Taptastic #TBT Time: 3 Must-See Classic Tap Numbers

This #TBT, we're feeling the tap vibes—specifically, the old-school, golden-age-of-Hollywood tap vibes. Because while you're probably familiar with, say, Gene Kelly's (literally) splashy "Singin' in the Rain" number, the glorious internet has (to continue the water metaphor) a much, much deeper pool of jaw-dropping movie routines from the 30s, 40s and 50s. And you need to dive into it. NOW.

We suggest starting with three of our all-time favorites:

3) Ann Miller in "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate (1953). Miller would've turned 93 two days ago, and there's no better way to celebrate than with this impossibly sexy, impossibly intricate party of a number:

2) Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in "I Won't Dance," from Roberta (1935). This clip shows off not just Astaire's fantastically finessed tapping (serious dancing starts around 3:12), but also his singing and piano-playing skills. (Rogers fans: She doesn't get to move a whole lot in this routine, so if you're looking for a Ginger fix, click here, here and here.)

1) The Nicholas Brothers in "Jumpin' Jive" from Stormy Weather (1943). Astaire called this "the greatest dance number ever filmed," and he wasn't exaggerating. It gives us Fayard and Harold Nicholas—who, fun fact, later taught Michael and Janet Jackson—at their masterful, exuberant best, and includes the showstopping jump-splits that were one of their signatures.

Happy #TBT, tappers! And if you're in the mood for even more amazing dance movie moments, head this way.

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Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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