How to Do a Double Standard Time Step Break in Tap Dancing

Time steps existed prior to the Vaudeville days; however their popularity grew during that era. A common belief is that the Vaudeville performers needed to relay a specific tempo to the singers and musicians and did this through a series of rhythmically timed steps. Over the years, several variations of time steps have come about. There are standard and off-beat or buck, which are traditionally the most commonly recognized. There are also cramp roll, pull back and traveling time steps and the list goes on and on. Depending on your choice of steps, they can be executed as a single, double or triple time step. Similarly, to complete time step combinations there are single, double and triple time step breaks. A break is a short combination of steps, performed within 8 counts, that creates a rhythmic finish to your time step routine.

Steps

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    Begin with your feet about shoulder width apart. Your arms should be relaxed by your sides, eyes looking forward, your knees slightly bent and your weight on your left foot. There is a corresponding tap sound to every count that is referenced.
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    Count “8 &”. Do a shuffle with the right foot.
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    Count “1”. Hop on the left foot.
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    Count “& 2”. Do a flap with the right foot.
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    Count “& 3 &”. Do a shuffle (& 3) step (&) with the left foot.
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    Count “4 & 5”. Do another shuffle (4 &) step (5) with the right foot.
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    Count “& 6”. Do a shuffle on the left
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    Count “& 7”. Do a ball change, left right.
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    Optionally, repeat another series of time steps and break with your left foot initiating. If you decide to do this, just remember the first step begins on count 8.

Tips

  • Breaks are designed to be added on after completing a minimum of two time steps. If you are not familiar with executing a double standard time step, (shuffle hop, flap, flap, step) it would be to your advantage to start there.
  • To determine whether a time step and break is a single, double or triple, listen to the number of sounds immediately following the first hop. It will either be a step (single sound) or a flap (double sound) or a shuffle step (triple sound).
  • Time steps as well as time step breaks are very specific in their counts. Essentially, it is rhythmic timing that defines time steps and breaks. Consequently, they both begin on count 8.
  • Having a solid grasp of basic tap dance technique prior to learning a time step break would be beneficial.
  • There are also a variety of combination time steps known as double triples. Some influences recognize quadruple time steps, as well.

Article Info

Categories: Dancing