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Tap 101: A Beginner’s Guide To Becoming A Tapping Machine!

Hey there dancers and welcome back to From the Top! Today we are going to talk about TAP DANCING! This is a genre of dance that I have a lot of love and respect for because it is so intricate and unique! It’s a style of dance that is all about expression and completely losing yourself in the rhythm of the music. It has gained such a big platform in the last few years within the social media dance community and now there are even tap dancing crews such as the oh-so sharp and precise Syncopated Ladies. However, if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at tapping but simply don’t know where to begin or even what to expect, don’t sweat it! From the Top is here to help you with some basic pointers on tap technique that will have you on your way to becoming a tap dancing machine in no time! Let’s get going, Happy Feet!

“These Shoes Were Made For Tappin’!
Before you can start moving your feet you must first stop by your local dancewear store and pick up your new besties: your tap shoes! There are many different variations of tap shoes that come in assorted colors such as black, white and tan. You can also choose between a flat tap shoe or a heeled tap shoe. However, your choice of color and heel height will probably depend on what type of shoe your instructor may or may not prefer.
The model of tap shoes I use are the Bloch Tap Flex flat tap shoe in black. They are super comfortable, give me the perfect amount of support and great flexibility to give me a wide range of movement. As a matter of fact they can actually be seen right above you. Go on, scroll up! That’s right, the tap shoes in the From the Top logo are my actual tap shoes photographed outdoors by yours truly! Pretty cool, right? Now, moving on to point numero dos!

“Technique And Body Alignment”
The goal to aim for in tap is to produce clear and sharp sounds in your movements. When tap dancing, your body is aligned by leaning slightly forward which will allow you to do much of your dancing on the balls of your feet. The objective is to be light on your feet in a way that allows you to shift your weight from one foot to the other with ease. I was always taught that tap alignment is the opposite of ballet alignment. Where in ballet your alignment should be tight and held together, tap alignment is meant to be relaxed with just the right amount of swag (is that word still a thing?) Also, keep in mind to keep your ankles loose and flexible to provide a wider range of motion in your feet.

“What To Expect From Your First Class”
Beginner tap classes are usually pretty relaxed in atmosphere. Since tap is a style that really requires you to start slow and work your way up, the class will more than likely be pretty basic at first. It will usually start with a warm up which will include doing a few steps to get your feet warm and flexible. From there will come center work, followed by across the floor routines to get you accustomed to moving with your steps. As the class continues with each passing week, the routines will gradually increase in difficulty level but don’t worry! By that point you’ll have the basic knowledge down and will be ready to take on the more intense exercises that will ultimately make you a tapping machine!

“From the Top’s Tap Cheat Sheet”
“Cheat sheet? Lexi, you’re gonna help us CHEAT?!” Just a little! Before you head into your first class, I’m going to share with you all the three basic tap steps that are used in every tap class across the globe: the step, the stamp and the stomp!

The Step: The step is done by simply lifting your feet slightly and stepping on the toe tap located on the ball of your foot. Do this walking forward, alternating from one foot to the other. Remember, stay light on your feet!
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The Stamp: The stamp is done by lifting your foot and using both your toe and heel tap at once, stamp your foot on the ground, leaving it there and alternating to the other foot. Make sure you put your whole weight into each foot as you alternate. Stamp the right foot putting your weight into it, stamp your left foot putting your weight into it. The example I was taught to remember this step is to compare it to a postage stamp. A postage stamp sticks and stays once it is on an envelope just your foot sticks and stays when you stamp onto the floor!
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The Stomp: The stomp is very similar to the stamp. For the stomp you use your entire shoe (toe and heel tap) and stomp your foot on the ground. Only this time you’re going to stomp your foot and quickly lift it back up. Stay light on your feet, slightly shifting your weight to each foot as you stomp.
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I hope these tips were able to help you prepare for your first tap class and if you have been on the fence about taking a tap class, I hope this post was able to give you the extra nudge to go for it! If you want to be one of the first to know when a new From the Top blog post goes live, make sure you follow us on Instagram @fromthetopdb and turn on our post notifications, that way you won’t miss a beat! Have a great weekend and I’ll see you in the next post!

Keep Dancing!
-Lexi

 

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