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Luckily, Tap Class isn’t Graded

When I am nervous, I either talk and share too much to make myself feel better or I am silent and pretend no one can see me.  I think during my first tap lesson, I did both.

There were two students including me and the teacher.  That is all.  And the dance studio had a window in it.  If I had been naked, it would have completed the humiliation.

We learned six steps, I think.  That’s all.  Six. Seis.  Sechs. 6.  I could do them alone.  I was great doing them over and over with one foot at a time, but then the teacher tricked me.

He put them together.  I had to shuffle and dig and remember which part of my foot is the ball and which is the heel.  This is hard for me because I think my heal looks round like a ball.  Why did I take this class?

Because I always wanted to dance.  And because I want my kids to see me struggle with something and keep at it and practice and enjoy it even though I will never be great at it.

Since being an adult, I don’t do that thing called risk very often.  I hang out with people I know and try things I know I will succeed at.  And so I know this is good for me.

I was still embarrassed though and I had to tell the two other people in the room whose opinion I really shouldn’t even care about that I am good at something.  So I told my ballet story.

I said that I got one grade in college –which isn’t true.  I really got A’s, A-‘s and B+’s but I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even admit a B+ so I said I got all A’s except for ballet.  I got a C+ because my body was not meant for movement.  It was meant to lie on a sofa and read.  I pretended to tell the story so my teacher would know I was scarred; but I really told the story because I wanted him to know that I am good at something even if I can only do a 2 step combo and if you add a shuffle to the 2 steps, you might as well give up on me.  (That’s not true.  If I wanted him to think I was good, I would have admitted B+’s.  I wanted him to think I excelled at something.)

The best part is that he completely turned my story around on me.  His response: “That is so great that you are going to forget that C+ and take this class.”  He didn’t care about the A’s; he was just excited I took his class. (I’m thinking of asking him to be my life coach.)

So here’s to an upcoming week of practicing tap while washing the dishes and learning to admit that I’m ok with the fact I’m not that good!

I don't think this will be me (image from internat'l tap assoc.)


  1. A great lesson for perfectionists who like to be great at things. I think taking risks becomes easier if you do it more often. This is huge. (And not one I could do).

    I am thinking of signing up for a stand up comic class, though. It terrifies me. It’s not something I want to do professionally, but I feel I need to push myself to an edge…

    Go, Marianne. Hope you’re tapping while you read this!

  2. Lori Dyan says:

    “…my body was not meant for movement. It was meant to lie on a sofa and read.”

    *gasping with laughter*

    Mine too!!!! Congrats on step-ball-changing out of your comfort zone!

  3. Elena Aitken says:

    An awesome lesson for your kids. Taking risks is huge, especially when you know you’re not going to be the best at it. That’s a hard one. But so good.
    Now get busy with your tap tap shuffle tap.

  4. Ok, so forget the photos. Now I want videos! I bet you are (true to your perfectionist nature) actually pretty good but can’t see it.

    Be careful – before you know it tight rope walking and trapeze swinging (yes there is a class for that) will look like great classes.

    Another body meant to lie on a sofa and read,

  5. Kristen says:

    I love it! When we were kids our favorite movies were the Fred Astaire or Gene Kelley ones. I’ve always had a secret tap dancing wish, but I’m not as brave as you. During my last “it’s good to do hard things” lecture, I heard the voice in my head ask me “and what hard things are you doing?” Of course, in our house helping with 4th grade math is the hardest thing I’m doing!

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