Tap Shoe Review: Capezio’s Boy’s Tapster

About Shoe Reviews:  For my reviews I personally wear, practice and perform in the shoes.  The demands the shoes are subjected to are rigorous and must be considered when compared to the skill level that the shoe is intended for.

Capezio Boy’s Tapster

Tapster1

Described as an “entry level unisex oxford”, though marketed as “boy’s”, the Tapster is a very popular shoe among beginning tap students.  The Tapster has a look that resembles more advanced tap shoes and comes with several amenities not offered by other beginner level shoes found at department stores such as Payless.  With a price tag ranging from $15-$30, the Tapster is an affordable tap shoe for beginner tap enthusiasts young and old.

Specifications for the Capezio “Boy’s” Tapster (from Capezio.com)
  • Durable soft PU (Polyurithane/Plastic) Upper
  • Plastic heel with pre-attached riveted Tele Tone Jr.® taps
  • Cushioned foam insole with star print
  • Absorbent brushed microfiber lining
  • Plastic sole with rubber non-skid sole patch
  • Achilles notch for comfort
  • Available colors: Black, Tan

The Tapster: Deconstructed

Tapster2

Durable soft PU (Polyurithane/Plastic) Upper, Cushioned foam insole with star print, Absorbent brushed microfiber lining, Achilles notch for comfort, Rubber non-skid sole patch:

Tapster3The polyurethane material used for the upper of the shoe is as soft and durable as the description says.  The plastic upper is a good substitute for synthetic leather, and even resembles the real thing up close.  The foam insole is relatively comfortable and the upper encases the entire foot, and foot slippage (where the foot slips out of the shoe) is a big improvement over the bargain bin Mary Jane style of tap shoe. [Read more…]

15 Tap-Happy Treatise By Tristan

Since signing on as a regular contributor in the Spring of 2011, Tristan Bruns has added quite a collection of thorough and informative posts to Dance Advantage. Even when he’s not penning articles, he’s answering your tap questions with the same attention to detail.

Tristan has earned a little break!

While he focuses on some pet projects of his own, I thought I’d celebrate his work and give you the chance to catch up on or revisit these essential articles over the holidays.

Tap Dance Shoes by ChicaDance

Buying Shoes

With his Great Shoeganza series (still a work in progress), Tristan makes sure you are an informed buyer. You won’t find anything like his dissection of the tap shoe anywhere else online.

Deconstructing A Tap Shoe

When To Buy New Tap Shoes

Capezio And Their Tap Shoes

The Capezio K360 (Brazillian) REVIEW

Step Into History

More than a dance form, Tap is a culture and a legacy. Its long list of movement innovators is simply not covered enough in literature, online, or in classrooms, making these essays all the more valuable to tap students and teachers.

Frank Condos and 5-Count Wings [Read more…]

Tap Classics: In-The-Trenches and Over-The-Tops

Toots Davis is one of the unsung innovators of tap dance flash steps, and his contribution of the in-the-trenches step is testament to that fact.

He was a chorus member of the Darktown Follies and by 1916 worked his way up to a solo spot, where he began to develop his dancing amongst an atmosphere of competitive camaraderie. Each evening’s performance found cast members inventing new steps and embellishing on old ones.

In-the-trenches may be the most universally known flash step.

Created by Toots Davis, in-the-trenches is not limited to tap dance; jazz dancers aren’t afraid to throw down this traditional dance step.

A dancer, bent ninety degrees at the waist, alternates extending straight arms and legs, giving the performer the appearance of a full-on sprint, while at the same time being unaffected by gravity as the dancer’s staccato toe tips glide frictionless across the floor.

In-the-trenches has remained intact for just about one hundred years!  When performed correctly, it matches descriptions of the original, described as a bent over version of the popular circle dance, the cakewalk.

The origin of the step’s name has to do with a little something called [Read more…]

Tap Classics: Paddle and Roll Heroes, Lon Chaney & Bunny Briggs

Lon Chaney and Dr. Bunny Briggs did not invent the paddle and roll, but instead developed the step to its maximum potential.

IMAGE The Paradiddle rhythm in drumming IMAGEThere are four elements to the paddle and roll: a dig, a back brush of the ball of the foot, stepping on the ball of the foot, and a heel.  The “paddle” constitutes the dig and the brush, while the roll is the action of dropping the toe and heel in a smooth and controlled motion.

Other names for the paddle and roll include the drumming term paradiddles and the gangster-inspired Tommy Gun.

Some say that the paddle and roll originated in the Midwest as an answer to the East coast style of dancing, and dancer/choreographer Buddy Bradley owes the step to the Flamenco style of dancing.  Regardless of its origin, the paddle and roll has become one of the most popular tap steps and is often the first step that comes to mind when students are asked at random to show off some steps.

To say that any tap dancer is king of the paddle and roll may land you in hot water. 

There have been plenty of contenders for that title.  The first man to proclaim himself master of the paddle and roll was Walter Green, a tap dancer who had arrived in New York from Chicago in 1937.  Green put out a challenge to all dancers that no one would be able to best his superior foot technique, the paddle and roll.  Local tough guys Ralph Brown, Freddie James, Albert Gibson, and Chuck Green set him straight.

No other dancer is identified more with the paddle and roll than another tap icon, Lon Chaney. 

A short, stout man, Lon Chaney danced into the floor, and his rippling paddle and roll variations created quick, staccato tapping combined with bold phrases of rhythm.  At the end of tap dance performances, it is not uncommon for the tap dancers to form the so-called “Chaney track” or the “Hoofer’s Line”; at the climax of the show, the dancers form a line and rattle off a long stream of paddle and rolls. Each performer takes a small solo accompanied by the steady call and response chanting of “Ho-yeah, Ho-yeah, Ho-yeah, Ho-yeeaaahhh!”  Needless to say, most tap dancers hold Lon Chaney in the highest regard.

The Original Hoofers: World-tour (1976) [HD]

Watch this video on YouTube.

(Hoofer’s Line beginning at 1:12. Lon Chaney – farthest Stage Left)

IMAGE Bunny Briggs IMAGE

Bunny Briggs is the antithesis of Lon Chaney; Briggs is slender, doe-eyed, and dances his signature paddle and roll style by lightly smattering a string of bop-inspired, staccato rhythms. Peppered with comedic body gestures, these lampoon popular dance vernacular of the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.

Bunny Briggs’ style of dancing, in contrast to Lon Chaney’s chunky rhythmic phrasing, sounds more akin to a Dizzy Gillespie melody sped up double time, which is no accident.  Commenting on his time working as a singer and dancer in Earl Hines’ band, “Both Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were in that band, and it helped me work out my own style of paddle and roll,” says Briggs.

Bunny Briggs worked with the cream of the jazz world, with musicians like Charles “Luckey” Roberts and Erskine Hawkins.  But to me and many others, it was his work with Duke Ellington, and in particular the piece David Danced before the Lord with All His Might as part of a series of sacred music concerts that Ellington toured across the country, that was a stand out example of Bunny Briggs’ style and ear for musicality.

Dr. Bunny Briggs "David Danced before the Lord"

Watch this video on YouTube.

(Bunny Briggs: The most Super-Leviathonic Rhythmaturgical Syncopated Tapstamaticianisimist)

Tap Classics: Frank Condos and 5-Count Wings

IMAGE A line drawing of two wings ready for flight IMAGEMany steps straddle the line between “flash” and “rhythm” steps, but unique amongst the aerial steps are wings.  To quote Marshal and Jean Stearns in Jazz Dance, “The Wing, with its combination of taps with an upward spring, holds two opposing impulses in balance, creating a dramatic fusion which can be thrilling.”

In the 1920s, wings were all the rage, and many variations existed.  The Pump, the Pendulum, the Saw, the Double Back… like time steps, most dancers had a signature wing variation.

IMAGE Gibson's New Standard Theater, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1919 IMAGE

Gibson's New Standard Theater, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1919

But there was one variation in particular that caught the public’s attention, and it was the 5-count wing, created by Frank Condos.

The step gave him and his partner Mateo Olvera, billed as the more memorable moniker of King and King, that earned them the title as “the greatest of all Wing teams.”

Basically, the 5-count wing is a shuffle and a wing done without any break in the rhythm and can be enunciated as shuh-full-and-a-wing.  This may seem like no great feat, but at the time, tap dance was just getting off of flat feet and up onto the toes.  While a respectable wing usually had dancers getting three inches off of the ground, Condos and Olvera were getting five or six inches of lift.

“There wasn’t many teams copying Mattie and me,” says Condos, “because we did those Wings faster than anybody else.”

Frank Condos grew up working in his father’s restaurant, the Standard Restaurant, across the street from the Standard Theatre in Philadelphia.  It was while running orders to the theatre that Frank was exposed to the best Negro acts in Vaudeville, class acts like Covan and Ruffin and Buck and Bubbles.  It wasn’t until he saw The Three Eddies, which featured dancer Chick Horsey, whose specialty was the wing, that Frank got the idea for what would become the act of King and King.

After his split with Olvera, Condos formed the team of The Condos Brothers with his brother Nick, whom he trained in his trademark step.  Later, he would train his other brother Steve, who would take his place in the group after Frank Condos’ retirement from performing in 1937.

Nick and Steve Condos went on to have illustrious careers, stars of both stage and screen. But it all started with Frank Condos, whose daring and innovative spirit is felt even today as tap dancers continue his legacy of pushing the art form to its creative and physical limits.

The Condos Brothers "War Dance" [HD]

Watch this video on YouTube.

(The Condos Brothers, Nick and Steve Condos. See Steve hitting their signature 5 count wings at 2:15.)

More Tap Classics:

Tap Classic: Jimmy Slyde and his Signature Sliding

Chloe Arnold’s ‘My Life, My Diary, My Dance’

Chloe Arnold is confident in her life’s journey, as is evident in her one woman show, “My Life, My Diary, My Dance,” that debuted in New York City on February 11th at ‘The Club’ at La MaMa. The stage was devoid of scenery, except for three musicians and a blonde, wooden floor. (You can see for yourself in the video at the bottom of the page.) Through entries of Chloe’s ‘diary’ we come to understand the relationships and circumstances that developed her into the powerhouse performer that she is today.  While the style and flow of the evening was uniquely Chloe Arnold, she makes it very clear that this show is not just about her. Through a first-hand account of her performance and from my one-on-one correspondence with Chloe, I aim to prove just that.

Through home videos and spoken word accounts, we come to understand Chloe’s dance lineage completely. At 10 years old she began working with Savion Glover. She studied under him for several years and would develop friendships that would continue to shape her dancing. One of these friends, Bakaari Wilder, introduced her to the cast of Bring In Da’Noise, Bring In Da’Funk, a production that many consider the pinnacle event in contemporary tap. Chloe credits the spontaneous jam sessions that would break out backstage of the production as her initiation into the tap community as well as her trial by fire.

It is through her experiences growing up as an adopted, African-American female coupled with the talent that she surrounded herself with that forged the dancer and entrepreneur that she is today. Her attack is ferocious, and it is her fearlessness that aids in her rapid growth as a performer. In tap dance terminology, Chloe has a deep pocket.

What do you mean, deep pocket?

By pocket, I refer to a wealth of stored movements, rhythms, and styles.

Are you familiar with your favorite dancers’ signature moves? That’s their pocket. For those of you who are just beginning to explore choreography and improvisation, you may find yourself going back to certain movements or rhythms repeatedly. That’s your pocket. This memory technique gives your choreography and improvisation a flavor that is unique to your personal experiences. Developing the pocket is essential for anybody who is seriously considering a career in tap dance and/or cares to participate in the tap community and communicate effectively.

Early Influences

The lights dim as Chloe recalls the musical influences of her youth. She is no longer the strong, confident performer. She has become more introverted. Her shoulders slump a little bit. Her voice tightens and becomes whinier. Her entire attitude is [Read more…]

Tools for Tap Improvisation: The Time Step

Join me in welcoming guest, and new TAPography columnist, Tristan Bruns! Tristan is a Chicago-based tap artist and instructor. You can learn more about him via his bio below but what you may not discover there is that Tristan is making this debut on his birthday! Happy Birthday, Tristan!

Nothing brings out ‘the fear’ in a dancer more than the word improvisation. Improv for short, it is a shame that many dancers feel uncomfortable when asked to join an improv jam. Most dancers flat out refuse to participate and I used to be one of them.

Improvisation is an absolutely essential part of dance education and perhaps more so in tap than in other styles. Tap dance is a very virtuosic art form and the ability to ‘think on your feet’ is absolutely necessary in order to experience everything that tap has to offer.

“Get out there and do something.”

When I joined a professional tap dance company during my last year of high school I was vaguely aware of the importance of improvisation.  At one of our first performances the director turns to me and says, “Go out there and do something.” “Like what?” I asked. “You know, just turn off your brain, don’t think about it and let it come naturally.” So I did. I wish that I had video of that performance only so I could burn it to make sure that nobody else ever saw it.

In retrospect, I could not disagree with his advice more than I disagree with thirteen fouette turns in a tap number. When I decided to get serious about my improv, I started out practicing in that way. I would clear my mind and hope something good materialized.

What came out? Nothing. There was no foundation with which to build.  I had no insight into the correlation between spontaneous improv and how to apply my years of training to it. A tap dancer divided against him self will not stand. In fact, you end up falling, both physically and emotionally.

Dropping Eaves

What is an essential skill for a dancer to learn? Eavesdropping. It is a skill, right up there with cheating and stealing, that, when applied to dance, takes on a different meaning. [Read more…]

Giving Thanks Giveaway: PortableTapFloor.com

This giveaway is now closed.

Courtesy of PortableTapFloor.com, our first giveaway for Day 4!

www.PortableTapFloor.com

Home of the "Perfect" Portable Tap Floor!

PortableTapFloor.com provides quality portable tap floors that are affordable, lightweight, durable, and resonant.

Once again, here is a product that was born from necessity. Terrence “Taps”, the man behind online tap dance resources, TapDanceMan.com, eTapDance.com, and TapDanceSongs.com, needed a lightweight, shock absorbing tap floor that he could use when performing in schools, libraries, and other venues where a good wooden stage is not available. It was important to Terrence that he have good flooring, not only because it improved his performances, but because it reduced his risk of injury.

Armed with ideas for his design, he worked with a designer to produce his portable tap floor. Realizing later that others might also need a functional solution for performance or practice that costs less than $300, he decided to make his Portable Tap Floor available to other tap dancers.

“Whether it’s for personal use, or is given as a gift,” Terrence says, “the “Perfect” Portable Tap Floor encourages tap practice and is great fun to use!”

Watch and listen to the Portable Tap Floor in action, and hear Terrence tell more of his story in this video:

The Portable Tap Floor

Watch this video on YouTube.

PortableTapFloor.com kindly sponsored this giveaway, however in the interest of disclosure I want to let you know that I am an affiliate for PortableTapFloor.com (meaning that I earn a commission on sales from this item). I believe in Terrence’s dedication to the art form of tap and like to support other teachers who dedicate their skills and ingenuity to create useful resources for other teachers and dancers. Though other transportable tap floors are on the market, I haven’t seen any others like this one, plus it is an affordable option for tap students who want to create a space for home practice.

On to the giveaway:

Tap floor by PortableTapFloors.comTerrence “Taps” wants to give away one of his Portable Tap Floors to a Dance Advantage reader.

At 36 x 48 inches, it is currently the largest size floor offered at PortableTapFloors.com, and weighs about 26 lbs. The winner will also be able to choose from among the nine custom colors available so that the floor can communicate his/her own unique style.

Direct any questions about the floor to Terrence:

This address an image to avoid spam

Here’s how to enter:

Leave a comment at this post, answering the question: Why would YOU like to own a tap floor from PortableTapFloor.com?

Note: Winners are chosen randomly. Your answer will have no effect on the outcome of this contest, but creative, heartfelt, and entertaining answers will affect how super we think you are. ;)

This giveaway is open to those in the continental U.S. The giveaway will close Saturday, November 13 and a winner will be drawn on Sunday.

Best of luck to everyone who enters!

Don’t forget to check out any giveaways you may have missed!

Teaching Tap Improvisation: Exercises for Beginners

After years of slightly embarrassing moments in front of peers and master teachers, I decided the time had come to develop a thorough improvisation syllabus based on advice from as many great hoofers as possible. I’ll be sharing some of that work with you. Here are the first exercises I present to my students.

Beginning Improvisation Exercises

(Appropriate for students of all ages and levels, unless otherwise noted)

Exercise 1: Group Nursery Rhymes

Goal: Get feet connected to brains, and get students moving!

Choose a song that everyone knows. My suggestion is “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for the first time you try this. Remind them that there are no rules except to dance one sound for each note in the song. Sometimes this will take more than one try, especially if you notice dancers adding extra sounds. Encourage them to leave space during the silence in the song.

If you have very young students (I start them at age 3 with this exercise), have them sing and dance at the same time. If you have intermediate dancers or adults, they can dance without singing.

Master Teacher Heather Cornell with beginning improvisational students

Exercise 2: “Fancy Dancing”

Age/Level: Beginning Students, ages 3 to 7
Goal: Learn how to dance in an improv circle

All dancers begin in a circle. Choose a fun song that the kids can relate to, with a steady tempo and a good beat. One by one, dancers enter the circle and “show us their best moves” and dance as long as they want! Encourage them to do ANYTHING they want, not just tap dance. This gets them thinking about moving things other than their feet!

Exercise 3: Toes Only, Heels Only

Ages/Levels: Beginners of all ages
Goal: To eliminate the pressure to come up with impressive footwork when a beginner doesn’t have a big vocabulary

Once again, make a circle. You have two variations that you can try with this exercise, both of which help relax self-conscious beginners.

Variation A: Repeat Exercise 1 as a group, but using only toe drops or heel drops. This can also be done one at a time so they can hear their taps, though you’ll need to pay careful attention to their self-consciousness and be sure to encourage them!

Variation B (ages 6 and up): Have each student choose their own nursery rhyme and tap it out with toes or heels. Make the rest of them guess! This is challenging, but fun.

Exercise 4: Pass the Buck

Tap dancing shoes from flickr by Maria.
Image via Wikipedia

Goal: To learn how to “pass” to the next person

All dancers begin in a circle. Choose a fun song with a steady tempo and a good beat. One by one, dancers either enter the circle (young kids and advanced dancers) or dance in place in the circle (ages 6 to adult) and “show us their best moves” and dance as long as they want! Encourage them to do ANYTHING they want, not just tap dance. This gets them thinking about moving things other than their feet!

When they are finished, they must gesture with a foot, hand or eye contact to the person they choose to go next. If the “passing” is too complicated for your little ones, you can verbally prompt them to pass it to someone, or simply progress one at a time around the circle.

Exercise 5: Bars, Meters & Counts

Macro of music sheet of a classical piece

Image by Horia Varlan via Flickr

Goal: To create music awareness while dancing and practice structured improvisational trades around a circle

Begin with a very structured 4/4 song that does not have any strange segues or extra measures. Have all students beat their hands on their legs, clap or snap to the beat. Continue their time keeping, but have them now count out loud – “1..2..3..4”. Be sure you do not have them count “5..6..7..8”. This is a cardinal sin in the music world, as you’ll find out if you dance with live musicians! Explain to your students that each set of four counts is a measure, or a bar. I often use this with my elementary students who are learning addition and/or multiplication. They love when they know the answer to “How many counts are in four measures?”

Once you have explained the concept of bars/measures and counts to them, try dancing four measures. If this is too tough, they can even use toes and heels like before. Have them help each other by counting out loud and holding up fingers for the number of measures that have passed. Everyone loves a little help from their friends!

Note: Remember that each student should begin on count 1 of their first measure and end on count 4 of their last. This will help with students transitions to one another. You can also require them to “pass the buck” once they’ve finished their turn.

I hope these beginning exercises give you some ideas for your own classes, or even your own individual improvisation work. Let’s find that creative genius hidden inside your students (and maybe even you)!

For more information or to purchase a complete copy of the syllabus, please feel free to comment below or email me at sarah.mason@PennAcadArts.com.

Sarah Mason is the owner/Artistic Director of PA Academy of the Arts, a family-oriented performing arts school in central Pennsylvania offering training in dance, theatre and music.

Born and raised in Chicago, Sarah was the Founder of world-renowned Footprints Tap Ensemble. She is respected from coast to coast as an exceptional dance educator, having taught for over 20 years. Sarah continues to perform as a tap artist, both as a soloist and with her ensemble, Jade Dance Project. She is also the proud mother of two little boys, and the wife of a professional musician.

Sarah’s Dance Dynamics teaching tools, including her unique and easy-to-use tap improvisation syllabus and more, are featured regularly in the TAPography section of Dance Advantage and can be purchased on her website.

DanceStage.com Creator, Colby’s Long And Winding Road

ColbyColby is 22 years old and grew up in Palmer, Alaska. He’s got a passion for dance, interests in business, web-design, and sports. Like many young dancers, he’s got a lot on his plate as he tries to define his career and who he is. I believe I first encountered Colby on Twitter and he’s always been professional and courteous. His path in dance and (I hope he won’t mind my saying) in life has been somewhat indirect. While it’s awesome to see a driven and focused career materialize, the truth is, most dancers I know have traveled a long and winding road. So, I thought it would be interesting to represent that and talk with Colby on the blog.

When did you start dancing, Colby?

I started dancing at the age of 13 because my sister was dancing at a studio and mentioned high school girls! [laughs].

Girls… Check! What about dance or the process of learning motivated you to continue?

I noticed right away it was what I really loved to do. I stayed with the same studio for about four-and-a-half years, studying in ballet, tap, jazz, and a little bit of breaking. The more I danced the more I enjoyed using it as an outlet for my emotions and to release all of my energy, whether it was to relieve anger, or to relieve the stress of my next test coming up, or just a pick me up if I was having an off day.

My motivation to continue was fueled by the ever increasing challenges and the fact that I was tackling those challenges successfully. My confidence continued to grow the more I danced. Also, attending a few live performances of professional companies and just seeing this whole new culture intrigued me.

Did you have support as a young man in dance?

I have always been and always will be supported by my family. I’m very blessed to have all of them. When I became a freshman in high school it became very difficult because I joined the high school cheer team too. This was in a smaller town where guys didn’t really cross that plane at all. I was given a hard time by a lot of people that were supposed to be my friends. Some of it was even worse than just minor teasing. At one of the football games I had a potato thrown at me while I was cheering. Needless to say, I found out who my true friends really were. The further I got into high school the more it became “ok” but in the beginning only my close friends and family really supported me. Actually, to be honest not many girls had a problem with it. It was mainly just the guys that did.

You had a full scholarship to study dance in college but, after a year, left to join a pre-professional company. What about the college dance experience was not what you expected?

The training wasn’t as well-rounded as I had anticipated. The program’s focus was jazz and ballet. A good thing, but I was expecting a more balanced variety. Even though they had hip-hop and tap classes, they were at a beginning level. That was a bit of a disappointment as those happen to be my favorite.

There was also more drama than I expected, things seemed disorganized at times. To their credit they had a whole new staff but we were offered only two weekends of performances for the whole year.

All in all, I wouldn’t give up that experience because good or bad, every experience helps you grow. College helped with technique. There was a more personal atmosphere than I had envisioned. There was good talent which helped me to push myself harder. There was time to focus on my dancing completely. When you are not in college and working, you never get as much time as you want.

In what ways did training with a company suit you better?

The pre-professional training broadened and is still broadening my views on hip-hop culture. Everyone in the company was putting their free time into what they loved so there was less drama (more professionalism). The training and performance opportunities kept us pushing the limits of our potential. Sharing your love for what you do with an audience, hopefully inspiring or entertaining them – that’s what it’s all about.

Putting It Together

Colby’s primary project right now is DanceStage.com, a social network for dancers. I’ve contributed some of my posts to DanceStage.com (which I rarely do). They sit among some really useful articles, as well as contests, and other features which we’ll chat more about below…

DanceStage.com Advisory BoardTell me about DanceStage.com and what prompted its creation.

The idea for DanceStage started while I was in college. As I researched for dance assignments, I had the thought that things would be easier if there was a collection of info on dance all in one spot. I told a few friends, we partnered and off we went on it. They have since had to bow out due to time constraints or personal reasons, so I have managed to start taking it on myself. The goal is a social network that is a dancer’s one-stop shop, but I have to build it one step at a time. So, I’ve started with the social network and I am building from there.

Social networks have exploded in the last two years. What has been most difficult about carving out a space online?

The difficult thing about carving a space online is you have to constantly evolve as the internet is constantly evolving. Another hurdle is becoming recognized. You could have the coolest site in the world but if nobody knows it’s there it doesn’t do anyone any good. You just have to be dedicated and persevere long enough to get your name out there.

You’ve partnered with Showstopper to present the Future Stars of America contest. How are winners chosen?

At each Showstopper regional they take the highest scoring group and give them DanceStage’s Future Stars of America award. Their video then gets uploaded to the site and they are a contestant. Once the season is over and all the regional winners are up, DanceStage’s selected judges narrow it down to a top five. These top five are reposted and the members of DanceStage can vote on their favorite video once a day for a week. At the end, the video with the most votes becomes our new Future Stars of America winners. Showstopper has been great to work with and very supportive.

Dance Advantage on DanceStageYou have a section for classifieds, a forum, users can create customized profiles, and you’ve added new articles. What’s next, what can users look forward to?

DanceStage will soon be coming out with a whole new look. I will be tightening up the features already in place and adding new ones. It will be a great change and I am excited for it. That is my primary focus right now. Some features that are in the back of my mind for the future are a dance history section, a more customizable profile, maybe some interactive games, more contests (small and large), hopefully an online store (for DanceStage apparel and other items), and when the new site comes out I will have a Suggestion Form on every page so that I can deliver what the users want.

Okay, big question. Do you have any thoughts for other 20-somethings trying to make their way?

For anyone trying to establish themselves, I would say do what YOU feel is right for you. Don’t let other people persuade you. Sometimes they are doing it to try and protect you or help you, but only you can decide what is best for you. Whenever I have a decision to make, I call my mom, my dad, a sister or two and ask a few friends. I am very family oriented. My parents did a great job raising me and my sisters had a large impact on me as well. I take into consideration their different perspectives to make my choice. Then I decide, given all these different points, what is the best option for me. Not everything I’ve chosen has been the easiest but I regret none of the choices.

I also can’t say enough for working hard. But not only work hard, work smart. Back in high school, we trained less often than the teams we competed against so my coach used to say that, instead of just working harder, we had to work smarter to make our time more valuable to us than their time was to them.

Thanks Colby!

Do check out DanceStage.com and their YouTube channel, where you’ll find those Future Stars of America entries.

Have you taken your own long and winding road in dance?

Tell us about it in the comments!

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Sunday Snapshot: Curly Top

© Jodi Lynn Reeves | Through My Eyes Photography

Through My Eyes Photography does dance portraits, senior photos, sports team photography, and more in Herington, KS. You can find more of Jodi’s work at her page on Facebook.

The white background really makes this colorful photo pop. I loved this series of images of this precious tap dancer – the oversized hat, and those curls reminding me of Shirley Temple. Just cute! I hope your recitals are all going well this year.

Do you have photos taken before or after your performance?

Let us know in the comments below!

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