Summer officially began on June 21st and school is letting out all over the nation! So many dancers ask me over the course of the summer what they can be doing to stay in shape until their studio starts up the fall session. Here are my TOP 5 suggestions for staying in shape all summer long:
- ATTEND A TAP INTENSIVE, FESTIVAL, or WORKSHOP!
There are soooooo many festivals and tap focused events going on this summer! I guarantee there is at least one that is within driving distance of you in the US going on. SLIDE (Long Beach), Tap City (NYC), SO FLO Tap Fest (Florida), LA Tap Fest (LA), TAPademics (St. Louis), Motor City Tap Fest (Michigan), Jersey Tap Fest (New Jersey), Tap United (Boston), Third Coast Summer Tap Festival (San Antonio), and Tap Kids (Vermont) are just a few of the amazing events going on across the country. Attending a workshop will give you information, inspiration, and fuel for going back to your new season at your studio. As a teacher I can always tell the students who have taken the summer off and the students who trained throughout the summer months!
2. STUDY FOOTAGE!
One of the best ways to improve as a tap dancer is to study other tap dancers. So often during the school year my students are in over their head with homework, band rehearsal, soccer practice, prom planning committee, AP classes, Yearbook, NHS, nightly dance classes, and chess club that the dedicated study of tap dance footage is pushed off. The summer months when you have down time again is the perfect opportunity to study as much footage as possible! There is no excuse, YouTube is a wealth of information. If you don’t know where to start check out OPTAP’s VIDEO REWIND playlist to get you started. Dedicate 30 minutes every morning or every evening before you sleep to this and your cup will over flow with inspiration.
3. OPEN YOURSELF UP TO NEW KINDS OF MUSIC!
Adding new music, world music, more jazz, alternative music, or just the opposite of what you listen to on a regular basis can be a hugely influential practice for tap dancers. Take the summer to enhance your musical horizons as you will have the time to do so. Practicing tap dancing is not just going into a studio and practicing steps. It is exposing your musical mind to different thoughts, sounds, rhythms, grooves, tones, and ideas. Make this summer be one that you challenge your musical ear. At the end of your practice sessions shuffle your NEW MUSIC and force yourself to improvise to a new tune or new feel. You will be surprised at the doors that open to you!
Have you ever felt the need to choreograph? Make a short dance film? These things take time and the summer is the perfect time to get together with a friend and create a project. You don’t need permission to be creative…you need time and dedication. The summer will give you the time, decide to give yourself the dedication it takes in creating something new. Post it on the OPTAP Facebook page and see how many people you will touch with your new creation.
5. PERSONAL PRACTICE!
At the end of the day nothing will ever beat going into a studio and practicing on your own. Set goals for your practice sessions and make it be something you make as part of your summer schedule. If you don’t know what to practice start with some of the OPTAP Technique Tuesday’s that are at your level. There are over 100 FREE Videos on our YouTube page, see how many of them you can master. In addition OPTAP PREMIUM has over 6 hours of amazing classes available now at the click of button, don't miss that opportunity as well! Take a certain amount of time every session and improvise. You will find that the more you practice, the more you will want to practice. Ask any tap dancer what advice they would give in becoming proficient at this dance, most likely it will include this tip.
HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!