A 23-columnist salute to 11 years of ideas, insight, and inspiration by Tamsin Nutter Some days you just need a little advice and encouragement—whether on preschoolers, degagés, or taxes—to pin on the staff bulletin board or mull over in the bathtub at night, from a trusted friend who’s been there, done that, and understands exactly…Read More
Cross-training, pro mentors, and motivation are a winning mix for Temecula Dance Company’s male dancers by Joseph Carman “Don’t make it look like step aerobics,” hip-hop choreographer and teacher Erik Saradpon shouts over “Uptown Funk.” “The dip is on 7. Zap the arms vertically from the armpit.” The male students—38 in this particular rehearsal—ace the…Read More
Makeovers, renovations, and dream spaces by Heather Turbeville What do you do when your studio is bursting at the seams near the happiest place on earth? Performer’s Edge Dance Center (PEDC) built an entirely new space. The studio, which serves approximately 500 students with Mom & Me, combo, ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acro, contemporary,…Read More
Dance Innovations Dance Center by Heather Turbeville Recital season is one of the most hectic and stressful times of the year for studio owners. As if regular show prep pressures weren’t enough, the day before her recital in June 2016, Katie Fitzpatrick’s landlord dropped a bomb on her: he would not be renewing her lease.…Read More
The college professor had a question: “Why don’t dance studios do more concert dance?” In one sense, the answer is easy: “Because we’re not a concert dance company or a college dance department.” Those exist in their own spheres where they are valued for what they are. (I doubt many modern-based concert companies constantly face…Read More
by Thelma Goldberg Many studio owners offer tap dance to preschoolers. But as someone who has spent a lifetime studying the art of tap, I’d like to suggest an alternative: offer your students ages 3 to 5 a curriculum of pre-tap—in ballet shoes. With planning and good marketing, your preschool program will flourish and students…Read More
What’s up in the dance community Dance educator Kim Smith’s search for a dance program that could accommodate her autistic daughter came up short, so in 2015, she created her own. A Chance to Dance welcomes dancers of all abilities at North Carolina studio Miss Donna’s School of Dance; owner Donna Mitzel, Smith’s former teacher,…Read More
Your 2018 guide to workshops and intensives across the U.S. Programs are listed in alphabetical order by sponsoring or producing organization. Horton Teacher Workshop Sponsoring or producing organization: The Ailey Extension Dates: Session I, introductory/beginner, July 9–13; Session II, intermediate/advanced, July 16–20 Location: Joan Weill Center for Dance, New York City Fees/cost: Session I…Read More
Words from the publisher For the past few weeks my mind has been focused on the 2018 DanceLife Teacher Conference. The creation process has been a blast—more than 100 sessions and classes are scheduled, faculty is booked, and special events are planned. We are ready to go! Since the last conference was three years ago,…Read More
The Tap Love Tour podcast Tap artist Travis Knights takes you on an adventure through time, rhythm, and dance. Includes interviews with tappers Starinah Dixon, Roxane Butterfly, and Derick K. Grant; lindy hoppers Aleix Prats Ferrer and Anaïs Sékiné; and former ballet dancer and founder of the Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet online platform Theresa…Read More
Ideas and advice from teachers Freeze out those dreary mid-winter doldrums with a Spirit Week. Creating a week when students can dress up and express themselves is key to cultivating their artistic vision and performance quality. In my ballet classes, I occasionally offer a themed week called “uBu”—a play on “You Do You” or “You…Read More
by Thelma Goldberg Cramp rolls are useful both in class to strengthen small footwork and in choreography. With recital season on the horizon, here are some tips for using them: Begin with clean quarter notes. Dancers should shift weight correctly and separate their sounds. A favorite three-sound pattern for beginners is the press cramp roll,…Read More
Sean and John Scott / Alfred Desio It’s all energy all the time with tap dancing twins Sean and John Scott. Now appearing in the retro-hip cabaret Absinthe in Las Vegas, Sean and John have worked with Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, and Usher. The 33-year-olds are equally comfortable calling out a rap with their feet…Read More
Everything Old Is New Again by Thelma Goldberg Tip 1 Summer is a perfect time to plan ahead for a fabulous new year of tap dance programming. Remember, investing now in your own growth and training (with intensives, books, DVDs, etc.) will pump new energy and ideas into your classes. Begin by planning new warm-ups…Read More
Teacher-Friendly Master Tap Program Launches Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World festival has long been a fount of tap knowledge for dancers. This year, teachers will get lessons designed just for them through the festival’s new Teacher Certification program, which runs July 17 to 20 at the American Rhythm Center in Chicago. Maurice Hines, Lane…Read More
by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1: Since the early days of tap, flash steps have been used to bring routines to exciting climaxes or to challenge other dancers in contests.
Tip 2: Popular flash steps with wings include the single-foot wing in the third step of the B.S. Chorus, the double wing in Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s “Doin’ the New Lowdown,” and the alternating wing and tip in the traditional buck and wing.
Videos of note (new and not)
1. Balanchine Essays: “Arabesque”
2. Thelma’s Tap Notes: Tap Into Life: A Guide to Tap Dancing for Adults, Level I
4. Contemporary Turns and Jumps With Albert Cattafi
Books of note (new and not)
1. Tappin’ at the Apollo: The African American Female Tap Dance Duo Salt and Pepper
2. Saving Radio City Music Hall: A Dancer’s True Story
3. How They Became Famous Dancers: A Dancing History
4. Merce Cunningham: Beyond the Perfect Stage
If you can’t hear a beat without tapping your feet, there are no better places to hone technique, learn about history, meet master teachers, and immerse yourself in rhythmic bliss this year than at these national and international tap festivals.Read More
by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1: Getting a tap routine ready for performance is like putting frosting on a cake. The ingredients have been organized and laid out, and now it’s time to concentrate on the final details: making it look and (in tap’s case) sound great.
Tip 2: Tap is a full-bodied dance form, and the upper body can express rhythm just as clearly as the feet can make sounds.Read More
by David Arce
Tip 1: To start men’s class, my male students and I do 32 push-ups to music (usually at a coda or fouetté tempo) followed by what I call “manly pliés” at the barre.
Tip 2: When male students practice tours en l’air, they often need reminders to clean up their preparation port de bras.Read More
by Ryan P. Casey
What if the trick to getting more people to tap dance was getting them to attend a fitness class?
That’s the premise behind Sole Power, a tap workout program Riverdance alumnus Aaron Tolson conceived in 2013 that fuses basic tap dance with cardio and strengthening exercises.Read More
by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1: For a well-organized class that moves smoothly from one activity to another, create a set playlist that complements your lesson plan.
Tip 2: Choosing appropriate music for tap performances can be challenging.
Read 2 great tips for tap teachers from the legendary Thelma Goldberg, teacher and director of The Dance Inn in Lexington, Massachusetts, since 1983, who is the author of Thelma’s Tap Notes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Tap: Children’s Edition.Read More
by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1 Small, stationary footwork is important to master, but it’s equally important that tap dancers learn to move rhythmically across the floor and around the room.
Tip 2 Moving side to side, forward and back, or in circles and squares will add variety and fun to your tap classes and help keep your students on their toes.Read More