A Totally Tap Workshop and Competition

Though tap BFFs Aaron Tolson and Derick K. Grant dance together today (they co-created the show Imagine Tap), they took different routes throughout their respective dance careers: Grant grew up hoofing at tap festivals while Tolson was educated on the competition circuit. Now, they’re working together to bridge the festival and competition worlds with Tap2You, a two-day event that’s part tap competition, part workshop. We caught up with Tolson to find out more about the event, which takes place in Lowell, MA, May 8–9. 

Dance Spirit: Where did you guys come up with the idea for a tap-only competition?
Aaron Tolson: In the tap world, “competition” is sort of a dirty word. Typically dancers go to competitions for two reasons: to perform and to get constructive criticism on how they can be better. But tap dancers don’t always get the best evaluations because most judges have less knowledge about tap. We want to provide a panel of tap experts to give feedback specifically for tap dancers.

DS: What exactly will the Tap2You weekend entail?
AT: It’s going to be the best parts of a competition and the best parts of a festival. The competition will be on the first day—everyone from beginner
to advanced tappers can enter. On the second day, we’ll offer classes, an awards ceremony and a showcase. Plus the dancers will be taking classes with the judges—Derick, Michelle Dorrance and myself.


DS: What will you be looking for when you’re scoring the tap numbers?
AT: There are so many different types of good tap numbers and we want to see them all! Some people include turns and leaps in their tap routines, and that’s OK. But mostly we’re looking for strong timing, sense of rhythm, personality and excitement.


Photo of Tap2You's founders Aaron Tolson (left) and Derick K. Grant courtesy Aaron Tolson

Latest Posts

Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by Jamayla Burse

Catching Up With Christian Burse, Comp Kid Turned Complexions Rising Star

With her nearly limitless facility, well-timed dynamics and incredible control, Christian Burse's future as a dancer was guaranteed to be bright. A student at the renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, and at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, TX, Burse has consistently made waves: She won first runner-up for Teen Outstanding Dancer at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in 2019, received a grant for summer study at Juilliard from the Texas Young Masters program in 2020, and was named a YoungArts finalist for dance in 2021.

So, it wasn't all that surprising when Burse announced that, at just 17 years old, she would be joining Complexions Contemporary Ballet as an apprentice for the company's 2021–22 season.

Dance Spirit caught up with Burse to hear all about her first season with Complexions ahead of the contemporary ballet company's run at the Joyce Theater in NYC this month.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search