How to Do the Front Traveling Clip Walk in Tap Dancing

Clips in tap dancing are fun to do and can be impressive. During the 1980s, it was Gregory Hines that showed us just how impressive they could be! A traveling clip is typically executed by clipping the heel tap of one foot against the toe tap of the opposite foot, creating a clear, single tap sound. It’s a little easier said than done since the taps are mostly on the bottom of your shoes but with some practice, you will begin to get the hang of it.


  1. 1
    Learn how to distribute your weight properly. One very important concept of successful tap dancing is weight distribution. Most beginning tap dancers, at some point, have experienced the “cement foot” feeling. This is where you are attempting to string some basic steps together in a short combination and the next step is executed with the right foot but it feels like you can’t lift it because all your weight is on the right. As you memorize every new step, you must also memorize where your weight is supposed to be. Eventually, it will become second nature.
  2. 2
    Begin facing forward. On count “1” step toward the right with your right foot, making a sound. Keep your right heel off of the floor.
  3. 3
    On count “& a, lift the left toe tap with the left heel staying on the floor. Cross your right foot over the left and AST, (at same time) clip the inside edge of the right heel tap against the inside edge of the left toe tap making a sound, then drop the left toe tap making another sound.
  4. 4
    On count “2 &” , step on your right foot, making a sound. Your legs should be crossed, with your right foot to the left of your left foot. Now drop your right heel, making a sound and, AST uncross your legs by bringing your left leg toward the left. This leaves you with your left foot off of the floor, ready to continue.
  5. 5
    Repeat the clip process on the opposite side (starting with your left foot) to the counts of ”3 & a 4 &.
  6. 6
    Continue alternating sides, remembering to keep traveling forward, (downstage) with every step. If you repeat the steps for each foot , a total of four times (twice on each side), the count would be: “1 & a 2 &; 3 & a 4 &; 5 & a 6 &; 7 & a 8 &.” Be patient and practice.


  • In tap dancing, your weight placement in relation to your feet is critical. As you learn various tap steps it is equally important to understand where your weight should be upon completion of each step. It varies depending on the step. Failing to grasp this will not only prevent you from having smooth transitions from one step to another but will also hinder your ability to advance to more intricate steps.
  • There is a tap sound for each Count in this traveling clip walk. For one complete walk, before you repeat on the opposite side, you will have made 5 sounds with the counts being, “1 & a 2 &.”
  • The tap sound of a clip is made mostly by the sides of the taps hitting each other. To help ensure a more consistent chance of a successful clip, with the foot using the toe tap, slightly lift the big toe a little higher than the rest of the toes. It does take practice.
  • Flat (jazz) tap shoes are typically easier to do clips than high-heeled (character) tap shoes.

Sources and Citations

  • Missy Vigil; B.A. Dance, Lone Mountain College, San Francisco, CA; 1977

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Categories: Illustrations | Tap Dancing