The tap shoe has evolved into a precision instrument that, in the hands of a capable dancer, becomes the ultimate tool for self-expression in contemporary percussive dance. Joining Tristan as a consultant for this series, is Matthew A. Schroepfer, Certified Pedorthist and owner of Dancing Fair Inc., a manufacturer and wholesale distributor of quality dance footwear, bodywear, legwear and dance accessories.
No, not all tap shoes are created equal, and choosing the right pair is an important step in developing your style as an artist. The proper tap shoe should be matched to a dancer based on the dancer’s physicality and musicality.
In other words, dancers should choose their tap shoes based on how hard or how much they dance and what notes they wish to incorporate into their musical palate. Special attention should be paid to the quality of the materials used to build the shoe, the actual construction of the shoe, and the durability of the shoe.
Of course, it never hurts to exercise frugality. Thanks in part to the tap dance festival circuit, the Internet, and an outcropping of young talent, there is an informed and active consumer base for all things tap dance, from the shoes to the floors to the type of microphone best suited to capture the warm, organic sounds of tap. With a larger consumer base and a more competitive market, the modern tap shoe is not only constructed better than ever before, but is on the verge of a major break in price.
Talent is talent, there are no two ways about it, and there is no magic shoe that transforms poor technique into artistry. However, the right tool is necessary for optimal self-expression. Would John Marin’s watercolors be as captivating if he had a crummy paintbrush that left molted bristles from its tuft?
As your interest in tap grows, your body and skill level will demand new and better constructed tap shoes.
Warning: After you’ve found the perfect pair, be wary of the most neglected aspect of tap shoe ownership: knowing when it is time to get a new pair.
The Great Shoeganza
In this series, I will deconstruct the modern tap shoe to provide you with enough information to confidently evaluate and buy the ideal pair, let you know when it’s time to buy a new pair of tap shoes, and give hands on reviews of the top shoes in the industry. Bloch, SoDanca, Capezio, Leo’s…whose shoe will come out on top?
I: Deconstructing A Tap Shoe (be a more informed buyer)
III: Customizing Your Tap Shoes:
IV: Shoe Reviews:
Help us expand this series!
We’ve got plenty in store for you in the coming posts but…
What are your tap shoe questions? Put your burning questions and top concerns in the comments below.
Tristan Bruns has studied the art form of tap dance with Donna Johnson, Ted Levy, Lane Alexander and Martin “Tre” Dumas and has a BA in Music from Columbia College Chicago. Tristan has been an ensemble member of such Chicago tap companies as BAM!, The Cartier Collective and MADD Rhythms. Tristan currently produces his own work through his company, TapMan Productions, LLC, which includes the performance ensemble The Tapmen and the tap and guitar “band” of The Condescending Heroes.