Wednesdays, for me, are busy. School, then work, then over to the elementary school to teach ballet and tap to little girls before having my own dance class. This particular night, classes were rearranged such that I actually got a break in between teaching classes and starting my own. As I lay on the floor of the stage, I closed my eyes and listened to the music that the tap class was dancing to. I pressed my hands into the floor at my sides and felt the vibrations- but these vibrations weren't from the music coming from the CD player. I was feeling the vibrations from the girls' tap shoes. It was an interesting sensation to hear the beats from the CD and then feel the beats from the tapping. The vibrations were like a harmony, a compliment to the music I was hearing, rather than the simultaneous beat that is felt in time with music when you listen to it loudly.
I've always loved that aspect of tap dance. The fact that one can dance to the music, or with the music, or even outside of the music (and let me tell you, fourth graders have no problem dancing outside of the music). It's almost like singing along, or playing along with the music. Your tap shoes can be your own instrument and, I think, are a superior instrument in that they allow you to listen to music, play music, and dance with music all at the same time. It reminds me of the idea that John Cage and Merce Cunningham shared on how music and dance can be independent and simultaneous. Tap dance is definitely one of the more independant types.
A friend brought up in a discussion today that there's a distinct difference in the experience of music for the composer, as compared to that of the musician who plays it, as compared to the audience that hears it. I would argue that the dancer gets to experience music in yet another way that is different from all the others. I think a certain type of relationship is formed between the dancer and the music and such relationships exist on a spectrum, with the dancer and the music being partners on one end (as in tap dance) and the dancer and the music becoming one on the other. Both ends are quite enjoyable.