Tap classes are offered to students from the age of 6 or from Junior 1 and up. Al Gilbert Syllabi & Exams are offered at the discretion of the teacher and the Artistic Director to those students who are old enough and technically strong enough. Students studying tap will perform in the Contemporary Show each May and may also perform in competitions or festivals (where appropriate.)
Shoes – When purchasing tap shoes for your child, please DO NOT buy them so your child can ‘grow into them’. There should be no more than half a fingernail’s room between the front of the shoe and the dancer’s toes when his/her heel is pushed against the back of the shoe and you push down on the toes, or, when his/her toes are pushed up to the front of the shoe, there should only be enough room to put the tip of your fingernail into the back of the shoe.
Buying shoes that fit properly is important for the safety and development of your dancer and other dancers in your child’s class, as shoes too big mean that:
a) the dancer’s ball and heel of the foot are not directly over the taps on the shoe, making it difficult for them to make their sounds and potentially causing them to compensate their posture and body alignment in order to tap; and
b) there is a possibility the shoe could fly off their foot and hit either the mirror in the studio, or another dancer. Just as you wouldn’t put a hockey player in protective gear that doesn’t fit properly or a dancer in a pair of pointe shoes that are too big for her, it is important that your child’s shoes fit appropriately.
As well, we do not allow dancers to wear split sole shoes until they hit Grade 8 Tap and have successfully been en pointe for at least 2 years. Split sole shoes produce a weaker, less crisp sound in inexperienced tappers. They lack arch support for dancers who are still growing and developing physically, and do not provide adequate support when dancers begin learning toe work- typically in Grade 6.
Many parents may be concerned about having to buy many pairs of shoes considering the rate children their age grow, but the leather is quite flexible and able to stretch once the shoes have been worn several times and broken in. Purchasing the correct fit of shoes will result in a stronger, happier tap dance experience, will reduce the chance of injury and will help avoid an extra trip to the dance store to exchange sizes!
Tap 8 – Theory includes components from all Grades
Tap 9 – no theory component