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South Florida Tap Festival

South Florida Tap Festival is on its fifth year and growing fast.

Based in South Florida,  Andrea LaMaina and her team work hard to create a wonderful and informative event for every tap lover. The most recent event included classes that had something for every tapper, whether they were an aspiring rhythm maker wanting to learn breakthrough rhythm techniques or a dedicated professional tap dancer with a desire to teach or work in the field. The event also had improv classes as well as a show, a book signing, and a rhythm jam session. Overall, the event helps to connect inspiring young dancers with professional tappers. For more information about upcoming events click here.

We got in touch with the founder, Andrea LaMaina, and the co-producer, Nicole Smith, to talk about where they see the event going in the future and how it started.

Andrea LaMaina

1 What was one of the hardest things about creating the So Flo Tap Festival?

The So Flo Tap Festival was created out of love for the art form and a need in South Florida.  It has always been and still is a labor of love. I think when you work like that, nothing seems “hard”.  It is something that you want to do, so you just always do everything that you can do to make it successful.

2 How has the So Flo Tap Festival changed in the five years that you have been running it?

The festival has grown in the five years.  It has evolved from a 2 to 3 day event and this past season we even added a live performance with the professional tap dancers.

3 With your background in teaching, choreography, and performing. Which do you enjoy doing the most and why?

I have my bachelors degree in dance performance and education as well as a certification to teach dance k-12.  I have owned a dance studio in South Florida for 20 years and that gives me many opportunities to teach and choreograph.  Before that, I wrote and implemented an exploratory arts program that included dance for a school district in North Jersey.  My passion has always been teaching and sharing.

4 If you could go back in time, what advice and lessons that you have learned throughout your career would you have given your “younger self”?

I would tell my younger self to never rush.  Time moves quickly and this has become the generation of instant gratification. I have learned that anything good is always worth the effort of time and patience.  It takes time to cultivate a dancer, it takes time and thought to respond to anything that is deeply important.

5 If you could give advice for aspiring young dancers, what did you discover about the industry that you would want others to know about?  

My advice would be simple:  live your life and your dance life by this mantra, “No one will ever have to remind me to work hard and be motivated.  No one. NEVER. Not ever! I do it without being told or reminded because I was born to succeed.” I use this mantra as an ending to many of the classes that I teach by having my students repeat it after I say it.  It is never a bad time to work hard!

6 What can we expect to see next year at the So Flo Tap Festival?

Next season, you can expect more of the same… amazing faculty, an inspiring weekend and ALOT of fun and learning!

 

Nicole Smith

1 What got you into co-producing the So Flo Tap Festival?

Honestly, it was Andrea! Andrea was my tap teacher growing up, she made me fall in love with tap dancing and appreciate the art form. Growing up, her and I attended the South Eastern Tap Explosion which was a tap festival held just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. When I was 13 years old, I remember her telling me how she would one day want to create her very own tap festival, and honestly, it is truly amazing to be a part of that dream coming to fruition! Since then, So Flo Tap Fest has become a true labor of love, that both Andrea and myself, are so passionate about. It is an exciting endeavor to bring the tap dance community together every year to celebrate such a special art form.

2 If you could go back in time, what advice and lessons that you have learned throughout your career would you have given your “younger self”?

This is a tough one! If I had to give my younger self any advice it would be to just trust the artistic process and enjoy my own journey. Choosing a career as a dancer, teacher, or choreographer is not an easy path, but it is so rewarding. Over time, I have learned to really trust my process and enjoy my path as an artist, dancer, and educator. However, this wasn’t always the case! Growing up, I set a lot of expectations for myself because I thought that’s what I needed to do in order to be “successful” in this industry. But success is completely subjective and means something different to everyone. It’s very easy to get lost in social media and set unrealistic expectations for yourself or compare yourself to the dancers who are booking all of the jobs or winning all of the awards. I feel like once I learned to trust in my journey as an artist, I was able to really enjoy myself and grow as an individual. So, just focus on you and your journey and of course, enjoy it along the way!

 

3 If you could give advice for aspiring young dancers, what did you discover about the industry that you would want others to know about?

I feel like I have so much advice to give! First, never stop learning or pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself that you could possibly be. Second, discover something that interests you outside of dance. At the end of the day, we all dance because life without dance would be unimaginable and unbearable, but you are a human being first. So, find something that interests you that when you’ve had a tough day at the studio, or in rehearsal you can seek inspiration and rejuvenation elsewhere.

For example, I love cooking and I love going to the beach. Although I will always identify as a dancer, I am a human being first and I am able to enjoy other activities when my dance life or my work becomes too stressful. Third, social media is NOT real life. I repeat social media is NOT real life. Don’t get hung up on everything you see or everything that is posted. Of course, the dancer that always posts about booking all the jobs or being hand selected to perform the combo solo isn’t going to post about the times that they got cut or stood at the back of the class because they were struggling with the material. People tend to post their highest highs and avoid the lows. It’s important to now that as artists we have all experienced rejection and failure. Finally, make sure to train or dabble in all different styles and techniques. Of course, you can have your favorite styles or excel in one style over another but be sure to be a well-rounded dancer when it comes to training.      

 

4 What can we expect to see next year at the So Flo Tap Festival?

For season 6 of So Flo Tap Fest you can expect to see more amazing faculty for another amazing and inspiring weekend of rhythm and fun! But the good our news is, is that you don’t have to wait until next year to enjoy So Flo Tap Fest! We actually have our very first POP-UP event scheduled for October 6th from 5-8pm with John Manzari and Evan Ruggiero! We are stoked to have our first POP-UP event of the season and I encourage our tap fam to continue to follow us on social media to stay up to date on future So Flo Tap Fest events!

 

5 How do you think So Flo Tap Festival has changed throughout the years?

So Flo Tap Fest has changed and grown tremendously over the last 5 years and it has been such an amazing experience to be a part of it! Year one consisted of 2 days, 6 faculty members and 6 amazing classes. It has been so inspiring to watch the festival grow to a 3 day fest, with 6 classes, we have been able to offer bonus classes, and last season, we were able to produce our very first performance, The Show, featuring our season 6 master faculty members, guest artists, and youth tap ensembles from around Florida including our very own So Flo Youth Tap Ensemble! The last five years have been nothing short of amazing and I am so excited to see what the next five years have in store!  

Don’t forget to check out the POP UP with John Manzari and Evan Ruggiero on October 6, 2018, starting at 5 to 8pm. We here at DanceWear Corner can’t wait to see where this event goes next.

 

How To Make Your Pointe Shoe Fitting A Great Experience

Every young dancer dreams of the day that they will finally be able to go up en pointe. It can feel like the transition from ballet flats to pointe shoe is a long way away when you are just starting out. However, the transition is a very momentous and exciting time for every dancer and a good pointe shoe fitting is the first step to having an enjoyable experience en pointe.

Getting A Great Fitting Pointe Shoe

DanceWear Corner has created a huge stock and vast selection of pointe shoe brands, styles, sizes, and widths of pointe shoes. Having a pointe shoe the fits improperly is not only a frustrating experience but also dangerous for the dancer. With our wide selection of pointe shoes and commitment to proper pointe shoe fitting, we have an experienced and knowable staff that can listen and detect issues that you are having with your pointe shoes.

What Can You Expect From Us?

When you choose DanceWear Corner for your pointe shoes you are not only getting a beautiful pair of shoes, but you will also be walking away with:

  • Pointe shoe style specific information
  • Knowledge and insight into why the particular style is a good fit for you
  • Information on the care of your pointe shoes

Pointe Shoe FItting Guidelines

Here are just a few simple guidelines to help ensure that your pointe shoe fitting is set up to be a success:

1 Talk to Your Teacher

One of the most important things in a fitting is knowing not only the foot shape of the dancer but also what sort of accessories the teachers are comfortable with their students using in class. Toe pads such as gel pads, lambswool, and other such items can change the fit of the pointe shoes, so if you are fit with gel pads on and your teacher only wants you using lambswool then your pointe shoe will no longer fit your foot perfectly. So talk to your teacher before coming in for your fitting to see what they want you to use in your shoe.

2 Book an Appointment

Prior to visiting the store, you should always call and book an appointment. This allows us to gather some important information about you before you come in. One of the most important things we will ask you is “How many years have you been en pointe”. We ask this question to gauge your level of experience on pointe.

-You can call us at (407)770-1080 to make your appointment and click here to get more information about our store.

3 Arrive for Your Fitting Prepared

One of the most important things you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your pointe shoe fitting is to come prepared. This means that you have your toenails cut short and any blisters or sores that you have are bandaged up. If this is not your first pair of pointe shoes bring any accessories that you use in your old shoes or that you are planning to wear in your pointe shoes.

-Remember that gel pads do dramatically alter the fit of your pointe shoes.

4 Bring Your Current Pair of Shoes

If you have been en pointe before and are purchasing a new pair, our pointe shoe specialists can gain insight into the characteristics that you specifically require in your new pair simply by examining the shoe you have been wearing. It is also easier for you to explain what you like or dislike when you and the pointe shoe specialist can look at them together.

5 Be Patient

Pointe shoe fitting can take some time. This is especially true if you are coming in for your first pointe shoe fitting. It is not uncommon for a first time pointe shoe fitting to take up to 45 minutes and sometimes it can take longer. Every foot is different so if your fitting is taking longer than 45 minutes don’t worry about it, the fitter is trying to get you the best pointe shoe that they can. Even if you are coming in for your tenth pair, a fitting can still take longer than you think it would. Your fitter will also take the time to explain why a shoe is not a proper fit during the fitting. We will work together on finding the right shoe for your feet and this will take some time, but it will be worth it.

6 All Pointe Shoes are Not Made Alike

Just like every foot is different, every pointe shoe is also different. Each pointe shoe has a different design and with this comes different specific benefits. Many variables need to be taken into account to ensure a proper fit. Something to remember when in a pointe shoe fitting is to not choose a shoe because you just want a certain style, brand or color. The most important thing in a pointe shoe fitting is the feel of the shoe and how it is supporting your foot.

@jade_parker_ballet

7 Ask Questions

Pointe shoe specialists are here to help the dancer make the best decision when it comes to the pointe shoe that they will take home. So communication between the fitter and the dancer is key to finding the perfect pair of pointe shoes. For as much as the fitter knows about each brand, the fitter cannot possibly know exactly what the dancer is feeling in the shoe. So it is paramount to communicate with your fitter about the feel of the shoe and our excellent pointe shoe specialists will educate you on how a properly fitting shoe should look and feel.

@lexibabadelis

8 Trust Your Feet

It can be surprising how strange and foreign a pointe shoe can feel on the foot. They will never be described as comfortable however, you should not be experiencing pain, piercing, pinching, curled toes, or numb feet when trying on pointe shoes. These are all things that if you feel during a fitting you should immediately tell your pointe shoe fitter so that they can determine what about the shoe is causing these problems.   

9 Enjoy the experience

Every little girl’s dream is to become a graceful ballerina and now because of your hard work and dedication, you are ready to take your next step on this journey. So sit back and enjoy your entrance into this elite world of pointe.

 

Spotlight Dancer: Kalysta Gregory

Meet this month’s Spotlight Dancer Kalysta Gregory. Kalysta is a homeschooled senior who dual enrolls at St. Petersburg and is now on track to earn her A. A. before she turns 18. In addition to her school focus, she trains, as well as teaches tap dance at A & G Dance Academy in At. Petersburg Florida. She is a company member of Nick Dinicolangelo’s Hands Down Tap Project in New Jersey. She is also a proud SoDanca Ambassador. Kalysta can be found on many weekends attending dance conventions and festivals across the country. Her plans include continuing her college studies while pursuing a career in dance. Whether it’s teaching, performing, or choreographing, dance will definitely be a part of her future!

With all of this, we wanted to get to know her a little bit better.

1 What is your favorite dance class to take?

Tap dance class of course, but contemporary is a close second!

2 If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Since I’m always busy and on the go, I would spend the extra time with my family and friends.

3 What’s your favorite piece of dance clothing you own?

I love leggings! Leggings are my go-to clothing item when it comes to dance and on a regular day-to-day basis!

4 What songs have you completely memorized?

Every song that I have done a solo to I have completely memorized. Whether it’s the lyrics or how the rhythm goes, I spend a lot of time working on my solos and therefore hear the song over and over again.

5 Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Because I choreograph, I really challenge myself to venture out and listen to all styles of music. If I have no clue what to listen to, I’ll play something or someone I’ve never heard before. However, Ed Sheeran has always been a favorite of mine!

6 If you could perform a duet with any dancer who would it be and why?

I would do a duet with Aaron Tolson in a heartbeat! He has been one of my mentors for about five years now. Not only do I look up to him, I also consider him a great friend. He and I have worked a lot together on various things, however, we have never performed together, so I would love to do a duet with him someday!

7 You can pick up the phone and talk to your number on dance idol – living or dead – but you can only ask 3 questions. What are the 3 questions you would ask them?

For me, I would want to speak to the tap masters of the past; ALL of the tap masters of the past. I honestly can’t pick just one. Regardless of who I spoke to, I would ask them: 1) What did you do to jumpstart your career in tap dance? 2) What was the inspiration that drove you to continue tap dancing throughout your life? 3) What do you believe was your greatest achievement overall?

8 What do you like to do besides dancing?

In addition to dancing, I really love photography, playing piano, and doing makeup! Also, I love spending time with my family, friends, and playing with my baby sister.

Rapid Fire This Or That

Dog or cat?

Cat!

Netflix or Youtube?

Netflix!

Phone call or text?

Phone call!

Ice cream cone or snow cone?

Ice cream cone!

Cake or pie?

Pie!

Watching a movie at home or in the theater?

Home!

Sneakers or sandals?

Sneakers!

Tablet or computer?

Computer!

Amusement park or day at the beach?

Beach!

The Spotlights On Lazy Dancer Tips

DanceWear Corner is proud to shine a spotlight on the Lazy Dancer Studio. This studio unlike others runs completely online and is based in London so everyone, no matter where you are, can get to know this awesome team.

About The Founders

Alessia and Lacopo are partners in every way. With Alessia’s background and training at the New Zealand School of Dance and English National Ballet School and Lacopo background in photography and VFX, they make a perfect pair to run every aspect of the Lazy Dancer Studio.

 

 

About The Studio

Lazy Dancer Studio strives to create a fun, friendly, and welcoming environment where people can feel free to get up and dance at any time. They created this online studio as a way to teach ballet in their own way.  

Alessia and Lacopo have come across a variety of people interested in Dance from students to professionals, and teachers to amateurs.  She found that many people wanted to learn more about this amazing world of dance. This is why they created Lazy Dancer Tips as a platform to share everything that she has learned throughout her career from dancing to teaching. They have created a series of videos that cover a lot of things, from learning the basics of ballet to a good chat about the do’s and don’ts of dance, hence the name Lazy Dancer Tips. These videos provide something for everyone.

Moreover than this is the fact that ballet can teach you so much. It can teach you how to set and reach your goals so that you can get the most out of your life. This is the primary reason why they created their own version of a studio. You can try their online ballet studio and dance wherever you want!

 

 

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