No good doing a Tap class in sneakers, in case you couldn't guess.
Tap dance shoes really are the way to go.
But we are always sensitive (as are most dance teachers) to the fact that not everybody wants to (or can afford to) buy specific dance clothes and shoes before they've even taken a single lesson.
The next best thing to buying Tap dance shoes is to wear shoes you already have that will produce enough sound for you to produce a 'Tap' with.
Obviously it isn't going to be as loud as proper Tap dance shoes, but for your first lesson or two, it's good enough.
If you wear a formal dress-type shoe, ensure it has a smooth flat sole with no ridges.
This is about the best option if you don't have Tap dance shoes.
You'll at least hear some noise from the flat, smooth sole of an ordinary shoe or boot.
Failing that, until you decide to buy proper Tap shoes, socks are actually better than sneakers . And here's why...
The grip on the bottom of rubber soled shoes doesn't allow enough slip, particularly for steps such as the shuffle.
will probably learn this on your very first lesson and won't be able to
dance it at all if the grip on the soles of your shoes is effectively sticking you to the floor.
And of course there's another reason not to wear rubber-soled shoes – the noise.
Brushing a rubber sole along the floor produces a truly nasty high-pitched squeal.
It's just not cool to be piercing your class-mates' ear drums, or your own for that matter. Fingernails down a blackboard, anyone? Yes, it's that bad.
So, in Tap dance, it's all about the right shoes.
we said, we always hesitate to encourage new dance pupils to pay out
huge amounts of money for all the right kit before they've even had a
couple of lessons to establish whether the dance is going to suit them or
However, we do think that Tap is one dance that you are never going to experience properly unless you are wearing the right shoes.
So is the financial outlay worth it up front? Yes.
Go to one class with a flat soled shoe - one that makes a bit of noise when your foot strikes the floor.
But then, if you do enjoy your first class, try your best to invest in a pair of Tap dancing shoes.
There are some great shoes out there that do the job perfectly well and don't cost a fortune.
And it's worth the outlay.
The sound of the Tap that a proper pair of Tap dance shoes makes is unlike anything else you'll ever hear.
Oh, and by the way, it's not actually the body of the shoe that makes the noise.
They need to have the Taps screwed onto the bottom of them – one metal plate on each toe and one on each heel.
And those metal plates, the Taps, come in different types.
A good shoe for a beginner will have a basic set of Taps screwed on to it, or, if they come without and you have to choose, you can go for a fairly cheap set to keep the cost down.
As your dancing progresses, you may want to replace them with a more expensive type that sound different - there are different tones of Taps.
But this is something to consider only when you are truly comfortable with your dancing – because everyone in your street will be able to hear you with the performance Taps on.
As for the Tap dance clothes you should wear?
There's no uniform for learning Tap and your ordinary clothes will probably do just fine for your very first lessons.
Then, as you progress to more energetic movements, simple workout wear
will do the job nicely.
Although, one word of advice; don't wear very long trousers to learn Tap dance.
If the hem touches the floor before your foot does, you'll lose the sound of your Tap.
And we wouldn't want that.
In our final section, we'll talk a little about the Tap steps and moves you'll learn in class...