TAP! What’s So Great About It?

 by Lane Gormley, LPC

Georgia Dance Conservatory is happy to announce the addition of Tap Classes to our current curriculum.

Red, White, and Blue

Tap Dancing is one of the most extraordinary dance forms in the American Repertoire. It is a uniquely American mixture, with roots in Irish Step Dancing, English and Welsh Clogging, and West African Juba Dance. In other words, Tap is a true American Melting Pot of dance traditions. Some dance researchers distinguish between two types of tap: Broadway Tap and Rhythm (Jazz) Tap. Broadway tap is very dance oriented and part of the musical theater tradition. Rhythm tap focuses more on musicality, and practitioners often consider themselves to be Jazz musicians as well as dancers (because of the percussion played by their feet). Other researchers think that there are many more types of tap, and I suspect they may be right. A lot of Hip Hop dancers seem to have a strong background in tap and, at the same time, to be taking tap to ever more complex levels. From Minstrel Shows to the Vaudeville Stage, from Bojangles and Shirley Temple to Fred Astaire, Gregory Hines, Stomp, and beyond, tap dancers have lit up our performance halls and our hearts.

Here are some other reasons to take tap…

Have Fun!!!! Tap dancing is a fabulously fun style of dance that anyone can learn, regardless of previous dance experience.  Children usually love it.

Condition the Cardiovascular System and Get In Shape.   A tap routine is a workout in and of itself.

Relax the Body and Increase Flexibility   Even young ballet dancers often like to take a weekly tap class to shake loose the legs and stretch hips, knees, and ankles. For them, it might be seen as a form of cross-training.

Increase Cognitive and Muscle Memory  Remembering and repeating quick steps and dance sequences exercise the brain in much the same way that they exercise the body.

Steady and Strengthen the Core Muscles  Tap requires the body to balance, shift, and quickly adjust itself over fast-moving feet. The shoulders, abdomen, and gluteal muscles of the dancer will acquire strength and tone as they work to keep up.

Work on Proprioception and Coordination Proprioception is the body’s ability to respond quickly to commands from the brain. Coordination is the correct execution of intended movement. Tap Dancing realigns the brain and the body and encourages them to stay in sync.

Dance to the Beat   Musicality is the essence of tap. The dancer’s feet will literally be the drums.  They will feel like part of the music.

Be a Soloist No partner is needed to tap. The dancer can both perform it and practice it alone.

Want to Know More?   Watch these dancers: http://time.com/107712/best-movie-tap-dance-scenes/   You can find them on YouTubeTime Magazine adjudicated these performances to be The Ten Best Tap Dancing Routines.

Bring Your Young Dancers Over, and Join Us

Hilary Ruffner  is teaching ages 5 to 9 on Mondays at 4:00 PM.  Jewanda Lanier is teaching ages 10 to 18 on Fridays at 5:30.  Drop what you are doing, and go to Center Stage or Dance Max. Get some tap shoes for the tapper. Dress them in dance clothes, sweats,  or something entirely cool, and come on over. It’s never too late to be part of the fun!!!!


Saed Hindash’s Photo Montage of Savion Glover

 Lane Gormley is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Coach at East Paces Counseling in Buckhead and Ray of Hope Counseling Services in Kennesaw, GA.  She has taken class, taught and participated in the GDC community for years.