Third Coast Rhythm Project celebrates National Tap Dance Day and fosters the Texas tap community.

Third Coast’s 2014 Tap Fest faculty (from left):
Sarah Savelli, Dianne Walker, Max Pollak, Lisa La Touche, Martin “Tre” Dumas and Derick K. Grant.

San Antonians can get their fill of tap this month when an intergenerational lineup of dancers convenes onstage for the National Tap Dance Day Celebration, an event that kick-started Barbara Phillips’ Third Coast Rhythm Project 17 years ago. The yearly performance has brought visibility to tap in San Antonio and statewide.

“No one even knew there was a National Tap Dance Day,” Phillips says. “I talked with Gracey Tune, who runs National Tap Day in Fort Worth, and she helped me start the event. We did it just as a community thing, bringing studio groups together and forging collaborations. Now we bring youth and adult groups from across the state to come together and do this concert.”

Third Coast Rhythm Project began in 1998, when Chicago Human Rhythm Project founder Lane Alexander encouraged Phillips to make the artistic leap and start the company. “I had been going to Chicago for the CHRP, and Lane and I forged a friendship and dancing collaboration,” she says.

Phillips launched the Third Coast dance festival, which consisted of classes around the city at different dance studios and culminated in a gala performance. Nearly two decades later, the festival has 60 master classes and world-renowned faculty (Max Pollak, Sam Weber and Sarah Savelli, to name a few). Tap dancers from across the globe travel to San Antonio each July. “We have anywhere from 200 to 300 students. What started out as a community effort quickly grew to a national effort, and now it’s an international event,” Phillips says.

She also runs an active and popular studio, the Tap Academy. “We offer the only community-based adult classes in San Antonio. There are hundreds of studios in the city geared toward children and young adults. My passion is teaching adults,” Phillips says. The studio’s growth over the years has been largely due to the interest in her adult classes (dancers range in age from early 20s to 80s).

But Phillips has a knack for fostering young talent, too. RPM Youth Tap Ensemble, Third Coast’s performing youth tap company, is now in its 14th season. “The ensemble provides an opportunity for young dancers who want to continue their training after high school, those who are making decisions about college and scholarship opportunities,” she says. One of her recent success stories is New York City–based dancer Karissa Royster, who joined the ensemble in 2006 and has gone on to perform in Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards’ Sophisticated Ladies.

This year’s Third Coast National Tap Dance Day Celebration takes place May 17 at the Jo Long Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Carver Community Cultural Center. DT

For more: thirdcoastrhythm.com.

Emily Macel Theys is a former Dance Magazine editor and writes on dance from the Pittsburgh area.

Photo courtesy of Third Coast Rhythm Project

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

Whether you're putting on a pair of pointe shoes, buckling your ballroom stilettos or lacing up your favorite high tops, the floor you're on can make or break your dancing. But with issues like sticking or slipping and a variety of frictions suitable to different dance steps and styles, it can be confusing to know which floor will work best for you.

No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Lani Corson. Photo by Royce Burgess, courtesy of Corson

Aerial work is growing in popularity in the dance world these days. Don't believe us? Check out this Dance Magazine article! If you're a studio owner who didn't grow up with aerial training (let's face it, how many of us really did?), then you may be feeling a little apprehensive about what to look for when bringing on a new aerialist faculty member. You know exactly what you want from your ballet teachers, your jazz teachers, your tap teachers, heck—even your tumbling teachers! Aerial, however, is a whole other ballgame.

To help you feel confident you're bringing in a teacher who is safe for your dancers, we sat down with Lani Corson, NYC aerialist, circus performer, adjunct professor at Pace University and teacher at Aerial Arts NYC, to get the inside scoop on exactly what you should be looking for.

Enjoy!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Dance teachers have a lot of strengths (communicating corrections, choreographing gorgeous movement, planning excellent recitals, cleaning technique—just to name a few) but when it comes to interior design—talent isn't exactly a given. So when studio owners remodel or build, worrying about the decor can feel a little overwhelming (you've got just a few too many other things to worry about, don't you?).

No need to fear! In 2019 we have Pinterest, which shows us all the latest trends we should know about. To help you make the best design decisions for your studio, we've compiled a list of public Pinterest pins we think you'll love.

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Unsplash

Is dance a sport? Should it be in the Olympics? They're complicated questions that tend to spark heated debate. But many dance fans will be excited to hear that breaking (please don't call it breakdancing) has been provisionally added to the program for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Vanessa Zahorian. Photo by Erik Larson, courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet Academy

At the LINES Ballet Dance Center in San Francisco, faculty member Erik Wagner leads his class through an adagio combination in center. He encourages dancers to root their standing legs, using imagery of a seed germinating, so that they feel more grounded. "Our studios are on the fifth floor, so I'll often tell them to push down to Market Street," says Wagner. "They know that they should push their energy down to the street level." By using this oppositional force, he says, dancers can lengthen their bodies to create any desired shape.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

After years of throwing summer parties at your studio, you're likely fatigued by coming up with themes and event details. You want your students to have a good time, but you're also up to your eyeballs in choreography and costume decisions.

Never fear! We've come up with party themes and activities to do during the event. Delegate tasks to your teachers and office managers, and voilà! You have a stress-free party ready to go.

Have a blast, people!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

Q: I recently returned to a modern dance class after a long absence. While I didn't feel any acute pain at the end of class, the next morning I could barely walk from the soreness in both my Achilles. What can I do to fix this?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Q: I'm trying to think of ways to maximize studio space and revenue during the summer. What has worked for you?

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox