The Fitness Workshop: tap dancing
22 February 2011
Telegraph writers have been testing ways of keeping fit. This week, as tap dancing is made cool again by Gwyneth Paltrow's step-tap-shuffling appearance in 'Glee', Jasmine Malone learns how to step in time.
From the Daily Telegraph, 21st February 2011.
If you’ve ever tried tap dancing, you’ll know how hard it is to pull off. I tried it once, aged 10. Armed with ugly, hand-me-down (but thrillingly noisy) metal-plated shoes, I attended my first class ready to show off – and it was a stomping disaster.
So, to conquer my childhood nightmare, and half-inspired by the all-singing, all-dancing TV phenomenon Glee – in tonight’s episode the cast perform a Singin’ in the Rain routine with (inexplicably) Gwyneth Paltrow – I decided to try tap again.
You don’t have to be pre-adolescent to unleash your inner foot-tapper – in fact, the older you are, the better. “Tap is a form of dance that one can take into old age,” says Heather Rees, fellow at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, and author of Tap Dancing: Rhythm In Their Feet. “Most of the old masters have continued to dance well into their seventies.”
As an exercise, tap is strengthening for feet, ankles and thighs, and good for improving balance. For older beginners, tap can also help retain mobility. It is, however, important to – excuse the pun – take it one step at a time. “Beginners should build up strength gradually and older people in particular should work sensibly within own limitations,” says Heather.
Click here to read the full Daily Telegraph article.