A NOTE ABOUT LEVELS: We are motivated to help you learn in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Part of that comfort and success will come from being honest with yourself in selecting a level that’s appropriate for you. Don’t get caught up in “I should be….”. What matters most is getting the most of each level and acknowledging where you are and what you need.
Time alone is not an indicator of proficiency. Taking tap for 6 months or 6 years means very little at face value. How hard did you work, how often did you attend, how ambitious or knowledgeable was your instructor, how long ago were those classes, etc. Further, a layoff from tap needs to be considered. Few ever return where they left off. You’ll probably be able to get back to it, but at least initially expect your body and processing speed to be slower. Students are always surprised by how much they’ve “lost.” We’re told regularly that our classes operate at a higher level than expected. If you’re still not sure which level after reading the descriptions below ask me and I will help.
Intermediate 1: Saturday 9am / Sunday 10am
With greater fluency expected, the physical and musical demands increase. Improvisational skills are developed, complicated choreography (original, and historical pieces), musicality (tone and dynamics), orchestrated tap (including canons are explored) and more complicated rhythm drills challenge student’s sense of time. Flash is introduced through careful progressions. Specific aspects of historical figures and their contributions are analyzed and learned.
Fluency with varying types of timesteps and being able to alter them with a myriad of variation. Incorporating claps. Ability to remember longer sequences of asymmetrical choreography. Sense of time should be solid to function in canons, work without music, and perform orchestrated rhythms. Fluency and cognitive speed for a variety of paddle and roll (paradiddles) patterns. All the standard “rhythm turns” (inside and outside varieties). Comfort with less breakdown or rehearsal of segments. Quick feet. Students should know their history and the contributions of our milestone tap dancers.
Intermediate 2: Saturday 10am
These classes move at a quicker pace, require less technical explanation, but more personal accountability (students are encouraged to ‘stand alone’). Students are equipped to develop their foundations in flash, deepen their awareness of the masters, and demonstrate their artistic maturity. Choreography and improvisational drills challenge conceptions and use of tap as a performance and expressive medium. Many drills train students’ ears for greater “metronome sense” in preparation for polymetric hearing. Classes at this level are much more progressive in developing the artist through the culmination of their tap experience.
Students should have an extensive knowledge and fluency with a variety of timesteps and the ability to create variations spontaneously. The ability to pick up quickly with little explanation. Facility at very slow and quick tempos while maintaining a feel of swing, even clean and clear tones. While flash isn’t mandatory in every class participants should be able to perform various slides, pullbacks, wings, over the tops, etc, or able to adapt them to their physical restrictions. Students should know their history and the contributions of our milestone tap dancers. Moreso than Intermediate 1 these students should be able to articulate and replicate the various styles of our predecessors (Bill Robinson, Eddie Brown, Coles and Atkins, Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, etc, etc). Retention of material week to week is expected.
Advanced: Saturday 11am / Wednesday 8pm
A very progressive class which focuses on the development of the individual. Elements of style are discussed and through exploratory drills and assignments students begin to define themselves. Structured (and sometimes free) improvisation is often used to exercise new concepts and developments. Class moves quickly and attendees should be very good at picking up new material (we’re often working on longer complicated pieces that don’t get reviewed).
This semi-professional level class challenges participants to apply the knowledge and experience up to this point. Retention of material week to week is a must. Sometimes assignments are given that require more time than class can provide. Usually these are exercises for students to complete on their own to share when they return.
More so than Intermediate 1 these students should be able to articulate and replicate the various styles of our predecessors (Bill Robinson, Eddie Brown, Coles and Atkins, Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, etc, etc).
Beginning 2: Sunday 11am
These beginning classes refine and expand upon existing technique and essentials of the Beginning 1 class. Increased fluency and comfort in beginning level material means that the classroom pace picks up. Combinations and choreography utilize greater rhythmic sophistication and asymmetrical movement. Rhythm drills prepare students for improvisation. Relevant tap history is always integrated into each class.
Students should know several kinds of time steps and how to alter them. Retention of choreography up to 3minutes is advisable. Students should be fluent with all the essentials and able to move quickly. A variety of paddle and roll patterns is expected. Students should be able to see and hear patterns with less explanation. Altering the timing or structure of Beg 1 material should not be confusing at this level.
Beginning 1: Sunday 12am
These beginning classes refine and expand upon existing technique and essentials of the Intro to Tap class. Increased fluency and comfort in beginning level material means that the classroom pace picks up. Combinations and choreography utilize greater rhythmic sophistication and asymmetrical movement. Rhythm drills prepare students for improvisation. Relevant tap history is always integrated into each class.
Students should be able to perform shuffles, flaps, all manner of thirds, a few varieties of paddle and roll patterns, and experience with the tap historical vernacular: elements of the Shim Sham Shimmy, some timesteps, shuffle off to Buffalo, Cincinnati, drawbacks, crawls, Irish (shuffle hop step), waltz clogs, etc.
Intro to Tap: Sunday 1pm
This is the first step for the uninitiated, or the returning student who feels like they’re essentially starting over. This course is a progressive 16 week program requiring pre-registration, and is the only class that does not permit drop-ins. Rudimentary technique and basic vocabulary (physical and musical) are developed through short, repetitive combinations to prepare students for beginning classes at any studio.
How To Pre-Register
The Intro to Tap class does not run end to end/session to session. It requires a minimum of 9 students. When there are enough interested parties the session can start. What has worked in the past is submitting your contact information (name, phone number, and email to the teacher Gregg Geoffroy). He will add you to the list and give you a follow-up call to inform you of a possible start date. In the rare event that a session isn’t going to happen for awhile Gregg suggests a private lesson to get you going and then a drop-in date to the existing class. Particularly if you’ve already had some tap lessons.
Students are strongly encouraged to pay for the session upfront, which keeps them motivated/invested in their development. To reinforce this, classes will cost much less than the drop-in rate (details when you talk to Gregg).
Unless you already have tap shoes don’t buy them before taking the first couple of classes and/or have talked with Gregg. He will make recommendations and help you decide by giving you information to consider. For the first class or two you can wear any low-heeled, solid soled shoe (preferably lace up, or at least very snug). Rubber soles and heels are not recommended. Any additional questions, direct them to Gregg.
Contact Gregg at: firstname.lastname@example.org