June 27, 2023 njads
When I was about 17 years old, I quit taking tap lessons, and this is something I have always regretted. I began dancing when I was 2 years old; taking various styles of dance over the years. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started taking tap. Tap was not one of my strongest points, but I enjoyed classes. When I switched studios while in high school, I was thrown into a tap class that had students that danced competitively and were very advanced. I was placed in that class since there aren’t a lot of classes for older students. I felt lost. It was difficult for me to get my brain to make my feet do what I was telling them to do. I enjoyed the instructor, the students and the lessons, but the technique often had me anxious and I always felt like I couldn’t keep up. The studio owner tried to help, offering to let me take classes with younger kids so that I could “catch up.” I was overwhelmed, and also trying to get good grades in school, and working to save money for university. I made the decision to quit tap, and continued with only my Ballet classes twice a week, and a Jazz class. There was another dancer in the class who also started at the same time as me…she stuck it out, and managed to improve her technique over the season and performed at recital with her class. As I watched them on stage, I was sad that I didn’t stick it out like she did.
Fast forward a couple decades and maybe a few years. I am now in my 40s, have graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from York University, gotten married, had two kids, and opened a successful studio with 2 locations. We offered tap classes at our studio, but I always seemed to be teaching on the day Adult Tap was offered. This past season, I made the difficult decision to stop teaching, so that I would have the time to run the studio and mentor our staff more effectively. The bonus, I would be able to take Adult Tap! Was the class hard? Yes! Did I have fun? Yes! Were there days where I was tired and I wanted to skip? Yup (but thankfully Miss Alyssa called me out on these days and I made it to class). Being a business owner can be hard at times, and I did sometimes have to miss class. Overall, though? I was proud of the progress I made. I am now able to do my double pickups again, got a little more comfortable with improv. and can remember the entire Steve Condos’ sequence for class warmup. My biggest achievement??? I got to perform a tap routine on stage with my class! I will admit I was nervous and thought I might throw up before taking the stage, but once the music started the adrenaline kicked in, and I had fun. I knew if I could make it to the last section of back essences, I was golden and in the homestretch. Thank you to Miss Alyssa and the amazing dancers in my class, who always made me feel comfortable and shared in this experience as we learned and performed our routine in a swung rhythm.