Sometimes I’m envious of other people’s talents. Like tight rope walkers, people who have a photographic memory, and strippers who can pick up a dollar bill with their hoo ha. But nothing makes me more envious than people who can tap dance. Not just dance, but TAP dance. It’s a classic skill that I wish my mom had signed me up for when I was little. She didn’t. So when I saw there was a class that combined tap dancing AND an aerobic workout I couldn’t wait to squeeze into those shiny, black shoes and shuffle off to buffalo for one of the last workouts in my #MIh15by15.
The class is called TAProbics and it’s part of a company called TAP-a-holic. My friend Heather is super talented like me, and has training as a dancer so she was more than willing to join me for a class. Our teacher was Hillary Ayn Ryan, who is also the owner and a freaking AMAZING tap dancer. I was super nervous to try this one. I’ve always been very intimidated by tap. This is the dance of the greats like Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Gregory Hines to name a few. They made it look so easy. I can barely pick my feet up off the floor when I walk much less toe-heel, toe-heel to a beat.
I was quickly put at ease when we walked into the beautiful studio. This class was a mix of people at various levels in their tap knowledge. Pretty sure Heather and I were on the new, new, never-worn-tap-shoes-ever level. But all of that worry melted away when the jams started pumping. Yep. The jams. This was not a jazzy, show tunes kind of class. The music was contemporary and upbeat. Everything from Prince, to Maniac and Rihanna. The routines are short, and repeat a lot. So it was very easy to catch on. This was definitely not a technique class. There are other classes that teach level 1 and up for tap technique. This was watch and repeat so the moves were simple enough for everyone to catch on, and the cardio was challenging enough for everyone to get a workout.
My favorite part was when the whole class was in sync and we were all stomping the floor together like a chorus line on a Broadway stage. It was a really cool feeling, when I actually got it right. And I secretly wanted to stay after class and ask Hillary to show us one of her favorite dance numbers. I have a feeling she could harness the power of tap and blow us all away with her moves.
While I am still a far cry away from Gene Kelly, there are parts of my body that are sore enough that you could almost say we’re connected somehow. Almost. I definitely used parts of my body that need to be jiggled away, like my calves, thighs and butt. We were all sweating at the end which is a very good sign that we had a good workout. I don’t know if my future lies in tap dancing but it did feel good to be out there trying something I’ve admired from a distance since I was a wee girl. Life goals people. Never let go.
Visit the TAP-a-holic website for information on TAProbics and the other tap dancing classes she offers. You can sign up for a single class for $20, or buy a package. And don’t worry if you don’t own your own tap shoes. You can rent them from TAP-a-holic for a small fee. Totally worth it especially if you just want to try the class before making a longer commitment. As an actor I can honestly say this is one tool I wish I had in my toolbox… For all those roles that pop up for tap dancing moms!