How to Teach Proper Flap Technique

A lot of people like to teach it as “kick the can, squish the bug”. This is when the flap comes from behind, where you wind up the leg and brush the toe tap forward as if you’re kicking a can, and then you drop your weight onto the ball of your foot as if you’re squishing a bug.

But here’s the thing...

Proper Flap Technique comes from the front, with the knee up. 

I remember being a kid and constantly getting yelled at in rehearsal “Knees up! Lift your knees!” whenever we had to run flaps and it never made sense to me. How could I lift my knees up any higher? If I lift them any higher, I’ll just be marching!

It finally made sense to me when I took class with Michelle Dorrance at BDC. I was a teenager,  and the whole room was filled with advanced level tap dancers, many of them professional, some pre-professional. 

Michelle broke down this concept in such a beautiful, awesome and easy to understand way (which is no surprise because Michelle is a fantastic teacher). And that’s when the entire class had their mind blown, that moment when they realized that the flap came from the front and not the back. 

Why so surprised? Because we were all taught the same way, to kick the can, and squish the bug. 

Last month, I published a new course for iTapOnline Members called Tap Dance 101, where I talk through and demonstrate all of these basic techniques. This course is a quick review of basic fundamental tap dance vocabulary with some additional technique exercises and fun phrases. This Tap Dance 101 course is great for students who need a refresher after just getting back into tap dance, but also specifically for teachers who are seeking clarity on tap dance terminology and ways to introduce their students to this vocabulary.

iTapOnline Members have been loving it, this includes students and Teachers. Lots of “aha!” moments and “wow, that makes so much sense” comments. It includes basic vocabulary, combination steps, traveling steps, traditional timesteps, technique exercises, some fun phrases, AND… a bonus video where I talk through how to teach dancers to use natural arm movements (because I get this question all the time!)

Tap Dance 101 is now available in the iTapOnline Member for quick and easy access.

Alongside inspiring their lifelong love of tap dance, one of the greatest gifts that we can give our students is an awesome, solid, technical foundation that will serve them for years to come. 

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