Trending

Anthony Morigerato's Secret to Making Tap Class Fun for Everyone

Photo courtesy of Break the Floor Productions

At the young age of 14, when Anthony Morigerato started teaching dance to help pay for his own lessons in his hometown, Albany, New York, he quickly learned the worth of his dance education. "From the first class I taught, I understood the value of my training in dollars and cents and also in terms of the knowledge." A part of that understanding included the importance of music in a dance curriculum.


Whether he's choreographing for a student's competition piece, a master class or at a festival, Morigerato, who holds the Guinness World Record for most taps in a minute at 1,163, approaches choosing music as a learning opportunity for young dancers. This means using the concept he's teaching to dictate what kind of music to pick—not the other way around. "Let's say the student has never danced to a jazz standard or never done a swing piece. I will deliberately pick a jazz standard that's swing, to teach them the concept of swinging," Morigerato says.


Photo courtesy of Break the Floor Productions

Exposing students to a variety of music genres—not just focusing on what's popular—is a top priority within his teaching style. While teaching a class, he'll sometimes opt out of playing traditional music altogether, using a metronome instead to emphasize holding a beat. "Using only pop songs because they're fun and catchy is like allowing kids to eat ice cream all day without any nourishment."

Morigerato isn't afraid to acknowledge that tap, for many dance students, is not their favorite discipline. Incorporating stimulating music can be a valuable teaching tool to sway the reluctant tap student, a concept he continues to explore. "Maybe students can come away from the class thinking it was less about the steps and more about the musicality, keeping time and making music."

Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

Keep reading... Show less
Music
Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.