Tag Archives: improvisation

Behind The Scenes: Toronto Tap Dance Intensive PART 2

3 Sep

Behind The Scenes: Toronto Tap Dance Intensive PART 2

Toronto tap dance group improv

Toronto tap dance group improv

A wonderful week of tap dance inspiration happened in Toronto August 23 – August 27 at Byfield Dance Experience (BDX). It was a wonderful opportunity for tap dancers from the GTA and as far east as New Brunswick- to come together, learn, grow and make friends.

See Toronto Tap Dance Intensive PART 1 here…

Tap intensive Part 2: Starting on the 2nd day, IMPROV was the name of the game. Improvisation is a major component of jazz music and tap dance. It’s helped the art form grow and evolve. Yet so many dancers are terrified when someone asks them to “make it up on the spot.”

During the Tap Dance Intensive all participants learned tips, tricks and techniques to:

  1. Finally eliminate their fear and negative outlook of improvising;
  2. Understand and practice using many different improv strategies;
  3. Strengthen improvisation individually, as well as trading in teams and groups.

There’s a reason we put the “E” in IMPROVE. Because IMPROV is a constant work in progress.

At week’s end, we showed off to a small audience, everyone proudly showing their new respect and understanding of improvisation. Kudos to the participants, and to all tap dancers who continue to work on improv and embrace being creative!

– Shawn Byfield

Click Here To Learn About More Toronto Tap Dance Classes

Working on tap dance improv

Working on tap dance improv

Click Here To Learn About More Toronto Tap Dance Classes

Advertisements

Sweet Tap Dance With Shugga

30 Dec

Happy Holidays tap dance friends!

Here’s recent tap dance footage from a holiday gig I did with my favourite Toronto funk band Shugga.  Shows a little live hoofin, all of it improvised (I was talking about tap dance improvisation in my last post). Because I jam with the band often, I can direct and interact WHILE I dance. Check it out:

Shawn Byfield Tap Dance With Shugga

Pretty cool stuff! Happy tappin,

– Shawn Byfield

PS: Check out my schedule for Toronto tap classes here. Get yo’ dance on in 2009!

Learn To Improve Tapdance Improvisation

3 Dec
Tap dance improv tips

Tap dance improv tips

My friends,

Many people want to learn to tap dance. And many want to learn to improv in tap dance. The first situation is easy: find a tap dance class with a reputable teacher. But how do you do the latter- improvisation?

My suggestion: work at it. No seriously. There’s lots of ways to approach this. Here’s four suggestions:

  • Start with a step you like, and play around with it. Dabble. Add a shuffle.
  • Find a rhythm or groove in your head, and try to recreate that groove with your tap feet.
  • Do your favourite tap step on one foot, then reverse the whole thing.
  • Tap with a buddy, and challenge each other to repeat each others steps in real time. I call this “Monkey See, Monkey Tap”.

There’s lots of ways to get started. Check this tap video out- I use the groove in my head method and embellish on top of that:

The video above, is of me working on my own tap dance improv skills. I wore my Nikes so my neighbours wouldn’t complain… =)

Like everything else in life, you have to go through a learning curve. You won’t just wake up one day and be able to tap dance like a pro. Improv especially doesn’t come naturally.

Tap dance classes help build your VOCABULARY of tap dance. Each tap step is a word. Those words make sentences. Once you understand what the words mean, then you can work on phrasing those tap dance steps together. Ya dig?

This is just a short tap post. I wanted you to know, tap dance improv requires a bit of time. I’ve been hoofin (tap dancing) for years, and I STILL need to work at it. That’s why we put the “E” in “IMPROV…E”. Nobody’s perfect. We ALL need to keep seeking out new tap steps to trade, new music to groove to, and new ideas or inspiration.

Lemme know how it goes. Happy tappin!

About The Author:

Shawn Byfield (www.ShawnByfield.com) is an award winning choreographer, show director and a leading expert in dance lessons and industry advice. His extremely fun approach to learning is a must for anyone looking to achieve their highest potential through dance.

%d bloggers like this: