August 13, 2015
– Bill Simpson
To all the students, friends, and supporters of Red Hot Rhythm,
Well, it’s all done now. Our HQ is looking very much like the empty shell we first walked into, and as we understand it, the building won’t be standing much longer.
While the closing down of RHRHQ certainly doesn’t mean the end of Red Hot Rhythm (in fact, there’s something new and exciting on the way), it does feel like the end of an era (a little bitty era, but an era just the same).
I’ve been trying for some time now to think of how best to leave off this little adventure that has become the main focus of the last eight years of my life. I admit this may all be a tad overblown (after all, for the bulk of the students, I only saw you for a mere 45-60 minutes each week), but if it is, so be it. I’m comfortable with that, and I’m going to go right ahead and share a few last thoughts anyway.
A decade in tap teaching.
Red Hot Rhythm has always been an enjoyable excuse for me to spend my time in tap shoes. Along the way, I’ve explored several different tap-related avenues to make that goal a reality, primarily in the areas of performance and independent stage production. However ultimately, the bulk of my time as a tap dancer was spent in the studio as a teacher, sharing tap dance with others.
I must confess, when I made the decision to follow this little dream, I didn’t see myself becoming a teacher.
I was offered my first adult tap teaching role – a single Wednesday night Intermediate/Advanced class – in 2004. I was equal parts thrilled and terrified that someone thought I could actually do it. You see, I had been tapping for less than 4 years at that point, and I was supposed to be teaching adults who’d been tapping their whole lives.
Despite significant over-preparation and a mild panic attack prior, once the class began the panic instantly gave way to calmness, then to excitement.
Then to happiness.
It took me completely by surprise. I discovered not only that I really enjoyed to teach, but that teaching was made all the more enjoyable by teaching something that I really enjoyed to do. That first class was a life-changer for me.
As the teacher, teaching teaches you. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend giving it a go. But I have found that it only really works if you are:
Teaching something you enjoy to do.
Teaching people who actually want to learn.
Fortunately for me, ‘adult tap dance classes’ ticked both of these boxes…except the night when a student furiously walked out of the advanced/pro class because they felt I was going too fast (if they’re reading this, hi!), prompting the please be honest and realistic about which class is best for you paragraph on the website.
Where to get your tap fix
It’s a tricky one, as you may have already discovered. Sadly, there are few who consider tap dance a passion and quality tap classes are hard to come by. That said, all the students will have received an email with some Brisbane-based dance schools who’ve responded to my call-out asking about the tap classes they offer.
But I must confess, this one has left me stumped.
I have an idea. I’ve just created a Facebook group called ‘Tap in Brisbane’. Head to the link and join up. From here, we can all stay in touch and keep the conversation going. It would be great to hear what classes people try, and if there are any hidden gems out there that you locate. This will also be a great port of call to arrange workshops or pop-up classes into the future.
Saying goodbye (…or ‘cheerio for now’, at least)
While it has been tough seeing a little HQ that we put so much time and effort into being pulled apart, the hardest part about this whole ordeal is saying goodbye to the people who have made up the classes each week, especially the small ‘tribe’ who’ve supported and stuck with me over the years through the silliness (you know who you are). I daresay you all have a sneaky suspicion as to how much I enjoy class, but if not, you can safely take my word for it. Thank you to all our students for your understanding and support.
I will be back to teach and perform tap again in the future. Of that I am sure. I will keep you posted about any classes or performances that come up.
Thank you all once again for making me feel so accepted, valued, and respected. I hope you keep tapping, and strive to be happy (which hopefully shouldn’t be too difficult if you’re tapping).
Until we next meet,