Tap originated in the United States through the fusion of several ethnic percussive dances, primarily African tribal dances and Scottish, Irish, and English clog dances, hornpipes, and jigs. The two most important cultures that merged to give us the beginnings of American Tap were the Irish immigrants and the Negro slaves. Until the last few decades of the 20th century, it was believed that African slaves and Irish indentured servants had observed each other’s dances on Southern plantations and that tap dancing was born from this contact.
Tap is an exciting form of dance in which dancers wear special shoes equipped with metal taps. Tap dancers use their feet like drums to create rhythmic patterns and timely beats. The term “tap dancing” is derived from the tapping sound produced when the small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes touch a hard floor or surface.
A common style of tap dancing is called “classical tap.” Classical tappers use their arms and upper bodies to blend movements of ballet or jazz into their tap routines. “Hoofers” try to use every part of their shoes to make their feet sound like drums.