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One of the unique aspects of tap dance is how it’s passed down primarily by oral tradition. This can be frustrating for teachers when it comes to explaining complicated tap steps or needing an assessment tool—there aren’t many tap teaching models out there. Enter Thelma Goldberg, director of Massachusetts-based The Dance Inn and former producer of New England’s National Tap Dance Day celebrations. Goldberg has written a thorough guide to tap dance education, based on the progressive, rhythm-based curriculum she originally created for her own studio.
Organized by age-based levels (for kids 6–12), each chapter outlines goals to be achieved in technique, music theory and improvisation—taking the guesswork out of when to introduce certain steps and concepts to each age and ability level. Goldberg’s steps and combinations translate to the page surprisingly well, with counts, rhythms and weight shifts clearly indicated for easy follow-along. She includes sample class outlines, exercises, combinations, music suggestions and even a complete routine for each level—all with fun photos of Goldberg and her students in action.
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This Sunday, master ballet teacher Finis Jhung turns 80. After a career as a soloist for both San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey and a principal for Harkness Ballet, Jhung carved out a unique place for himself as a ballet teacher in New York City. He's coached the boys of Billy Elliot: The Musical, developed a popular video and DVD how-to series and STILL teaches seven classes a week at the Ailey Extension. He's graced the pages of this magazine to offer his time-honored wisdom again and again, and he's currently working on a memoir. (We can't wait to read it.) Happy birthday, Finis!
Since 1989, tap dancers have been celebrating National Tap Dance Day (NTDD) on and around May 25, the birthday of tap dance legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. This year, prime events are happening in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago.
When you think of a major basketball team's dancers or cheerleaders, you probably picture the Laker Girls—scantily clad, with shiny curls cascading down their backs. You definitely don't picture a group of 15 40-years-old-and-up "seniors," mean-mugging and ripping off breakaway pants. But the New York Liberty's Timeless Torches do exactly that, and they routinely bring down the house during halftime at the WNBA games where they perform.
The exhibit Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955–1972 is filled with exhibits, performances and conferences honoring the three postmodern dance living legends.