Hello to all and welcome back to the Tap Blog,
Having been travelling around a lot teaching masterclasses recently, I have been reminded of just how foreign it is for a lot of tap teachers and students to use relaxed arm lines in their tapping!
Whilst many of you may have “moved on” and “moved with the tapping times” – there are still an enormous amount of teachers who find this more relaxed, easy style of tapping quite challenging, confronting and awkward!
So today – I just want to reassure everyone that it is not as difficult as it looks – and this more relaxed style can ” co-exist ” alongside more traditional styles. It does not have to be a case of ” one or the other ” but rather a great opportunity to ” add another string to your bow” if you are not already more familiar with this more modern / relaxed style!
Also be aware that the ” technical” elements remain the same – it is just the icing on top of the proverbial cake that changes. Very much like different styles of jazz or contemporary – the fundamentals remain the same – but the treatment and style is just different.
I am very much about keeping ” tap syllabus ” current and moving with the times, and for this reason, I am always going into classes myself to stay up to date with what is going on – and then bringing that to my Tapatak Oz clients. I very much encourage our little family of tappers to use the programme as a base, but at the same time get on to YouTube and Facebook and Google and check out what the ” next generation” are doing!
It can be very daunting to realise that you are no longer the ” new kid on the block” ha ha ha ah ah – but it is also invigorating to experience all the ” new stuff ” that is out there.
So today – I encourage you all to play around with this more relaxed style, if you have not already done so. You do not have to turn your back on the more traditional styles that you may be more familiar with – but rather, encourage your students to be able to do both. After all – 42nd St, Singing In the Rain and Crazy for You require a totally different style to The Tap Dogs or Bring In The Noise , Bring In The Funk! So getting across all styles in the tap genre can be really exciting!
The key to this more relaxed style is to let your arms flow easily and effortlessly with you! To get going I often suggest that the student start the combination with their arms raised above their head – and then let them just fall and move around with them until they find a nice flow of movement!
I have found this a most effective approach with students who are not comfortable tapping without ” set arm lines”.
Another tip is to try the arms swinging on their own with the music – to really get the feel going – and then add in the footwork.
Finally – if working in a troupe or group situation with these relaxed arm lines – I recommend adding a few ” sharp arm lines ” that are hit on specific counts to really give the group effect, shape and synchronicity! This really helps with less mature tappers who can tend to look a little messy, if not given particular direction with these relaxed arm lines.
For instance I might say:
1 Swing your arms up in a parallel position
2 Swing your arms down in a parallel position
3 Swing your arms up in a parallel position
4 Swing your arms down in a parallel position
5 Swing your arms up in a parallel position
6 Swing your arms down in a parallel position
7 Turn with your arms behind your back
a Arms hit a high strong position holding your hat
8 Both hands come down strongly and end up on your hips – while the head looks sharply to the L.
By giving this direction in a group routine, I will have achieved that fabulous relaxed, easy look, but also added great visual dynamics and strength through those arm lines hitting those strong positions in perfect synchronicity!
And to me this is so important when trying to present a modern / funky style tap performance piece, in a group dynamic with younger tappers. They really need these moments of ” visual togetherness” to pull it off!
It is also highly effective in solo choreography to add some visual dynamics to this relaxed style too. Professional tappers add these visual dynamics so easily and effortlessly that often it looks like there is no skill there at all ha ha ha. But that is the trick of it! Adding in that nonchalant arm -line, casual slide or subtle head movement, wink of an eye etc – that adds the ” X Factor” to what is going on.
But – you can do it too!
So – again – if you have not already given it a go! Just relax and go for it!
We all start somewhere and I am constantly amazed at how much more there is for me to learn! The beauty of being involved in an art-form like tap dance that is forever changing!
Forever fluid! Forever evolving!
So don’t be shy!
Don’t feel intimidated!
Don’t feel worried that you will look silly!
Just give it a go!
If you want to look at a few examples of some nice relaxed arm lines for your students – join our Facebook page and check out our posts: https://www.facebook.com/TapatakOzSyllabus/?ref=bookmarks
We also constantly post tapping from professionals all over the globe to inspire our happy band of teachers and students and keep them current!
Or visit the gallery on our website: https://www.tapatak-oz.com/gallery/
It is totally FREE!
And there are heaps of clips that may give you ideas of where to start!
And if you are already a client – head to our VIP area: https://www.tapatak-oz.com/vip-area/ enter your secret code and check out all the updates you can access for FREE. There are heaps of teaching tips here and lots of ideas on how to get this relaxed style going!
Together we can stay inspired and passionate about tap and pass that enthusiasm onto our tap students too!
So – the message today is RELAX!
It is as simple as that!
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