Tap Dance Costumes

Tap shoes and hat

Tap dance costumes can add style to any dance routine.

Selecting a Costume

For Performance

Like all dance costumes, tap dance costumes should be designed for freedom of movement. You don't want a skirt to impede quick turns or long pant legs to get caught on a high-heeled tap shoe. When planning a performance, dance teachers will usually choose a single costume for younger dancers, using accessories to change its look slightly from ballet to tap to jazz. This practice keeps costumes more affordable for parents and eliminates the hassle of changing backstage. Older dancers tend to wear multiple costumes tailored to each dance.

It's easy to draw inspiration from the music and choreography to select a tap dance costume. A raincoat-based costume would be great for dancing to "Singin' in the Rain" or "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" and provides an opportunity to use umbrellas as props. Turn to bell-bottoms for a 60s flashback and flapper dresses to transport the audience back to the Jazz Age.

Cost can be an issue in selecting costumes for a large group. If you're planning for an individual performance like a pageant or talent show, you only have to consider your own budget. Dance studios should make every effort to choose costumes that will be affordable for all parents while insisting on quality.

For Fun

If your little dancer likes to tap her way across the kitchen floor, you don't need fancy tap dance costumes. Start with a basic leotard and add accessories like fringed skirts, hats, and sequined armbands for dress-up fun. You can also use last year's recital costume, or find old costumes at garage sales and thrift shops.

Buying Tap Dance Costumes

  • Kelle Company provides costumes and accessories for dancers of all ages. Many costumes in their "jazz" line would be equally suitable for tap dancers, and accessories include everything from sequined berets to gloves.
  • Curtain Call Costumes sells a complete jazz and tap selection. An extensive collection of separates lets you design your ideal tap dance costume from assorted skirts, tops, leotards, and leggings. Add accessories for even more customization.
  • Leo's Dancewear is another company that will only sell costumes to authorized dance instructors.
  • The Costume Closet provides a unique opportunity to save money on tap dance costumes. Customers can rent costumes or purchase used dance apparel for a fraction of the typical cost. The company focuses on providing high-quality costumes to competitive teams.

Tap Shoes

You may think that tap shoes are tap shoes. However, there is a surprising amount of diversity in shoe designs, and the right shoe can be the perfect finishing touch to a tap dance costume.

  • The black leather tap shoe is the traditional beginner's tap shoe. Because of this, the shoe can give a costume an air of immaturity when worn by older dancers.
  • Heeled dance shoes are available in a variety of colors to coordinate with any costume. Just as shiny patent leather shoes can take away from the maturity of a costume, heels instantly add class.
  • For women just learning to tap, a flatter beginner's tap shoe is the best choice.
  • You can add taps to any standard shoe, from tennis shoes to cowboy boots. However, while these can be good for a costume gimmick, they are not always appropriate for extended dancing. The wrong shoes can cause sore feet at the very least, and in the worst-case scenario may actually lead to serious injury.
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Tap Dance Costumes