Click to see a summary of all the Tap classes available.

Tap Classes Available

  • Mini tap (4years +): Monday 5:15pm - 5:45pm
  • Grades 1 & 2 Tap: Tuesday: 4:15pm - 4:45pm
  • Grade 3 Plus Tap: Tuesday 6:15pm - 7:15pm
  • Mini Ballet & Tap (4 - 7 years): Saturday 10:45am - 11:00am

Tap dancerTap has evolved as an American dance form, since popularized throughout the world. The extent to which its roots lie in African dance, Irish dance and/or clog dancing is still debated. Dancers use their feet to strike the floor, beating out different rhythms, and wear tap shoes which have small metal plates on the toe and heel to produce the distinctive sound. Tap dance is a theatrical art form and often features in stage musicals.

Click for a more information on the background to Tap.

Tap dance as it is known today evolved from a number of ethnic percussive dances long established in widely-scattered parts of the world. These included English clog dancing, various African tribal dances and Irish jigs. Tap dance became established in America in the mid-1800s during the rise of the minstrel shows. William Lane became, known as Master Juba, was one of the few black performers who joined mostly white minstrel troupes, and is now regarded as one of the most famous early practitioners of tap dance.

Tap emerged in America as a theatrical art form and a Jazz dance. Early African American dancers articulated rhythmic patterns through scooping, brushing, chugging and shuffling movements of the feet.

Today, there are a number of variations of tap dance including Broadway tap, rhythm or jazz tap, classical tap and post-modern tap. Broadway tap, widely performed in musical theatre, has its roots in the traditions of the English theatre and focuses on choreography, formations and simpler rhythms. Rhythm or jazz tap focuses on musicality, and practitioners generally consider themselves to be part of the jazz tradition. Classical tap also has a long history which merges classical European music with American-style drumming of the feet. Post-modern, or contemporary, tap has evolved in more recent times to incorporate abstract expression, thematic narrative and technology.

Tap is characterized by the use of the sounds of tap shoes striking the floor as a form of percussion. The sound is created by special shoes that have metal "taps" fixed under the heel and toe. There are different types of shoes which produce subtly different sounds. "Soft-shoe" tap is a rhythmic form of tap that does not require special shoes. Rhythm is created by tapping the feet, but use is also made of the sound created by sliding of the feet on the stage. In some cases, sand is scattered on the stage to enhance the sound. Tap dancers make frequent use of syncopation, a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm. Choreography typically starts on the eighth or first beat.

In the early years, tap shoes typically had wooden soles - nowadays, most tap shoes have leather soles.  It is now also common for manufacturers of of the shoes to affix taps. These are attached to the soles of shoes with screws, and sometimes also with adhesive. The screws are driven into a thin fiberboard integrated into the sole that provides strength for the attachment and also acts as a soundboard. In some cases, where no adhesive has been used, the screws can be  tightened or slackened to produce different sounds. 





Jessica Ann School of Dancing
7 Braziers Wood
Ipswich  IP3 0SP
United Kingdom

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About Us

Jessica Ann School of Dancing is a fresh, friendly Dance School in Ipswich, and provides excellent and specialized dance training for all ages and styles of performing arts.