About the dance
Tap dance is an indigenous American dance genre that evolved over a period of some three hundred years.
Initially a fusion of British and West African musical and step-dance traditions in America, tap emerged in the southern United States in the 1700s. The Irish jig (a musical and dance form) and West African gioube (sacred and secular stepping dances) mutated into the American jig and juba. These in turn became juxtaposed and fused into a form of dancing called “jigging” which, in the 1800s, was taken up by white and black minstrel-show dancers who developed tap into a popular nineteenth-century stage entertainment.
Early styles of tapping utilized hard-soled shoes, clogs, or hobnailed boots. It was not until the early decades of the twentieth century that metal plates (or taps) appeared on shoes of dancers on the Broadway musical stage. It was around that time that jazz tap dance developed as a musical form parallel to jazz music, sharing rhythmic motifs, polyrhythm, multiple meters, elements of swing, and structured improvisation. In the late twentieth century, tap dance evolved into a concertized performance on the musical and concert hall stage.
Source: Tap Dance in America: A Short History https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200217630/