tap class

I walked like 8 miles yesterday and then went to 2 hours of tap dance class last night. My legs are a bit weary today.

Class was…it was all right. I went to both the beginner’s and the intermediate class, and am nowhere near good enough for the latter. It’s not that I can’t do the steps, but I can’t process them at the speed they’re given.

Truth is I could barely process the combinations in the beginning class, and I knew how to do all the footwork, which no one else did, as they were all *actual* beginners. I…this is something that’s happened with every beginner’s dance class I’ve taken in Ireland: things are thrown at the students *much faster* than I would expect in a beginning class.

To me, the goal of a beginning class would be to give people the very basics–in tap, we’re talking about shuffles, flaps, ball changes–and work them through relative confidence in those before giving them a very simple combination to give them a sense of accomplishment, so that they’re eager to come back next week and improve on what they’ve learned.

Every class I’ve taken here (regardless of the teacher’s nationality) has rushed through the basics and thrown people into combinations or (in ballet) things that newbies aren’t warmed up enough for, and the result is a lot of stunned-ox expressions. After the beginning class last night two of the others came up to me and said “You said you’ve taken tap before?” and I said I had, and they said “Oh good, because we’d look over and see that you were screwing up too and that made us think maybe this was hard.”

That does not seem to me to be how a beginning class should feel to a newcomer. I would expect me to be a shining star in a beginning class, because I *have* 8 years of tap. Instead I could barely process it. And I don’t know if these classes are being taught this way because

1. Teachers think “God, these are adults, I can’t have them doing flaps and shuffles for thirty minutes, I have to give them something exciting to do!”, or

2. Teachers are accustomed to ‘beginner’ dancers who are people coming into a dance troupe or college setting with some dance training or something of that nature, or

3. Teachers are so far removed from their own early learning that they have no memory of how it was done, or

4. Everybody else in the entire world except my dance studio threw combinations at children and expected them to already know what a shuffle was (except I’ve taken tap classes in California and Anchorage that were structured far more like I would expect them to be).

(I did not go to the beginning class to be a shining star. I went to it because the last time I went to tap classes here I went to the intermediate level because for God’s sake, I may be out of practice but I *did* tap for 8 years, but it turned out I was completely out of my depth. So I thought I’d better go to the beginning class before the intermediate to see which better suited my skill level, and the truth is that neither of them do, because I’m probably slightly better than the beginning level as it’s being taught but like I said, the intermediate is faster than I can process.)

Anyway. I enjoyed it well enough, really, but I wish I understood what caused this disconnect between my expectations and what I’m getting.

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