Who Could Say No To The Nicholas Brothers? (And Why You Should NEVER Put This Kind Of Fire Out)

The Nicholas Brothers tap dance duo

The Nicholas Brothers tap dance duo

Who could say no to The Nicholas Brothers? Fayard and Harold are firecrackers. I mean, they LITERALLY explode off the screen, inextinguishable in every performance.

I was just thinking of how as Black performers, because of racial inequality, our ancestors didn’t have many opportunities to perform on stage or film 60, 70, 80 years ago… Can you imagine a film director, producer or theatre director saying “Sorry boys, there’s no need for you in this show” to THESE guys? Regardless of colour?

If they did, we wouldn’t have this:

C’mon, tell me that’s not a fire! And they were rejected many times. Could you imagine if they cut this from the movie? The two Black boys who could out perform ANYBODY?

Anyway, this post isn’t about race or colour. Not today.

It’s about loving the world tap dance has opened up for me. My life completely transformed, because of a fellow hoofer Gregory Hines. If I didn’t see him explode on TV when I was six, I might not be in entertainment at all. I might not have learned to tap dance or develop a love for performing…

…Which lead me to teach thousands of students, travel internationally, perform and choreograph for stage,  film and television, and own a remarkable dance studio in downtown Toronto.

It’s amazing what those Nicholas Brothers did for thousands of people worldwide. They most likely had a huge impact on Gregory, which inspired him to do his tap dance, which inspired me to do MY thang…

Tell me that’s not inspiring!

I’m sure you’ll agree: Sometimes it only takes one spark to completely light up the path in your life. And that spark can ignite a wildfire of creativity and influence. We need MORE fires like this in our daily lives!

Who’s YOUR spark? Eleanor Powell? Gene Kelly? Your Aunt & Uncle? Buster Brown?

And are you interested in learning to tap dance? Because as you know, that’s what we do every day at Byfield Dance Experience. We give you the tools to develop your passion for dance. But watch out! Tap dance is addictive. =) When you start from scratch, you actually have unlimited potential.

So. Do me a favour and leave a comment below. Tell me today about YOUR spark and if you’re interested in learning beginner tap dance. We’ll have another 8 week session starting April 22nd if enough peeps want it. Word?

– @ShawnByfield


Toronto’s Favourite Adult Dance Studio Taps Into Morning News

BDX in the news! In case you missed it, here’s a segment from Breakfast Television live at my Toronto dance studio. We had four segments total and had the most FUN morning!

Canada’s leading tap dance instructor & tap choreographer Shawn Byfield with dancers at Byfield Dance Experience demonstrate beginner tap dance steps on Toronto’s most popular morning news show. Live on air, Byfield shows Canadian viewers how fun tap dancing is, and how adults of all ages can learn.

http://www.BDXstudio.com | http://www.ShawnByfield.com

SNEAK PEEK PART 3: The Shoes Of I Think I Can

SNEAK PEEK PART 3: The Shoes Of I Think I Can

Tap Dance Shoes for I Think I Can Show

Tap Dance Shoes for I Think I Can Show

Shoes. OMG, SHOES.

So as you’ve learned, it’s a tap dance show. And we have a LOT of shoes! Each character has a signature step when entering to the stage, and their shoes are no different. Here’s what the cast of I Think I Can are rocking on their feet:

Tap shoe supplies

Tap shoe supplies

So the metal thingys on the top right? Those are metal taps made from aluminum alloy. They come in different sizes based on the shoe size and width. We’ve had to custom grind a few edges down to make them a perfect fit for our cast.

Metal screws attach to the metal plates or black fiberboard, never directly to the leather sole. The screws that come with the taps are a bit too small so our wardrobe team had sourced out screws that were slightly longer.Also, the screw head widths have to fit perfectly in the holes or they scratch the floor. NOT good. We’ve had to grind some down.

Check out the soft-shoe slide show:

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As you can see, different styles of tap shoes are featured. Newton has sport tap runner shoes, since he’s the sport junkie in the production. Frufie, well hers are blue. Because she’s cute. Notice the unusual looking pair of clown shoes and boots? They were custom made from our awesome wardrobe department for additional characters in the show…

Most of the cast tap shoes are built up- which is when you add another sole of leather to the bottom. This gives the shoe a bit more weight, which allows for a heavier sound. It also makes steps like toe stands easier to do. They all have different shoe laces to match their wardrobe.

Everyone has TWO pairs of tap shoes because they’ll be worked pretty hard over the next couple of months in Toronto (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre) and in Ottawa (National Arts Centre).

I Think I Can custom tap dance floor

The stage FLOOR is just as important. It was custom built specifically for this show, tap-dancer ready. It’s a sprung floor with a masonite wood surface. The spring gives the tap dancers a bit of cushion when they land, which helps absorb shock and impact to their ankles, knees and hips. Plus, the sound their taps make resonates better on a sprung floor.

Now you know.

Come check out the good lookin’ feet!

– Shawn B

i Think i Can dance show - Toronto Ottawa

i Think i Can dance show - Toronto Ottawa

i Think i Can

Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People

April 4th – May 5th, 2011
Get TORONTO Info And Tickets

National Arts Centre

May 11th – 28th, 2011
Get OTTAWA Info And Tickets

BDX Dance Studio Closed Long Weekend

Got plans this long weekend?

I hope you do. Because if your plans involved coming to a dance class…

…you should change them.

Because BDX will be CLOSED this Saturday and Monday. So come shake your groove thang with us today, Wednesday or Thursday instead. Check this out:


I don’t mean to hog-tie your plans. You’re more than welcome to visit BDX this long weekend. But my #ss won’t be there.

Neither will anyone else. It’ll look like a lone, dusty, lawless road after a wild west shoot-out.

Watch out for tumbleweed. ;-D I’m gonna find a patio and chill with some rocky-road. Maybe some moose tracks. Perhaps even a refreshing grown-up beverage (or three) of the 14% variety… Either way, my rumpshaker will be far, far away from BDX. In the wild wild west perhaps?

So to avoid embarrassment: Get yo’ freak on THIS week! And if you catch me at the saloon, I’ll buy you a round.

– Shawn B

PS: Go here partner:

BDX Hip Hop Dance Studio In Toronto

BDX Hip Hop Dance Studio In Toronto

Our positive, fun energy makes Byfield Dance Experience one of the best dance studios in Toronto. Tap dance classes or hip hop lessons, it’s ALL good. BDX is so WILD!

If you’re looking for a super-awesome, no drama, positive energy dance school in Toronto, it don’t get much better than this. Plus, your first Toronto dance class is free. That’s right- your first tap dance or hip hop dance class is FREE!

– SB