“Tap” is a 1989 film directed and written by Nick Castle. Back in the 1950s, tap dancers were widely perceived as huge stars whose outstanding dancing skills engaged viewers across the world. The film teaches a number of valuable lessons about dancing that are worth exploring in further depth. For example, dancers do not need any music to dance, as they can produce the rhythm using their shoes or any part of their bodies. When music is available, it is extremely important to follow it in a strict manner and listen to the rhythm, so as to convey harmony and grace. Rhythm is what inspired every single step, so it is a key element of the entire performance. Also, every dancer should dance “clean” and “form”: overly complex steps are not necessary when tap dancing – or dancing in general.
In “Tap”, Max Washington is the son of one of the world’s most popular tap dancers. Despite possessing great dancing skills himself, Max chooses to devote his life to crime, thus ending up in prison. The man who runs the club founded by his father misses the old days when tap dance dominated New York, and wishes Max returned to amalgamate tap dance and rock in such a way to create an innovative form of art that will lead his father’s dance studio to success once again.
Watching the film, one cannot help but come to the conclusion that the rise of rock ‘n’ roll has undoubtedly played a role in making tap dance obsolete. At the same time, however, it has turned it into a rare and precious commodity. While rock conveys strength, vitality, protest and, at times, anger, tap dancing is all about harmony, joy and elegance. When Max dances, the metal taps on his shoes are the only instruments he needs to create something beautiful. That is what makes tap dance unique.