Teacher Training - Tap


As a graduate of the Grant MacEwan Dance Teacher Training Program, and 25 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, expanding our skill set, inspiration and knowledge. 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 and body percussion masters, who have had a great influence on how and what 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 and body percussion. Rhythm masters, Dianne Walker, Heather Cornell, Brenda Bufalino, Keith Terry, Fernando Barba, and Acia Gray were artists and educators who opened my eyes to a lifelong musical journey, and set the stage for many years to come.

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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.

  • Full program is 16 modules / 32 weeks. Please inquire about next session.
  • Individual mentorship available in specific areas of inquiry.

Program Overview

“A child doesn’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”

~ Charlene Tarver

  • Early childhood development
  • Injury prevention
  • The 4 teaching methodologies; targeting learning styles
  • Decision on teaching strategy for varied environments
  • Defining personal philosophy and goals
  • Setting tone and efficiency
  • Developing age/ level appropriate material for cohesive progress
  • Sensing environment, choosing approach and application
  • Building well rounded class plans
  • Developing artistry alongside technique
  • Music theory for varying levels
  • Tap history
  • Integrating history and music lessons into class plans
  • Progressions of improvisational training for varied ages
  • Production & Stage Management
  • Concert development & thematic through-line
  • Approaches to composition and choreography
  • Developing transition and flow in presentation
  • How to create successful competitive pieces; maintaining focus on education components
  • Audience development
  • Resume building
  • Developing partnerships
  • Concert venues and community performance events
  • Marketing tools
  • Budgeting
  • Practicum
Specialized guest speakers/ artists in the following:
  • Mental skills training for athletes
  • Lighting design
  • Embodiment and integration/ somatic studies
  • Physiotherapy and anatomy
  • Tap history
  • Vernacular dance
  • Grant writing

“You don’t teach WHAT you know, you teach WHO you are”

~ Charlene Tarver

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.

Tasha Lawson’s Teacher Training Program was incredibly helpful in my transition into the world of teaching after many years of dance training. Covering topics from how to command advanced/adult classes as a young educator, creative dance techniques for young children and teaching rhythm, improvisation and history; it was a comprehensive overview and deep dive into the many components involved in being a dance educator. Another helpful aspect of the program included discussions about industry standards including resume curating, rate negotiation and interview tips. The program gave me confidence to bring the knowledge I had developed over the years and within the training to students of many different backgrounds with conviction – Laura Donaldson