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Tap Tap Tap | Dance Instruction Record by Ryuko Sasaki

Tap Tap Tap
Ryuko Sasaki

Most instructional records are released in the traditional 12" LP format, but this unusual disc is a 33RPM EP, the size of a regular 45. This record's jacket may look like a child's record, but there is more to it than immediately meets the eye. The illustration on the jacket was done by Shinsuke Minami, a comedian and very famous TV personality in the 1980's. The instructor on the record is Ms. Ryuko Sasaki. Mr. Minami studied tap with Ms. Sasaki. Ms. Sasaki was almost as famous in Japan as Minami. She had studied tap since childhood, actually beginning her training at age 4. She was a student of Saburo Nakagawa, perhaps Japan's most famous tap dancer. Ms. Sasaki became a TV and radio personality in her own right and a business woman, as well. She opened her own dance school, Ryuko Sasaki's Tap and Jazz Dance Studio in Kamata, Tokyo and eventually expanded the business to over 30 locations in central Japan. In 1978, both Mr. Nakagawa and Ms. Sasaki were inducted into Dance Masters of America, at that time, the only Japanese members. Sadly, Ms. Sasaki died April 22, 1992, only 40 years old.

Ryuko Sasaki

For each track, Ms. Sasaki announces the name of the steps first. Then you hear the corresponding tap sounds. Side A, Lesson Time, is divided into three lessons. She uses the style of American instructional records and speaks English, no Japanese at all. Sasaki gives no explanation of the steps, but inside the jacket, written explanations can be found.

Side B is called Coffee Break . It's a performance side. First, she dances with a light touch disco tune called Good Times . Then She dances to Sing Sing Sing . In the middle of this, she begins to tap on different flooring, like some kind of metal floor, to make a different sound. It's all very interesting, if a little unexpected.

— Shinichi Matsumoto