Named after 30s child star Shirley Temple, this is a fairly simple tap step that is all about charm and rhythm.

Like many tap steps, the Shirley Temple is done in both directions, but for this tutorial, we will give directions for a Shirley Temple step from the right. To do the step from the left, you will repeat the steps with the opposite Feet.

The Basics

  1. Flap - You will begin this step with a flap on your right foot. To do this you will, using the center of your toe tap, brush out to the side and then step onto the toe of the same foot. Your heel will not touch the floor for this. 
  2. Heel Drop - Following the flap is a heel drop on the opposite foot (in this case, the left). Since you are already up on the toe of your right foot, you will come up on the toes of both feet before dropping only your left heel. 
  3. Heel Drop - Following the left heel drop, you will do a right heel drop. Since you are already up on the toe of your right foot, you will simply drop down onto your heel. After this heel drop, both of your feet should be flat on the floor. 
  4. Spank - Next, you will spank with your left foot. Before doing the spank, it is important to shift your weight from your left leg to your right leg to maintain your balance. You will spank the toe of your left foot, bringing your foot up behind you. 
  5. Heel Drop - After spanking your left foot, you are going to drop your right heel. Because your left foot is in the air, you will need to pay careful attention to your balance. Come up onto the toe of your right foot and drop down onto your heel. 
  6. Toe - For this step, you will simply bring your left foot down onto its toe. When you do this, your left leg should still be behind your right. 
  7. Heel Drop - Once your left toe comes down, you will do another heel drop onto your right foot. This will lead you into the next set of your Shirley Temple. After the heel drop, you will move through the steps again from the opposite side starting with a flap with your left foot.

(You can see the full Shirley Temple step being done about. To watch the whole video click here.)  


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There are several parts of this step where balancing becomes tricky. When you are first learning this step, practice with your hands on your hips and pay attention to your supporting leg so you don't overbalance yourself. 

Dos and Don'ts


  • Practice with your hands on your hips
  • Start slowly
  • Practice in both directions


  • Forget to pay attention to rhythm