Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I FINALLY got to go to tap class last night. It was SO fun. I encourage all of you to find the community arts programs in your city (try through the parks and rec department) and find some kind of class to take. Even if only to blog about it.

Allison came over to my house before class to show me the steps to the dance "sequence" that they learned last week. It was fairly basic, in fact, I learned it while eating my dinner. I changed into shorts and we headed off to class.

The Community Arts Center is a brightly decorated kid-friendly facility. We had to sign in, and then walk through a ballet class to get to Studio C. Next stop, Tappsville. There was a jazz class going on beside us, too.

Our instructor and two classmates were stretching on the floor when we walked in. Nadine. our teacher, looked to be at least in her forties. She was wearing wing tipped tap shoes, so I knew she meant business. The two students were both in their teens, and then another older woman joined us as we started class. Five students total.

Nadine started us off with some warm up moves, then we put those to music. The first few songs we tapped to were all songs I performed with the jazz band in high school, including "Paper Moon" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." So when I wasn't tapping, I was singing. Or dancing.

We moved to the bar to learn some sequential steps created by a famous tapper named Al Gilbert (he taught Annette Funicello and Michael Jackson). They start off easy, with just fa-lap ball changes, then we had to spin toward the bar and do them facing the other way. That was a little tricky. We would repeat one step for a while, then add a heel, a hop, a step, a toe and eventually, all of the above, until we had a whole 8-count of flapping and hopping and stepping then spinning to do it all over again.

We moved away from the bar and back to the center of the floor where Nadine announced she not only couldn't remember the song our dance "sequence" went to, but she didn't remember the dance "sequence" itself. Luckily, I knew for a fact that Allison remembered the dance "sequence" as she had just taught it to me 30 minutes earlier, so once Nadine remembered music, I offered that Allison remembered the dance "sequence." So of course Nadine had Allison perform it to the music ("Crazy Little Thing Called Love"). She did wonderfully and I led a round of applause when she was finished.

We reviewed the dance "sequence" and then learned some new traveling steps that would go next in our dance "sequence." After practicing them a few times to the music and adding them to the end of our dance "sequence," Nadine taught us a few other traveling steps. This is where class got really exciting. We learned a step called a Front Irish. It gets that name because it looks like Irish step dancing (your feet cross in front of you a la Riverdance). After we practiced our Front Irishes a few times, Nadine corralled us all into the back corner of Studio C. From there, we were to travel across the room to the opposite front corner, wait in the back corner on that side of the room, and travel across the room again to the front corner. The other students, having learned the ways of tap class without me last week, lined up behind me so they wouldn't have to go first. Bullies. So I was the line leader without even realizing it until Nadine turned on some music and nodded at me. We were to do two flap ball changes followed by two Front Irishes, over and over again, all the way across the room. Off I went, arms a-swinging: fa-lap ball change, fa-lap ball change, shuf-fle hop step, shuf-fle hop step. Fa-lap ball change, fa-lap ball change, shuf-fle hop step, shuf-fle hop step. I was pretty good.

We huddled in the corner until it was time to prance back across the room. Nadine threw us a curve ball: "start on your LEFT foot!" I repeated the steps back across the room, this time leading with my left foot, with little problems. In fact, I'm surprised the Rockettes haven't already called me.

Nadine had us travel the room twice more and then, with one minute left in the class, taught us one fun extra step. Apparently she'd promised one of our classmates she'd teach it to us last night. It's called a Paradiddle. Heel, drag, toe, step. Heel, drag, toe, step. Heel, drag, toe, step. You're switching feet after each step. "Par-a-did-dle, par-a-did-dle," Nadine chanted, keeping rhythm while we practiced. I looked at Allison and decided to keep my own rhythm while I paradiddled: "Lind-say [Last Name], Lind-say [Last Name]." It works just as well as "par-a-did-dle."

I paradiddled over to my flip flops and changed out of my tap shoes. If Legally Blonde hadn't been coming on and Evan hadn't have been waiting on me at my house, I would have stayed after class and tapped my heart out. I loved the sound of all those taps click clacking on the wooden floors. I can't wait to go back next week!


  1. Thanking you for omitting all of my mess-ups. Now, we need to discuss ribbon colors for next week. You know...the important things. ha

  2. I'm so happy you are tapping! It is by far my favorite thing in the whole world. I hope you enjoy it!


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