When I was 3 years old, my first dance teacher, Susan Tripaldi, began teaching me tap. Her daughter Shannon, our pal Nanette and I would hang on to her kitchen chairs, practicing shuffles and simple tap rhythms. Later, while studying with Joan Robinson Borchers at the California Academy of Performing Arts in Rheem Valley, I learned more complicated time steps and rhythms, performed Broadway-style tap dances onstage each year and began fantasizing about starring on Broadway one day. Even during my ballet career, my tap training continued to stand me in good stead. It not only sharpened my musicality, but it gave me a leg up in my ability to master rhythms—both in ballet choreography and the many character roles I danced.
To this day, tapping makes me happy—I do it while I wait for things like elevators (if no one is looking). Just this morning, when I was walking out the door to come to work, my 4-year-old son started crying. To lift his spirits, I began tapping everything in my repertoire. He loved it and within minutes he’d totally forgotten he was sad.
Dominique Kelley makes me forget my troubles. Our amazing cover guy originally caught our attention because he had an inspiring and unusual story (p. 56). He’s a hard-hitting tapper, now living in L.A. and breaking into the commercial scene. Although few (if any) Hollywood auditions ask specifically for world-class hoofers, Dominique finds a way to show ’em what he’s got; he even sneaks tap into hip-hop auditions. But he’s also incredibly versatile. He can pull off every style, including ballet and jazz.
Then on page 44, catch a glimpse of six vibrant (and leggy) beauties from the ultimate Broadway tap team, the Radio City Rockettes. In “A Rainbow of Rockettes,” read about their exciting Christmas Spectacular news and see them modeling jewel-toned dancewear must-haves.
Next, if the short winter days are making you feel like you may never get your holiday-gift buying done, fret no more! We’ve done some shopping for you. Turn to page 52 to see the 48 adorable items that will knock your pals’ tap shoes off. And while you’re shopping for them, pick up a little something for yourself, too! Perhaps the jeweled headband by Costume Gallery—the perfect accessory for ringing in the New Year.
Speaking of 2009, can you believe it’s almost here? We at DS are not ready to say goodbye to 2008! We saw so much great dance this year, it was almost impossible to choose just “20 Monumental Moments” (p. 60). So I think our list should be just the beginning. E-mail me your favorite 2008 performances—anything from your friend’s award-winning competition solo to Criss Angel Believe—and I’ll start a readers’ choice list on our website.
So as you jeté between performances of this season’s The Nutcracker, holiday shopping and hanging decorations with your family, be sure to take a little time out to curl up on the couch with your December DS. And if the craziness of the holiday season ever has you feeling a little blue, remember to tap yourself a happy tune. A little soft shoe will do wonders for the soul. Happy tapping and happy holidays!