As a graduate of the Grant MacEwan Dance Teacher Training Program, and 20 years of teaching, performance and creation experience, I have developed a deep passion for quality education and am delighted to share my discoveries when possible. I feel it is our responsibility at educators to continue to grow and enhance our skill set and knowledge base. It is my hope that educators both young and experienced have an opportunity to come together in an exchange of ideas and methodologies that will maintain the highest of standards in dance education.
The information shared is a compilation of 20 Years experience. One of my greatest Mentor’s was the Late Charlene Tarver, the founder of the Grant MacEwan Dance Program. I was fortunate to study with her in the final years of the Teacher Training program at GMCC. She was a genius with children and creative dance. Her philosophies are the foundation of my work. In addition to my Practicum studies at GMCC, I was fortunate to work with Tap Masters who have had a great impact on how and what material I teach today.
I also trained extensively in Modern Dance, as a graduate of the Dance Performance Program at GMCC, and enjoyed a professional career as Modern dancer prior to my re introduction to the world of Tap. Rhythm Tap Masters, Dianne Walker, Heather Cornell, Brenda Bufalino, and Acia Gray were artists who opened my eyes to a lifelong musical journey, and set the stage for many years to come.
The work of Dianne Walker, (and the late Leon Collins) are an on-going investigation for me. Acia Gray’s technique and break down of fundamentals resonates with me, as it is cohesive and makes anatomical sense in training. Gene Medler, and his approach to improvisation education, triggered many “a-ha” moments as well. Brenda Bufalino, Heather Cornell, Katherine Kramer, Max Pollak, Barbara Phillips, Keith Terry, Barbatuques, Roxanne Butterfly, Jeannie Hill and Derick Grant, have also influenced my style, focus and areas that I feel are important in Tap dance education.
When working in my early practicum years with Charlene Tarver, an in depth study went into every exercise analyzing: concept, space, time, level, sequencing, musicality, dynamic range, physical, mental and emotional development, as well as creative inspiration. I work to approach my tap dance and body music teachings with these same concepts intact, striving to deliver lessons which cover numerous concepts simultaneously; technique, physicality, musical awareness, historical appreciation and knowledge, individual artistry and respect for our mentors.
Some quotes and philosophies from Mentors which I carry with me are:
“A child does not care how much you know, until they know how much you care”
~ Charlene Tarver
“You don’t teach what you know, you teach who you are”
~ Charlene Tarver
“If it’s not Right, It’s Wrong”
~ Dianne Walker
~ Acia Gray
“Keep Your Feet Underneath you”
~ Dr. Jimmy Slyde
“Be ready – In Life and in The Dance”
~ Dr. Jimmy Slyde
“If you can Walk, you can Dance”
~ Charles “Honi” Coles
Teacher’s Course – General Overview- All Levels
1) Introduction/ Warm- up
2) Understanding/ Activity Stage
3) Application/ Dance
4) Concluding or Evaluation/ Cool Down and Review
Mentoring, Pedagogy and Practicum Courses:
– Individual training
– Group workshops
– Ongoing mentorships
– 4 to 6 week teacher training intensives (tailored to your specific needs/ interest)
– Practicum and field placement available with mentorship
* Please inquire for specific details
– Opening, introduction and safety.
– Setting the tone and efficiency
– Musical awareness
– Drop Lift concept – The “technique” remains the same
– Shuffles: Straight leg / drop lift and tonal changes
– Paddles and Accents / Steve Condos video work
– Body Music and Integration
– Single, Double, Triple, Theory
– Time Step theory and application
– Riffs and riff walks
– Floor work and locomotion
– Exploration / Sequencing
– Improvisation / Freedom
– Tap history
– Books and reference for history
Dance education should strive to attain a balance between the practical skills (Body), intelligence and mental understanding (Mind), the enjoyment of the activity (Emotional/ Heart), and the freedom of creative expression (Spirit / Soul). As educators, our goal is to inspire the interest of the student to attain their physical and practical skills while encouraging their individual creativity in a safe and supportive environment.