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:] asked in Arts & HumanitiesDancing · 1 decade ago

basic tap dance moves?

i might audition for competition dance teams, but i have almost no experience in tap (the only thing i know is what a shuffle is!) so can anyone give me a list of basics i should know? thanks so much =)

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here's a list of basic tap moves:

    Walk or step-The smallest unit of movement made with the foot - a normal step as when walking around.

    Step-heel-A step taken with the ball of the foot coming down first, then the heel, making two distinct sounds.

    Heel-step-A step taken with the heel of the foot coming down first, then the ball, making two distinct sounds, a step-heel in reverse.

    Stamp-The foot is placed upon the floor rapidly, with the heel and the ball of the foot striking the ground simultaneously.

    Ball-change-This is a pair of steps, taking a step backwards and then one forwards.

    Hop-A jump done on one foot, landing on that same foot.

    Spring-Similar to a hop, but landing on the other foot from which you hopped.

    Drop-Similar to a spring, but onto a flattened foot, with the knee well bent.

    Brush-The leg is swung forwards and/or backwards, the tap on the ball of the foot striking the floor in a sweeping motion.

    Straight Tap-The ball of the foot strikes the ground in front of you.

    Tap (as a prefix)-The ball of the foot striking the ground before the main movement is performed.

    Toe tap-The front of the ball area strikes the ground, generally behind you.

    Heel-This is where the heel is brought down upon the floor.

    Shuffle (straight)-A quick forwards and backwards movement just in front of you, generally done in the same time of one beat.

    Side shuffle-As with a straight shuffle, but taken beside you, with less of the tap striking the ground

    Back shuffle-A shuffle done with the foot behind you, with the thigh pressed back, and the foot slightly toed out.

    Pick-up-In a pick-up, the foot leaves the floor, the ball of the foot strikes the floor, and then the next step is carried out. It is normally taken from a flat foot, and it is always backwards.

    Cramp roll-At its most basic level this is a jump into the air, landing on the ball of one foot, then the ball of the other foot, then one heel and then the other, in an even rhythm.

    Riff-This is a relative of the brush, but the heel strikes the floor as well. If taken forward this means the two beats are made by the toe and the heel, in that order, and if taken backwards the order of the beats is reversed.

    Wing-This are quite advanced, and can cause injury...this is not to be attempted unsupervised. It is a movement to the side, where the foot is dragged out to the side and brought back in towards the body, with the ball of the foot striking the ground as it comes back.

    The basic steps in this list can be combined and recombined in a vast number of ways, most notably with the shuffle, which gives shuffle-hop-step (which normally moves backwards to free the other foot); shuffle-ball-change; even shuffle step. These are then used as building blocks for bigger steps. A time step is a notable example, with a basic (or single) shuffle time step being shuffle hop *pause* spring tap step step.

    These basic steps are not only combined however; they are also modified, usually by adding beats or altering the rhythm. For instance, a three-beat shuffle is when the heel strikes the ground as the middle beat. The shuffle is also used to make the double shuffle, which is two shuffles in an evened-out rhythm - ie, instead of something like this: ..|.|.....|.|... you will have ...|..|..|..|... You may notice that a double shuffle is purely two shuffles run together2. More shuffles placed together in this way are uncommon, probably because the dancer and the audience start getting bored.

    As you become more advanced at tap dancing there are named steps, some of these are in the above table, most notably the 'cramp roll', which could just as well be called the 'spring-step-heel-heel'. There are others, including time steps and closework. Wings, ripples and riffs fall into similar categories. At this point it is worth mentioning that separate steps tend to have slightly longer pauses between them than those within the steps, except when combined to form named steps3.

    The simplest of the changes made to these named steps is the increase (or decrease) in the number of beats. For example, three beat 'wings' or 'ripples' are changed to make the four beat versions by adding a 'heel' on the end. Then you have 'riffs', which are idiomatic and follow no logical sense: A three-beat 'riff' is the 'riff' itself followed by a 'heel' on the supporting leg. In practical demonstration this means that standing on your left leg, you draw your right leg back and then swing it forwards in such a way that the ball strikes, then the heel, in a smooth movement. You then lift up your left heel with the right leg still in the air, and bring the left heel down in a natural continuation of the rhythm, which should be even. Then, logically enough, you have a four-beat riff as a riff followed by a heel-step; an extension only upon the idea of a riff, not on a three-beat riff.

    'Time steps' are perhaps the most complex combinations, characterised by a 'hop spring' in the middle. For instance, the basic 'time step' is just hop spring tap step step4. 'Time steps' then progress by two independent means: with additions before the 'hop step' or with additions between 'hop step. A basic 'shuffle time step' is a basic 'time step', with a 'shuffle' on the front5, and a 'double time step' includes a 'hop tap-spring'6.

    The Performance

    Tap is normally performed with a broad grin, as if the dancer is enjoying dancing, whether or not they actually are...7. There is a characteristic posture for performance, with bent knees, the back held straight but tilted forwards and the weight tilted forwards so that the shoulders, knees and the balls of the feet are in a near-straight line. The head is held to look out at the audience and the motion should be smooth. In most steps the head should not move, which gets difficult. All of these vary to some extent according to style, and the arm movements are governed almost entirely by style.

    Lessons and Teachers

    Without a proper teacher you can hurt yourself in a variety of interestingly painful ways, including broken bones. It is difficult to imagine any viable way to teach a rhythm to somebody without being in their physical presence. Tap dancing is a very popular form of dance and most dancing schools will have adult classes. Schools often provide tap lessons, as do some gym clubs.

    1 The author and the BBC take no responsibility for broken ankles

    2 You can see this by putting two together like this: ...|..|..|..|......|..|..|..|...

    3 Named grouped steps become one large step.

    4 Seemingly a 'ball change', this is not described as one because the steps are on separate beats and the second step is taken behind the first (forward-back)

    5 shuffle hop spring tap step-step

    6 shuffle hop tap spring tap step step

    7 Dancers have been known to perform with broken toes!

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    Written and Researched by:

    Not him. Not here. Slightly pished

    Edited by:

    Kat - From H2G2

    Referenced Entries:

    Wheelchair Tap Dancing

    Fred Astaire - Dancer and Actor

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Basic Tap Steps

  • jaji
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Tap Moves

  • 1 decade ago

    My favorite Type of Dance! When I teach younger students or even beginners I like to start with shuffles, flaps, and pull backs. A flap is just a swift motion with your ankle almost to the floor but you only flap down, unlike in a shuffle where you finish with your foot back in the air. A pull back is when you stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet together. You stand on your toes you will then brush your feet back at the same time. They're all very simple. You can also do running flaps. There is a "maxi ford" that is just shuffle hop (Switch feet) toe step. I'd love to help you more. Just e-mail me

    Source(s): Tap Teacher. Competed at National Levels with Tap.
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  • 5 years ago

    in hip hop, main moves are isolations or popping of the chest, booty, or waist. in jazz its very similar to ballet accept w/ a little more flare. the most common moves are basically "grand battement" which is pronounced "grand bot ma" and it is basically a high kick in the air. or "grand jete" which is a split in the air. for tap basic moves are "salap" which is tapping the floor forward w/ ur front tap and landing it down which is not the same as a "shuffle" which is when u tap back and forth once w/ just the front tap. and finally w/ ballet it is the same as jazz but some extra moves are the basic "pliet" which is when u put ur feet together and bend from the knees, and also a "potabra" which is when ur feet r together and u bend forward then back then side to side from the waist. Hope i helped and hope it wasnt to long : )

  • 6 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    basic tap dance moves?

    i might audition for competition dance teams, but i have almost no experience in tap (the only thing i know is what a shuffle is!) so can anyone give me a list of basics i should know? thanks so much =)

    Source(s): basic tap dance moves:
  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Make Higher Jumps
  • 1 decade ago

    maxi ford, cinncinati, irish, time steps, wings, toe/cramp rolls,shuffle ball change, running flaps,flap hop,go to a studio in your area and film a class warm up.

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