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Tap Dancers' Top 3 Mistakes when Practicing Fast Footwork

Published on March 11th 2021 by Hillary-Marie

Speed and clarity.

It’s something tap dancers are always striving for! 

And it’s a question that comes up constantly in my iTap Chats withiTapOnline™ Members.

How can I dance faster without missing my sounds?

How do you teach speed and clarity?

How do your feet move so fast?!

Here’s the thing about speed…

So many tap dancers are uncomfortable with dancing fast. 

They lack the confidence they need because their feet aren’t crispy clean. 

With clarity in technique, comes confidence, and with that confidence, comes the comfort to push your tempo. 

So I’ve got two words for you…

Speed Training.

Today, I want to share with you the three most common mistakes that I see tap dancers make when approaching fast footwork.

MISTAKE #1: NOT LISTENING BACK

On the rare chance that a tap dancer is actually recording themselves while they practice (NOT for the purpose of posting on social media), they’re typically just watching the playback, rather than listening to the playback. You should record yourself and just listen. Your ears will tell you the truth. Sometimes when we watch our playbacks, our eyes fill in the missing sounds for us. 

MISTAKE #2: NO METRONOME

Speed Training without a metronome is like eating soup with a fork. It’s just silly. You’re not doing yourself any favors. Speed Training without a metronome means you’re relying on your internal ability to keep time with precision. It’s just not real. You’re human, and you feel time and music differently without the presence of a metronome. To learn more about the importance of a metronome and how it can benefit your tap dancing, check out Episode #087 “When to Use a Metronome in Tap Class”. 

MISTAKE #3: DOUBTING THEMSELVES

So many tap dancers doubt their ability to dance fast, even when they have the technical chops and ability to do so. 

TIPS FOR SPEED TRAINING

I’ve always been super passionate about fast footwork and rolling technique, inspired by tap dancers like Steve Condo who applied drum rudiments to tap dance technique.

Coincidentally, I learned about speed training many years ago from a drummer. Then I took that concept and applied it to tap dance to develop a personal practice technique to bring fast footwork to life. Not only has it worked for me, but it’s worked magic for my students over the years. 

I’ve taken my approach to fast footwork and speed training, and have broken it down step by step in a new course in the iTapOnline™ Member Center, “Fast Feet and Phrasing”. 

This Fast Feet and Phrasing course is great for intermediate+ level tap dancers who need help gaining confidence and clarity in fast footwork. It's also great for teachers who want to have a deeper understanding of phrasing and how it can help their students pick up choreography faster.

iTapOnline™ Members can check it out in theiTapOnline™ Member Center.

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