Keeping Tap Dancer's Focused Week After Week


Year after year, I am continuously trying to make my classes better than the previous season, and work on new ways to keep all my students engaged and interested in my material. The reality is, not every student is wanting a career with tap dancing, and that is okay. However, it is my job to make them prepared incase a tap gig of some sort comes up, or a tap audition comes their way. I want to share with other teachers, and assistants some of my tips and tricks to keeping your tap students engaged week after week in the classroom.


1. Acknowledging Students By Name

This seems like a no brainer, but it is so important to have engagement with all of your students. Students who feel noticed and cared for are students that want to continue coming to your classes. They love being admired and feeling that you care about their presence in the classroom. I would be LIVID if I went to my trainer for 6 months and they still didn’t know my name. It would make me feel not important and I would try and find someone else that cares about my training. The goal is to have all the students wanting to come back week after week, which in the end will keep you working.


2. Don’t sit while teaching

Sitting while teaching completely brings down the energy in the room. When you are sitting down, you have created an opportunity to not be as effective with your lesson which tends to form a not so motivating energy.

Think about it, how motivated would you be to go to the gym and have a trainer that sits the whole time and tells you what to do?


Moving around the room creates more engagement with the students and creates a more efficient environment so you are able to push the dancers in the direction you are wanting to take them.


3. Call and Repeat

I use the call and repeat method in my class, also known as, “I go then you go.” This requires the students to be tentative and gets the whole classroom focused and working.

In addition to this, I always make sure to demonstrate two bars of whatever I am teaching (choreo, technique combo, across the floor, etc.) so the students are not easily confused and requires them to learn the full tap step before moving on to the next. I have found that students pick up choreography better when teaching like this, verses teaching 5 counts, and than finishing the next 3 counts later on.


4. Partner Up

After teaching a phrase of choreography I usually have my more mature classes (KEY WORD; MATURE CLASSES. DO NOT do this with younger classes, they are still at that “squirrel” age and their focus is all over the map LOL)  go with a partner and review the combination. This time gives the students freedom to work on a particular section that they might need more help on, as well as being with another classmate to motivate them to execute the material.


5. Stay Off Your Phone

I get it, we tend to use our phones to play music, but I see/hear about teachers all the time on their phone. Need I say more? It’s rude, tacky, and parents will be upset that they are spending so much money for you to text on your phone rather than teach their child.

What are your tips and tricks for keeping your students on track in the classroom? Leave and comment below, I would love to hear and have others learn about your teaching style.


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Zachary KelleyComment