Support Systems:

The family is always going to be there, but the biggest support that I have now is my friends. You’re looking at three of them right here and we all have each others backs. Always… always! And as we get older, that is going to be the support system.

~Justin Myles, current dancer on tour with Tap Dogs

Today’s episode brings us back to August 2018, the 9th annual celebration of Jersey Tap Fest. Part of my program with Jersey Tap Fest is a public “Tap Talk” where I invite faculty members to join me in answering questions directly from the students. This excerpt of our Tap Talk features Mark Orsborn, Justin Myles of The JAM Project, Bril Barrett of M.A.D.D. Rhythms, and myself.

When you knew that this was your dream, what was the reaction from your family?

Mark Orsborn (2:15)
Mark started dancing at five years old and his father, very set in his ways, wanted him to become an athlete, not a dancer. In time, his parents realized that whenever he was dancing, be it teaching or performing, that he was giving it 100% of himself. That was the turning point where they grew to appreciate and support him.

Justin Myles (4:00)

Justin’s comes from a close-knit family where dance and music were always in the home. His mom was his tap teacher and his family was always supportive of his path. Justin says that music and dance are in his DNA and if you were to erase it, he would have nothing. Now, he finds that his biggest support system is his friends within the tap community who always have his back.

Hillary-Marie (6:15)

My parents were supportive of me studying the dance. Every parent’s goal is to provide a quality of life that is higher than they had, and my mother was no different. When I told my parents I wanted to be a tap dancer, they hoped that I would grow out of it. In time, my family came around and everyone’s extremely supportive. Even though I always knew that I wanted to be a tap dancer, it wasn’t until my Father passed away when I was 19 that I decided that I didn’t have time to do something out of self-appointed obligation to live a different life for someone else’s expectations. Surrounding yourself with people who support you is a beautiful thing, but you do this because it’s your dream.

Your support system is your love and passion for what you want to do and there is more support there than you can ever find in other people. If you are lucky enough to find people who will be your support system, that is gold! Keep those people close. We do what we can to take care of each other, but at the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself and your own love and passion.

Bril Barrett (10:54)

As a child, Bril had the support of his family. If his parents couldn’t afford to pay for dance classes, his uncle would. But, when Bril decided to dance as a career, that same uncle couldn’t see dance as a real, viable career option. Bril treated his tap dance career like a job, working eight hours a day making calls, sending videos, working at his “career” as a tap dancer. As young people growing into adults, that is the path you have to navigate: making your parents happy or making you happy. In the end, you have to live your life! Bril has made a lot of sacrifices because tap is his passion and his sanity.

A Chance to Cross Paths (15:45)

Mark is currently organizing performances for The JAM Project and working on setting up JAM Camp, happening August 2019 in the DC area. Justin is currently on tour with Tap Dogs, and Bril is in Chicago repping all things M.A.D.D. Rhythms.

Other LITS Episodes featuring Justin, Bril & Mark: (16:06)

Episode 012: The Choreography Process

Episode 014: Passion Projects

Who is YOUR Support System? (16:32)

Tell me more about your friends’ and family’s reaction to your passion for tap dance. Who has been your greatest support system? You can comment in the show notes of this episode or post in the iTapOnline Community Facebook group. Please comment and share your thoughts. I always write you back!  

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