The Benefits Of Tap Dance
- Nina Raggio, Tap Instructor
THE BENEFITS OF TAP DANCE by Nina Raggio, Tap Instructor
Most adult students who come to my classes are here because as a child they always wanted to take tap and either mom or dad wouldn’t let them or they took tap for a few years, loved it, but there wasn’t enough time in the day to fit it in. And now with an emphasis on healthy activity and with more time in people’s schedules they’re eager to take that tap class that they were denied as a child or pick up where they left off.
I’ve taught tap for 22 years after a successful career in dance. I studied all styles of dance including ballet, jazz and musical theatre. After leaving a performing career behind I feel so fortunate to have found my second career as a tap instructor. It is the one style of dance that most people can do until the age of 80 or beyond. Over the years I’ve seen what the benefits of taking tap can do for my students and me.
Coordination and balance:
One of the more necessary aspects of tap is learning to change weight from foot to foot as you move through the choreography. This requires an entirely new way to coordinate foot/body movement and balance. However, I modify the choreography to accommodate anyone who has limited range of movement due to hip and knee surgery for instance. As we get older it’s more important than ever to improve our balance as we maneuver our way over uneven sidewalks and obstacles.
We’ve all become aware of how important it is to keep our memories sharp and active to stave off the possible effects of aging and certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There can be no better exercise for the brain than to remember and execute a series of steps learned over several weeks and months.
If aerobics is not for you but you want the benefits, just get out on the dance floor for an hour tap class and you’ll have your heart beating, blood flowing and all the parts of your body moving to the beat. My classes consist of a low impact stretch at the beginning, tap steps traveling across the floor, a dance routine and possibly some improvisation.
Equally important to our well-being is social interaction with one another in a friendly, positive environment. Tap is one of the more social forms of dance often requiring dancers to relate to one another during a routine, dance with a partner or generally encourage or help one another while learning new material. There’s often a lot of chatter and laughter coming from a room full of tap dancers – the best medicine in the world!