Have you ever watched good dancers make even the most complicated techniques look effortless? Watching an experienced dancer perform a tap routine can be magical. And, this can also happen for you if you learn these 4 tap dance steps that are simple but essential elements of all tap choreography.
Get ready to train your own feet to create a unique mixture of motion and music! This beginner’s guide will give you easy-to-follow steps and a tap-dancing video for each move.
What are the fundamental tap dance steps for beginners?
There are 4 basic tap dance moves: shuffle ball, ball change, step-heel and heel-step, and single buffalo. Once you learn these steps, you’ll be on your way to tap dancing like a pro!
- Ball change
- Step-heel and heel-step
- Single buffalo
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The shuffle is one of the first tap dance steps you should learn. It’s a combination of two moves that are even more basic: the brush and the strike.
- First, perform the brush by standing on one leg and bending the other as you lift your foot off the ground.
- Next, turn both feet out without letting the raised foot touch the ground.
- Then, perform a brush by swinging the foot forward. As it passes your standing foot, point it slightly, so the ball quickly brushes against the floor. Don’t let your heel touch the floor at all.
- Last, follow it with a strike. This is simply the same movement in reverse, where you’ll swing your foot backward instead of forwards.
2. Ball Change
In tap, there are several different ways to shift your weight from one foot to the other, but the ball change is by far the most common. To pull it off perfectly, make sure that only your toe tap (the smallest of your shoe’s metal plates) makes any noise.
- First, stand with your feet side by side but not touching.
- Next, lift your heels so that only the balls of your feet are in contact with the floor.
- Then, place your right foot behind you and rock back onto the ball of it. As you do so, your left foot should completely leave the floor for a moment.
- Last, switch feet and do the same thing, rocking your weight from one ball to the next.
3. Heel-Step and Step-Heel
These two tap dance steps are the opposite of one another and when you perform them in a pair of tap shoes, they each produce two very distinct sounds.
- First, try to heel-step, which simply mimics the natural progression of walking across the floor. The rules are very basic: when you place one foot in front of the other, bring the heel of your foot down first. It may help to exaggerate the movement and “stomp” your heel to the floor.
- Next, bring the ball of your foot down, too. Repeat with the opposite foot.
- Then, continue until you’ve moved forward several feet.
- Last, try the step-heel, which is the reverse of what you just did. The ball of your foot should come down before your heel. This will come more naturally if you’re used to wearing high heels.
Note: Make sure when you’re doing the step-heel that the ball of each foot makes complete contact with the floor before the heel joins it. The more you arch your foot, the more force you’ll need to complete each step.
4. Single Buffalo
This series of step, shuffle, and small jump is a stylized way to transition between tap dance moves.
- First, step down onto the ball of your right foot.
- Next, lift your left foot behind you and perform a shuffle, moving it forward and back again.
- Then, return to your original position and hop onto the ball of the foot, placing it behind your right foot while you simultaneously lift your right foot into the air in front of you.
- Last, bend your right knee outward so that your toe falls on the other side of your left foot.
Have Fun Learning The Fundamental Tap Dance Steps!
Practice really can make perfect if you put your mind to it. Once you have these steps down, you’ll know how to tap dance like a pro.
If you enjoy learning and practicing these simple tap dance moves, why not take it a step further and work with a private dance teacher to improve your skills? Online videos are great, but tap dance lessons with an instructor can make sure you’ve mastered the basics and more to help you feel confident performing or competing as a tap dancer.
Have fun learning these exciting but important tap dance steps as you make magical music with your feet!