Hello to everyone and welcome back,
Today’s newsletter is really short and sweet and just a quick comment on tap dance existing alongside classical ballet in your dance school.
I have been asked many times, as I travel around the country whether or not children who pursue one genre can also pursue another and my resounding response is: yes!
You only need to look at the incredible Steven McRae – Principal with the Royal Ballet Company in the UK, to see that studying one genre does not at all mean sacrificing your brilliance in the other. -And in fact you could go so far as to say that some of the skills developed in tap can indeed be useful in classical ballet and not inhibiting or damaging at all.
A sense of performance, showmanship, bravura, rhythm and dynamics are certainly skills from tap dancing that can be utilised in the world of classical ballet, contemporary and many other genres of dance.
Baryshnikov – whilst not a tap dancer per se – was wonderful dancing alongside Gregory Hines in the quintessential dance film White Nights – and certainly also goes some way, in my view, to dispelling the myth that tap can not co-exist with ballet.
There are many skills that assist each other:
- the rhythm and showmanship, developed particularly in tap, can add to the charisma, dynamics and timing of a classical dancer
- the upper body alignment of a classical ballet dancer certainly adds to the visual aesthetic of the tap dancer with lovely line and feel
- the funky edge developed in hip hop/jazz dance etc can really assist with giving modern tap dancers greater style and attitude to draw on visually to support their rhythmic flair
So for me – all these genres go hand in hand to create a more diverse and capable dancer – able to bring many skills to the fore in whatever genre they are performing.
So keep tapping and adding as many strings to the bow as possible – and these supplementary skills can be developed not only in the tap class but also standing at a ballet barre or taking part in a hip hop class or contemporary dance workshop.
Once your students fully appreciate and understand the cross-over and benefits of bringing skills developed in one class into their other classes – you will see huge leaps forward across the board.
That is what I have witnessed over the years in classrooms all over Australia.
When the teachers and students really get that connection and bring all skills to all genres – that is when the magic truly happens!
So – love TAP and love all other genres too. It’s like adding more choices to your box of chocolates.
Love Tap and Pass It On