“How is your tap class going? You never talk about it.”
“Because it sucks.”
The class is full of older women. I’m guessing that if they are not 60 they are very close to it. These aren’t hip older women either. They are dorky older women. I resent them because I am pretty sure they are my future. They have been taking the class for a longer time then I have; several years from what I gather. So these ladies seem to be pretty good friends, I have little in common with them, and I am the “new kid.” Socially, the class is not much fun. But that’s OK because I’m here to dance; not make new friends.
I am terrible. I don’t know what it is about dancing but I have a very hard time processing what I am seeing to making my body do it. I like to stand directly behind the instructor and I don’t take my eyes off of her feet.
“Hi! You’re Michal, right?”
“Yes, hi! How are you?”
“I’m fine, it’s just that….well, you are in my spot. This is where I stand. I have to be right here.”
Then there is the lingo. I’m still learning the difference between a step and a stamp, a brush and a flap. Being musical, hearing the verse is just as important to me as seeing it. Probably more so. My instructor knows this and will sometimes come and stand in front of me and suggest that I just listen. I would really love to “just listen” but Happy Feet on my right is doing her own little tappity, tap, tap, tap and I can’t hear the verse at all.
I will start out being able to do the move once, twice and then it falls apart as the whole class’ clackity, clacks blast out the taps of our instructor that I so badly need to hear in order to move. That must sound nuts but I think other tap dancers might know what I mean. You can learn the move by listening and then making your feet make the same sounds.
My other struggle is where to put my weight. Your weight is constantly shifting in dance. My least favorite is when the weight is to be on the ball of my foot. I can’t seem to get my weight forward. While my instructor was explaining this to me a very helpful class member belched out, “you just lean forward.”
Really? Thanks for the tip, Ben Vereen.
I know they get tired of waiting on me. I know that they are ready to move on but I am slowing them all down so that the instructor can break it down to the very most basic of moves.
During one such time the class member next to me started nerve tapping. This is when your foot taps rapidly, usually from a very straight vibrating leg. You know the move.
“I got the nerve’s leg,” she proudly announced.
Thumper’s nerve tapping was a tiny bit distracting and I was close to punching her in the face when our instructor said, “Yeah, it’s the ‘on my nerves tap.'”
That quieted Thumper down.
After every class our teacher tells me with a great big smile, “Don’t get discouraged. You’re going to get it!”
So, that’s how tap is going. I’m thinking I need to call and see about private classes. I’d hate to take out an old lady.