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Tap dance
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Tap dance

Tap dance was born in the United States during the 19th century, and today is popular all around the world. The name comes from the tapping sound made when the small metal plates on the dancer's shoes touch a hard floor. This lively, rhythmic tapping makes the performer not just a dancer, but also a percussive musician.

Its evolutionary grandparents may well have been:

  1. Spanish flamenco, where nails are hammered into the front part of the dancers' shoes so that the rhythm of their steps can be heard
  2. Step dancing
  3. Clog dancing, for example from Lancashire, where there may well be no accompanying music, just the noise of the shoes
  4. African welly boot dance
  5. African dance to drum rhythms.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Famous tap dancers
3 See also
4 External links


Tap dance began in the 1830s in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City as a fusion of the African Shuffle and Irish, Scottish, and English step dances. Perhaps the most influential of all was Irish jig. Dancers from different immigrant groups would get together to compete and show off their best moves. As the dances fused, a new American style of dancing emerged.

Tap flourished in the U.S. from 1900 to 1955, when it was the main performance dance of Vaudeville and Broadway. Vaudeville was the inexpensive entertainment before television, and it employed droves of skilled tap dancers. Many big bands included tap dances as part of their show. For a while, every city in the U.S. had amateur street tap performers. At the time, tap dance was also called jazz dance, because jazz was the music that tap dancers performed with.

In the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, the best tap dancers moved from Vaudeville to the movies and television.

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 to become a new form in its own right.

Famous tap dancers

See also

Dance - Jazz dance

External links

All About Tap Dance: A Hoofer's Notebook
Tap Dance Homepage