Tap Dance Your Way to Happiness


When it comes to fun ways to exercise, tap dancing is at the top of the list.

By FamilyTime

 

Tap dancing is a terrific way to work relatively strenuous exercise into your life and have fun at the same time. It’s especially appealing to people with a good sense of rhythm. Kids love it, too.

While you may never achieve the grace of Fred Astaire, the exuberance of Gene Kelly, or the fluid ingenuity of Savion Glover, just about anyone can feel great when they tap—and have a great time.

Who Should Tap?

Anyone can tap. Kids and seniors, and everyone in between, qualify as potential students. Make sure you are healthy (check with your doctor) and then sign up for a class.

Kids’ classes are offered for children as young as three. Not all three-year-olds are ready for tap and so don’t be surprised if the teacher recommends waiting a year or two before signing your child up. Kids need to have achieved a degree of balance and self control before they can appreciate tap dancing.

How to Start

The best way to learn to tap dance is to take lessons. Beginner classes generally run for six to eight weeks. At the end of a couple of months, most students feel confident enough to go on to a more advanced class.

You can also learn the basics from any number of very good instructional DVDs and videos. These take you through the preliminary steps and movements and allow you to tap up a storm in the privacy of your own home. You may not be ready for Broadway after a few sessions with the DVD, but you sure will have fun!

What do You Need?

There is no special equipment required for tap, other than the shoes. Tap shoes are sold at brick and mortar and on line stores catering to dancers. It’s a good idea to buy your first pair at a an actual store. The sales person can help with the proper fit.

Each tap shoe has two metal taps on the soles, positioned to make the best contact with the floor for optimal percussion. Advanced tap dancers often make their own tap shoes by affixing taps to the soles of any footwear that suits their needs.

For the lessons, you need comfortable clothes that do not flow around the body. You can wear workout togs, although they are not necessary.

If you plan to tap at home in front of a DVD, consider buying a hard surface designed for tap dancers. The taps on your shoes can scratch a hardwood floor and the portable surface will protect it. On the other hand, if you plan to tap on durable vinyl, linoleum, or poured concrete, you probably won’t need the surface. (Once you have tapped a few times, examine your floor to see if you are damaging it.)

What Are the Benefits?

Tap dancing is a great cardiovascular workout. It also improves balance, coordination, muscle control, and rhythmic movement. Just two or three 20- to 30-minute sessions a week whip most folks into shape. For everyone, children and adults alike, it engenders self confidence.

Tap dancing is great fun. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and from then on you will feel as though you soon will be swinging around a lamppost on a Paris street. What could be better for the spirit?