap, created a whole new tap style that he introduced to audiences in Vaudeville, and later to the audiences of film and Broadway. Prominent tap dancers of this period included Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple, John W. Bubbles, Charles "Honi" Coles, Vera-Ellen, Ruby Keeler, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller (credited as the fatest recorded tap dancer, a record she still holds), Jeni LeGon, [ [http://www.atdf.org/awards/legon.html Jeni LeGon] , American Tap Dance Foundation Hall of Fame. Accessed 16 December 2007.] Ann Miller, Fayard and Harold Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers, Donald O'Connor, Eleanor Powell, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, PrinceSpencer, [ [http://www.chicagotap.org/summerfestival/artists/spencer.htm Prince Spencer] , Chicago Human Rhythm Project 2007. Accessed 16 December 2007.] Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Jimmy Slyde.

During the 1930s tap dance mixed with Lindy Hop. "Flying swing outs" and "flying circles" are Lindy Hop moves with tap footwork.

In the 1950s, the style of entertainment changed. Jazz music and tap dance declined, while rock and roll music and the new jazz dance emerged. What is now called "jazz dance" evolved out of "tap dance", so both dances have many moves in common. But jazz evolved separately from tap dance to become a new form in its own right. Well-known dancers during the 1960s and 1970s included Arthur Duncan and Tommy Tune.

"No Maps on My Taps", the Emmy award winning PBS documentary of 1979, helped begin the recent revival of tap dance. The outstanding success of the animated film, "Happy Feet", has further reinforced the popular appeal [Sarah Kaufman, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/15/AR2006121500372.html Tapping a Gold Mine of Motion] , "Washington Post", December 17, 2006. Accessed 16 December 2007.] National Tap Dance Day in the United States, now celebrated May 25th, was signed into law by President George Bush on November 7, 1989. (May 25th was chosen because it is the birthday of famous tapper Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.) Prominent modern tap dancers have included Brenda Bufalino, Jay Fagan, [ [http://www.jayfagan.com Home page] , Jay Fagan. Accessed 16 December 2007.] Ted Bebblejad, Savion Glover, Peter Briansen, Gregory and Maurice Hines of Hines, Hines, and Dad, Alfonso Ribeiro, LaVaughn Robinson, Jason Samuels Smith, Shirley Temple, and Grant Swift. [PiNKe, [http://www.inthemix.com.au/life/features/31412/Dance_The_rhythm_of_truth Dance: The rhythm of truth] , InTheMix, March 21, 2007. Accessed 16 December 2007.] Indie-pop band Tilly and the Wall also features a tap dancer, Jamie Williams, tapping as percussion.

Characteristics of tap dance

Tap dancers make frequent use of syncopation. Choreography typically starts on the eighth or first beatcount. Another aspect of tap dancing is improvisation. This can either be done with music and follow the beats provided or without musical accompaniment, otherwise known as a capella dancing.

Hoofers are tap dancers who dance primarily with their legs, making a louder, more grounded sound. This kind of tap dancing, also called "rhythm tap", came primarily from cities or poor areas. Today this is not the case, especially with such a wide variety of styles spreading throughout the world. Steve Condos rose out of his humble beginnings in Pittsburgh, PA to become a master in rhythmic tap. His innovative style influenced the work of Gregory Hines, Savion Glover and Marshall Davis, Jr. The majority of hoofers, such as Sammy Davis Jr., Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, and LaVaughn Robinson are African American men, although today the art form transcends racial and gender stereotypes. Savion Glover is the best-known living hoofer, who helped bring tap dance into mainstream media by choreographing and dancing for the major motion picture Happy Feet. Another well-known tap film is 1989's Tap, starring the late Gregory Hines and many of the old-time hoofers.

Early dancers like Fred Astaire provided a more ballroom look to tap dancing, while Gene Kelly used his extensive ballet training to make tap dancing incorporate all the parts of the ballet. This style of tap led to what is today known as "broadway style," which is more mainstream in American culture. It often involves high heeled tap shoes and show music, and is usually the type of tap first taught to beginners. The best examples of this style are found in Broadway musicals such as 42nd Street.

Common tap steps include the shuffle, shuffle ball change, flap (pronounced "fuh-lap"), flap heel, cramp roll, buffalo, Maxi Ford, single and double pullbacks, wings, cincinnati, the shim sham shimmy (also called the Lindy), Irish, Waltz Clog, shuffle hop step, running flaps, running shuffles, sugar, the paddle and roll, slap, stomp, brushes, scuffs, and single and double toe punches, hot steps, heel clicks, single, double and triple time steps, riffs, and chugs. In advanced tap dancing, basic steps are often combined together to create new steps. The flap heel toe heel step brush heel is one combination of basic tap steps that is usually practiced while spinning around in a circle. Higher levels of tap dancing may also consist of toe work, which are steps performed on the toes of the tap shoes. This may vary from simply jumping up onto the toe in a toe stand or doing steps mentioned above on the toe such as shuffles or wings.

External links

* [http://www.tapmoves.com/ TapMoves.com - Site that contains video clips of tap dance combinations including notes on how to do each step.]
* [http://www.unitedtaps.com/ Unitedtaps.com - Video clips of tap dance steps shown slow as well as medium or fast. Also includes some combinations.]
* [http://www.tapdance.info TapDance.Info - Videos, news, and forums for tap dancers worldwide.]
* [http://www.TapDanceMan.com/blog/ The Tap Dance Blog - Site frequently updated with tap dance news, tap festival info, video clips, and tips.]
* [http://www.fotolog.com/tap_world/ The Tap Dance Fotolog - Photos of Tap dance shoes and photos of Tap dancers]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • tap dance — ► NOUN ▪ a dance performed wearing shoes fitted with metal taps, characterized by rhythmical tapping of the toes and heels. ► VERB (tap dance) ▪ perform such a dance. DERIVATIVES tap dancer noun tap dancing noun …   English terms dictionary

  • tap dance — n. a dance performed with sharp, loud taps of the foot, toe, or heel at each step tap dance vi. tap danced, tap dancing tap dancer n …   English World dictionary

  • tap dance — tap′ dance n. mad a dance in which the rhythm or rhythmical variation is audibly tapped out with the toe or heel by a dancer wearing shoes with special hard soles or with taps • Etymology: 1925–30 tap′ dance , v.i. danced, danc•ing. tap′ danc er …   From formal English to slang

  • tap-dance — tap dancer, n. /tap dans , dahns /, v.i., tap danced, tap dancing. to perform a tap dance. [1925 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • tap-dance — (izg. tȅp dȅns) m DEFINICIJA glazb. vrsta stiliziranog plesa karakterističnog po preciznim ritmičkim pokretima stopala i udaranja o pod; vuče korijen iz folklorne tradicije S Engleske kombinirane s afričkim ritmom; stepovanje, stepanje… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • tap dance — a dance in which the rhythm or rhythmical variation is audibly tapped out with the toe or heel by a dancer wearing shoes with special hard soles or with taps. [‡1925 30] * * * Style of American theatrical dance using precise rhythmical patterns… …   Universalium

  • tap dance — I noun a dance step tapped out audibly with the feet • Syn: ↑tap dancing • Hypernyms: ↑step dancing, ↑hoofing • Hyponyms: ↑soft shoe, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • tap-dance — n. & v. n. a form of display dance performed wearing shoes fitted with metal taps, with rhythmical tapping of the toes and heels. v.intr. perform a tap dance. Derivatives: tap dancer n. tap dancing n. * * * ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ intransitive verb Etymology …   Useful english dictionary

  • tap dance — noun Date: 1928 1. a step dance tapped out audibly by means of shoes with hard soles or soles and heels to which taps have been added 2. something suggesting a tap dance; especially an action or discourse intended to rationalize or distract …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Tap Dance — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Tap Dance Originaltitel Tap Produktionsland …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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