Tap Dancing for Beginners
Instructions by Robert Audy
"The good news is nostalgia, and tap dancing, has returned to take top billing." —Robert Audy, in the liner notes to his 1976 recording.
Most tap dancers in the States are no doubt familiar with this classic instructional recording by Robert Audy, Tap Dancing for Beginners. The Tap Wonderland collection contains both the CD, released in 1998, as well as the original LP record. If you are unfamiliar with this recording, you will want to give it a try.
This record begins with the sounds from an actual Robert Audy dance class and with Audy greeting the listener/student:
"Hi. I'm Bob Audy. Welcome to my tap class! Even though you're not here in this studio with me, it is possible for you to pick up fundamental steps used by all tap dancers, from students here in my studio to the great dancers of Hollywood and Broadway! So, let's clear some space and get ready for some fun, either by yourself, with someone else, or invite the gang over and give a prize for the best hoofer in the group!"
After his introduction, Audy announces the name of each step, and then you hear the sound of taps with his voice. Then the music comes in. You can learn how to do the steps from the copy inside the record's jacket. After each explanation, they provide music without sound of taps, so you can practice, usually with a little bit faster tempo. Side One has Brushes-Shuffle, Shuffle Step, Ball Change, Shuffle-Hop-Shuffle, Hop-Step, Flaps, Flap-Ball-Change, Step-Clap. Side Two has Side Essence, Buffalo, Waltz Clog, Cramp Roll, Maxiford Break, Single Time Step. The musicians for the session include Wimpy Vernick on bass, Casey Casino on drums, Tom Lucas on guitar. The pianist is not specifically named, but the music director is Miriam Garber. Music is recorded in 70's-style stereo, so there is lots of separation between the trio on the left and the guitar on the right. Great!
There is a profile of Robert Audy on the back of the LP jacket.
"Robert Audy operates a most successful dance studio in New York City and is especially respected for his unique methods in training dancers for both the professional and teaching worlds. Mr. Audy has choreographed for theatres across the country. Among his credits as a director/choreographer are: George M, with Joel Grey; the touring companies of Funny Girl, with Carol Lawrence; No, No, Nanette, with Vicki Lawrence and Gale Gordon; Oklahoma with Peter Marshall. The host of stars who have graced the stage and film with Mr. Audy's tap and jazz dance training include Ben Vereen, Shirley MacLaine, Joel Grey, Cybill Shepherd, Celeste Holm, Madeline Kahn and many others. In addition to his many other achievements, Mr. Audy has just completed a book - TAP DANCING: HOW TO TEACH YOURSELF TO TAP - THE ROBERT AUDY METHOD - published by Random House". Learn more about the book in the Tap Wonderland Print Gallery.
Like so many fine teachers and choreographers, Robert Audy is sorely under-represented on the Web. A few references are included in the profiles of other teachers or performers who acknowledge Audy's influence. Some offer a hint or two about Mr. Audy's life, like " ...Audy was a protégé of Paul Draper. — things like that, but there is just not enough. Tap Wonderland presents one other Robert Audy record, Music for Tap Dancing from the 1950s and Mr. Audy's book in our print gallery. If you have information on the life and career of Robert Audy, write to Tap Wonderland and we'll post it here.
— Shinichi Matsumoto