“Colleenie take your tap shoes off before going outside, you don’t want to ruin them!” My mom was right I didn’t want to ruin my precious tap shoes but I didn’t want to take them off either. Unwillingly, my three-year-old self would carefully unlace the black silk ribbon that my mom graciously tied and then I would slip the shinny black tap shoes into their pocket in my dance bag.
Tap has always been my favorite type of dance because it is unique, it is special. My best friend and I use to tap together. We would carpool to class, jump out of the car, race down the alleyway, almost knocking each other over tying to get in the door, lace up our shoes, and finally feverously flap into the studio. At this age children are often told to use inside voices but the loud clicks and ticks of our shoes were welcome in the studio, allowing us to scream of joy through our feet. One hour weekly classes were not enough for us though. We spent play dates choreographing dances or just free styling around the living room. In fifth grade we were ready to take our tap shoes to the stage for the school’s talent show. We spent hours preparing by tapping away on her still-under-construction sunroom or my old wooden porch, unaware of the dents our tap shoes left behind. But it didn’t matter because we were tapping and carefree. If we could have we would have shuffled all the way to Buffalo. Even though as we grew older our extra curricular activities changed, we always have tap to remember. It created memories.
I have tapped since I was an eager three year old until now as an eager but busy college student. This fall is the first time I haven’t tapped and I miss it. Do I have to leave tap in those memories? It is difficult to see or find tap nowadays. Tap seems to have been left in the era of Gene Kelly. But there is and always be a niche of people who are passionate about tap. This tap video to Anna Kendrick’s “Cup Song” shows that tap is alive and well. I just need to go running back down the alleyway, lace up my shoes, and click and tick as loud as my feet can scream.