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  Monday, October 30, 2017

ASA Tap & Rhythm Dance

By Ariel Arsac-Ellison

This class is comprised of children who have taken the ASA Creative Movement/Pre-Ballet classes in the past for at least one term, and a few have also participated in the ASA Combo Pre-Tap class.  They are familiar with the structure, and move easily from one activity to the next.  Initially, Miss Leslie’s intention was to present this class as a tap and rhythm class exclusively, but as the students have continued from previous terms, and per their request, I have included pre-ballet movement.

We begin class with seated exercises to focus, stretch, and isolate movements.  We run through our series of ballet positions, etc., and then work on moving across the floor.  Each dancer has several opportunities to lead their line, performing various movements from bourrée, to chassé, sauté arabesque, jeté (leaps), etc.  Miss Leslie have been focusing more on arm positioning at this level, and trying to make children more aware of pointing their toes, and holding their posture.  (This coordination and awareness takes many years to perfect!)

We work on combinations and choreography for our performance coming in December, and then change to tap shoes.

In tap, we begin with a warm-up consisting of basic technique including toe taps, toe and heel drops, toe and heel digs, slaps, brushes, ball changes.  After reviewing and corrections, Miss Leslie try to add a new step to add to their skill set.  We work in a single line formation, and also follow in a line across and around the room.

Miss Leslie also work on rhythm timing: half-time, on-time and double-time, by having them perform steps at each speed.  We work with and without music.  To enhance their sense of rhythm, and to add some fun variety, I have begun to teach simple clapping and body tapping, along with feet-tapping.  A definite challenge to their coordination!  Judging by the giggles, the children seem to enjoy this.  Our combinations for choreography will include some of this.

At the end of class, children take turns sharing any skills they choose, although I encourage them to share both a ballet and a tap skill if they seem to repeat the same thing more than once.  This group still looks forward to their sticker reward at the end of class.  It is nice to have students continuing the ASA dance classes, as I do see improvement from their earlier terms.  As they mature emotionally and physically, they have become capable of picking up skills more quickly and executing them more proficiently.

All of the children are becoming excited to know they will soon be showing their families what they have been learning!