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Tap Teacher Questions Answered

In today’s episode, I’m answering some questions that have come my way via the iTapOnline Community and the 99 Day iTapOnline Teacher Training Program. I’ve got awesome questions here for you today and before I get started, I want to extend an invitation for you to join my LIVE Chat series. 

Twice a month, I go live and face to face with iTapOnline Family Members to answer all of their questions and talk all things tap dance. What I love about the talks are how wide ranging they are and also how personal they are because we’re sharing live, face-to-face time. Everything from how to approach recital choreography to how to talk to your studio owner about giving the tap program more support, and more specific things like, how to get your students to find the one in the music. 

QUESTION: Creating footwork for transitional/traveling steps from formation to formation has always been a little bit of a challenge for me. Are there certain steps I may be missing that work well? Any advice would be appreciated!! Once I get my kids in the new formation choreographing from there is fine but moving almost always tricks me up!

One of the things I recommend is that it depends on the music and what the music is calling for, but if you want to keep your formation change simple and clean, and those are the best types of formation changes, clean and simple. The steps you should go to are the basic across the floor vocabulary, flaps, flap heel, flap heel heel, flap ball-change, front irish, shuffle ball-change front irish, shuffle ball change, back irish.

You don’t have to go flap flap flap flap flap flap flap or flap heel flap heel flap heel flap heel

I recommend you combine and compound those across the floor steps.You can come up with a nice across the floor combination that you can then use for your formation change. Remember: a formation change is nothing but an across the floor combination with a geometric pattern.

When it comes time to change formations, go ahead and look at how many counts you have, how many bars you have, and start putting together a nice phrase going across the floor during your across the floor part of your class and then say, “surprise, that across the floor phrase is your formation change”

QUESTION: When starting a new class, do you take a few minutes during the first session to review rules of etiquette? And if so, is this something that you do with adults as well as kids?

Etiquette is very important to discuss in dance because dance studio etiquette is not standard etiquette, and it’s something that needs to be taught in the studio so that your expectations are clear. Now the way you go about teaching dance studio etiquette, tap class etiquette specifically is not by standing on front of the room and saying, “okay everyone, here are the rules, you will not tap while I’m talking, you will stay in your lines”. It’s not like that. It’s something you teach as you go along. For example, if you find that you’re teaching, and you paused the class to give corrections and people start running their feet, just say “quiet feet while I’m talking please”. You’ll say it over and over again, “hold your feet while I’m talking please” and then eventually it becomes a standard expectation of etiquette in your class. Anf that goes for children, teens and adults. 

There are other aspects of etiquette that need to be tuaught as well. How to go across the floor? How do we know class is over? Do we clap at the end of class? Where do I put my water bottle? When can I get a sip of water during class? These are things that will be taught over time. 

QUESTION: I’m really looking to bring live music into the classroom, but I’m not quite sure where to start. 

I answered this question in the iTapOnline Family LIVE Chat. What’s awesome about these chats is that because they’re live and on video, I was able to ask this teacher more about their own experience working with live music before, how to ask their studio owner to provide compensation to pay a musician to come in, how to prep the musician so they know what they’re walking into, how to prep the students so they know what to expect, and more. All of our LIVE Chats are recorded and archived in the iTapOnline Video Library which is accessible 24/7 to iTapOnline Family Members.

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