Germaine Salsberg lives to tap. In addition to being on faculty at Broadway Dance Center for over 20 years and teaching at STEPS on Broadway, she’s worked with Tony Award–winner Danny Daniels on the Broadway and national tours of Tap Dance Kid and has privately coached actors, including Liza Minnelli on the film Steppin’ Out. With a reputation for instilling a strong technical foundation through rhythm elements, it’s no wonder she recently released a CD of music for tap class. Along with pianist Kevin Cole, the two created Tap Tunes: For Tap Class and Practice. “I feel it is my obligation to acquaint students with different styles of tap. Therefore, I utilize different types of music,” says Salsberg. “Music choices need to be interesting enough to dance to, but not overwhelming.”

Artist: Gene Krupa
Song/Album: “Hodge Podge,” V Disk
“This is an oldie but goodie. It’s really a big-band sound, but it’s not so over-arranged that it takes over. It’s not real fast, but it has the Gene Krupa drive. Good for style, time steps and combinations that could incorporate a musical theater or big-band style.”

Artist: Jo Jones
Song/Album:“Jive at Five,” The Everest Years
“I did some work with Sarah Petronio in Paris, who is so swinging. She introduced me to the music of Jo Jones, a jazz drummer from the ’60s and ’70s, and boy does he swing, too! I love other songs on this album as well, so check out the entire album. The music is good for combinations—it really forces the students to listen and syncopate.”

Artist: Kenny Burrell
Song/Album: “Midnight Blue,” Midnight Blue (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition Remastered)
“This is a medium swing that keeps a very even tempo, and it goes on long enough to do long exercises (shuffles, double shuffles and triplets) at a relaxed pace.”

Artist: Jeff Golub
Song/Album: “Cold Duck Time,” Do It Again
“I fell in love with this song and found out it’s actually a jazz standard, but Golub arranged it in a jazz/funk mode. Warning—there is a variation in phrasing where he throws in a 12 measure once in a while, as opposed to the standard 8 measure. Not a fast-paced song, but there’s lots of room for double time and paddle and roll work.”

Artist: Oscar Peterson & Milt Jackson
Song/Album: “Work Song,” Very Tall
“I started using this song many years ago—and I used it and used it and used it! It’s great for warm-ups utilizing articulations and single-sound warm-ups for beginners, and I even choreographed a competition piece to it. It’s strong and driving, easy to hear, with a
certain amount of musical variation (not tempo) that keeps it interesting.”


Artist: Jane Monheit
Song/Album: “Taking A Chance On Love,” Taking A Chance On Love
“I often shy away from using vocals, because it comes across as too many elements with the tap sounds, music and the voice all at the same time. But Monheit is such a great jazz singer, and this song gives such a lift to the students. It really swings, has a great instrumental break and is quite peppy without being overly fast.”

Artist: Natalie Cole
Song/Album: “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” Unforgettable: With Love
“Cole’s voice really adds to the instrumentation. I use this all the time for my basic and beginner combinations. It is slow enough for them but does not drag and isn’t boring. It has a great musical break, and the students really listen—sometimes they even sing along.”

Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

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Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

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Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

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Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

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Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

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Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

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How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

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