I love to tap dance. Tap dancing is my favorite.
Don’t believe me? Allow me to present a bit of semi-ancient proof (circa 1985, maybe?) of my tap dance obsession:
I can’t say that I ever thought of tap dancing as exercise or a workout back in my tappin’ days — it was just the best dance class ever (sorry ballet) and one of the greatest ways to spend time I could imagine. And while it’s true that I haven’t done any official tap dancing in … well, a lot of years, I still remember bits and pieces of old routines, and it’s not uncommon for me to tap dance a few steps — subtly, of course — when I’m standing in line. Tap dancing will forever hold a special place in my heart, even if I never strap on an official pair of tap shoes again in my life.
With that said, I think you can imagine how excited I was when an email about a new tap dancing fitness system called TAPfit hit Fit Bottomed HQ. Normally, Jenn, Erin and I are pretty generous with one another, offering up dibs on whatever comes through before claiming it, but I’m pretty sure my immediate reply to the group was something along the lines of “MINE OMG ME ME ME ME!”
(Okay, I actually just went back to the email and my verbatim response was:
YOU GUYS I’M A TAP DANCER
Sorry, Jenn and Erin. There was no way I was turning down the tapping.
So, here’s the TAPfit dealio. It includes six workout DVDs, shoe attachments (so no, you don’t have to buy actual tap shoes, and yes, you get the actual tapping sound), a TAPfit floor, and a resistance toner, along with workout and nutrition guides. The six DVDs feature six different approaches to tapping: Street, Funk, Broadway, Classic, Latin, and Strength & Stretch. Each workout is 20 to 30 minutes long and takes you through the moves before incorporating it all into an easy-to-follow dance workout.
Plus, let’s talk about the instructors. All have certifications to teach dance, and two (Annie and Katherine) are certified personal trainers. Plus, they all have seriously impressive tap dance resumes. In fact, when I had a chance to chat with Katherine Johnson, one of the creators (a conversation that was a total delight, and not only because I super love her Aussie accent), I learned that she and her sisters have all been tapping since they were three years old, and it was after they were all in Germany representing Australia at the World Championships that they realized they wanted to do more with their mad tappin’ skills.
They made a plan to create workouts that were fast, fun and effective — and not just for dancers, but for anyone. And to make sure they were breaking down the basics in a way that everyone could follow along, they tested the workouts on their parents right there in the kitchen.
What I dug: The tap attachments for your shoes are awesome, and having a tap-friendly floor included in the package is great. I also really like the fact that there’s such a variety offered in terms of music and dance styles — it’s a great way to keep things fresh. The workouts were easy to follow and, if you really put your heart and soul into the moves, you’ll get a decent workout.
What I didn’t: Because I have a tap background (have I mentioned that yet?), I was really hoping for a little more … tap dancing. I realize that keeping things very basic, as they did in TAPfit, opens the program up to many, many more people, but if you’re expecting to learn an actual routine — like what you might’ve picked up in a class — you’ll be a bit disappointed. The moves are still fun, don’t get me wrong — just don’t expect to start with the time step and build from there.
FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Long-Term Likeability: ★★★1/2
Fun Factor: ★★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★1/2
Fit Bottomed Line: The program provides some good options for an all-levels-welcome workout. Modifying moves to be more (or less) intense is simple, and there’s enough variety among the different workouts to keep things interesting for quite some time. I’d recommend it for people who enjoy dancing as a workout, but for someone who’s interested in really getting back into tap dancing as an adult, I might suggest hitting up an actual, in-person class.
Did you dance as a child — or are you a dancer now? I’ll be back in a minute to hear your answer. I’ve gotta go brush up on my double pullbacks. My Shirley Temple, though? STILL SOLID. —Kristen