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There's something I'm not sure I understood correctly about the demonstation of tap Foley.  As the process was explained, it appeared to me that a professional dancer or Foley artist... someone other than the dancer in the film... would produce the tap sounds that would be edited into the film later on, by duplicating the steps that were filmed during the take.  In other words, we would be watching Eleanor Powell perform the dance on film, but be hearing the taps produced by someone else and edited into the film.  Am I understanding this right?  If so, I can't fathom how anyone could reproduce the taps done by Powel in the film without being as good as Powell... or Astaire, or any of the stars.  (And how did they ever record the taps for "Begin the Beguine"??)  If it is indeed true, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch a tap number quite the same way again.        

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It brings up the issue of dubbing sound into films.  It's one thing dubbing Marni Nixon's beautiful voice for Deborah Kerr's or Audrey Hepburn's, but quite another dubbing anyone's taps for Eleanor Powell's.  Is this even considered dubbing?  Again, maybe I'm misunderstanding something.  Bottom line, though... it does seem to work effectively.

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1 hour ago, Lover-o-Classics said:

There's something I'm not sure I understood correctly about the demonstation of tap Foley.  As the process was explained, it appeared to me that a professional dancer or Foley artist... someone other than the dancer in the film... would produce the tap sounds that would be edited into the film later on, by duplicating the steps that were filmed during the take.  In other words, we would be watching Eleanor Powell perform the dance on film, but be hearing the taps produced by someone else and edited into the film.  Am I understanding this right?  If so, I can't fathom how anyone could reproduce the taps done by Powel in the film without being as good as Powell... or Astaire, or any of the stars.  (And how did they ever record the taps for "Begin the Beguine"??)  If it is indeed true, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch a tap number quite the same way again.        

What a great insight. As Dr. Ament recently shared Eleanor Powell foleyed her own taps after she danced them. But your question brings up an intetesting conundrum. How does one foley Astaire or Kelly or any other number of unique dancers?

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Just finished watching Astaire and Powell dance "Begin the Beguine", carefully watching the feet and listening to the taps, trying to determine if they were in sync.  I'm not sure they always were, but the overall effect was so dazzling that it really wouldn't matter.  It was only at the very end that the last tap seemed to end a split second before Fred's foot came down.  But even that was hard to tell because the music also ended with a bang, which would have helped to mask the tap and any imperfections in the sync.  Quite brilliant.  I wonder if Fred and Eleanor did the Foley taps.  Can't imagine who else could... and I'd be really disappointed to learn that it was someone else.    

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  All the top professional tap dancers dubbed their own taps.

 As I mentioned in another post, Eleanor Powell, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill Bojangles Robinson,  and Ruby Keeler had all been stars on Broadway and obviously had to tap dance for the public many times.  

However, other tap dancers or other performers on a lower-level had their taps professionally dubbed, usually by black tap dancers.

It was well known that Fred Astaire's choreographic assistant, Hermes Pan dubbed the Taps for Ginger Rogers.  

The tap dancers are judged by the sounds of the taps. So anyone who was on the high professional level of a star certainly dubbed their own taps. Astaire, Powell, and Kelly actually assisted the editor or edited their own dance performances.

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24 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

  All the top professional tap dancers dubbed their own taps.

 As I mentioned in another post, Eleanor Powell, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill Bojangles Robinson,  and Ruby Keeler had all been stars on Broadway and obviously had to tap dance for the public many times.  

However, other tap dancers or other performers on a lower-level had their taps professionally dubbed, usually by black tap dancers.

It was well known that Fred Astaire's choreographic assistant, Hermes Pan dubbed the Taps for Ginger Rogers.  

The tap dancers are judged by the sounds of the taps. So anyone who was on the high professional level of a star certainly dubbed their own taps. Astaire, Powell, and Kelly actually assisted the editor or edited their own dance performances.

Thanks Princess of Tap for sharing your knowledge on this. Sounds to me that you can be our go-to person regarding most anything on tap dancing. I found it very interesting that Hermes Pan dubbed Ginger Rogers. Thx again.

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The sound of the Foley artist’s work was captured by a microphone while the artist watched the routine. I know that in later years, they watched a recording of the performance, but I’m not sure if in earlier years, they watched the performance live or did it later. At any rate, the microphone was used to capture the sounds of tapping.

I read an anecdote that after Gene Kelly‘s performance of the title song from “Singin’ in the Rain,” Gwen Verdon and Shirley McClaine performed the Foley work for him by tapping in buckets with a couple of inches of water in them! It’s possible, I suppose. ?

Hope this help.

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Thanks to everyone for their comments and insights on this topic.  And thanks to Dr. Ament for doing the demo.  I really had no idea this is how the process worked, but I guess that's why we're taking this fabulous course.  I'll be able to look at musicals in a different way now, and appreciate everything that went into them. 

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7 hours ago, Lover-o-Classics said:

There's something I'm not sure I understood correctly about the demonstation of tap Foley.  As the process was explained, it appeared to me that a professional dancer or Foley artist... someone other than the dancer in the film... would produce the tap sounds that would be edited into the film later on, by duplicating the steps that were filmed during the take.  In other words, we would be watching Eleanor Powell perform the dance on film, but be hearing the taps produced by someone else and edited into the film.  Am I understanding this right?  If so, I can't fathom how anyone could reproduce the taps done by Powel in the film without being as good as Powell... or Astaire, or any of the stars.  (And how did they ever record the taps for "Begin the Beguine"??)  If it is indeed true, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch a tap number quite the same way again.        

You are correct. Anyone who replaces the sounds of the taps has to be very good. Powell did her own, and those of other dancers. Hermes Pan did Fred Astaire's. Gene Kelly did his own. So did Gregory Hines. We Foley artists who were trained dancers could do the dances for many of those who danced in films.

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