Let’s Talk Choreography! What to consider when creating a great tap dance

With recital season coming up, let’s talk about choreography and all those elements that make up a great dance!

The most important part of choreography is song choice. Obviously there are many parts to this– your interest in the song, a good beat, what style are you going to do (musical theatre, pop, rock,etc), does it fit your dancers’ personalities? And so much more…

Next you need to consider your concept. This goes in hand with the song. You need to decide what the audience will see and what you want them to get out of watching this dance. While many dances can have very deep meanings (such as many on So You Think You Can Dance dedicated to addiction or cancer, check out the videos below), never underestimate the power of just a fun entertaining piece as well. Try variety when you choreograph.

Now when creating the movement of your dance, there needs to be variety and parts. An entire dance of all the dancers doing the same moves becomes boring. Try using small groups and building up the number of dancers on the stage or vice versa. The use of movement around the stage can be very important as well. Too many tap dances are very stagnant where the dancers stay in the same V formation for example. The whole stage needs to be used (up, down, left, and right) and dancers should never stay in the exact same spot for the entirety of the dance. I know this is something that many competitions consider when judging dances.

Side Note: My biggest pet peeve in tap dances is when dancers have their hands behind their back for the entire dance. I totally understand the appeal of this. It makes cleaning the dance simpler, but its boring and elementary. It can make an impact if used in the right way to emphasize the feet. However, don’t over use it as seen at way too many dance competitions. I’ve been sort on time before and used it in parts of my dance (but never the whole thing). If you have the time, work with your dancers to establish natural arms for all of them that work as a unit. It will make the dance more natural and free flowing, and entertaining for the audience.

Check out some more in depth choreography conversation below.

While not tap dances, these pieces are perfect examples of telling stories and giving meaning to your dances. Here are 2 dances dedicated to cancer from So You Think You Can Dance. They still give me chills years later because they are so powerful and meaningful!

This one is probably my favorite and it’s about addiction. These dances just show the power of dance and so many people can relate to them!

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