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Tap class for 7 year old semi beginner

(20 Posts)
UniS Sun 12-May-13 18:26:31

I'm wondering which "level" of tap class to try DS with. He is 7, tall, a Boyish boy, has been learning a little Appalachian step dance for a year, also Morris dance, before that he was doing a creative dance class for a year or two. He is interested in trying another dance class as he likes dancing and wants to do more.

Would he be old ( and big) in a primary tap class? Is preparatory Tap before of after primary? he's not a complete beginner to making rhythm with his feet, but I guess the Appalachian style is probably rather different to A regular Tap class?

Any MNers with thoughts on the above I'd be interested to hear.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 12-May-13 20:13:42

It goes Pre-Primary, Primary then Grade 1

At dd's dance school the kids are usually a Grade or two behind in tap eg dd is about to do Grade 3 ballet & modern but Grade 2 tap

She started tap late at age 8 and went into a Grade 1 class. The steps are quite specific. Also the ISTD syllabus changed just as she started and the teacher said it was much harder.

FionaJT Mon 13-May-13 09:24:40

Don't know about tap, but my dd gave up ballet in November a couple of months before her 8th birthday, and was working towards Grade 1, having done Primary in July. So at 7 Primary would be about right, especially if, as Picturesinthefirelight said above, tap goes a bit behind ballet.

Sparklymommy Mon 13-May-13 17:27:03

Tap is quite a difficult dance genre, and as picturesinthefirelight suggests, dancers are normally a lower grade in tap than other subjects. My DD1 is 10 and taking her grade 2 exam next week. She started tap when she was 3 but for a long time she was stuck in the same grade due to teacher changes and syllabus changes. She follows the ISTD syllabus and usually gets distinction in her exams. She also does ballet and modern and greek exams and is at much higher levels in those (grade 5/interfoundation for ballet, grade 4 modern and grade 4 greek).

UniS Mon 13-May-13 22:51:16

Sounds like primary is an appropriate level for him to try a class. Wonder what he will make of it. Quite different to step I guess .

UniS Wed 15-May-13 20:29:41

Well, he tried it and reported back afterwards
" it was boring and easy, all they did was the same stuff again and again, they didn't do any dancing. I like my class ( Appalachian step/ morris) better because we dance more" .

Ho hum , not that class and that teacher for him then. There is different teacher who I think has a grade one class on a night he could do, might try that before we shelve the idea, or maybe get him to try Modern, would that have more dancing and less exercises? I think he really likes the pretending and making things up side of dance, he used to go to a creative dance class but is now too old ( he towers above the 3 and 4 year olds currently in that class) .

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 15-May-13 21:00:41

Tap is repetitive. Dd is Grade 2 now and they have to getvthecsteos exactly right because they sound wrong if not. Dd's teacher emphasises correct technique rather than doing more complicated and fun stuff but incorrectly. I rember when dd was about 7 or 8 her repeating constantly para para paradiddle over and over moving her foot backwards and fiward repeatedly making sure itcwascexactly right.

There is also a lot of technical excercises in modern. Primary would def be too young for him in that genre (the crocodile excercise springs to mind)

Sparklymommy Thu 16-May-13 08:36:07

Technique is important in tap. Just because he thinks its easy does not mean he is doing it right. Perhaps see if there is a Classical Greek class near to you. That is more "dancey" and creative. They do a lot of being the elements and story telling in that.

Parajse Thu 16-May-13 15:43:38

What you have to remember with primary grades (especially with tap) is that they are not so much designed as beginner classes, but as beginner classes for very young children IYSWIM. Particularly with tap it's all about coordination, whereas in ballet, jazz etc you can get away with poor technique to a point, if you're not doing it correctly in tap it won't sound right and you won't get anywhere. Add in the fact that very young children (whom the primary grades are aimed at) tend to have very poor coordination in comparison to those just a couple of years older and you can see why primary level tap classes are very, very basic. I would accept a 7 year old who'd never danced before into one of my primary classes, but a 7 year old who was new to that particular style rather than dancing I would put into grade 1, maybe higher depending on their age, similarities between the dance they've done before and the new style, ability etc. That said, tap is much slower moving at the start than other styles, but although I've never done Appalachian, I would have though the same would be true.

Can I ask what level he is in Appalachian step? I don't teach step and I don't teach tap beyond primary, but both are descended from Irish dancing and a lot of the steps do overlap. I would have thought he could go straight into a corresponding tap level if he's done a decent amount of Appalachian step dancing- some of the steps are different so he might find it hard for the first few weeks, but it would be far more age appropriate than primary, especially if he's danced before.

UniS Thu 16-May-13 18:37:23

I don't know if there are any "grades" in Appalachian step. He's been learning about a year as its class offered in our village, the older kids have about 2 years under their belts now and are starting to perform at youth dance events. The other class the same teacher has been teaching in a different location has been going for several years and their youth team are the best young folk dancers I've seen at festivals.

I'm going to chase up a lead on a street dance class and also ask if he can try a grade 1 tap class ( and if I can observe) .

LIZS Thu 16-May-13 18:46:18

Modern at that stage isn't much dancing, lots of stretching and flexing. Tap is about the steps and rhythm . Jazz might be a possibility or look at different Tap syllabi, iirc Imperial is supposed to be more "fun" .

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 16-May-13 18:48:36

Dd has always felt that non syllabus jazz stretches her. But she also does ballet & modern for technique.

Parajse Thu 16-May-13 19:04:03

Sorry- didn't make that too clear. Is he at the 'dancing' stage, or still working on jumping, steps one foot at a time/both feet very slowly etc? I'm struggling to find many beginner youtube videos- would he be able to do something like this, a bit slower? I know it's called 'clogging' in the description but Americans tend to refer to Appalachian step dancing as flatfooting or clogging (unless I've got the wrong style of dance completely, in which case ignore me blush ).

This is one of the reasons I don't like the grades system in this country. Where I learnt to dance we turned up to classes, we got moved up when we were ready based on our ability and we took it at our own pace. Personally I think the standard of non-ballet dancer we produce in this country is lagging behind and it's not because of lack of talent, it's because there's too much emphasis on following a grade syllabus and sticking to an age-appropriate grade. With the exception of pointe I really can't see the harm in putting a child in a class with kids a few years older than them if they can keep up and they enjoy it (and have done with my students), but maybe that's just me. This is why something like Appalachian step dance is fab, because the teachers don't feel dictated by a syllabus. Similar with most street dance classes.

That said, if you get him in the right tap grade then it sounds like he'd really enjoy it. Grade 1 tap does this look more like the tap equivalent so to speak of what he does in Appalachian step?

SoupDragon Thu 16-May-13 19:05:50

A friend's DD just started in an age appropriate class for tap/modern and it doesn't seem to have been a problem. I think most of the other children in the class have been going since they were 3 or 4.

Sparklymommy Thu 16-May-13 21:45:03

My Dd1 does a lot of dance, all at the same school. She started ballet at 2, and at 10 she now does 7 ballet classes a week (3 Interfoundation classes, she's DESPERATE to get her pointe shoes before the end of the year, a Grade 4 ISTD syllabus class for 'performance' style, an RAD grade 4 class which she was doing as extra, having taken her IDTA Grade 4 last May but wanting the extra character work that is in the RAD syllabus and two grade 5 RAD classes which is the grade she should be in). She also does 1 tap class a week, taking her Grade 2 exam this Wednesday. Her tap has been the slowest moving because teachers have changed/ the syllabus has changed. She does a grade 4 modern class a week. A non syllabus Jazz class. A street jazz class, a Classical Greek class (she has taken grade 3 and bronze medal Greek) and two body con/stretch classes a week.

Her younger brother, who is six, does two ballet classes a week at grade 1, primary modern and primary tap and a body con class. He is taking his primary tap exam in July, having only started in September.

Ime ballet is the foundation for all dance and children who do not do ballet do struggle with the technique for the other styles. Even ballroom dancers are usually sent for ballet classes as it is strengthening.

Disagreeing with paranjse as my daughter is in classes with girls of 14-16. Not for everything but certainly for Ballet. We have children of 8/9/10 in our primary tap classes.

Parajse Thu 16-May-13 22:54:16

Ah but she's primarily a ballerina Sparklymommy, IME ballet is the exception that proves the rule. Ballet in this country can be absolutely brilliant, what I found when I came over here was that the lyrical/tap/jazz standard was lagging sadly behind the US in terms of standard. But then I'm told I'm obsessed with turns and tricks, so I suppose it goes both ways grin Seriously though, your two sound fab, I wish I had more 10 year olds of pointe standard.

Completely with you on the ballet front; when I danced in the US as a child, we all had to take ballet and tap classes to be allowed onto company, even if we were only competing jazz. I'm finally starting to win my battle to get my teen jazz and modern students into ballet classes, but only because they're seeing how much faster the ones who do take ballet progress.

UniS Thu 16-May-13 22:58:44 - This style of dance is what DS is learning currently. He is not yet performance group standard, not so good at keeping in step with the group all the way through tho he tends to get it right on phrase end points.

This is not his class, these kids are few more years down the line but I can;t find anything publicly that's closer. These are the kids DS wants to be like IYSWIM.

UniS Thu 16-May-13 23:03:51

Thanks for that grade one vid- yes I think that’s a reasonable approximation of where he is, or at least is working towards, Its hard to work out how things are similar when the music is so different isn't it.

Parajse Thu 16-May-13 23:32:15

It is UniS- I've never done Appalachian but the majority of Appalachian step dance moves are very similar to tap- both descendants of Irish dancing. The real difference in style is the musical interpretation- in that respect tap is closer to jazz dancing.

We don't follow any syllabus particularly strictly where I teach primary tap so I can't speak for everywhere, but if he's around that standard in Appalachian step there's no way he should be in a primary tap class. Even if he's not getting the whole phrase right (lots of early grade tap students don't) if he can do the more complicated steps in the first place he's better off in Grade 1, with a year's Appalachian under his belt he should catch on pretty quickly.

Good for your DS aspiring to that standard too, there really aren't enough boys out there who enjoy dance, let alone go for one of the more traditional styles.

On the modern front it can vary quite a bit in terms of how much dancing to how much stretching/posing. This is what I would count as modern, but most of my dance training was in California. (It's also worth pointing out that this little boy is exceptional!)

Sparklymommy Fri 17-May-13 15:18:30

I can see why he was bored in a primary tap op, had never heard of this style of dance but it looks fun!

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