BUST Mag Adult Tap October 2021 by Ash Beyer ebf84

Tap In: This Beginner’s Guide To Tap Dancing Will Keep You On Your Toes

by Lisa Butterworth

Six months ago, my friend Kate texted me a photo of her local community center’s class schedule featuring the days and times for “Adult Tap.” (She also sent a gif of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber tap dancing like a total goob in a bright orange tux.) I knew it was half dare/half invitation, and a few weeks later, we were shuffle-ball-changing our hearts out with a welcoming group of mostly older women on the stage of a suburban rec center. Did I have visions of making Ryan Gosling fall in love with me á la Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine? Maybe. Was I enticed by the allure of adorable tap shoes? Definitely. But this weekly ritual has become so much more than a lark. Getting my feet to do what my brain is telling them is an ongoing challenge that is immensely enjoyable, both mentally and physically. And when I land a difficult transition, or nail every singular sound of a particular step, it’s so freaking fun.

Maybe it’s just because I now feel personally invested in the dance form, but it seems like tap is popping up everywhere these days, from the opening ceremony of the recent Tokyo Olympics to the collection of tap stamps the USPS just released. Feel like dipping a metal-tipped toe into the world of tap? All you need are some shoes and a dose of humility. And a hardwood floor helps (learn from my mistakes: concrete will mess up your taps, tile is slippery AF, and slate is easily scratched, oops). Here’s some inspiration to get you started. Or, you could just check your local parks and rec schedule for an “Adult Tap” class near you. –Lisa Butterworth



Cheap $

Ladies Dance Now Student Tap Shoes

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Patent leather Mary Janes: iconic. Plus, they’re super affordable so you won’t feel like you’re making a huge commitment.

$25.90, blochworld.com


Splurge $$$

So Danca TA805V Women’s Professional Leather Tap Shoe with Leather Sole and Red Heart

ta 705 715 805 815 1 1 1 3bf48Wear your heart on your heel with this classy shoe. 

$242, dancewearcorner.com


Affordable $$

Unisex Microfiber Leather Flats Tap Dance Shoes

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 Oxfords are a classic tap style and this blue two-tone pair is a vintage-inspired dream. 

$53, jjshouse.com


Mega-Splurge $$$$

Custom Hand Painted Galaxy Tap Dance Shoes

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Not sure my skill level will ever warrant these airbrushed beauties, but a noob tapper can dream! 

$500, beargallery.etsy.com

Social Steppers: Tap These Follows

Miss Kelli Dance





One of my favorite YouTube teachers is Miss Kelli Dance. She hasn’t uploaded since last year but her oeuvre of videos is easy to follow (especially her “Tap Dance Dictionary” posts), plus, she’s cool as hell.


Chloe Arnold


Whether she’s honoring Beyoncé or Prince, tapping in a studio or in front of the Eiffel Tower, Emmy-nominated choreographer Chloe Arnold has mesmerizing moves. Be sure to follow her tap dance band Syncopated Ladies (@syncladies), too!


Sarah Reich




If you’ve ever watched vids from Postmodern Jukebox (the music collective that puts a vintage spin on Top 40 pop songs) you’ve probably seen Sarah Reich dance. But she’s also a star outside of jazzy Lady Gaga covers.

Online Tutorials For Beginners


TOP PHOTO: Illustration by Ash Beyer

PHOTOS: (Miss Kelli ): Jennifer Jones; (chloe arnold): Lee Gumbs Photography. Courtesy of SILLAR Management; (sarah reich): Jeff Xander

This article originally appeared in BUST’s Winter 2021/2022 print edition. Subscribe today!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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