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 six months or six 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
This class is appropriate for dancers with less than two years of experience or equivalent skill level. Students can expect less verbal explanations and more “watch, listen and tap” instruction.
The class incorporates the use of mildly complex choreography to further advance the students’ technique and rhythm while helping them find their own unique style!
This class promises a unique and soulful journey that will inspire the artist in all who come to share the experience.
“I’ve Always Wanted to Tap Dance!” you say?
Now is your chance. Some of your tap dance dreams can come true in this FUN class!
This slower-paced class is for brand-new-beginners who have never tap danced before, haven’t tap danced in a long time or need to improve on the basics. Here you will learn all the basic steps (shuffle, stomp, heel to name a few) and beautiful tap technique as you glide and groove around the studio to great music. I work with each body to find your “comfort zone” for tap and your own style.
Please call (707-494-6270) or email Susan if you are interested, so that she can determine the best time for you to start, which is at the beginning of a new short combination/dance.