Tap dance is a form of dance characterized by using the sounds of tap shoes striking the floor as a form of percussion. Two major variations on tap dance exist: rhythm (jazz) tap and Broadway tap. Broadway tap focuses on dance; it is widely performed in musical theatre.
The sound is made by shoes that have a metal “tap” on the heel and toe. There are different brands of shoes which sometimes differ in the way they sound. In the earliest years of tap dancing, tap shoes often had wooden soles, but most tap shoes since have had leather soles.
Tap dance has its roots in the fusion of several ethnic percussive dances, including African tribal dances and Irish jigs; the relative contribution of different traditions is a point of disagreement among historians and dance scholars. Tap dance is believed to have begun in the mid-1800s during the rise of minstrel shows. Famous as Master Juba, William Henry Lane became one of the few black performers to join an otherwise white minstrel troupe, and is widely considered to be one of the most famous forebears of tap dance
Early tappers like Fred Astaire provided a more ballroom look to tap dancing, while Gene Kelly introduced ballet elements and style into tap. This style of tap led to what is today known as Broadway style. It often involves high heeled tap shoes and show music, and is usually the type of tap first taught to beginners. Examples of this style are found in Broadway musicals such as Anything Goes and 42nd Street.
I have classes with Jamie Read (Read Dance and Theatre College) at the Frank Hutchins Hall in Thatcham.