My passion for tap dance was born out of a love for rhythm and percussion. Feeling the beat makes me feel alive. I started tap dancing in college in 2003 and simply never stopped. It was that same drive to feel vibrantly awake and alive that pushed me to pursue my license in acupuncture. While pursuing my graduate degree I found tap dance to be the best therapeutic break from responsibility. The more I learned about alternative health, the body and the brain, the more I realized how powerful tap dance is.
I began to dream - I wanted to create a tap dance class for adults that promotes coordination, balance and memory-enhancing brain workouts. I wanted to build a class that connects adults through rhythm and percussion – a class where varied skill levels create a sense of companionship, not competition. I wanted to teach tap improvisation exercises that make adults laugh and enjoy themselves instead of vomit because they see improv as terrifying. Making up your own rhythms (at any level) builds and strengthens our courage muscles. These ideas were merely fleeting thoughts, until life brought Kristen and I together.
One day in Jacob’s class…
Don’t all good stories start in 5th grade band? I decided at 10, I wanted to be a drummer. But I quickly discovered that gaining access to the drum set in middle school band required getting past the boys who told me I was a girl, so I should play the glockenspiel. So much for a drumming career. I hit 6'2" before graduating high school and couldn’t touch my toes—so much for any kind of dancing career.
But when I was in college, I went to see Stomp in the theater district of Boston. I was so excited by the high-energy percussive dancing, I decided to learn how to tap dance—and I wasn’t going to let boys, my height, or my lack of coordination and flexibility stop me. For the next ten years, I tapped on-and-off while starting a “real” career as a high school history teacher. As teaching became too time-consuming, and life-sucking, tap class was the one hour a week I devoted to myself. Tap dancing required so much focus and was so fun, I forgot about my tough job and found pure joy. I found my tap mentor, Jacob Stonebraker, at a studio in Denver, and met a fellow dancer named Molly Dyer.
One day in Jacob’s class…
... Kristen realized it was really easy to make Molly laugh. She began making awkward steps which continued to crack Molly up – an easy target. Each week she repeated the awkward steps to get a few good laughs in. We can’t explain it – it just never got old. We became fast friends.
One day, we had an epiphany: tap dancing can make the world a happier place!
Kristen decided tap dancing brought her more joy than her current soul-sucking job, so she quit. Molly decided that tap dancing could improve so many of the struggles her acupuncture clients dealt with by fostering brain health, physical health and mental health.
With Molly’s Dream-Big attitude and Kristen’s Can-Do attitude Tappy Feet was born.
Dubbing themselves Ambassadors of Tap, they started a quirky, non-traditional tap class in Denver to get people tap dancing.
People started coming to class.
They came to relieve stress.
To have fun and be goofy.
To work on coordination and brain health.
To step away from their screens.
To challenge themselves.
To meet people and feel connected.
To get physical activity while their kids were at school.
Yes, some even came to learn how to tap dance.
Now we hope our epiphany can be yours. For adults who need to tap out of adulting and who want more happiness in their lives, our classes provide an hour of percussive playtime that quietly strengthens resiliency through physical and mental health, courage, and creativity. Unlike traditional tap classes, our classes will not make you a YouTube tap dancing sensation. They are specifically designed to make you laugh and bring out your inner courageous bad-ass.