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I'm Doing It Wrong Again or Reality is Unforgiving

Okay so in my last post I wrote about new warm-up:

I have all the kids get into a line.  Then I teach them a short simple pattern - step heel, step heel, step heel, stamp.  All the kids do it together first, then the first kid in line does it solo.  Then all the kids do it together again, after which the second kid in line does it solo.  And we continue to alternate from group to solo until we get through the entire line.  If I think the kids still need more work on the pattern we go through the line again

This simply doesn't work long term for warm-up. Why? Because we cover at most 4 patterns (at most). There are simply too many steps to cover that we will never get to. Also this usually takes a while so it becomes a mix of warm-up and technique. The net result is that the number of steps the kids actually do in a class is greatly reduced. Yes they are getting to really hear their own feet and yes that's helping to make their steps sound better, but too many steps simply don…

25 Years of Doing it Wrong or I'm Still Learning

After 25 years of teaching tap dance I think I've been doing warm-ups wrong the entire time.  Granted there is no official right or wrong way to do warm-ups, but I measure their success by how well my students can execute the steps we do in warm-up each week.

Before we go on I want to share my thoughts on the purpose of a warm-up.  In most cases I don't think it's really about "getting warm" or "warming up the muscles".  At least not for the young kids I teach who can break out into a full-on run with no preparation whatsoever, or who can drop into the splits without first stretching for a few minutes.  I'm a little older so for me it does serve a bit of the "warm up the muscles" before we torture them purpose.  But the kids I teach are good to go.  So why do it?

I do it for 2 reasons:

1.  Reinforce basic steps.  There is no substitute for repetition.  If you do 100 step heels a week I promise your step heels will sound infinitely better …