Tap shoes: The Ultimate Guide for Tap Dancers We know how tap shoes are an essential part of a tap dancer's attire. These shoes create mesmerizing percussive sounds that add to the overall beauty of the performance. In this article, we will provide all the information you need to know about tap shoes, from their origin and types to how to choose them and maintain them. So if you are a tap dancer or someone interested in the art, keep reading. Origin of Tap Shoes Tap dance originated in the United States in the mid-1800s. It was a blend of Irish jigs, African rhythms, and English clog dancing. Initially, tap dancers used hard leather-soled shoes that made soft tapping sounds. However, with the evolution of the art form, dancers began to use metal plates on their shoes to create louder and clearer sounds. This led to the invention of 'tap shoes.' Types of Tap Shoes Tap shoes come in various styles, each serving a specific purpose. Here are the most common types of tap shoes: 1. Classic Tap Shoes: These are the most basic type of tap shoes. They have a hard leather sole and a metal tap attached to the heel and toe. 2. Jazz Tap Shoes: Jazz tap shoes have a similar structure to classic tap shoes, with the addition of a rubber pad on the sole. This pad prevents slipping and offers more flexibility. 3. Character Tap Shoes: Character tap shoes have a small heel and are designed for Broadway-style tap dances. 4. Rhythm Tap Shoes: Rhythm tap shoes have a flat metal tap for creating complex rhythmic patterns. 5. Capezio K360: Capezio K360 is a type of tap shoe that has a split sole, which provides more flexibility to the dancer. Choosing the Right Tap Shoes Choosing the right tap shoes is crucial for both beginner and experienced dancers. Here are some factors to consider when selecting tap shoes: 1. Level of Experience: Beginners should opt for classic tap shoes, while experienced dancers should choose more advanced styles based on their specific needs. 2. Material: Tap shoes can be made of leather or synthetic materials. Leather is more durable but requires more maintenance, while synthetic materials are cheaper but less durable. 3. Fit: Tap shoes should fit snugly but not be too tight. They should allow for some room for your feet to move. 4. Type of Dance: Different types of tap shoes are suitable for different types of dance, so choose accordingly. Maintaining Your Tap Shoes Proper maintenance of tap shoes is crucial for their longevity as well as the quality of your performance. Here are some tips for maintaining your tap shoes: 1. Always store your tap shoes in a dry place. 2. Clean your tap shoes after every use. 3. Check the screws on the metal tap regularly and tighten them if necessary. 4. Replace the taps when they become worn out. Frequently Asked Questions Q. How long do tap shoes last? A. The lifespan of tap shoes depends on their quality, frequency of use, and maintenance. On average, they can last anywhere from six months to two years. Q. Can tap shoes be used on any surface? A. No, tap shoes are specifically designed for wooden floors. Using them on concrete or other hard surfaces can damage the shoes. Q. Is it necessary to wear tap shoes while tap dancing? A. Yes, tap shoes are an integral part of tap dancing. In conclusion, tap shoes are a crucial element in tap dancing, and choosing the right pair can make a significant difference in your performance. Consider the factors mentioned above, choose the right type, and maintain them properly to ensure they last long. We hope this article has been informative and helpful for you. Happy dancing!