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toe tap?


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have you ever heard of "toe tapping" before?




it's a grand day for me and not noticing things before i post them. this site even references ballet alert. next time i will look before i leap!

Edited by elise
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OY GEVALT! :rolleyes: Yes, we know toe-tap - sort of like a sideshow with a two-headed calf or something. More follows. I have to go teach a class. With no toe-tap in it!

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OK, class over. Toe-tap was an awful thing, as the practitioners were often not trained in ballet at all, and it was a sort of stunt act, like the man who balances off things standing on one finger. The last time I saw anybody use it in a show, it was in a revival of a burlesque, and the chorines were appropriately untalented (or harder than that, pretending to be), but not bad to look at.

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The last ones I saw toe-tapping were a group of very rounded chorus girls in the beginning of the film "That's Entertainment!"

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I've heard of toe-tap but never seen it performed. I wonder if it has been influenced by Irish dance (which I know little about). I've seen Irish dancers tap, and go on pointe in heeled shoes, but not at the same time.



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You can't tap en pointe with Irish hard shoes (well, not more than for a few steps). The en pointe standning is a brief balancing thingy. Irish hard shoes come either with a hard or flexible shank, a shoe with flexible shank and square toe allows pointe standing, the others don't.

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I like two quotations from Uncle Samuel Johnson when faced with toe-tap:


"Worth seeing, but not worth GOING to see."


"Like a dog walking on its hind legs. One wonders at it, not that it is well done, but that it is done at all."



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Toe tap isn't painful, unless you find hops on pointe painful. After I saw it in That's Entertainment, I tried it. I used to do it just for fun, joking around (with no taps on my shoes). It would have been interesting to see what the limits of toe tap are for someone who has a sizable vocabulary in tap. At the time, I didn't know much more than time steps and shuffle off to Buffalo.


In the late '50s, on a TV show called You Asked For It, in which viewers would write in about something they'd like to see on TV, they showed a toe ice skater. She had little figure skating blades on the tips of her pointe shoes and could do a pique arabesque that sailed across the ice. She didn't have great arches and her supporting knee didn't look totally straight. I don't know whether that was because that's how her legs were built or because it felt safer that way. Anyway, it was pretty tacky looking.

Edited by djb
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There wasn't too much to the toe tap vocabulary. The girls usually weren't very good dancers to start with. The standard use of it would come after an intermission where everybody in the audience, and a few in the cast could rush out and buy a few bottles of beer, and then the next act would start with the chorus girls doing a crossover doing heaven-knows-what, and singing "Hel-lo, hel-lo, hel-lo, welcome back to the rest of our sho-o-ow! Here's Danny! (or whatever the MC's name was)" :toot:

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The fact that there wasn't much vocabulary, and that the girls weren't very experienced doesn't mean it could not be done by someone with experience and vocabulary in both tap and pointe-work, right? :toot:


I agree, it would be interesting to know.

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Right! The best toe-tapper I ever saw, and this is a small cateqory, sort of like the best hippopotamus high-wire act, was Vera-Ellen (Westmyer Rohe). She was a musical comedy dancer who made several movies still popular today. Her ballet skills were adequate for her time ('40s and early '50s), but her tap work was exceptional.

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The best toe-tapper I ever saw...the best hippopotamus high-wire act....


Or the high school state champion fire baton twirler of West Virginia (I knew someone who held that title in his youth).

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Yes, some of those shows exceed the traditional G, PG, M, R, and X ratings and make it all the way to the rating "Why?" :toot:

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