Hey there, I’m Céadach. Unusual name, I know so I’m going to write it phonetically to make life easier for you and me. “Kayduck” There we go. I’ve been tapping since I was 2 years and eleven months and haven’t stopped since. At school they call me “Twinkletoes”. Well-deserved name if you ask me. I’ve started this blog because my sisters are away and I’ve got nothing better to do. So here goes. Tap dancing 101.
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Tapping not only depends on your skill, or your shoes but the floor you tap on. In my experience, I’ve only found one or two floors (or stages) that are good to tap on. Firstly, laminated wood is off the list. Tapping on laminated wood is dangerous; it’s a bit too slippery and you risk scratching the floor. Non-wood floors aren’t exactly the best either. They can be alright sometimes but wood is the best to tap upon, you get the best percussive sounds from it. A (even small bit of) hollow space beneath gives some resonance. A crack-free surface is best, eg no nails, no space between boards etc. So the perfect floor for me would be a hollow, normal wood, clean flooring. The floor is your best friend whilst tapping; it can help or hinder your sounds and performance
Duetting, as with any dance style is hard enough- the synchronisation, the bond between your partner and you and most importantly, the vibes – without the added challenge of tapping. The rhythms have to be perfect, if one of you is one beat off, everyone can hear it so clearly. The visuals come into this as well, you have to look confident, avoiding glancing at your partner every five seconds to check your moves are right. Finally, you have to get the energy right; not enough and your partner- and the audience- won’t feel anything, or too much and you’ll tire out too fast. I find, having competed with a tap duet, a little motivation beforehand helps. Also, a sign, like a nod or a whoop. It tells the partner you are happy with the half just gone and are motivating them for the half to come. It also wakes up the audience a bit. Every aspect of a duet is important, but the biggest part is enjoying it. There’s nothing like stepping out on a lit stage, audience with bated breath, let alone with someone to share that with.
Today my family and I went out to our “dance shop” we go to for every dance need. Today would be the day I got new tap shoes. As getting new anything, it was a big change from going to your old, worn, comfortable shoes to new, crisp, hard shoes. This change was made even bigger by the fact that I was going from split-sole to full-sole shoes-my first pair. The main reason I was choosing full-soles was because they’re easier to stand on your toes with. When I first tried them on in the store, the first thing I did was to stand on my toes. It was loads easier than with split-soles. So now I can’t wait for the next school year to start and try those new ones out. They look much more professional than my old ones, more mature, proper almost.
Being backstage at competitions has a profound effect on everybody involved. Nerves can help or hinder so I found the best way to relive all to tension and stress is to talk. Talk to people you know and people you’ve never met before. Eating also works. I know it sounds crazy but hear me out. Normally you would only eat when relaxed, mot in high stress situations so it lulls everyone around you into a sense of calm. It works, believe me.
The first time I heard of the supposedly dreaded wings was in class. Our teacher announced that we would be “trying out some wing preparations” or something. We started off with a simple scrape out tapstep in on one foot. Once we had got the hang of that we went to the barre to try it on two feet. Pretty soon I had grasped that it was easier to do the whole thing more diagonally than to the side, contradictory to what our teacher had told us to do. Once I had done it on the barre, I left the barre and went to the centre to try it. All three sounds weren’t exactly there, but half an hour of practice and it came naturally. After I had nailed the basics, my teacher took me through some more developed versions of wings. She showed me separated wings, one footed wings and wing changes. Just goes to show that even if you start at the very bottom you can find your way to the top.