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What is tap dancing?

Tap dance, style of dance in which a dancer wearing shoes fitted with heel and toe taps sounds out audible beats by rhythmically striking the floor or any other hard surface.

Tap originated in the United States through the fusion of several ethnic percussive dances, primarily African tribal dances and Scottish, Irish, and English clog dances, hornpipes, and jigs. Until the last few decades of the 20th century, it was believed that African slaves and Irish indentured servants had observed each other’s dances on Southern plantations and that tap dancing was born from this contact. In the late 20th century, however, researchers suggested that tap instead was nurtured in such urban environments as the Five Points District in New York City, where a variety of ethnic groups lived side by side under crowded conditions and in constant contact with the distinctly urban rhythms and syncopations of the machine age.

Why learn tap dancing?

Tap dancing is a fun style of dance that anyone can learn, regardless of previous dance experience. Tap dancing is beneficial in many ways. Benefits of tap dance include increasing cardiovascular conditioning, strength, flexibility and coordination. Tap builds strength in the legs and feet in addition to increasing flexibility in the hips, knees and ankles. Cognitive abilities are also enhanced, as tap dancers must develop both mental and muscle memory to become proficient at tapping.

Tap dancing also develops a great sense of rhythm and timing. Tap instructors help students focus on music awareness while incorporating tap steps and combinations. Best of all, tap dance is a solo dance style...you don't need a partner to do it, although that's fun, too.

Here are some video clips of what tap looks like...