Our tap classes start at age 7 and older.  It is the Academy’s opinion (based on scientific studies) that children should not be introduced to the strenuous nature of tap (or ballet, or jazz) until then because younger than that, their little bodies, bones, and muscles are not ready to handle the precise movements.  Our student’s safety and well-being ( not only today but well into the future)  are very important to us!  The Academy also strongly recommends that the student has completed at least one year of classical ballet training; however, we do understand that taking a year of ballet may not be an option for some students and we are willing to work with that in mind.  WHY is ballet so important?  For any dancer, classical ballet training is invaluable because not only are most dance forms based from ballet, ballet also provides a basic understanding of dance principles and instills the proper execution of dance techniques. Ballet will also develop the line and form (the two and three dimensional images created by the dancer’s body), muscle strength, joint flexibility, balance and co-ordination; all of which is vital for a “good”, strong dancer.  

Tap Registration Dress Codes Tuition Schedule All about your Tap class

Beginner Levels introduce the fundamental traditional steps of tap  with an emphasis on developing proper technique (including balancing and turning). Students not studying other dance disciplined must understand basic weight changes and correct body placement.  Exercises and dances in the beginner levels consist of simple structures at slower tempos to co-ordinate steps in basic patterns and sequences. Students are encouraged to demonstrate a step or pattern one at a time, so the teacher can clearly hear errors

.  Intermediate Levels expand the vocabulary of steps/exercises and structures become more complex.  A variety of music styles are introduced, there is less repetition, and tempos increase.  There is a reinforcement to develop clean sounds and proper body placement. A cappella work and style is introduced and individual counting. Students begin to focus on phrasing and “sung” rhythm.  

Advanced Levels, they are ready to be introduced to improvisation. the focus continues to be placed on clarity of sound and the student focuses on tap dynamics.   Steps increase in difficulty, attention is given to directional changes and traveling within the framework of the rhythm, complex turns and increased  vocabulary  are learned. Dancers at the higher level s are usually proficient in other dance forms and have the ability to assimilate rhythms, style and dynamics of short sequences and longer combinations with the utmost speed. There is an emphasis on “flash” steps and developing greater technique,  speed and diversity of styles.

Class Structure

Tap dancing is a style of American theatrical dancing distinguished by percussive footwork that marks out precise rhythmic patterns on the floor.  Tap was born out of the Irish solo step dance, the English Clog dance, and African dance movements.  The history of tap dance is the history of tap improvisation and creativity.  Influential tap dancers did not just execute the steps of others, they expanded on ideas already developed, or they came up with entirely new idea through improvisation or choreography.  In the beginning, tap dancers were called “hoofers” because they focused primarily on the rhythms and syncopated music of their feet.  Metal taps weren’t added until the 1920’s.  Other tap creators melded complex foot rhythms with different styles of movement and music to originate new forms.  Paul Draper, in the 1930’s, created what was to be known as “ballet tap”.  Fred Astaire, probably the most famous tap dancer, developed a new amalgamate style of dance, cool and debonair, which combined the full body movements of ballet, the romantic grace of ballroom dance, the syncopated sound of tap dance, and the percussiveness of  jazz dance.  Recently, tap has evolved further into what we see in “Stomp”, “Tap Dogs”, and “Riverdance”.

  The Academy of Expressive Dance  follows the Canadian  Teacher’s Association tap syllabus and tap terminology.  Please see our dress code information sheet on what you will require for your level of class

Tap class always begins with a pre-warm up that helps to get the blood circulating and to prepare your muscles for the demands of the rest of class. The barre is used as a means of support in the next segment of class where the basics of all subsequent steps and movements are introduced and practiced. The barre allows students to fully concentrate on the sound and precise movement of each step. These steps are then later practiced in the centre, without support. Stretching is an important part of any dance class, and promotes flexibility and strength. There is also a section of traveling across the floor and a centre combination. Throughout the class, students work on proper technique, musicality, rhythmic execution, dynamics, speed, clarity of sound and style. Creative exercises are also used (sometimes without tap shoes) to explore the dynamics of music; tempo (fast, moderate, slow) levels (high, medium, low), emotional  (happy ,sad, angry).  Through these exercises students learn how to move expressively to music and also become more aware of their body and movements. This will ultimately assist students in their improvisation later in their training.

The Academy of Expressive Dance

316 Latimer Road,

South Mountain, ON   K0E 1W0



The Academy of Expressive Dance

DIRECTOR:   Andrea Gaw-Prekob, C.D.T.A.

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