Top 10 Traits of Terrific Tap Teachers

Published on November 14th 2019 by Hillary-Marie

I want you to pause for a second, and think about your favorite Tap Dance teacher in the whole world.

It could be the person that inspired you to want to become a Tap teacher yourself, or maybe it's the person who helped you realize your true love and passion for Tap Dance as your favorite hobby.

What made them so special?

Today's podcast episode is a celebration of some of the best Tap Teachers out there and the 10 traits that they all have in common.

  1. Terrific tap teachers have the ability to connect with the individual dancer. They help solve problems in that dancer’s technique or fill in the missing bits. They know exactly what that dancer needs to move forward and reach the next level, and how to deliver it to them. If that idea fascinates you, check out episode 046 where I talk about Tap Dance Learning Types. 
  2. They have respect for the art of the dance, for their students, for their peers, for everyone they cross paths with. 
  3. They’re flexible. This means that they’re not going to come in and teach what they want to teach - they’re going to teach what the students need that day. To an awesome tap teacher, it doesn’t matter that Bruno Mars just came out with a new song and they came up with really great choreo for it that they want to post on instagram… if the students need to work on their timing or their swing pocket that day, that’s what they’re focused on instead. 
  4. They’re patient - they have empathy and can feel when it’s time to push their students and when it’s time to give them space to marinate on the new concepts provided to them. They remember what it’s like to be a student. 
  5. They’re passionate. They eat breathe and sleep tap dance. You know they’re a tap dancer. It’s in their heart and soul. 
  6. They’re dedicated to the continuation of their education. They never stop learning, they never stop growing. This means, they take time for themselves to practice, to shed, they still take class, they continue to research, learn and grow, they sit in on other teacher’s classes.
  7. They’re inspired to inspire others. Their love and knowledge of the dance is contagious, absorbed by all those around them. 
  8. They give limitlessly. They truly want to share everything that they know and pass it down to those who are willing to listen and absorb it, just like their teachers did with them. 
  9. They’re supportive, and consistently develop relationships with their students and often take on the role of a mentor. 
  10. Last but not least, they are professional , and they show their students and the tap dance community at large that they take their role as an educator seriously. 

If I were to mention five people off the top of my head that completely embody this entire list, it would be Diane Walker (Aunt Diane), Heather Cornell, Anthony Morigerato, Lisa Swenton-Eppard and Bril Barrett. I’ve got some great interview and tap talks episodes with some of these teachers that you should scroll on back to check out. 

And this brings up a new and final thought here...

If you’re in a position to be hiring teachers, deciding who are the faculty members of a convention, festival, competition, or at your studio… my question for you is… what type of teachers should we be hiring? The ones that bring people in the door? Or the ones that give students results? 

How interesting would it be, if as a producer or a director, if you gained the TRUST from your fan base, by bringing in teachers who made a difference, and then your fan base grows based on word of mouth, people who say, "yeah, I've been to XYZ... what an amazing experience". 

What if we built our communities, on a sense of trust, so that we no longer needed to rely on the big names with the large instagram following to build our special events? But instead, when you introduce a teacher to the roster that no one has heard of, everyone still signs up because they trust you, they trust you as a director and as a producer, because you’ve always done them a solid and provided them with a top knotch learning experience every single time. 

Imagine the positive change a move like that could have on our community. 

Comment below! Who are your favorite tap teachers and why? Shout them out and let’s celebrate them together!

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