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How To Tap Dance

While tap dancing takes practice, anyone can learn the basic moves.


  • Step 1: Try a cramp roll. Tap the ball of your right foot, then the ball of your left foot. Step down with your right heel, then with your left heel, so there are four sounds total.
  • Step 2: Put together a few of the steps you’ve learned for your own routine. Add arm movements and a smile, and you too can look like a professional – or at least like you’re having fun!
  • FACT: James Devine holds the record for the most taps per minute with 2,280, or 38 taps per second.
  • Step 3: Practice the ball change. Step forward onto the ball of one foot, and then back down with the other foot behind you. When you bring the back foot down, lift your front foot, preparing for the next ball change. Repeat, alternating the lead foot.
  • Step 4: Learn the shuffle step. Brush the ball of one foot forward, making a dragging sound. Then drag your foot back, doing it in reverse. Repeat on each side to get used to it.
  • TIP: Craft homemade tap shoes by taping quarters or other coins to the toes and heels of your shoe soles.
  • Step 5: Warm up by doing 20 ankle rolls with each foot. Stand on one foot and slowly roll the ankle of the other foot so your foot goes around in a circle. Repeat with your other foot.
  • Step 6: Start with the basic step. Alternate pointing and tapping one toe at a time. Do this to music or without music. To build strength, tap faster.
  • Step 7: Put on your tap shoes.

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