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5 Tap Dance Learning Types

Published on October 10th 2019 by Hillary-Marie

One of my superpowers as a tap teacher is my ability to find the best way to communicate with each student individually. It’s like I turn my brain off, and try to be them, and feel the way they think and the way that they dance. It helps me to solve problems for them faster and give quality corrections, because I’m not pushing on them the way that I think about tap dance, but I’m speaking their language.

Not everybody learns the same way. We know this when it comes to academics, right? Everyone has a learning type. Visual learnings, verbal learnings, kinesthetic, etc.

So I thought to myself over the years… what are the different tap dance learning types? And over time, I’ve found that there are 5 different learning types in tap dance. And each one has a unique way of approaching tap dance.

  1.       Counters: “...is it 1 + 2 e +… or is it 1 a 2 e +?”
  2.       Steppers: “...is it flap heel heel… or is it flap heel toe?”
  3.       Scatters: “...is it oop bop sha bam… or is it oop bop sha bee bop?”
  4.       Shapers: “...so I start on the right, cross in front and turn out of it?”
  5.       Watchers: “...can you do it twice by yourself?”

 One learning type isn’t better than the other. There’s no singular right way to absorb tap dance, everyone’s individual and different. But! The best tap teachers know how to answer all the above questions, and how to help their students identify their learning types.

I identify this by asking my students, “how do you think about tap dance? Do you like to count? Think of step names? Scat? Do you think of the shape? Or do you just need to see me do it solo?” 

It’s SO helpful to ask this question, whether I’m working with new students on a weekly basis at my studio at Grooves Unlimited, or if I’m teaching around the world as a guest artist. It helps us get on the same page so quickly.

Helping your students identify their tap dance learning type will help them for years to come. They’ll finally “get it” and they’ll know how to ask quality questions for themselves throughout class. 

You know I love to hear from you guys… what’s YOUR tap dance learning type? 

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