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Tap English Glossary


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accent: Stress on the beat to make it strong or weak.



beat (pulse): Basic unit of rhythmic organization or pulsation.



buck and wing: A flashy dance combining Irish and British clog using African rhythm.



center: Part of the class in which students learn steps to gain a basic movement vocabulary of tap.



class acts: A style of tap dance performed during the turn of the 20th century that was more refined than the classical tap style, without gymnastics, splits, and flips.



classical tap: Dance style that combines tap, ballet, and jazz dance with acrobatics; also referred to as flash or swing tap.



combination: Movement phrase consisting of several steps.



direction: Also known as line of motion; you can create it by moving through space in a circle, forward, sideways, or backward.



downbeat: Accent in a measure that is on the first beat.



flow: Sustained movement; a constant flow of smooth energy.



force: In movement, the release or compression of energy, the pull of gravity, and the sensation of heavy or light.



funk tap: Combines hip hop with funk to create a contemporary, fun dance form.



hoofing: Dancing into the floor with emphasis placed on stomps and stamps along with rhythmic percussions of the sounds, music, and syncopations.



instrumentals: Music with no vocals; it can come at the beginning, end, or in between any sections.



isolation exercises: Movements performed with some parts of the body while keeping other parts still.



jazz tap: This style emphasizes precision, lightness, and speed and is considered to be one of the fastest tap styles.



legomania: A form of rubber legs style of dance, incorporating high kicks.



level: Refers to the dancer’s body in space and the transfer of weight from the center of gravity; movement can be performed above the center of gravity (high) or below the center of gravity (low).



measure: Music divided into units defined by a given number of beats of a given duration.



meter: Recurring pattern in music.



metronome: A practice tool or device that produces a steady beat.



musicality: Understanding of music; in dance, how execution of movement relates to the music.



musical or Broadway tap: This style combines Hollywood with traditional forms of tap with the main focus on performance; also known as show tap.



musical style (genre): Musical sounds that belong to a category.



notes: Symbols that represent sounds.



note values: Symbols that represent the duration of sound.



phrasing: Occurs in music or tap when the pattern separates, or gets out of phase, and then rejoins, or gets back in sync, with the original pattern.



pitch: Frequency at which sound vibrates.



rest sign: A symbol in musical notation that represents silence.



rhythm: Measured movement and the timing of notes.



rhythm tap: A style of tap dance characterized by percussive heel drops and lower-body movement.



soft-shoe: A light, graceful dance performed in a smooth and leisurely cadence with soft-soled shoes.



staff: The five horizontal lines and four spaces in musical notation; each line or space represents a different pitch.



syncopation: Accenting the offbeat in a measure.



tempo: The speed of the beat or speed of movement.



time: Inner rhythms of breath or pulse or external rhythmic elements of tempo.



time signature (meter signature): Notation used to specify how many beats are in each measure and which note value constitutes one beat.