Modern tap dance is most commonly broken up into 3 styles of tap. You have rhythm tap, which is the most popular style of tap; rhythm tap is easily separated from the two often presented a cappella rhythm tap is as much music as it is dance based in meters, bars, and of course rhythms. Broadway tap is another style of tap easily recognized, the distinction between the rhythm and Broadway tap is a much bigger style of tap it is perfect for its medium. The few sounds and big movements of Broadway tap work with the large musical numbers you usually find in Broadway productions.
The third style is competition or convention tap. Competition tap is choreographed, more so than the others, down to the movement of the dancer’s fingers. Competition tap is all flash steps and big smiles.
While there are three styles tap is broken up into every dancer has their individual style and many of the greats have even defined that style (for example, Savion Glover and his funk tap).
In the vein of the greats, I myself have spent the last few years developing my own style of tap. A style different than any style of tap to date, or at least different from any I have ever seen. Tap dance is usually lumped into the category of “classically trained” dancers. Dancers who learn tap usually learn jazz, ballet, modern, or contemporary, forgetting that tap is the original urban dance.
My style of tap is meant to bring tap back to its roots in hoofing with complex footwork- combining it with house, hip-hop, lofting, and popping. Admittedly this is the most difficult pursuit I have undertaken in dance in my long dance career and is still incomplete. I have been recording my pursuit and it can be traced at my Courtap page.
Meet the Author:
Che Shabazz is a college student at University of Maryland and artist with Urban Artistry.