Marissa Camper attended The Big Apple Tap Festival

Marissa Camper writes about her experience at the Big Apple Tap Festival in New York City.

This past November, I attended the Big Apple Tap Festival in New York City. Tap Dancers from around the world gathered under one roof for a weekend full of growth.

Walking into a room of strangers felt daunting, but the uneasiness quickly led to positive anticipation. I felt unbelievably thankful that I was given the opportunity to be there. Before I knew it, I had made a whole group of friends. I left the festival motivated to help establish a strong tap community back at home and an unwavering desire to keep the tradition of my tap ancestors alive.

I decided to go to the Big Apple Tap Festival because I wanted to venture outside of my comfort zone. As an Addicted 2 Dance apprentice teacher, I feel that my students deserve the best version of myself that I can possibly give. 

French Fries Company learning from Marissa's experience at the Big Apple Tap Festival

Part of my job as an A2D Apprentice is to warm up the French Fries company every week

In addition to teaching movement, it is my priority to successfully pass down the traditions of the art of tap to the next generation. Reggio McLaughlin, a Hoofer from Chicago, taught me a traditional piece of choreography – the “chair dance” – at the festival that I hope to one day pass down to my students! I was also able to take class with tap masters such as Brenda Bufalino and Debbi Dee.

Over the weekend, I made friends that are tap dancers my age from around the country. I was also able to catch up with the Tap Ties company members who I have known for several years.

Tap Master Class at the Big Apple Tap Festival

Photo of a tap master class with DeWitt Fleming (courtesy of the Big Apple Tap Festival)

Avi Miller and Ofer Ben, owners of the Big Apple Tap Festival, emphasize the importance of honoring your masters. As the next generation, we must take in as much as we can to keep the legacy alive. YouTube and other networks are available to us and we should take advantage of them.

“Cherish your masters, because when we came here to this country, most of our masters were still alive and we were honored to stand with them, dance with them, and pass along this legacy.”

– Avi Miller

Unfortunately, tap has lost some popularity in the competitive dance world. We see less and less tap dances each season. Competitions have been favoring certain styles recently, so studios have been favoring them, too.

Luckily, Addicted 2 Dance has been putting an immense effort into breaking out of the norm. This season, all company dancers are required to take every style of dance, including tap! The studio is entering more tap routines than ever. The future of tap at A2D is looking bright, and I am honored to be a part of it!

Click here for more information on tap dance classes at A2D!

I hope one day to teach my own classes at A2D along with other studios, and be a member of a professional tap company. Be sure to come see my tap solo, “Stuff Like That There”, at competitions and the A2D recital!

Enjoy the video below, which I made of my experiences at the Big Apple Tap Festival. I also included a short clip of a combination from April Cook’s class.

Ready to start dancing? Click here to register for classes at Addicted 2 Dance!

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