October 2012 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Amping It Up

Tip 1 When dancers reach the advanced level, it is always helpful to introduce a “show and tell” exercise that gets them used to adding 8 counts of their own steps to small pieces of choreography. For example, one student might do flap flap cram proll, shuffle step heel stomp, shuffle step heel stomp; another might add riff back flap heel tap heel stamp, stomp back flap, stomp back flap stomp. Keep this going in a group with four or five kids and they will have made a dance in no time.

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September 2012 | Making Magic With Music

Today much about music and its relationship to dance training has changed. When I was in public school, I was introduced to classical music. By listening to recordings of Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, I absorbed the emotional colors and range of different composers.

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September 2012 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Intro to Advanced

To introduce students to the advanced level, give combinations that involve intricate footwork and coordination skills. I often use a combo that is tricky yet fun for the kids to figure out.

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August 2012 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Preparing for the Advanced Level

The proper way to perfect a wing is starting at the barre. Have students stand on the balls of their feet with the feet together, and slightly bend the knees.

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July 2012 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Accenting and Shading

At the intermediate level, the overlapping of rhythm patterns and an introduction to accenting and shading are important.

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May-June 2012 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Intermediate-Level Challenges

Once students reach the intermediate level, it’s time to make the warm-up and across-the-floor exercises more challenging.

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March-April 2012 | Simon Says: Listen Up!

In the 1980s I was introduced to the game Simon Says. While this game had nothing to do with dance, it eventually made me a better tap dancer.

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2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Rhythm

It is important to have children start listening to sounds and counting at a young age so that they understand timing. Clapping short rhythms and matching them with tap sounds is very effective.

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Ambassadors of Tap

What do a singer/songwriter, a mom of four, a CPA, a 911 dispatcher, and a clinical dietitian all have in common? If you guessed that they love tap dancing, then you should play the lottery.

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November 2010 | Tops on the Tap Scene

Chicago is known for many things—Barack Obama, the comic lineage of The Second City, the blues tradition of performers like Buddy Guy, the lakefront, harsh winters, rough-and-tumble politics, Michael Jordan, the hapless Cubs, and the hockey champion Blackhawks. And oh yes, that distinctive deep-dish pizza.

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Let Your Tap Creativity Flow

Tap dance is an infant in the scope of dance history. Unlike ballet, which has traveled to us through at least 200 generations of teachers, tap can claim only four or five generations of structured teachers in its history.

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Doing What They Do Best

Plenty of dance teachers can get a 6-year-old to master a shuffle-ball-change. And with enough repetitions, the kid might even smile while doing it at the end-of-year recital.

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Ballet Scene | Tapping Into Your Potential

Tap and ballet. They’ve been the bread and butter of most American dance studios since the post-Depression years. Today studios offer a variety of other dance forms like lyrical, modern, hip-hop, and body conditioning courses like Pilates. But the combination of tap and ballet as a basic dance curriculum has produced a steady crop of dancers for each generation.

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