I decided at 10, I wanted to be a drummer. But I quickly discovered that gaining access to the drum set in middle school band required getting past the boys who told me I was a girl, so I should play the glockenspiel. So much for a drumming career. I hit 6'2" before graduating high school and couldn’t touch my toes—so much for any kind of dancing career.
But when I was in college, I went to see Stomp in the theater district of Boston. I was so excited by the high-energy percussive dancing, I decided to learn how to tap dance—and I wasn’t going to let boys, my height, or my lack of coordination and flexibility stop me. For the next ten years, I tapped on-and-off while starting a “real” career as a high school history teacher. As teaching became too time-consuming, and life-sucking, tap class was the one hour a week I devoted to myself. Tap dancing required so much focus and was so fun, I forgot about my tough job and found pure joy.
Then a chain of events completely changed my life. My teacher, Jacob Stonebraker, was cast in Tap Dogs. Watching him embark on the adventure he’d been training for his whole life inspired me, and made me believe I might reach for more than a once-a-week class. So, I screwed up the courage to attend the Big Apple Tap festival. Sitting in that studio in New York, I realized, more than anything in the world, I just wanted to tap dance. So, I resolved that day to quit my soul-sucking day job, and “become a tap dancer” (whatever that meant).
Best. Decision. Ever.
Teaching and Private Lessons
Currently I teach an adult tap class at Cherry Creek Dance on Thursday evenings from 6:30-7:30. It’s listed as a beginner class, but often it turns into an all-levels class.
I am available to teach private lessons for teens and adults interested in learning to tap dance, or improve their skills. My strengths are patience, enthusiasm, and unusual ways of approaching tap. I am not famous or particularly interested in becoming famous, so if that’s your goal, I’m not the right teacher for you. Fill out the contact form below if you are interested in private lessons!
In 2016, Molly Dyer and I co-founded Tappy Feet, a company whose mission is to get everyone, everywhere--regardless of age, ability, and number of left feet--tap dancing in order to connect individuals with music, rhythm, each other, and their own inner courage and creativity. We do this through quirky adult classes, unusual events, and fun products. Click here to enter the Tappy Feet website!
Like many girls, I tried a ballet class when I was 5. I noticed that some girls had little tutus and cute leotards, while I didn’t. I asked my mom for a tutu. She said “no.” I said “I quit.” When I was in grade school, already much too tall for a girl my age, I had to get some warts on my hand removed. The doctor put some juice from a beetle on my warts, said it would probably hurt, and then told me to think of an image of what my hands would look like after my warts had disappeared to help me get through the removal process. My image was me as a ballerina with incredibly beautiful hands. But it was only a picture in my head. I grew to be a whopping 6’2”, which ruled out (according to my mom) acting, ballet, and being a flight attendant.
But when I was all grown up (in my early 30s), I fell into ballet class because I wanted to learn how to coordinate my arms with my legs for my tap dancing. It was instant love, thanks to instructor Andrew Thompson. A few years later I found Broche Ballet and learned that 6’2” was an asset, not a liability, and I have never felt more beautiful or capable.
I currently teach at Broche Ballet, a studio for adults of every shape, size, and ability level. Wednesday mornings (10-11:30) and Saturday mornings (9-10:30). Check the Broche website for information and levels.
Irish and Aerial
As I get older, I am increasingly fascinated at what I can convince my body to do. It is so much more capable than I ever gave it credit for! My interest in Irish hard shoe dancing came out of the Rocky Mountain Percussive Dance Festival, in which I realized how similar tap is to other forms of percussive step dance. Tap, in fact, came out of the intersection of Irish step dancing and dance brought to America by African slaves. There are percussive dancing traditions in so many cultures… Irish is just the beginning! Join me at Bennett School of Irish Dance.
As a very tall dancer, I am unlikely to be able to partner with someone in a ballet pas de deux. This is why I love aerial dancing. The silk can hold me over its head, flip me upside down, dip me, and never complain that I am too heavy or too tall. It is so much like flying! It also requires some incredible upper body strength (which I am still developing) and more flexibility than I (currently) have—but I am learning and enjoying every minute of it. Join me at Atherial Fitness.
These may not be the best videos on the planet, but I am happy to share my journey of learning with you!