Tap is great for the serious dancer. It makes you become a musician (your feet and your taps are your instrument) and gives a dancer the chance to focus on really learning how to count. Because tap consists of learning rhythmic patterns, a dancer will push themselves to learn more complicated patterns quickly, as well as recognize patterns both by sight but also by listening. It gives a strong dancer coordination challenges that they are not getting in their other classes. In tap, every step you master has a harder more complicated variation. The combinations are limitless! A tap class also strengthens brain pathways for coordination building that translates their other disciplines. A lot of non-tapping dancers miss out on the opportunities that tapping gives a dancer in the professional dance world. Beyond the dance troupe, or ballet company, Broadway and touring productions employ so many dancers. And, so many of those musicals are tap shows (42nd Street, Crazy For You, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Anything Goes, to name just a few). Knowing how to tap is a hugely important skill for the stage. Hello, Rockettes! It is also a style of dance that has longevity for a career. You can be performing it professionally for decades long after your leaps have lost their umph, and your pirouettes have lost their pizazz.
Tap is great for the non-dancer hoping to get some fun fitness in their life. In tap, there is plenty of standing on one leg, jumping, and hoping around, enough that you’ll be surprised at the cardiovascular conditioning you can get in. Tap builds strength in the gastroc and soleus of the calf and all the many intrinsic muscles of the feet and ankles. It also works towards increased flexibility in the ankles. It is also an easy way to get in some core work without having to do sit-ups. Your transversus abdominus (the deepest layer of your core muscles) will be working hard to keep your best posture and balance while having to stabalize your torso and upper body as your legs and feet take turns doing even simple moves. Beyond your studio time, tap is a strong fitness choice because you do not need a lot of space to do it. Sure, it is possible to have choreography that runs a tap dance around the stage, but it really is not necessary. You can do your tap workout in a 3’x 3’ space.
Tap is great for the late starter in dance. Not everyone starts taking dance from the age of two. Some get the bug later in life. This could be the high school theatre student who finds the joy (and challenges) of dance in their first musicals. It could be the dance parent who wants to connect with the dance obsessed kiddo. Tap is the perfect class to start getting into dance with. This is partly because, tap has such a strong emphasis on patterns, rhythm, coordination, and footwork that you do not need to be intimidated by having to leap and turn across the floor, or even look particularly graceful. It is a great confidence builder. It will get your brain ready for other disciplines, while building your balance, strength and coordination. It could be the older adult who wants to devote some time to their fitness and/or their cognitive abilities. Learning, recognizing and memorizing patterns is a great workout for your brain. Considering the balance and ankle work involved in tap, it is also great fall prevention work.
Tap isn’t just shiny patent-leather shoes we toss on an adorable toddler to distract you with cuteness. It really can be the tool to improving your dance game across the board, getting you up and off the couch, or getting you more comfortable in the world of dance in general.