Kate's Note

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!

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 courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search