Sometimes the can be so many misconceptions on what some of the dancers can or cannot do. I know that they are classified into one category which for some of these dancers it’s completely unfair. Contemporary dancers are some of the most well rounded dancers. They typically have studied every style of dance (with the exception of ballroom and maybe a few other styles). If they grew up in a dance studio chances are they took jazz, tap, ballet and lyrical/contemporary classes. That being said they have most likely chosen their favorite style to classify themselves. Fun fact in the tour program Evan said that he always has his TAP shoes with him. Kathryn can tap as well…I took at the same studio she did…that’s how I know.
I also think tap dancers are also misunderstood. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t danced know what it takes to be a tap dancer. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about tap dance and its technique:
“Tap dancers make frequent use of syncopation. Choreography typically starts on the eighth or first beatcount. Another aspect of tap dancing is improvisation. This can either be done with music and follow the beats provided or without musical accompaniment, otherwise known as a cappella dancing. Hoofers are tap dancers who dance primarily with their legs, making a louder, more grounded sound. This kind of tap dancing, also called “rhythm tap”, came primarily from cities or poor areas. Today this is not the case, especially with such a wide variety of styles spreading throughout the world. Steve Condos rose out of his humble beginnings in Pittsburgh, PA to become a master in rhythmic tap. His innovative style influenced the work of Gregory Hines, Savion Glover and Marshall Davis, Jr. The majority of hoofers, such as Sammy Davis Jr., Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, and LaVaughn Robinson are African American men, although today the art form transcends racial and gender stereotypes. Savion Glover is the best-known living hoofer, who helped bring tap dance into mainstream media by choreographing and dancing for the major motion picture Happy Feet, a film about a tap dancing penguin. Another well-known tap film is 1989’s Tap, starring the late Gregory Hines and many of the old-time hoofers. Early dancers like Fred Astaire provided a more ballroom look to tap dancing, while Gene Kelly used his extensive ballet training to make tap dancing incorporate all the parts of the ballet. This style of tap led to what is today known as “Broadway style,” which is more mainstream in American culture. It often involves high heeled tap shoes and show music, and is usually the type of tap first taught to beginners. The best examples of this style are found in Broadway musicals such as 42nd Street. Common tap steps include the shuffle, shuffle ball change, flap, flap heel, cramproll, buffalo, Maxi Ford, single and double pullbacks, wings, Cincinnati, the shim sham shimmy (also called the Lindy), Irish, Waltz Clog, the paddle and roll, stomp, brushes, scuffs, and single and double toe punches, hot steps, heel clicks, single, double and triple time steps, riffs, over-the-tops, military time step, new yorkers, and chugs. In advanced tap dancing, basic steps are often combined together to create new steps.”
Tap is the first dance class I ever took and I have loved it ever since. That is why I’m excited about the tap dancers to be on the show. On the meet the top 20 we saw more of a Broadway style of tap dance. They have little time to learn a routine so sometimes they have to go with the more simplistic choreography. They not only have to dance the same but they also have to sound the same…which isn’t always easy. Plus for the show their taps have microphones attached to them so we can hear them at home. Each of the tap dancers represents a different from of tap. Phillip for me reminds me of a mix of Gene Kelly and Gregory Hines. He is more Broadway to me, very light on his feet, though he is able to transition into the rhythm tap. Bianca and Peter are the Rhythm tappers. They stay low to the ground. I have to admit I was kind of hoping that they wouldn’t be choreographed just to let them improvise and work together to create something. Nigel is right they look cool calm and collected from the waist up and their feet moving really fast. I could go on and on but I won’t I thought Wikipedia explains tap better than I could but if you guys have anymore questions, I will try to answer them the best I can.