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The World of Tap Dance
The word ‘dance’ simply ignites the feeling of enthusiasmand merry-making. Throughout the history it has been seen that people of everyage had fondness for dancing. And over the years, dancing of various styles andforms evolved throughout the planet either it is the tribes of Africa and Indiaor the modern society of America and Europe.
Dancing knows nobounds or limits. It is beyond any cultural, social and political differencesof the nations. Some of the popular dancing styles that developed and evolvedare Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern, Folk and many more. One such among them is TapDancing.
Tap dancing is a very interesting and exciting for ofdancing in which the dancers dance wearing a special type of shoes which havemetal plates attached to their heel. This dancing style involves tapping ofthese tap-shoes of the hard floor to produce rhythmic sound just like beats ofdrums.
Actually the origin of tap dancing is not very clear. It isbelieved that this form of dance was performed by the slaves of America andother places as the use of drums was forbidden to them. It was not until 1928this form of dance was known to the world. With time tap dancing evolved. Manytap dancers created many styles of tap dance by combining various dance formswith art and culture of the region to create their own styles.
Some of the popularstyles of tap dance that is known to the world are:
This style involves the use of soft-soledshoes and is a graceful and light dance. This dance became famous on the stageof vaudeville (Frank 1994). This style was opted for the Bugs Bunny show (1948)in which the Bugs Bunny did the same style.
This style was made famous by the NicholasBrothers. This is also known as Swing or Flash tap. This style is a combinationof jazz, ballet and tap along with acrobatics. This dance style involves themovement of upper body part and wild leg movements.
This style is known for its precisions andspeed. It is the sync of tap dance and jazz rhythms. Today Jazz Tap is one ofthe fastest tap dance styles, generally performed with upright upper body.
Buck and Wing
This dance style is an amalgamation ofBritish and Irish clog. This is quite flashy style that involves fast footwork,kicks and African rhythms. The term ‘Buck’ comes from the buck dancers who usedto wear wooden shoes to dance while ‘Wing’ is derived from the ballet termwhich means ‘pigeon wing’.
This style is more focused on heel taping andlower body movement instead of toe tap and upper body movements. It evolvedunder John W. Bubbles however, Gregory Hines revived this style back by addingmore fineness and grace to the style.
The above are the most popular and loved tap dance styles.However, this dance styles unlike many is not very easy to perform and is quitedifficult to learn. It also involves certain problems due to which precautionswhile learning and performing is the foremost thing that every tap dancers mustkeep in mind.
Of course tap dancing does not involve dangerous lifts,leaps or life threatening stunts however, there is possibility of the tapdancers to get injured due to certain reasons. Constant taping of legs atfaster rate or more varieties steps can cause the tearing of the leg ligaments.This could also be possible if a dancer lands inappropriately on one foot.
Among most typical injuries that happen while learning areligaments tear, plantar fasciitis, fallen arches, shin splints and many more.Due to constant pounding there are chances of strained tendons, accidentaltwists, which greatly affects the knees. In certain cases poor techniques canalso lead to these injuries and may lead to back problems.
Causes of injuries
It has been seen that poor techniques and accidents are notjust the cause of injuries which is the problem that is faced while learningtap dance.
Bad Floor: Tapping surface plays an important role indancing. It is advisable that tap dance is performed on wooden surface withsome sort of cushion underneath and not on concrete surfaces. Tapping somewhatproduces shockwaves which if not absorbed by the surface will travel back tothe body and can lead to fatal injuries.
No warm ups: Warm-up exercise is very important in tapdancing. The reason behind this is the fact that cold or tight muscles are moreprone to damage by the shock waves that returns back to the body while tapping.
Tap Style: Certain tapping styles have greater negativeeffect on the body. These styles create greater risk to the body of the dancerso it is essential that styles depending upon the physical condition of thedancer are selected.
Now as we are speaking of tap dancing then it will be wrong if we dot to mention some of the famous tap dancers they are:
Fred Astaire: One of the most popular tap dancer in the world.
Cholly Atkins: Choreographer for Motown Records.
Bill Baily: The first man to do what is today known as ‘moomwalk’.
Eddie Brown: A master tap dancer who developed ‘scientific rhythm’.
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