It's been a long time since the American Tap Dance Foundation had a place to call their own—1995 to be exact, when the Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center closed its doors. But as of January 2010, the ATDF has a new location at 154 Christopher Street!
Before the new year, the ATDF was renting classroom space at NYC's Chelsea Studios while their offices were housed a couple blocks away. Now, everything's in one place. And what a beautiful place it is.
There's still a lingering trace of fresh-paint pungence. Brand-new hardwood floors laid in just two days don't yet show any wear and tear (love, tap dancers would call it!). The offices are much more spacious than their predecessors. And there are two studios, one larger than the other, but both available for use at all hours, which is precisely what makes the ATDF's new location so important.
During an open house last night, young students danced the shim sham shimmy, ATDF's artistic director Tony Waag welcomed everyone and introduced tap luminaries like Mable Lee and Maurice Hines, brother and former-dance partner of the late Gregory Hines. And then Brenda Bufalino, ATDF's artistic mentor and founder of it's former incarnation, the American Tap Dance Orchestra, interjected.
"When I came in today, dancers were already congregating here," Bufalino said referring to the new digs. She talked about how important it is for tappers to have a place to come together and work, to engage with other members of the tap community. To see each other.
And in this new space, every dancer who enters will also see tap's history. Photos of Hines, Eleanor Powell, Charles "Honi" Coles, Sammy Davis Jr. and many many others line the walls.
It's May, which means it's time to gear up for your studio's annual recital! Yes, every group's performance preparations are different, but here are the eight stages pretty much every dancer goes through.