This blog follows Dance Wire’s Founder/Director Emily Running in her adventures taking new dance classes all over Portland.
Sick of adulting? Who isn’t! Being an adult with responsibilities and the expectation to act mature is way overrated. The solution? Take a tap class! I have never tapped before in my life, but as soon as I put on the tap shoes my childish instinct took over and I just wanted to dance around making noise!
Luckily Trip the Dark offers tap classes for all levels on Sundays. Beginning tap is first at 11:00-12:00 directly followed by intermediate and then advanced. If you’ve tapped before, you can self select your level and drop in, but if you are brand new like I was, it’s best to wait until the beginning of the six week series to start. The studio is located on the corner of NE 7th and Broadway and there is free (on Sunday’s) street parking readily available. The door is a little sneaky - try not to end up in the dive bar one door down - then head up the stairs and to the left. Trip the Dark has a small but charming space with bright windows.
The class began with a brief warm up, but tap is definitively more strenuous on the mind than on the body and you could even wear your street clothes without fear of getting all sweaty for the rest of the day. Then we moved on to basic steps. For us beginners, or relative newbies, Stephanie would introduce the step, break it down, and talk in detail not just about the movement but also about the precise sound it’s supposed to make and how to make it. The crisp, striking sound she made with her shoe was quite a bit different than the smeared shuffle sound mine would make, though every once in awhile I’d get it which was exciting!
With each basic step we would repeat and repeat and repeat, building up the muscle memory. At first there is a lot of thinking, but once my body started to get the hang of it, I could let go of that a little - and dream of what it would feel like to be able to bust out something fancy without effort. Towards the end we went across the floor putting together a few of the basic moves we had learned but this time traveling through space. Both Corinn and Stephanie - Co-Directors of Trip the Dark - would come by watching and listening to your feet and give pointers.
Overall day one of the beginner series was not at all intimidating. A little rhythm and coordination is all you need and then just practice, practice, practice!
Find more Portland-area dance classes on Dance Wire's Find A Class Directory.