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To the Pointe: Keep Tap Dancing Alive!
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To the Pointe: Rat-a-tap tap…Enjoy that Sound!

Rat-a-tap tap, hear the rhythm. Rat-a-tap tap, follow the steps.  Rat-a-tap tap, shuffle shuffle, dance dance... Tap dancing, the quintessential American dance, is practiced and enjoyed by many. 

Tap dancing is a high energy, high-spirited form so ingrained into our culture that we don’t realize sometimes how much it is a part of Americana. A brief list of artists influencing our way of life include Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Bojangles, Gene Kelly, Gregory Hines (who used to say that his day job was acting but he really was a dancer), and recently and amazingly Richard Gere (who surprised us in Chicago), all shuffling on the silver screen, stage and street.  When any performing artist suddenly breaks into a tap, a special attention is given not just because of the entrancing sound of the rat-a-tap tap, but because the interaction between the music from the instruments and the tap shoes makes us listen, and the fluidity and the artistry of the motion makes us look.

From their first simple shuffles, most children enjoy tap dancing because it is like making music and setting rhythms, controlling their steps, and surprising us and themselves everyday a bit more.   Several dance schools and programs in our area are very strong in this field.  The creativity, talent and skill shown in recitals, performances and showcases clearly highlights how much everyone enjoys that sound.   Different schools start tap programs at different levels, depending on their emphasis, dance styles, and instructors.  The foundation of classical ballet technique usually does affect the degree to which a tapper can or will advance quickly, so it is important to include ballet classes in your child’s program in order for them to fully enjoy and advance even more in tap.

There are in the area programs incorporating adults that allow those of us that are not so young anymore to participate in the rhythm.  A tap workout once or twice a week will raise the spirits of anyone and, if your child is in the same school, it will allow you to have a common activity that increases bonding and communication.  And it is fun!

In memory of Gregory Hines

Article published in Today Parent's Magazine; October 2003

Carlos Rangel has been involved in the arts for the last 10 years and recently opened Attitude Dancewear & Art in Coral Springs, a dancewear store catering to all sorts of community interests related to dance.  He has a network of dance information and is involved in supporting community outreach dance programs.