Flaps & Slaps: A clarification of two very similar tap steps

When teaching young students, one expects there to be misunderstandings. When teaching older students, however, it is always a bit of a shock to realize some of the misunderstandings they have. This happened quite recently as I taught a group of older students and realized there are two steps that absolutely need some clarification; flaps and slaps.

While the names sound the same and even the steps tend to resemble each other, there is a distinction. Flaps are a two-click step; a brush and a step. With these, your weight is transferred from the base foot to the foot doing the step (on the brush down movement). You can string a line of them together and move quite far (making it a popular formation change step).

Slaps are also a two-click step, making the same brush-step motion, with one enormous difference. Where your weight is placed can mean the difference between getting into the next step on time and fumbling a combination for the next eight counts! With slaps, your weight remains on the base foot while the working foot remains relatively weightless. They are more likely to give tap routines a jazzy look. Traveling on slaps would look pretty awkward, as your weight never changes!

It’s a simple thing to miss, but absolutely crucial to anybody doing a tap combination. Learn the difference early and form good habits. If steps seem to resemble each other, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. This will save you time, energy, and frustration in the future!

A simple thing as where to place your weight is the difference between doing the right step or the wrong one. A wrong step leads to doing a combination incorrectly. Nobody likes to be wrong! Learn your steps well and avoid being wrong!

More tap facts like flaps & slaps!