Although this dance practice has been largely co-opted by youngsters at their local dance school on a Saturday morning, the artistry and skill required by the dedicated professionals is something to behold. The great tradition of tap dancing is celebrated once a month at Ronnie Scott’s, as part of the London Tap Jam. The event has been described as showing skill ‘to make the hair on your neck stand on end’… sounds like the kind of cultural adventure we like.
Divided into two forms, tap can either be ‘Broadway’ or ‘Jazz’, and naturally Ronnie’s is most interested in the latter. The Jazz form of Tap is all about the rhythm, viewing the sound of the tap shoe as a percussion instrument. Dancers take to the stage to ‘jam’ along with other Jazz connoisseurs. Junior Lanyan, an American tap enthusiast who recognised the absence of any major tap event in London, hosts the event, along with Tap experts Annette Walker, Melody Lander and Dan Sheridan.
As dancing (in general) gathers more of a mainstream hold, Tap still remains a relatively un-talked about practice. This monthly event gives insight to a practice that has an interesting tradition and a core group of enthusiasts. Unlike other traditional dance forms, Tap thrives off improvisation, just like Jazz. It has been the influence to many other dance forms, and is responsible for the move we all know as the ‘moon walk’, first performed by the great practitioner Bill Bailey. This event is an eye-opening and inspiring experience: a window into a remarkable sub-culture. (Words: Laura Thornley)
The next London Tap Jam takes place on 23 February. For more info visit: London Tap Jam