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How to tap dance like you’re in Anything Goes

2 December 2020 by Sophie Thomas
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Dancing is more than just moving your body to music. It’s a hard-earned skill, requiring determination, dedication and perseverance. If you’ve followed a few dance tutorials here and there, you’ll know how difficult it can be to master a dance routine. But, have you ever tried tap dancing? It’s a style of dance that combines movement with music. Every foot shuffle and step can be heard, thanks to the metal taps on shoes and heels.  

Ahead of the West End revival of Anything Goes at the Barbican in 2021, get to grips with how to tap dance with these foot tapping tutorials. Each dance move gets trickier on this list, so keep developing your skills to make it all the way to the end. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be nailing this choreography before long.

Anything Goes tickets at the Barbican are on sale on TodayTix.

Toe Tip

If you’ve ever gone over your foot while you’re walking, you’ve probably toe tipped already! To execute this move, you need to hit the front of your foot on the ground, so that the tip of your big toe is touching the ground. You’ll only want to tap the ground for a second though, otherwise it could damage your feet.

Hop

This move is simply the reverse of a toe tip. Rather than using your toe to make the sound, you need to hop on the ground and land on the ball of your foot. A “hop” is different to a “jump” though. To do a hop, you need to land on one foot with the other one bent up, whereas as a jump would be both feet on the ground.

Flap 

Sadly, you won’t be able to fly like a flapping bird once you’ve nailed this move, but it’ll feel as if you’re floating above the floor. To execute this step, you’ll need to brush the floor with your foot while you step forwards. You’ll have to change your weight too; where your body will find balance will change dependent on which foot you start on. Check out the “flap” tutorial above to get the hang of it.

Shuffle

One of the basic tap steps, a shuffle is where you quickly brush your foot in a forward and backward motion. To add some pizazz to a shuffle, why not hop or jump into the move, so that you can make multiple tap sounds with one foot movement. 

Pullback 

Watching someone do a “pullback” tap step may not seem impressive, but there’s a certain level of skill involved to do one with ease. To start with, you’ll want to be standing on the balls (front part) of your feet, then brush the balls of your feet while jumping in the air. As you land, you’ll need to make sure you don’t land on your heels, as it’ll affect the sound you make. 

Cramp Roll 

You’ll need to use your heels and balls of your feet in sequence for a “cramp roll”. Start by stepping on the front of either of your left or right foot, then step on the other foot in the same way. Once you’re on the front of your feet, drop back onto the heel, but in the same order you stepped. To help you, think of it like this: step on right foot, step on left foot, heel down on right foot, heel down on left foot. Once you’ve worked out this move, try and see how fast you can cramp roll and before you know it, you’ll be doing this step everywhere you go. 

Irish

This move won’t get you into the Riverdance company, but it does appear similar to Irish dancing. Start off by shuffling one foot and then hopping on the other one. After, shuffle on the foot you’ve just hopped on and complete the step by hopping on the first foot. This step is a combination of four sounds where your feet should cross either in front or behind.

Wings

Executing the perfect wings with tap shoes really is the closest thing to being in the air. The tutorial above demonstrates how to get the perfect wings, but for a rudimentary explanation, scrape your feet out and bring them back in with the outside part of your foot brushing the floor.

Shirley Temple

Named after the American film star, the “Shirley Temple” is a rhythmic tap combination that involves plenty of heel-toe action. It will look as if you’re just shuffling your feet really quickly, but really you’re tapping your heels and toes in a specific order. You won’t want to do this with straight legs though, as you won’t be able to move fast enough.

Scissor step

Mastering a scissor step takes time, due to having to balance your entire weight on the tips of your feet. The step is a combination of side shuffles and taps, with the middle steps similar to being “en pointe” in ballet. Don’t take our word for it though, watch the video.