TAP THAT DIARIES

The inside scoop interviews....



TELLINA


When did you start Tap Dancing and where?

I started tap dancing at 3 years old at The Donna Michalitsis School of Dance in Newcastle, Australia.


What was your training?

I was one of those kids that did everything! Born with dance and music in my blood it was no surprise I took on every style of dance and arts I could consume. I grew up in eisteddfods and competitions, where I competed successfully from 3 til 16 years old. In short:

- I'm a fully qualified Tap Teacher of the LGTDA (Les Griffith) Syllabus in Australia (25 exams)

- I'm a trained classical opera singer in the AMUSA singing syllabus

- RAD Ballet trained. Along with Jazz and Contemporary.

- I trained at the Young Peoples Theatre in Newcastle and took on many leading and supporting roles in local and professional theatre and musical theatre nationally and internationally.

- A graduate of Screenwise in Sydney in screen acting.

- A graduate of The Hunter School of Performing Arts receiving the top 5% in performing arts in Australia.

And..... I'm going to leave it there cause the training never ends. These are some of my foundational roots in Australia before I came to USA. And I'm mad grateful to all the teachers that have played a part in my path.


Greatest Accomplishments in Dance?

- To take the leap, fight the fear and create something that was in my soul. I am grateful everyday to have created Tap That, and to have a place where I have built a sisterhood and community. And it's not a "me" thing, I may be the founder but when I think of TapThat, I think of team, I think of respect, and I think of supportive passion driven bad ass women. Its a huge thing to be proud of.

And I am very grateful to a crazy amount of professional musicals and shows I have performed in and the opportunity to choreograph and create professionally.


Favorite Tap Dancing Role Models?

- Any and every artist out there creating a place for tap dance to be seen and heard. It doesn't matter on what scale you are creating, you are doing it and that should be congratulated.

- An aussie mad respect and admiration for Dein Perry and Ben Read.

- An old school soft spot for Vera Ellen and Eleanor Powell

- And a side mention to my mum. She is one of the best tap teachers and mentors to young children growing up in dance. It is a truly wonderful thing to see how much she loves and nurtures these students.


Favorite performances and or projects to date?

- Everything Tap That - specifically the first and last video we filmed. And the Darley Awards at the Dolby theatre was huge! I love choreography, production and creating. Its my ultimate thrill next to being on stage.

- One of my faves - tap dancing with the Tap Dogs in the Sydney 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony. I was so young ... it was so epic!

- Annie, Grease and High School Musical would have to be my fave musicals I've been in.


What are you hoping to pass down to the next generation of tap dancers? 

Start creating now, get comfortable with being uncomfortable and don't let the fear stop you. Keep training and learning, and be a yes person to opportunity.

Also, be supportive and respectful. There is no right or wrong way to do this.. just respect the craft and follow your passion.


What advice do you give to young tap dancers out there who are maybe trying to find their own voice?

Quiet the noise from others. There comes a point where you need to worry less about what others say or think, and just do it and feel it. Be a true, honest performer; it should feel good. Know your history and where the moves come from and then make them yours stylistically. No one can do "you" as good as you, so bring that and don't try to replicate somebody else. You got this!


Future goals for yourself?

- Epic Tap That Show residencies and tours.

- To travel the world with my team creating, producing and adding impactful meaning to the arts community.

- To bring together partnerships between tap dancers from opposite sides of the world. And give them a place to create.

- Balance work/home life

- Continued happiness, health and a whole lot of family, friends, love and travel.



JEZE


When did you start Tap Dancing and where?

I started tap when I was four at Carlsbad Dance Centre in San Diego, California! 

What was your training?

I grew up on the competition circuit doing all styles of dance imaginable with the wonderful BreakOut Studios Youth Company in Tucson, Arizona! I was lucky enough to be mentored by a student of Maceo Anderson when I was very young, which really sparked my love for tap dance. Even though I had many teachers transition in and out of my life, it’s always been my love for the dance that keeps me moving forward and working to better myself with training! 

Greatest Accomplishments in Dance?

I’m very proud of the many opportunities I’ve had to teach. I work with adults and children from all walks of life and I feel very fortunate to be able to meet and share my ideas and experiences with every one of them! To me, that’s what dance is all about :) 

Favorite Tap Dancing Role Models?

Sarah Reich!!! She knows I stan. I’m not ashamed. She has been my inspiration since I was a teenager and I’m very grateful that I’ve gotten to know her since I moved to LA. She’s a game-changer and have so much to learn from her. Also gotta give love to two of my teachers who changed my life in the last couple years, Johnnie Hobbs and Christopher Erk! Their guidance saves my soul. 

Favorite performances and or projects to date?

ALL MY TAP THAT EXPERIENCES!!! Seriously we have the best time. 

What are you hoping to pass down to the next generation of Tap dancers? 

There’s room for you!! Community is everything to the tap fam, connect with your roots, with each other, and make your voice heard! 

What advice do you give to young tap dancers out there who are maybe trying to find their own voice?

Shedding is the key! It’s wonderful to be able to pick up choreo and steps, but taking the time to be alone and figure out how to express yourself through improvisation will feed your soul. 

Future goals for yourself?

Keep dancin, keep growin, and keep it real!




KATE


When did you start Tap Dancing and where?

- I  started Tap Dancing at age 3! I  grew up on the Gold Coast, Australia and trained at Coastal Dance theatre until I  was about 17 years old. My first memory on stage tapping was when I  was about 6 or 7 years old dancing in a blue sequin tutu with matching blue sequin bows on my tap shoes to an older song called 'Tap,'Tap'.... and to this day I    still remember some of the steps! 


What was your training?

I feel like most dance studios/ dancers that grow up and train in Australia tend to be trained in most styles of dance, and I was no exception!

From a very young age I  trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Acrobatics, Bollywood, Irish Tap, Musical Theatre, Cabaret, Acting, Singing etc. At the dance studio I  grew up in we not only took class and performed numerous Dance Concert's a year, we also had the opportunity to learn and train for our Dance Exams. These were not compulsory, however most students did them and I  believe because of them it has made me a much better dancer today because of them! I  completed my Ballet, Tap and Jazz Dance Exams under the CSTD syllabus. I also competed at Dance Competitions and Eisteddfod's at least 4-7 times per year competing Solo's, Duo's, Trio's, and Group Routines from age 5years-18years old. 

I  was also fortunate to not only go to an amazing Dance Studio (Costal Dance Theatre, Directed by Kay Horsey)  but a great High School that offered excellent programs in a range of different curriculum. 

At first when I  auditioned for this particularly High School (Palm Beach Currumbin State High School, Australia) I  was accepted into the Sports Academic Program, but then transferred into the Dance Excellence and Drama Excellence Program's from grades 9-11. 

Whilst also Dancing outside of school 4-5 days per week I   also danced everyday at school under the incredible direction of Miss Madonna Hall, who is to this day a huge inspiration of mine!

During grade 11 at school I  realized that I  really wanted to pursue Dance as a Professional Career  so decided to leave school and complete my Diploma's In Musical Theatre and Commercial Dance at Davidia Lind Dance Centre (DLDC) in Brisbane, Australia for one year. The month after I graduated I   received my first Professional Dance Contact when I  was 18 years old... and have continued to dance around the world since. 

Greatest Accomplishments in Dance?

- 100% getting my O-1 Artist Visa APPROVED so I  can live and work in the USA legally in the entertainment industry period! 


Favorite Tap Dancing Role Models?

- First I  would have to say my amazing Tap Teacher, Miss Lola Wilson. She was and still is a huge reason I  LOVE TAP DANCING! 

Her knowledge and dedication to the craft was so inspiring and she still Tap dances to this day at 85 years of age!

- As a little girl growing up I  loved watching Shirley Temple Tap - and definitely did a few Song and Tap Dancers to her music

- Ann Miller is also another one of my favorite Tap Dancers.

- In Australia we were lucky enough to also grow up with role models such as the Male and female tap dancers in Bootmen and Tap Dogs. I  was even more lucky to be trained by both Chris and Drew Horsey! Chris is still a huge role model of mine and I  have been dying to work with him, hopefully sometime in the near future! 


Favorite performances and or projects to date?

- Dancing on stage with the Tap Dogs at Creative Generation Australia on National Live TV

- Lead Tap Dancer Norwegian Cruise Lines 

- And of course dancing with my amazing Tap That fam! 


What are you hoping to pass down to the next generation of Tap dancers? 

- To not be afraid to be yourself and embrace your own style of tapping! Network and don't be afraid to approach and talk to other tap dancers and dancers in the dance community!


What advice do you give to young tap dancers out there who are maybe trying to find their own voice?

- You can never stop learning. No matter how many shows, performances, contracts, classes, workshops or conventions you have done or taken, you can never stop learning! 


Future goals for yourself?

- My first goal would be to continue to live in Los Angeles and pursue Dance as a career!

- Second to go on a nation or international tour (with Tap Tap of course)

- Third to own Real Estate in LA

- And a MILLION others things!


EMMA


When did you start tap dancing and where?

Tap dance was the first genre of dance I ever did! I was about four years old being taught by the lovely Mr. Dan Barris, who I am still close with twenty years later. Southern New Jersey had few quality dance studios and I was so lucky to have had him as my teacher at such a young, impressionable age.


What was your training?

Unspecific to tap, I competed in all styles with my core studio in New Jersey from age 8 until high school graduation. Shoutout to my family at Ovations Performing Arts Academy! Together we attended conventions such as Company Dance and The Pulse where I honed in on defining my unique movement style outside of the regimented competition training. Tap dance became more important to me later in my life, really when I discovered I was good at it. My studio tap teacher was rooted in rhythm tap and I excelled quickly learning from him. Following high school, I attended two colleges, finally ending up in Los Angeles training at Studio School for four years to earn my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Commercial Dance. My teachers and mentors at Studio School were actively working in the industry and I had the opportunity to train in aerial silks, tap dance, and acting with the best of the best. Now I have complete control over who I chose to train with and realize it does not always mean taking the most popular classes. The best training I’ve had is throwing the board down in my apartment and tapping until you get a noise complaint.


Greatest Accomplishment in Dance?

It would be easy to name credits and say they were my biggest accomplishments, but I feel that is a bit inauthentic to who I am. I am proud that I have found where I fit in within this crazy world and career. I am even prouder that I have stayed true to myself in doing so. If I were to put my most important accomplishment to a time, it would be getting myself to Los Angeles in the first place.


Favorite Tap dancing role models?

Ann Miller, Ayodele Casel, Peta Anderson, Sarah Reich, Gene Kelly, Michelle Dorrance, Melinda Sullivan, Johnnie Hobbs III, Dom Kelley, Eleanor Powell, Tap That ladies. In no particular order.


Favorite performances, projects to date?

Tap dancing at the Dolby Theater for the Darley Awards in 2017 with the Tap Thats! I was newer to the group when we got this opportunity and I can definitely say that experience is when I realized they were my best friends. Another favorite project was when I produced a live show with five of my friends at Studio School in 2016. I had discovered my passion for producing and had the most fun performance ever to a sold out room of my closest friends.


What are you hoping to pass down to the next generation of tap dancers?

I want to teach what I wish I knew at a younger age. I want to support young women and men in expressing themselves in a way that is true to them without judgement or guidelines on how it should be done. Honesty has always been the center component of my moral compass. Whatever you do, tell the truth.


What advice?

My father used to tell me to be careful with my heart. I think that applies to much more than what it was intended. Be picky with where you spend your energy and love. Be patient with yourself while you figure it out.


Future goals?

Travel the world to tap dance and produce shows and work that contributes to the dance and art.



SYDNEY


When did you start Tap Dancing and where?

I started Tap Dancing when I was 11 years old in Moorpark, California but Tap was not my first style. 


What was your training?

I’m trained in Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, and  Contemporary. But I love learning new styles! 


Greatest Accomplishments in Dance?

I made it to the Academy for Season 14 of So You Think You Can Dance and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much and got to work with some amazing dancers and choreographers. I’m so thankful for that experience. 


Favorite performances and or projects to date?

I took part in a Galen Hooks Method Workshop and we filmed a piece of choreography that Galen taught us called “The High”. Even though we filmed it in a studio, it was a time I felt the most natural in a performance roll of that character and therefore is one of my favorites!


Most embarrassing moment in dance?

It was my very first time ever performing in a recital on stage at 8 years old and I was very nervous. I had practiced my dance so many times and knew I had it down. There was a high kick this dance and it just so happened that the dance before us in the show had feathers on their costume. I slipped on one of the feathers, and fell, on my butt and on my wrist. My wrist broke and I kept going and made it through the whole dance! Little did I know that this was the filmed night of the show and the videographer literally zoomed in on just me during this part of the dance. You see me kick in frame and I quickly slip and fall out of frame leaving no one on camera for a couple seconds. It was so embarrassing at the time but I look back at in on video and it’s the funniest thing ever. 


What are you hoping to pass down to the next generation of Tap dancers? 

I would just like the next generation of tap dancers to know that it’s never too late to work more on your craft and that the more variety you expose yourself to, the further you will grow! Never be close minded to things you’ve never heard of or seen before!


What advice do you give to young tap dancers out there who are maybe trying to find their own voice?

Take some time to dance by yourself. Even if you don’t have a studio, turn some music on at home and start to move! Let go, and notice what moves or styles you gravitate towards. Also try to expose yourself to as many classes and instructors as possible and see what you like and what you feel suits you best! 


Future goals for yourself?

I hope my future is filled with much more dance and that I have many more new experiences. I would love to dance for an artist which is something I’ve never done. I also would love to travel around the world with dance! 



And there you have it!!! What are some of your goals? Come connect with us! We look forward to sharing some more tap dance love with you!



Hugs


Tap Thats x

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