Celebrate National Tap Dance Day in Toronto With Free Tap Classes

National Tap Dance Day in Toronto at Byfield Dance Experience

National Tap Dance Day in Toronto at Byfield Dance Experience

Toronto Celebrates NATIONAL TAP DANCE DAY 2013

…And Why This Award-Winning Choreographer Gives FREE Tap Dance Classes To The Public

Toronto, ON: Time to grab your tap shoes. Because on Saturday May 25th,
dancers across the city will eagerly celebrate National Tap Dance Day.

The date honours the birthday of famous tap dancer and film star Bill
“Bojangles” Robinson (born May 25, 1878.) Bojangles was famous for his work
teaching and performing with Shirley Temple, and had a charming stage presence.

Bojangles is far from forgotten. This year, Canadian Choreographer Shawn
Byfield hosts an afternoon of fun tap classes.

“As a kid, I never wanted to dance” shares Byfield, who’s dance career was
inspired at six years old. “But once I saw the magic of tap dance and felt those
rhythms, it changed my life.”

Byfield is a Dora Award winner, a Gemini Award nominee, and veteran of
stage, TV and film. He’s worked with Gregory Hines, Zac Efron and others, and
will be featured in an upcoming movie alongside Derek Hough from Dancing With
The Stars, and Nick Gonzalez from So You Think You Can Dance.

On Saturday May 25th, Byfield will host FREE tap dance classes for dancers
aged 16 and up, at Byfield Dance Experience, 819 Yonge Street, Toronto.

  • 4pm Dancers with lots of tap training
  • 5pm Dancers with a bit of tap training
  • 6pm Dancers with very little tap training

Limited Spots Available, CALL 416-917-1169 to Register

Byfield promises a fun afternoon and encourages all levels of hoofers to
participate and not miss out.

“Dance is a way to escape daily stress, have fun and get energized. I want
everyone to feel the joy of tap dance, without worrying about your wallet.”

But if you’re feeling generous, he adds: “I must however, respect tap dance
tradition and will happily accept tips! I always accept big bills.”

# # #

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 Tap Dance Warmup

BDX Toronto Tap Dance Warmup

I call this tap dance exercise “Can You Dig It!” It focuses on dig heels, weight transfer, pattern recognition, syncopation, and variations in the pattern when switching to other sides.

Slow the tap exercise down if you’re a beginner tap dancer or speed up the exercise to challenge your advanced skills. Perfect for all tap dance levels.

We’ll be using this tap warm up at my Toronto dance studio Byfield Dance Experience (BDX) regularly in class.

Learn it, comment and enjoy!

– Shawn B