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Learning to tap dance with Tom Chambers in London

Tom Chambers, winner of Strictly Come Dancing and star of the musical Top Hat, teaches Jake Wallis Simons and his family the basics of tap dancing.

After a matinée performance of Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre, Jake Wallis Simons and his wife Isobel and their three children receive an introduction to tap from Tom Chambers – the Holby City star who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2008 and now who plays Fred Astaire’s role in Top Hat.

After demonstrating the “flap”, in which you walk lightly on the balls of your feet, making a brushing movement, improvisation and basic toe-and-heel moves, Tom put together a simple routine for the Jake to try it to music. See how he got on above.

Where to learn? Visit dance-teachers.org to find a nationwide directory of 1,121 tap-dance-teachers.org to find a nationwide directory of 1,121 tap-dance teachers. You can use the search option to find the one nearest you.

The biggest tap-dance centres in Britain are Bird College (birdcollege.co.uk) in Greenwich, London, and Performers College (performerscollege.co.uk) in Corringham, Essex.

What kit do I need? Shoes can be bought online from danceandleisurewear.co.uk, dancewearcentral.co.uk, or blochshop.co.uk. Approved uniforms and costumes can be found at ids.co.uk, and white tie (if you must) can be hired from Austin Reed.

What about children? Tap is normally taught from the age of five onwards, but some teachers cater for preschoolers. Tap, like ballet, can be a great introduction to dance.

How about events? There are several in Britain, including the International Dance Festival in Birmingham (idfb.co.uk), Move It in London (moveitdance.co.uk), and Big Dance (bigdance2012.com), which takes place around the country.