Tap may not be as popular as it once was, but 17-year-old Mats Nixon is on a mission to change that
...and you can help his dreams come true by letting him teach you the paradiddle
Tap may not be as popular as it once was, but 17-year-old Mathias "Mats" Nixon is on a mission to change that. In his eyes, the way forward is actually to look back and reconnect with the origins of tap dance.
His philosophy speaks to the spaces in which tap was once popular. As a dance form, it was originally born from a fusion of "percussive" dances — including African tribal dances and Scottish, Irish, and English clog dances and jigs — and performed in a wide variety of public spaces, especially in nightclubs where the tap dancer would act as part of the live band. Mats echoes this in his dance today: "When I'm tap dancing, you connect with the music with the sound of my feet. It's more playing music than dance."
In this episode of The Move 3: Kids, follow his steps — if you can keep up — to learn the paradiddle, one of the first combinations learned in tap. For Mats, it's significant because of how foundational it remains even for accomplished tap dancers.
"The importance is the simplicity to it. It's one of the first steps you learn as a tap dancer, and no matter what level you get to, it's still always there and very important."
The Move 3: Kids features performances from nine of the most incredible young dancers in Canada. Find out more and stream the full series now on CBC Gem.