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Confuddled

Tap - how important a part of a dancer's training is it?

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I'm asking, because my daughter doesn't really like tap and would rather do a different class (which clashes with it) but advice from her ballet teacher is to keep on doing it as it can be important to be able to tap in terms of auditions for youth ballets. My daughter doesn't want to be a professional dancer, but she does love performing, and the main opportunities for her age group (she's 8) are youth ballet. She doesn't want to do anything to jeopardise getting in, especially as once she's a bit older she'll be eligible to apply for more things.

 

Her tap is very basic, and it's clearly not her strength (several grades behind her ballet, though partly for scheduling reasons), but is it important to get to a certain level? And at what point would she be 'good enough', or does that change as she gets older?

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As far as I know English Youth Ballet, National Youth Ballet and London Children's Ballet don't require tap as part of the audition process. Which schemes does your ballet teacher mean?

 

 

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I'm struggling to think of any ballet schemes where tap is compulsory? The only scheme I can come up with is Tap Attack, which obviously focuses on tap! 

At best tap is an optional extra, but certainly not compulsory. I know some teachers advise against tap, for ballet orientated kids 

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Petalviolet - I don't know which schemes! She just said that youth ballets increasingly want all-rounders, and so tap, modern and contemporary were all important to keep doing. I can see the contemporary and modern being needed, but tap seems quite different somehow.

Edited by Confuddled
Typo

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My dd's done quite a few youth ballets over the years and she's never been required to do tap, either at the audition or in rehearsing for performances.

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The timing and musicality element are better covered in character work. If your DD doesn't like tap then I think it would be better to leave it for now. I am one ofthe ballet teachers not keen on tap, particularly for younger dancers.

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9 hours ago, Confuddled said:
9 hours ago, Confuddled said:

 

Her tap is very basic, and it's clearly not her strength (several grades behind her ballet, though partly for scheduling reasons), but is it important to get to a certain level? And at what point would she be 'good enough', or does that change as she gets older?

 

 

On a bit of a tangent - you say your daughter is only 8 and several grades behind in tap. In my (limited) experience, for most children (and of course there are exceptions), they shouldn’t even start tap until they are about 8. Before that they seem to lack some essential skill - co-ordination, limb-control, musicality, timing?? - and just stamp about making an awful racket. Similarly, most children don’t start learning to play a musical instrument until they are about 8. They can play around and make noises, and maybe they will find that fun, but they are not really dancing (or playing an instrument).

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The ISTD Tap grades are very structured and children (my DD included) can take their first exams from the age of 5/6 years old. They are certainly not just stamping around making a racket. Tap helps enormously with rhythm and musicality and is a lot of fun. That said it can be started later to no detrimental effect, those that start at 8 can catch up quickly.

 

I can't see how any youth (ballet) companies would insist on tap, but I'm sure NYB included a tap number one year in their production. 

 

In our experience doing Tap has not had a detrimental effect on the standard of my DD's ballet. She will be taking her Advanced 2 exam at 16 years old this summer before heading off to vocational ballet school in September. She plans to take her tap shoes with her to see if she can catch an open class occasionally.

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Never needed tap for any audition or workshop dd has been to. DD's ballet teacher very much in the camp of tap being beneficial for speed and accuracy of footwork, so dd stuck at it until she got to inter. At this point she put her foot down with the teacher (sorry that's an awful pun) and flatly refused to do it any more. She took extra classes in other dance genres instead. It wasn't problematic for getting into full time ballet training.

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My DD only took tap aged about 5 - pre-primary was all she did. She picked it up again at vocational school aged 16 in the regular timetable. After a few months she opted to start optional intermediate classes and took her exam six months later with a very high distinction.  She is now a professional dancer so a lack of tap in her early years has not held her back.  If your DD is really not enjoying the tap classes, I would let them slide for the moment. She can always go back to tap at a later stage if she wishes.

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9 hours ago, Mummy twinkle toes said:

Vocational schools do include tap so maybe she means this. It is not a prerequisite though.

Not all of them though, not at upper school level anyway.

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I think it must have been NYB that her ballet teacher was referring to - I know that she's had pupils get in to that. And I don't know now if it makes a difference but they do the ISTD tap exams, and certainly start very young. My daughter's one of the oldest in her class, not the youngest. 

 

They don't do any character work (ISTD rather than RAD) so maybe it's because of that? And possibly because of hours of dance - her teacher would like her to continue doing three hours of ballet a week, but we can't manage it so are cutting down to 1 1/2 hours a week this term. But I know she thinks that that is a bad idea in terms of preparing for auditions.

 

Thanks for all the advice - it's made me think that I should not encourage her to keep going with it if she doesn't like it.

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My little dd does ISTD ballet, she also did tap alongside the others in her class. Like your dd she didn't enjoy it so we decided to stop as I couldn't see the point of continuing something she didn't enjoy. She loves her ballet and street dance classes so we concentrate on them. If she changes her mind in the future we will reconsider, she is only 7 so there is plenty of time for mind changes in the future!

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On 13 April 2017 at 14:01, taxi4ballet said:

Not all of them though, not at upper school level anyway.

I did not say all of them but some do. Elmhurst for years 7&8, Hammond and Tring. The op dd is only 8 so I was referring to lower schools.

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Schools will be used to students starting who haven't done all the dance styles they will be learning - take contemporary for instance, a lot of students have had no regular classes until they start vocational training.

 

Tap isn't asked for during ballet auditions anywhere as far as I know. NYB did ask students to take tap shoes to finals a year or two ago, but only if you had them, and that was only because they were casting one particular routine. There were plenty of people who didn't.

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There was a Darcy Bussell documentary where she learnt a tap routine , might have been a Gene Kelly number and she said  the reason she never did tap was because it wasn't good for ballet dancers feet/ ankles.

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Tap has been good for my dd musicality and keeping in time but beyond that little relevance to ballet.

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2 hours ago, taxi4ballet said:

Schools will be used to students starting who haven't done all the dance styles they will be learning - take contemporary for instance, a lot of students have had no regular classes until they start vocational training.

 

Tap isn't asked for during ballet auditions anywhere as far as I know. NYB did ask students to take tap shoes to finals a year or two ago, but only if you had them, and that was only because they were casting one particular routine. There were plenty of people who didn't.

She doesn't want to try for vocational schools, for her dance is a serious hobby rather than a potential career - though she does love to perform.  But that's interesting about NYB, was that just a one-off or is it something they regularly ask for?

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2 hours ago, Confuddled said:

But that's interesting about NYB, was that just a one-off or is it something they regularly ask for?

Don't know, don't recall it before.

 

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DD did Tap along side Modern when she was 5/6 she gave it up because she simply didn't like it. She tried again age 8 and did her Primary and Grade 1, it was always a battle but she persisted because her older sister loves it and she had an fantastic teacher. Change of teacher and again she dispaired with it. Change of dance school in year 9, new teacher and now enjoys it. It will never be her favourite genre but it does help with all the other genres in that you have to listen to the music, get the beets right. So although I wouldn't say it's necessary,  it certainly won't jeopardise her getting into youth ballet. DD is currently rehearsing with EYB and a large proportion of them all do tap ( she is a senior ) along with other genres. 

Edited by Pointetoes

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Yup, looks like tap really wrecked McRae's dancing. As far as I can tell, the tap-is-bad-for-ankles thing is one of those unsubstantiated bits of folklore. I suspect it comes more from ancient snobbery than anything else. 

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When my DD started to get really serious about ballet (she is an all rounder) I asked both her associate teachers and her private teacher their opinion of her continuing with tap. They all said there was absolutely no reason for her not to continue and no damage would be done to her ankles. The only think they advised against was really heavy tap as she may get shin splints. She gave up her tap associate place and just stuck to ISTD tap.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Colman said:

Yup, looks like tap really wrecked McRae's dancing. As far as I can tell, the tap-is-bad-for-ankles thing is one of those unsubstantiated bits of folklore. I suspect it comes more from ancient snobbery than anything else. 

 

All I will say is enjoy!

 

 

Edited by junedancer
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Like anything else, tap done without due care can do damage - and lots of tap on bad floors isn't a good idea, but that's true of ballet and basketball too, among others.

 

Yes, @sarahw, that was McRae in Alice.

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