Hi Everyone,

Today I wanted to talk to you about the added enthusiasm and interest your students will tend to show in their tap classes, when you allow them a little more freedom to add their own twist to what they are doing.

This could be through allowing more latitude with the style or it could also be through encouraging them to add their own 2 x 8 or 4 x 8 at the beginning or end of a sequence you give them.

How do I know this?

Well the answer is that I have seen this in classrooms all over Australia for the past few years, as I have experimented with different elements of the Tapatak Oz programme. And through this experimentation, I have discovered just how much the children value, and how much they gain from being invited to express their own creativity and to harness their own ideas during different parts of their class work.

Of course there are elements and structure that always need to be maintained in any class situation and when working on a competition routine where “ everyone being the same” is paramount this would not be the idea to try. But in a general class situation, allowing this freedom at different intervals has three major benefits that I have witnessed time and time again first hand:

1. It allows the students to add their own flavor and creativity to what they are doing which seems to generate a lot of enthusiasm towards the step at hand and classes I general. Students truly love the opportunity to add their individuality to what they do.

2. It gets them to think about what they are doing and the application of that technique to other steps – thus engaging their interest, creativity and own choreographic ability. For instance, if I teach a canon exercise, I would ask them to work in a group and then add their own 2 x 8 of canon at the end. They are then learning about how to create canon and the importance of accent and the steps they choose in this task. They are loving making up their own section of the set piece but are now also learning about the machinations of canon work.

3. It allows each child to work at their own pace and to showcase their own special abilities: a very talented tapper will tend to come up with some amazing steps and rhythms, whilst a less natural tapper may add some incredible turns or funky dance elements that showcase his or her particular skills. In this way – all levels of the class are engaged and no-one feels left out or bored by doing work that is either above or below their level of experience. It is a clever way to keep every student engaged.

So that is my tip for this week.

Allow your students some room to move with your set choreography in some of your tap classes and you will see their enthusiasm grow. It may take a little time and encouragement if they are not used to adding their own steps to what you do in class – but be patient and you may just be surprised at what is revealed to you about your students through their own ideas and choreography.

As always.