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Tap Dance Made Easy
with Eli Newsom



Tap Dance Made Easy DVD
Price: $24.95

Length: 1 hour 35 minutes
DVD NTSC format (no country code restrictions)

Comments from Eli Newsom:

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO MASTER IN TAP DANCING?

There are so many things to learn in tap. In a way it's like learning a new language: there are many aspects of learning a language, from learning the alphabet, to learning to comprehend, read, and speak. Tap dancing has many aspects, and each one is important. Thanks to my tap teacher in California, I was able to prioritize the different aspects of tap so that I would learn the most important things first.

The two most important things, in my opinion, are:

(1) WEIGHT
-&-
(2) RHYTHM

(1) Weight: You need to know 'where your weight is' at all times. Your weight, for the most part, should be either on your right OR your left--not in the middle. Meaning, you should be standing with all of your weight on your right or left foot. Why? If your weight is on the right, it means your left foot is free to 'do stuff', and vice versa. Both feet can be on the ground whenever you want---I am talking about standing on both feet, but shifting your weight to one side. If your weight is in the middle, you are limited on what tap steps you can do. I often tell my students to 'commit to a step', meaning, commit your weight to one side, even if it's the wrong one! You'll learn quicker that way if you commit fully--and you'll also be able to do steps MUCH, MUCH faster.

(2) Rhythm: In tap dance, your feet become a percussion instrument. A simple way to explain it is that, basically, you are a drummer, and your feet are the drum-sticks. What is a drummer's job? To play the correct rhythm, hold the tempo steady, and be in sync with his/her bandmates. This is a tap dancer's top priority....to create accurate rhythms. Would you enjoy a drummer who made general attempts at playing a funky rhythm, but then every few seconds speeding up, then slowing down again, and basically making random jarring noises here and there? I would hope not! :)

You may have heard the term that 'tap dancing is musical' or 'a form of music'. This is true, in my opinion. In fact, any Tap Dance routine can be accurately transcribed in percussion notation, if one had the patience to do so! Our job as tap dancers is to listen to the music and create accurate (and also creative, fun, challenging, etc) rhythms that match up to the music.

Weight and rhythm....two things to strive towards mastering in tap!

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 'THEATER/BROADWAY TAP' AND 'RHYTHM TAP'?

THEATER TAP/BROADWAY TAP:
Theater tap and Broadway tap are the same style of dance. A good example of Theater Tap is the type of dancing one sees in classic American musical movies (Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris, White Christmas, etc.), and in most Broadway shows (42nd Street, Crazy For You, etc.). Both the rhythm of the step AND the style/look of the step is emphasized, especially the look/use of the arms and upper body. In other words, how the step 'looks' is just as important as how it 'sounds'. Other styles of dance, such as ballroom, jazz, and ballet are incorporated this style of tap dancing. Some Broadway shows that currently feature Theater Tap include: Spamalot, Mary Poppins, and The Producers.

Famous dancers in this style include: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Ruby Keeler, and Ann Miller, just to name a few.


RHYTHM TAP:
You can probably guess from the name 'Rhythm Tap', that the sole emphasis is on the rhythm of the step being danced. This percussive style of dance is different than 'Theater Tap', where both the rhythm AND the look are emphasized. The style is considered to be less 'presentational'. A good example of a modern-day rhythm tap dancer is the amazing Savion Glover, who often dances looking down towards the floor.

Excerpt from a great article on tap dancing from answers.com:
"Hoofers are tap dancers who dance only with their legs, making a louder, more grounded sound. This kind of tap dancing, also called "rhythm tap", is typically found in cities or poor areas, but this is not always the case especially with such a wide [variety] of styles spreading throughout the world." Famous 'Hoofers' (aka 'rhythm tap' dancers) include Steve Condos, Sammy Davis Jr., Savion Glover, and Gregory Hines.

Eli Newsom teaches tap dance classes in New York City and San Francisco, and has studied with some of the best tap instructors in the United States. He is also a professional musician, director, and actor specializing in musical theater. In his tap classes, he specializes in teaching tap to beginners with no previous experience, and to dancers with previous experience who want to improve their rhythms and technique.

A native of San Francisco, Eli has worked in dance and professional theater for 13 years. He has been tap dancing for 13 years and teaching tap for 5 years. 80% of his students in his classes are not performer, and had no experience in tap dance before taking his classes.

"My goal in this video was to cater to non-dancers who would like to learn the basics of tap dance. A problem with many dance videos on the market, in my opinion, is that they move too quickly and/or the instruction in the video is unclear, especially for people who don't have a lot of experience dancing. I've created a video that focuses on clear instruction that is fun and easy to follow, even for an 'absolute beginner'. At the same time, I move at a pace quick enough to keep the user engaged and challenged. Most importantly, the goal of the video is to allow people to have a great time while learning a dance form that is rewarding both physically and mentally. Happy tapping!"

Tap Dance Made Easy DVD
Price: $24.95

Length: 1 hour 35 minutes
DVD NTSC format (no country code restrictions)

 

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