Fancy Feet

November 30, 2014

Tap dancers often focus on making impressive, intricate sounds. But sometimes, it’s nice to throw in a step that looks flashy, too. Next time you want to add a touch of pizzazz to your footwork, try incorporating one of these three tap power moves.

The counts included in parentheses are just suggestions—you can

incorporate these steps at any point in the music.

Don’t get carried away! Power moves are most effective when used sparingly within a larger rhythmic context.

(Photo by Nathan Sayers)

The Shiggy Bop
(aka “The Shovel”)

How to do it: Begin with your weight in the ball of your right foot, and your left foot slightly lifted. Take off from the floor by scuffing your right heel forward and lifting your left foot higher (and). Land on the back edge of your right heel (a), then plant your left toe into the floor behind you (1).

Pro tips: “Engage your core, lean forward and use an upward motion of your arms to get the leverage to take the scuff off the floor.” —Martin Bronson, rehearsal director for Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s BAM!

“For successive shiggy bops, land on the ball of your back foot rather than the tip of your toe. Then transfer your weight to that back foot as you push it forward for the scuff of the next shiggy bop.” —MB

Fun fact
: Tapper Mike Minery coined the term “shiggy bop” for the shovel step.

(Photo by Nathan Sayers)

The One-Footed Wing

How to do it: Begin on the ball of your right foot with your left foot slightly lifted. Bend your right leg without letting your heel touch the ground, and take off from the floor by scraping the outside of your toe tap to the right (and). At the same time, pull your left knee high to the side, slightly turned out. On the way back down, brush your right foot in towards your center (a) and then land on the ball of your right foot (1).

Pro tips: “Make sure you leave the ground with the scrape. The wrong way to do a wing is to hop off the floor, do a shuffle to the side and then land.” —April Cook, tap instructor at Broadway Dance Center in NYC

“The closer you can get your nonworking leg into your body, the easier it’s going to be to get off the floor.” —AC


(Photo by Nathan Sayers)

The Toe-Stand Double Shuffle

How to do it: Begin in a parallel position with your left foot in the air. Press the toe tip

of your left shoe into the ground (1). While balancing on the left toe, do two quick, small shuffles underneath yourself with your right foot (2-e-and-a). Jump back down

to the starting position (3).

Pro tips: “Practice double shuffles on the ground before you take them up in the toe stand, keeping your ankle loose to get the timing.” —MB

“Keep the double shuffle underneath yourself. This will help you make the sound with

the correct part of your shoe—the middle of the toe tap, as opposed to the side.” —MB

Click here
to watch Marie perform these three steps.