"What is Tap Dance? It's the most fun you can have. Ever."
That was how a great teacher introduced his class to a bunch of complete beginners. And he's probably right.
Tap dancing is one of the greatest feel-good dances you'll ever encounter.
It makes everyone smile and is enchanting when it's done well.
And the greatest thing about it is that you can learn it surprisingly quickly.
Even by the end of a couple of well-taught classes, you will be able to dance a short, simple routine that will sound 'right'.
Because, that's the thing with Tap; it's all about the noise! It's very evocative – it feels (or more pointedly, sounds) like 'proper' dancing. So, it'll very quickly make you feel like a proper dancer.
Somehow, we all seem to have a good ear for Tap and know what it should sound like.
That means that if you are prepared to pay close attention to your
teacher, you will be able to monitor your own progress after a fairly
short space of time – your built-in Tap dance ear will be a constant
The music played in Tap lessons helps a lot too.
It's usually great big show tunes. You know the stuff we refer to as toe-tapping? Well, there you go! It's ideal to Tap dance to.
big band numbers or tunes from the hit jazz shows like Chicago will be
bellowed out in your class just to add even more drama and theatrics
to the proceedings.
This is a big dance. Although it has some soft taps and tiny moves in it too, it's generally lively, boisterous, and uplifting.
It sizzles with fun and energy.
It's just a great dance for making you feel like a dancer on stage in front of a clapping, cheering audience.
Not only is it easy to learn, but it's easy to practise too.
It's possible to practise Tap surreptitiously – we've seen people tapping out their practise routines under their desk while they are working.
And it's great to practise your basic tap dance steps on the hard floor of your kitchen, while you're waiting for dinner to cook.
But with all that enthusiasm comes a little word about exercise content for beginners.
We've talked about it needing to sound right.
That means you have to start small and quiet,
giving great concentration to learning each step well, so it sounds (as
well as looks) accurate.
So, our only slight caution about Tap is that it's not so good on the workout front until you've been doing it a little while.
For your first few lessons, you may not use anything other than your feet to tap with and your hands to clap with.
If you are looking for a good cardio workout from your dance class, you won't get it from Tap until you are a little more proficient and are leaping all over the place.
But fear not, after just a couple of lessons, you should at least be doing routines that last long enough to get the heart rate up a little.
On the plus side, it's a great toner for those calf muscles and much more exciting than a boring old step aerobics class.
Tap dance teachers are some of the most fun, energetic, enthusiastic you'll ever meet.
There's something about Tap dancing that makes it impossible to be glum around.
So if you are looking to be taught by a teacher whose presence is uplifting, Tap class is where you'll find them.
And of course the best thing about Tap teachers (as if that wasn't enough), is that they'll keep breaking into little bursts of super-fast Tap.
They just can't help themselves.
Find one of these fantastic, electrifying teachers and you'll love every minute you spend with them.
Tap dance is one of the most inclusive dances you'll find. Men, women, young, old, fit and not-so-fit, big and small. They all can learn how to Tap well.
And it does seem to attract a huge cross-section of people.
Probably because it's one of the most aspirational dances we know.
There just seems to be a lot of people who secretly harbor a desire to at least try a bit of Tap dancing once in their life.
And so you will find all sorts of people in beginners Tap classes.
Of course, very few just turn up once to try it and never appear again. If you've got a good teacher, like the ones we describe above, you'll find that everybody gets hooked pretty quickly and the whole class will keep turning up, week after week.
It really is the dance for everybody.
So throw your sneakers away, tie on your Tap shoes, and prepare to be transported into a magical toe-tapping world...