Because I am incapable of doing anything without noise in the background, I've been pawing through YouTube for music I haven't heard yet.





This may be a mark of insanity, but I think these songs ought to involve tap shoes.

It's been a good twenty years since I owned a pair of tap shoes. I remember a lot, as it turns out. A nice lady on YouTube informs me the flappity-heel bang bit I keep doing on the wood floors in the kitchen is called a 'Shirley Temple', as opposed to 'the thing I do to keep myself occupied while waiting for my pasta water to boil'. Some of these steps, I think I never knew names for to begin with -- I have genuinely never heard the words 'paradiddle' or 'Cincinnati' in this context before, but I recognize the tap run, and as far as I can recall, single, double, and treble time steps were just taught to me as sequences.

I always found it fairly difficult to fuck up tap dancing. I have the usual problem with classes not giving me enough time to pick things apart in my head, but once I understand what I'm supposed to be doing, my feet are perfectly okay with the idea. It would have  been nice to realize this at the time, so I could tell my family to stow it whenever they sympathized with me for being unathletic and clumsy, but such is life.

Amusing trivia: My first pair of high heels were a set of tap shoes. The shop was out of my size in the inexpensive vinyl flats, and the choice was real leather or a pair of 2" heels. Dance equipment was one of the few things I never had to argue with my mother over, and I'm pretty sure she would actually have shelled out for the leather ones if I'd asked, but I wanted the pumps. I think I was around twelve.

I find heels easier to tap in than flats, in fact. The arch is longer and sproingier, and it's easier to keep the heel out of the way if you go way up on the ball of your foot for flaps and ball-changes. To this day, if I come back in at 2am in stilettos and don't want to wake anyone else, I flap around on my toes, with the heels pulled up off the floor so they don't clonk.

If you're brave and/or foolish -- and I am at least one of the two -- you can roll all the way up on the point of the toe cap in heeled tap shoes and balance there for a bit, as you generally can't do in flats. You're not actually on your toes, as ballet dancers are; you're balanced on the toes of the shoes, and the higher, stiffer vamps on heeled tap shoes transfer your weight to a comparatively broad area across the dorsal aspect of your foot. I have a few pairs of regular shoes that will put up with similar mistreatment, although now that I type that out it occurs to me that normal people probably don't test their shoes for compatibility with Michael Jackson dance moves, and I'm almost certainly not supposed to do that in the tap shoes, either.

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