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What is a Tap Festival

Published on August 6th 2018 by Hillary-Marie

Today we are talking about Tap Festivals! 

*Heads up tap teachers, I have a special offer for you at the end of this episode!

My experience as a student at tap festivals (1:00)

I grew up attending  Tap City, LA Tap Fest, St. Louis Tap Festival, DC Tap Fest and Tradition in Tap. There weren’t as many festivals back then as there are now, and each one had its own identity and vibe. I wouldn’t be the dancer I am now without having attended each of these beautiful events. It was at tap festival where I met one of my mentors, Harold Cromer, and decided that I wanted to be a career tap dancer. I met dancers who are living tap dance legends, tap masters, tap historians and other leaders in the tap dance community. In one week I could learn enough material to last me 9 months of practice time.

** Please browse the list of tap festivals at the end of this document!**

Since there are so many tap festivals out there, my list may not be complete. Please comment and let me know if I missed one so I can update the list. I am looking to build a resource list of ongoing and previous tap festivals.

What makes a tap festival, a tap festival? (3:08)

  • Always a learning opportunity, a series of master classes from a variety of teachers
  • Sometimes residency classes
  • Often an honoree
  • Talkbacks: panel discussions and history talks
  • Tap Jams (with or without live music)
  • Cutting Contest
  • Informal in-studio showcase 
  • Culminating show featuring festival faculty and pre-professional/professional companies

What is the difference between a dance convention and festival? (4:35)

  • Adjudicated competitions are generally not a part of tap festival culture
  • Most dancers register as individuals, not as studios
  • Dancers attend from around the world
  • Vibe is more intimate with smaller class sizes
  • More opportunities to hang out with faculty members between classes and after events at dinner hangs, creating opportunities for intimate, close energy and the opportunity to learn from these artists both in the studio and at the dinner table.

Why I started a tap festival (5:43)

I created Jersey Tap Fest when I was 17 years old because I loved tap festivals. Every single part of it! My experience in attending these festivals inspired me to want to celebrate the vibrant tap dance community of New Jersey and its amazing history. I started Jersey Tap Fest to highlight my friends, teachers and mentors in this local tap dance community in the hopes of bringing everyone together in the name of sharing our love and passion for the dance and growing this community. 

What makes Jersey Tap Fest Unique? (7:08)

Each person on my faculty is someone I have studied under or have worked alongside. These artists are dedicated not only to their art, but to sharing their love, passion, and knowledge for their art in a positive light which creates a magnetic atmosphere. No one at Jersey Tap Fest is ever a number. I do my best to know the names of each person who attend my festival. 

Everyone comes together with one thing in common… tap dance! 

And that, is a tap festival.

Special offer for dance teachers

I am offering a scholarship to our 9th annual Jersey Tap Fest, August 9th-12th, for any tap teacher looking to further their tap dance education. If you are interested, please visit www.jerseytapfest.com and email [email protected].


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Tap Festivals List

Featuring tap festivals that are currently and no longer running

All That Tap Festival Taipei 2007 - present
American Tap Festival 2018 - present
Amsterdam Tap Festival 2014 - 2014
Australian Tap Dance Festival 2012 - present
Bay Area Tap Festival 2003 - 2012
Beantown Tap Fest 2007 - present
Big Apple Tap Festival 1994 - present
Bogo Tap Festival 2014
Boston Jazz Tap Festival 1988 - 1990
Brasil Tap Festival 1999 - present

Brighton Tap Festival 2015 - present
By Word of Foot 1980, 1982, 1985
Central American Tap Festival 2001
Chicago Human Rhythm Project/Rhythm World 1990 - present
Chicago On Tap 1994
Chicago Tap Exchange 1991
Chicago Tap Summit present
Circle City Tap Fest 2015 - 2017
Classic Jazz & Tap Summer Institute 2007
Colorado Tap Festival 1986 - 1992
Columbus Tap Festival 2001 - 2002
Dance Works 2004 - present
DC  Metro Tap Festival 1999
DC Tap Festival 2009 - present
Detroit Tap Dance Festival 1995 - 2000
Dubrovnik Tap Festival 2012 - present
Eastern Canadian Tap Conference 2005 - present
Hawaiian Islands International Tap Dance Festival 2002 - 2007
Heather Cornell's Tap Labs 1990 - present
Helsinki Tap Festival 1999 - present
Hong Kong Tap Fest 2009 - 2017
Hooferz Festival 2014 - 2015
Hoofin Ground Tap Festival 2005 - 2008
Houston Tap Festival 1998 - 2017
International Body Music Festival 2008 - present
International Feet Beat Tap Festival 1997 - 2006
International Tap Festival Brno 2010 - present
Jazz City Tap Fest 2016 - present

Jazz Tap Ensemble Summer Tap Festival 1999
Jazz on Tap 2001 - present
Jersey Tap Fest 2009 - present
Kuala Lumpur Tap Festival 2017 - present
LA Tap Fest 2003 - present
Limazap Festival 2017 - present
London Tap Dance Intensive 2018 - present
Little Rock Tap Fest 2015 - present
LV Tap Fest 2013 - present
Mad Tap Fest 2010 - present
Melbourne International Tap Dance Festival 2005
Monterrey Tap Fest 2016 - present

Moscato Tap Milano 2013 - 2015
Motor City Tap Fest 2008 - present
NC Rhythm Tap Festival present

Nit De Claque De Reus Tap Festival 1988 - present
NYC Festival of Percussive Dance 1988
Orange County Tap Festival 2017 - present
Odessa Tap Festival 2016 - present
Oklahoma City Tap Festival 2008 - present
Omaha Jazz & Tap Festival 2015 - present
Pacific Northwest Tap Fest
Palmetto Tap Intensive 2017 - present
Paris Tap Festival 2012 - present
Pasksteppen 1995
Philly Tap Challenge
Phoenix Tap Festival 2018 - present

Point Tap Festival 2013 - 2014
Portland Tap Dance Festival 1985 - 1995
Portland Tap Dance Festival 2016 - present
Prague City Tap Festival 2012 - present
Rhythm Week Festival 2016
RIFF Dallas 2015 - present
Rock City Tap Fest 2014 - present

Royal Dutch Tap Dance Fest 1998 - 2002
Sapateata 1996
Sea of Rhythm 1994
Seattle Festival of Tap Dancing 1991 - 1996
Show Me Tap Fest 2018 (remount) - present
So Flo Tap Fest 2013 - present
Soul to Sole Internaional Tap Festival 1993 - present
Southeastern Tap Explosion 2002 - 2009
St. Louis Tap Festival 1991 - 2015
Steel City Tap Fest 2017 - present
Stockholm Tap Festival 2010 - present
Suntap Festival 2016 - present
Sydney Tap Dance Festival 2017 - present
Syncopate 2008 - present
Tap City 2001 - present
Tap Dance Days 1997 - present
Tap Dance Freedom present
Tap Kids Summer Intensive 2000 - present
Tap Oslo 2015 - present
Tap Residency Madrid 2014 - 2016
Tap Into a Cure Edmonton Festival 2006
Tap On Barcelona 2008 - present
Tap Ties 2006 - present
Tap Tonight 2012 - 2014
Tapmotif 2007 - 2014
Tapology 2001 - present
Taptastic 2015 - present
Third Coast Rhythm Project 1997 - present
Tohoku Tap and Art Festival 2017
Tokyo International Tap Festival 2009 - present
Toronto Tap Festival 2017
Traditions in Tap 1998
Turin Tap Festival 2015 - present
Turku Rhythm Weekend 2012 - 2014
Twin Cities Tap Festival 2015 - present
Utah Tap Fest 2017 - present
Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival 2004 - present
Warsaw Tip Tap Run 2015 - present
Woodshed Experience 2017 - present
Zurich Tap Festival 2011 - 2014

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