Dance Academy of Libertyville is a Little Lake County Partner.
I am as graceful as Phoebe running. Forever and a year ago when I was a kid I tried to take ballet, it was not pretty. Unlike my daughter, I was not light on my feet or graceful. I loved dancing and moving, but ballet was not going to work for me. I wish I knew then what I learned in an afternoon of tap classes at Dance Academy of Libertyville. Tap is a loud, expressive movement and anyone, at any age, can pick it up and learn to be their own unique self.
Dance Academy of Libertyville’s philosophy is that children will thrive in a positive and nurturing environment. Their classes and teachers all encourage children to learn the basics of their chosen dance method in a creative and fun way. Tap classes start in their pre-academy for the youngest dancers (starting at age 3). This very American form of dance has an emphasis on rhythm and sound and will help your child build their coordination.
After being in the ballet program with my daughter for the last 5 years I was used to a much quieter and almost ceremonial class. Not that there is no order and discipline in tap, there is! Just that the tap classes really seemed to embrace a child’s natural desire to move and make noise which could be better suited to some children’s personalities. If you ever looked at your child and thought they were not prim and proper enough for formal ballet classes, they would fit right in with tap.
Plie, releve, tendu…
No think Shuffle, Buffalo, Maxi Ford. There’s no French here is this is an all American dance style that is an art form much like Jazz. It’s about learning to use your whole leg, hips pushing through to feet, to strike the floors and make a “tap” sound. In the younger classes, I watched as children learned to count how many sounds they heard with each step, helping them know if it was correct.
As with all classes at the Academy, their curriculum has been built over time to advance students through core principles and techniques. The classes look very similar at level 1 as they do at level 4 and 5. In tap, in particular, you can see how the same move is sped up, or makes more clicks, as you progress through the levels.
The focus on those core techniques and the discipline of following a graded syllabus, no matter the level, or class, is what makes DAL stand out. Whether you are coming in as an older student who wants to take up a new method or is starting out in the pre-academy, dancers master the material and then build on it for the next level, building up strength, focus, and technique.
In addition to their academy program, DAL houses an open program that allows students to try out the DAL method and training without the commitment of a more rigorous schedule of study. These classes do not participate in recital and can be an excellent way for older students to try out a new method before committing.
In the spring they will be introducing the Youth Tap Performance Program. This program is designed to teach dancers how to work in a rehearsal setting, sharpen their tap technique, and help refine their performance quality.
When you learn to tap, you become both a musician and a dancer (hat tip to the Rockettes) and allows you to stand out from the crowd. You can practice what you learn in class while in line and ease boredom or just wow your friends.
If you have a child who seems to never be able to sit still or be quiet, tap might be just the thing for them. Call Dance Academy of Libertyville today and try a sample class. Spring Registration is ongoing and closes January 22. The new session will begin on January 21 and ends on May 25, the recital is May 25.Summer registration opens March 1.
Disclosure: Dance Academy of Libertyville is a Little Lake County partner. All thoughts and opinions belong to the writer.