Hi Everyone,

Having just conducted a series of teacher’s workshops for dance studios across Australia, I have a lot of teaching strategies really fresh in my mind – and today I would like to share another of those with you.

For many of you, more experienced tap teachers out there, you may be familiar with this approach – but I found that many of the younger generation and student teachers at my seminars found this incredibly helpful, so I thought I would share the JOY here today.

People often mention that their tap class can fall apart a little when the students repeat things or try steps and combos one at a time. And true – this can become an issue and create boredom if you are not careful – so what I suggest is learning to ” keep the beat” as you are talking and demonstrating yourself, as it really keeps the class flowing, which in turn means keeping the room focused.

What I mean by this, is that, while I am giving tips between repetitions of the step, I talk in the same flow and beat of the combo we are working on.

If the combo or exercise has a rock feel I mimic this timing, energy and flow as I talk about the step. Similarly if the combo was a nice light waltz feel, I would talk in a 3/4 feel with a lyrical tone to my voice, to match the step we are working on.

In this way – it is really easy to count back into the combo: ” & a 4 5 6″ etc

Some times I will click along in time to keep the tempo steady – or clap if it is a funkier combo.

Here is a written example for you in a steady 3/4 feel:

1 2 3 ” So what we”

4 5 6 ” are going to do now”

1 2 3 ” is place the accent on that heel”

4 5 6 ” let’s give it a go ”

1 2 3 ” but first just do the toe heel”

4 5 6 ” here we go & ”

1 ” wait ”

a2 3 The class does the toe heel = wait 1 / toe heel a2 / wait 3

4 5 6 ” that’s great – let’s try again again ”

1 ” wait ”

&2 3 The class does the toe heel = wait 1 / toe heel &2 / wait 3

4 5 6 ” nice – let’s try again again ”

1 ” wait ”

&2 3 The class does the toe heel = wait 1 / toe heel &2 / wait 3

4 5 6 ” that’s great – good job ”

And so on and so forth. This continuity really keeps the class focused, as the students do not have the opportunity to let their attention move as the class is still ” in motion” as you are speaking and the rhythm will carry them along.

Without skipping a beat, literally, I then explain that we are going around the room ” one at a time” and that everyone else will keep time with their feet. Perhaps they will all do slaps[ = brush step = a1], until it is their turn to solo the combo we are working on, as this will compliment the feel of our 3/4 nicely. So now they are all slapping away, interacting with each other, feeling the JOY and we can start our movement around the class one at a time.

Everyone in the room is engaged in what is going on even of they are not the ” soloing” artist or tapper!

Again – I wish I had thought of this strategy a lot earlier in my teaching career. But there you go – better late than never! And if you can impart these pearls of wisdom to your younger teaching staff you may find the control of their classes, and their success of their teaching really improves.

So – enjoy this little tip and if you are looking to join our Happy Band of Tapatak Oz Teachers and enthusiasts – and have access to tips like these 24/7 on our website – you know where to go!

Enjoy working with this – it is just magic and makes a huge difference to class.