Tap Overview

Tap is one of the oldest dance forms in the world with one of the most complicated histories, yet it is considered to be the most American of all dance forms. It has roots in the fusion of several ethnic percussive dances, including African tribal dances, English clog dancing and Irish jigs. Dancers enrolled in Tap at Etoile will learn the importance of timing, rhythm, patterns, and style as they progress through tap technique. As they advance in level, dancers will shift from a more classical tap dancing often seen in Broadway performances, to a more rhythmic style, using their feet as instruments. In general, tap classes will begin with a center warm up, followed by skill building activities including work at the barre in lower levels, and tap choreography. Each level will perform one costumed Tap routine in Etoile’s year-end showcase.


Class Levels

Level I, grades 1-2

Students will learn the strong foundations of tap technique that they began to explore in our Twinkle Toes program. Dancers will develop counting skills, coordination, a better ability to follow directions and a responsibility to his/her self and his/her class. Repetition is a key component at this level. Rhythms and tempos will be moderate and strongly accented.

Level II, grades 3-5

This level of learning should make the dancers more aware of the basic principles of body placement, i.e., lifted rib carriage, elongated spine, etc. There will be arms and head positions added. Angles of the feet and body may include incline. Diagonal lines with recognition of room/stage corners, more complicated floor patterns, and group formations may be understood at this level. The addition of varied rhythms such as waltz, military, rock, etc. and changes in tempos will be introduced. Students will learn to recognize the sameness, likeness, and opposites of tap steps. Doing the same steps to a different rhythm or type of music will help the dancers find accents within the movements AND the music.

Level III, grades 6-8

These dancers have more control over isolations and are ready for port de bras and arm positioning. Progressive rhythm sequences and patterns, along with the usage of varied tempos and musical arrangements, are introduced in this level. Various syncopation sequences will be presented. Classes will spend dedicated time on isolated technique such as turns, pullbacks/pickups and riffs. Class format may vary constantly at this level. The students will continue to still spend time on combinations, routines, center floor and barre work. They will be reminded how tap and other dance theories are aligned.

Level IV, grades 9-12

Dancers who make it to our Level IV tap classes have been through every single imaginable class situation. They have been exposed, in one form or another, to the fields of ballet, contemporary, jazz, acro tumbling, etc. They have learned choreographic pieces quickly, slowly, thoroughly, or carelessly. They have worked in large classes, small ones, and alone. They have rehearsed alone, with others, and with or without a critic. At this point, class procedure may vary from week to week, and may not carry over from proceeding lessons. Each class, however, will still have a specific goal. Dancers will still work at the barre, center, and across the floor. They will work on the technical execution of more difficult footwork such as pullbacks/pickups, wings, and turns. They will spend time exploring rhythms, tempos, stylizing, accenting, and nuances of tap sounds. They will spend time thinking about the total effect of the movement, how one part sounds against the other; accenting certain parts to execute the balance they want to achieve.



  • Black Leotard, Black Dance Shorts/Leggings (teacher must be able to see full tap shoe), Black Sports Bra
  • Hair Pulled back away from dancer's face (if long, please wear in pony tail or bun)
  • Tan Footed Tights
  • BLOCH "Tap On" Tap Shoe

You can find all items here