Tap is one of the only styles of dance where by learning it, you are learning two different art forms. With the movement of your body, you are learning a form of dance. With the percussion sound the shoes make against the ground, you are also learning how to play a musical instrument. Each shoe has a metal “tap” sealed to the bottom of the heel as well as the toe, making every single step audible. This forces the dancer to keep a steady rhythm and stay on beat. But when the dancer practices and performs the tap routine, the sound mixed with the movement makes the reward far greater than the risk.
Another way that tap dancing is 2 performances in one is that the dancer needs no outside additions to perform a routine. Most other dance forms require a band, orchestra, or some other sound system to provide the music to dance to. Tap dance is more independent because none of that is necessary in this art form. The performer can be both the dancer and the band by making the needed sounds and rhythms to go with their own dance movements. Nonetheless, as a tap dancer, you can still chose to provide outside music to add to the dance piece.
There are two basic types of tap dance that can be used in the same performance. The first type is Broadway tap. This form focuses more on the dance aspect of the performance and less emphasis is put on the sounds the shoes are making. The dancer’s main goal is to deliver an aesthetically appealing show. This form is mostly popular in musical theater performances.
The other basic form of tap dance is rhythm or jazz tap. This form of dance puts more focus on the music the shoes are making, and less on the dance moves involved. In this form, the performer uses their body as a musical instrument, making different rhythms, beats and songs with their feet.
Within this rhythm form of tap dancing, there is soft-shoe tap dancing. This form does not require the traditional tap shoes with the metal plates on the bottom. While soft-shoe dancing, rhythm is still made by tapping your feet. Sliding of the feet is also used here, at times, even using scattered sand on the stage to enhance the sound of the sliding feet.
As you can tell, tap dancing is an exciting form of dance to watch. It is also fun to do! If you are interested in taking tap dancing lessons at the Omaha School of Music and Dance, please visit our website at www.omahaschoolofmusicanddance.com and join us at our 144th and Dodge location today!