Drawbacks are a basic tap step and a perfect move to use anytime you want to warm up your ankles and feet before you start tap dancing. Drawbacks are also useful if you want to practice moving in straight lines (especially when you can’t see where you’re going!).

The Basics:

YouTube / mahalodotcom

Heel Dig - You will start your drawbacks with your right foot in a heel dig. This sets you up not only to begin the move, but it also encourages you to properly support yourself on your opposite leg. 

Spank - From the heel dig, you will use your right foot to spank the floor with your toe. When you spank, your foot will remain in the air until the next step.

Heel Drop - After you spank, you will drop the heel of your opposite foot. This is the foot that you are currently supporting your weight with. So, if you have just started your drawback, it will be your left foot.

Step - After your opposite heel drops, you will step on the toe of the foot you started with (the one you are not putting your weight on.) This will lead you into the next section of drawbacks from the other side. When you step, you will switch your weight and bring your other foot up into a heel dig.

Switch - The four steps above form what is basically one drawback. Once you get to the end, you will step on the foot you are currently working on, switch your weight, and begin the steps again with your other foot. You can keep doing drawbacks, switching feet and moving backward as long as you want (or until you hit a wall!). 

You can see drawbacks being done above. To watch the whole video, click here


Drawbacks can be really fun to do as warm-ups and just to practice. If you want a little extra challenge, do your drawbacks, getting a little faster with each set. This will gradually warm your ankles and feet up to harder work, and it will help you work on your speed. 

Dos and Don'ts


  • Practice with your hands on your hips or out in front of you for balance as you move backward.
  • Move slowly as you learn. 
  • Use drawbacks as a warm-up exercise.


  • Lean backward when you do drawbacks. This can cause you to overbalance and fall.
  • Forget to switch your weight when changing sides. Forgetting to change your weight can cause you to stumble.