Tap Dance Attire: The Essential Guide to Choosing the Perfect Outfit!


Tap dancing is a fun and energetic performance art that involves rhythmic tapping of the feet to create a beat. While this is an exciting activity for college students to participate in, it is important to dress appropriately for this dance form. Choosing the right tap dance attire not only helps with the comfort and flexibility needed for dance, but also impacts the overall appearance of the dancer. This post will provide tips and recommendations for the best tap dance attire for college students to wear.

Top 5 Recommended Tap Dance Attire for College Students

  1. Tap Shoes: The most crucial item in tap dance attire is tap shoes. These shoes have metal plates on the soles and heels that create the signature tapping sound.
  2. Leotards: Leotards are a great option for tap dancing as they allow for maximum movement and flexibility while providing a snug fit. They come in a variety of styles and colors to fit any dancer’s personal taste.
  3. Tights: Tights are a popular choice to wear under leotards or shorts during tap dancing to provide coverage and modesty. They also help to keep the leg muscles warm during practice and performance.
  4. Leg Warmers: Leg warmers not only add a stylish touch to a dancer’s outfit, but also help to keep the leg muscles warm and limber during practice. They can be worn over tights or bare legs.
  5. Jazz Pants: Jazz pants are a comfortable and stylish option for tap dance attire. They are loose and flowy, allowing for full range of motion during dance routines. They come in a variety of colors and designs to suit any dancer’s style.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Tap Dance Attire

  • Comfort: Tap dance attire should be comfortable to wear, allowing for a full range of motion without restriction. Comfortable attire will also help the dancer focus on the art of tap dancing, rather than being distracted by an ill-fitting outfit.
  • Fit: Proper fit of tap dance attire is essential to ensure comfort and flexibility. Clothes that are too tight or too loose can hinder movement during dance routines.
  • Material: The material of tap dance attire should be breathable and stretchy. Breathable materials such as cotton or spandex can help wick away sweat and prevent overheating, while stretchy materials such as Lycra can provide the flexibility needed for dance movements.
  • Durability: Tap dance attire should be durable enough to withstand the frequent movement and wear associated with dance routines. High-quality materials and construction can help ensure that the attire will last for a longer time.
  • Style: Style is an important factor in tap dance attire. Dancers have a variety of options to choose from, including colors, designs, and patterns. The attire should match the dancer’s personal style while also being appropriate for the event or performance.

Alternatives to Traditional Tap Dance Attire

While traditional tap dance attire includes specific items such as tap shoes, leotards, and tights, there are some alternative options that may be suitable for college students:

  • Sneakers with hard soles: While not specifically designed for tap dancing, sneakers with hard soles can work as an alternative to tap shoes. However, it is important to note that this may not produce the same sound quality as tap shoes.
  • Loose-fitting pants: Jazz pants are a popular option for tap dance attire, but loose-fitting pants such as yoga pants or sweatpants can be used as an alternative. These pants allow for a full range of motion and are comfortable to wear during practice and performances.
  • Tank tops or T-shirts: While leotards are popular for tap dance attire, tank tops or T-shirts can be a comfortable alternative. These items should be made of breathable and stretchy materials to allow for flexible movement.

It’s important to note that while these alternatives can be used, traditional tap dance attire is specifically designed for tap dancing and will provide the best experience for the dancer.

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Tips for Maintaining Tap Dance Attire

Proper maintenance of tap dance attire is important to ensure longevity and continued performance. Here are some tips to maintain tap dance attire:

  • Proper storage: Tap dance shoes should be stored in a dry, cool place to prevent moisture buildup. Other items such as leotards and jazz pants should be hung or folded neatly in a drawer to prevent wrinkles and creasing.
  • Regular cleaning: Tap dance attire should be cleaned after each use to prevent the buildup of sweat and bacteria. Follow the care instructions on each item for best results.
  • Avoiding excessive wear and tear: Tap dance shoes and attire should only be worn during dance practices and performances to prevent excessive wear and tear. Wearing these items outside of practice or performances can damage them.
  • Replacing worn-out items: When tap dance attire becomes worn out, it is important to replace it. Worn-out shoes can affect sound quality and worn-out attire may not provide the same flexibility needed for dance movements.

By properly maintaining tap dance attire, college students can help prolong the life of their dance gear and ensure that it continues to perform at its highest level.

Interesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about tap dance attire:

  • Tap dance attire is designed to be comfortable, flexible and allow for ease of movement.
  • Traditional tap dance attire consists of tap shoes, tights, a leotard and either jazz pants or leg warmers.
  • According to tap dance enthusiasts, wearing the proper tap dance attire allows the dancer to connect with the music and the audience in a unique way.
  • Alternatives to traditional tap dance attire include sneakers with hard soles, loose-fitting pants, and tank tops or t-shirts.

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Do I have to wear tap shoes for tap dance?

Yes, tap shoes are an essential part of tap dance attire. They are designed with metal plates on the bottom that make the distinctive tapping sound.

Can I wear regular shoes for tap dancing?

No, you should not wear regular shoes for tap dancing. They do not have the same metal plates that tap shoes have, and will not produce the same sound.

Do I need to wear a leotard for tap dance?

A leotard is not required, but it is a traditional part of tap dance attire. Many dancers prefer to wear one for comfort and flexibility.

Can I wear shorts instead of jazz pants?

Yes, shorts can be an alternative to jazz pants. However, make sure that they are loose-fitting and allow for ease of movement.

Are there different styles of tap shoes?

Yes, there are different styles of tap shoes, including Oxford, Mary Jane, and Jazz.

How should I choose the right tap shoe size?

You should choose a tap shoe size that is snug, but not too tight. Your toes should have enough room to wiggle, and you should be able to move your feet and ankles freely.

How often should I clean my tap dance attire?

You should clean your tap dance attire after each use to ensure that it stays in good condition.

Can I machine wash my tap dance attire?

Check the label of each item for specific washing instructions. Generally, tights and leotards can be washed in a machine on a delicate cycle, while tap shoes should be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

Do I need to wear leg warmers for tap dance?

Leg warmers are not required, but they can help keep your legs and ankles warm and prevent injury.

Can I wear any type of socks with tap shoes?

It is best to wear socks that are specifically designed for tap shoes. They usually have a thicker sole and cushioning in the ball of the foot to absorb shock.

Real experience

Jenna was preparing for her long-awaited tap dance recital. As she took a deep breath, she looked down at herself in the full-length mirror. Her outfit was perfect – a black leotard paired with trendy jazz pants. Yet, something still felt off.

A sudden realization hit her – her tap shoes were worn out and had lost their shine. Jenna knew that her dance instructor would notice, and that her performance could suffer. She quickly shuffled through her drawer, but to no avail. She had no other pairs of tap shoes to wear. Her heart sank a little.

Then, Jenna had an idea. She grabbed her black sneakers with hard soles and put them on. She tested them on the wooden floor of her room and the sound that came out was similar to that of tap shoes. Her confidence grew; maybe this was exactly what she had needed all along.

The recital was a big success. Jenna’s tap dance routine was flawless. She felt a sense of freedom wearing the sneakers as opposed to tap shoes. Her instructor was incredibly impressed with her performance, and no one noticed she was not wearing tap shoes. This experience opened up a whole new world of possibilities, including the use of different shoes for tap dancing.

Jenna now knows that while tap dance attire is essential, sometimes alternative options can be just as effective. She keeps her jazz pants and sneakers in a place of pride, and always reminds herself of the amazing things she can achieve, even with a little improvisation.


Tap dance attire is an essential component of successful tap dancing. Properly fitting and comfortable attire helps with flexibility and technique. It is important to consider the fit, comfort, material, durability, and style when choosing tap dance attire. Alternatives to traditional attire include sneakers with hard soles and loose-fitting pants. Proper maintenance of tap dance attire, including regular cleaning and proper storage, will ensure the best performance and longevity of the attire.

For those interested in learning tap dance techniques, we recommend checking out the book Tap Dance Techniques: Mastering the Basics and Beyond. With the right attire and dedication to practice, college students can master the art of tap dancing and bring their performances to the next level.

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