Modern Tap Dictionary
At Tap Wonderland, we are fortunate to have a first edition of Modern Tap Dictionary, by Glenn Shipley, published in 1963 and printed by Dance Publications Company, Los Angeles. I presume the photograph on the cover is one of Mr. Shipley himself, but it’s difficult to specifically confirm this or much else about Glenn Shipley. Like so many others of the authors and record producers we include in Tap Wonderland's galleries, Mr. Shipley is very poorly represented on the Internet; a few copies of this book are for sale, his name is mentioned as a teacher along the way for this or that dance studio owner, but there is virtually no information about Mr. Shipley himself. I hope that by publishing this page, someone with more knowledge of Mr. Shipley’s career and life will contact me and help me expand this page. There are so many talented dancers, influential teachers and performers who are not properly chronicled on the Internet. So, if you can help with information about Glenn Shipley, please contact Tap Wonderland.
The original version of the Modern Tap Dictionary is a small, 36 pages, but informative book, listing and defining 174 Tap Dance terms alphabetically, for quick reference. The book is titled “Modern Tap Dictionary” but it strays beyond tap to offer definitions from other dance styles as well such as Fox Trot, Charleston, Samba, Suzi-Q, etc. Even Bump & Grind is in there. I guess since tap steps were so often part of larger choreography in theater dance and film, the author wanted to emphasize the importance of learning at least a little about each dance style.
Actually, as a tap teacher, I have found this book quite helpful. I made a copy of the entire book and carry it all the time. As a collector, I have to protect my original. Sometimes, while creating new choreography, if I am not sure of the name of a step, I can look at this book and make sure I know what I am talking about.
I also have a revision of the book called "The Complete Tap Dictionary" by Glenn Shipley. In this volume, no publishing company is named but the copyright date is 1980. Basically it’s the same book, expanded to 90 pages, 337 terms and generally more information. I have taken the liberty of including a copy of the interesting and informative preface here. I hope no one minds. Please click and read if, if you like.
Here are some of the terms contained in Glenn Shipley's Tap Dictionaries. You can dig a little deeper still by visiting Vance's Fantastic Tap Dance Dictionary, Edited by Vance Holmes, which offers a similar list of dance terminology.
— Shinichi Matsumoto
|Ball Change||Bandy Twist||Bar||Barrel Turn||Beat|
|Bridge||Brush||Buck||Buck & Wing||Buffalo|
|Cramproll||Cross bar||Cubanola||Cut-Out||Dance Notation|
|Draw||Drum Slap||Duple Time||Eccentric||Essence|
|Falling Off The Log||Flap||Flap Tap||Flea Hop||Fouette Turn|
|Fox Trot||Gallop Tempo||Glide||Graboff||Grace Tap|
|Grapevine||Grind||Half Break||Hand Clap||Heel Change|
|Heel Click||Heel Close||Heel Cramp||Heel Drop||Heel Scuff|
|Hit R Toe With L Heel||Heel Thump||Heel Twist||Heel tap||Highland Fling|
|Hit R Heel with L Toe||Hop||Hop Clog||Interlude||Interval|
|Jump||Jump Tempo||Leap||Legomania||Lindy Hop|
|Lunge||Measure||Med Bounce Tempo||Meter||Military Dance|
|Over The Top||Parallel Travel||Patter||Pickup||Pigeon Toes|
|Push Beat||Railroad||Rattle||Reverse Turn||Rhythm|
|Rhythm Buck||Riff||Riff Walk||Riffle||Retard|
|Slow Drag Tempo||Snake Hips||Soft Shoe||Soft-Shoe Break||Spank|
|Spot Step||Stag Leap||Stage Left||Stage Right||Stamp|
|Time Steps||Toe-Back||Toe-Drop||Toe Stand||Toe Tap|