Sunday, May 25, 2014


Happy Birthday Mr. Bill Bojangles Robinson  !!!! 
          Thank you for putting tap... on the map !

One of most important birthdays to me, is that of Bill Bojangles
Robinson and International Tapdance Day (not a coincidence)

Below are a few photos of the people that inspired me when I was a kid.  All of this magnificent talent I was so lucky enough to grow up watching.  
Even though it took me 52 years to realize, this is what I want to start doing, it was worth the wait.  Putting the steps to the music you love is just pure joy !!  I encourage anyone who has wanted to do any kind of dance but were afraid to, just do it !! It is worth it, it doesn't have to be perfect, as long as you are having fun, the
rewards are endless.... Dance on !!

Bill Bojangles Robinson 
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire
Donald O'Connor
Bill Bojangles and Shirley Temple

Jeni Legon and Bill Bojangles
The Nicholas Brothers 
Add caption

Ann Miller
Gene Kelly
Bob Hope and James Cagney


....And a special Happy Birthday to Mr. Bill Bojangles Robinson for putting tap, on the map.

Below are just a few photos of people that have inspired me with their incredible dancing in film
all through the years.  I grew up watching Bill Bojangles Robinson, The Nicholas Brothers, Gene Kelly,
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Donald O'Connor, Ann Miller, Gregory Hines, Bob Hope (yes, he could dance ! )

All of these talented people inspired so many and to this day we continuously speak of them and keep them alive through watching their films, dancing their dance, and singing their songs.
 I remember watching Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, and the "Good Morning" number with Donald O'connor and Debbie Reynolds... I was mesmorized, and think that was the moment my feet would not
stop moving, much to the chagrin of my poor mother and father, especially dad on a Saturday morning, when he was feeling a bit tender, you might say !!

Even though I never started taking tap until I was 52, I am just thankful that I did.  The amazing and intense joy I feel when I dance, was worth the wait..

Keep dancing folks !!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


There is a special contest going on right now, where the winner receives an amazing portable tap floor, great for practicing at home.  

If you would like to vote for my friend Anna and I, click on the link shown, and go to Entry 2 and click "like",  each like, counts as a vote. 

The contest ends Saturday May 24th at midnight, so, get your votes in soon !!   This floor will be used by Anna and I when we go out this summer busking !
Here is the link:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A tappers best friend.......

I love my shoes.... ok I have said it out loud.  I have never had a relationship with any item of
clothing or footwear, as I have had with these two ! 

I first met my Capezio's in 2006 when I began tapping.  It is an important event in your life when you
commit and actually BUY the shoes as opposed to rent, you mean serious business when you get your
shoes. This means, you are a serious tapper !
They have to be a perfect fit, in order for you to make the sounds, and these were love at first sight !

These shoes have been through it all.  The agony and the ecstasy  of practice practice practice til you get it right,  Hours of repetition doing a step over and over and over until you get it right, and when you do the
great feeling of YES !  I DID IT !!

These shoes have been everywhere, Vancouver, Germany, Italy, to name a few.  They have seen the victory of a routine performed well, and the occasional defeat of the almighty slip up to nerves on stage.

They have had numerous facelifts, re-soled 3 times, taps replaced, but still, like their wearer, they keep
going, because, they love what they are doing !

I take care of these like an old friend, inserts when they are not being used, a good polish before a show,
knowing once again, they will bring me so much joy !
I hope to have this relationship for many more years until, at one point, we both fall apart !!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Gone, but hopefully not forgotten !

This is a post for those who are still reading this.  It has been quite some time since I have last posted,
several things play into this, but the main thing, is I have not given up the passion for the dance.

The studio I have been tapping is, which was like a family to me, has undergone some major changes,
one of them being, the director and my good friend Anna Kramer, is no longer there.  Anna was the major
force of the studio for me, and I would say the spirit of the whole place, without her it is a different feel.

That, and alot of my favourite teachers and choreographers for various reasons, have pursued their own
personal interests, this is life.

I have been travelling alot in Italy these days, and to my great joy, have found a studio in Rome that I think
will be spending time in, in the coming year.My partner, James and I have decided to move to Italy.  Yes, we are packing up and heading to a small hilltop town, 1 hour and 20 minutes northeast of Rome, in a town called Casperia.

Over the last 4 or 5 years, we have gone back to the same place, and have made very close friends (more
like family now) in this town, and in Rome, so, we are taking the leap !  We have signed a lease for a year
and will just see what happens after that.

It was a huge decision, as, at 62 years old, normally people are pretty rooted in where they are, which I am.
However, do I want in ten years to look back and say, "why didn't I just do that ? "  THIS IS THE TIME !

On our last trip, to my great delight, I found a studio in Rome. "Monia's Rhythm Tap" Corsi e Spettacoli di Tip-Tap  "  where I went to check out the studio.  It is located in a great little theatre near the Coliseum has the best floor I have ever heard !  SO, the plan is, to go in September and take a few classes, and, who knows, maybe do a year end show with them, if I qualify.  I met Monia, and she was great, she reminded me of Shelley Stewart-Hunt, our choreographer for Heart and Sole, the group I dance with here.

Monia seemed like a no-nonsense, lets get to it, instructor, but very skillful in her critique of people.
The class I watched was rehearsing for their year-end show, and looked like it was various levels, so I
am hopeful to get in !

So, I am slowly preparing for the move overseas, getting our place in order to rent, but, in the meantime,
one more year end show here to do.  We are doing two numbers, one is Boogie-Woogey-Bugleboy, an old
classic, but fun to do, and a newer number called "That Man" by Caro Emerald, a real sassy number which I loved from the start.  I actually heard it first in Italy, and found out it was a Dutch singer.  I sent the video to Shelley, and she said, "Lets do it !"

Both of these numbers very fast, which I love, but sometimes my body doesn't ! (More Ibuprofen please !)

Since I have been away for almost two months, I missed the choreography for the " That Man " number, so, that being said, I have to go now and rehearse !  Videos and photos to come !!

Ciao for now, will keep you posted !!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tap Tidbits 2 - Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson (c.1848-1949)

I think the most popular vision many people have of Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, is his amazing dance with Shirley Temple in the movie, The Little Colonel.  The routine they did together going up
and down the stairs captured the hearts of millions of people and is
a classic to this day.  
He had though, a long career before this 1935 film. He got his first professional job in 1892, performing as a member of the pickaninny chorus for Mayme Remington with The South Before the War. 
Robinson then went on to New York to hit the vaudeville Orpheum circuit, but did not wear blackface makeup that performers customarily used. He was an inductee in 2002 American Tap Dance Foundation's Hall of Fame, where they outline his prestigious career in this article :

The following is one of my favourite videos  I have seen of his 
famous 'step dance'. The 1932 footage is a bit grainy, but well worth a peek, enjoy !!! 

   Just a note, I actually meant for you all to watch THIS following
clip from Bill Bojangles, truly amazing !!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Every once and a while I will stumble upon rare, and not so rare footage of some of my favourite tappers in film, old and new.  Classics like "Jumpin' Jive" with the Nicholas Brothers in the film Stormy Weather, how they could even walk after doing that number blows me away.  

Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines in the number, "Challenge"
scene from the film Tap.

Bill 'bojangles' Robinson's Stair dance from Harlem is Heaven.

Gene Kelly in "Singin' In the Rain"

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in Swing Time.

and the amaaaaazing Ann Miller, whirling, twirling, and speed tapping her way through "Shakin' the Blues Away" in Easter Parade.

How she didn't fall over after doing all those turns is a mystery to me, I don't care how well she spotted ! 

These are just to name a few of the countless women and men that have left me awe-inspired over the years.   So, as a tribute to these talented tappers that have brought so much joy and inspiration to so many people, young, and also late bloomers like myself, I decided that now and then I would write "Tap Tidbits",  showcasing an artist/artists with a tap number that left me saying "I want to learn THAT!" or "HOW did they do THAT?"

This first one may surprise you.  I have never seen it before, and never thought that this celebrity, who was an amazing philanthropist/comedian, was also a damn good dancer. I hope you enjoy !!

This video came to me via my good childhood friend, Peggy Bentley.