Gregory Hines: We Just Don’t teach #Tapdance.

THIS week so many people are reflecting on the great #GregoryHines (Gregory Hines Tribute Taplegacy Website) because Feb 14th was his birthday. Among other things, #Optap (Operation Tap) was posting great memories of the man, Jane Goldberg has been sharing fantastic intimate emails she has been making available to the public, and Andrew Nemr was kind enough to send me a personal message asking about my interaction with Mister Hines. This blog is a slight more in depth version of what I shared with Andrew.

THE universe was kind enough to have me meet and interact with Gregory Hines twice. The first time was the summer of 1997. Gregory came to the Union Square Theatre, in NYC, to see “Tap Dogs”. Although I was supposed to perform that night, I had only been in the cast a few weeks by that point and someone played the seniority card, so I had to sit for that show. I was, however, tasked with bringing Mister Hines a handwritten note. At the 5 minute call, I left backstage and walked into the house, down the aisle, and found Gregory in his seat. I introduced myself to one of my favorite dance icons ever, and handed him the note. The note was an invitation to meet with the cast backstage after the show. He was kind, had this amazing energy that radiated a very positive vibe, asked my name, and thanked me.

AFTER the show, Gregory came backstage to chat with that cast. He was very impressed with it. He especially enjoyed the “Triggers” (a set of 6 drum pads that we played with our feet) section of the show and mentioned it reminded him of the scene in the movie “Tap” where his shoes were turned into electric drum sounds. He was totally into the show and was glowing because of how happy he was seeing what Dein Perry (Choreographer of “Tap Dogs”, “Hot Shoe Shuffle”, 2000 Sydney Opening Olympics, “Bootmen”, “Happy Feet 2”) had created and how clean, precise, funny, and energetic the show was. It felt really good to be part of “Tap Dogs”, but it felt even better to have the positive input of someone I held in such high regard. He spoke very highly of what we were doing and what had been achieved by Dein, & the cast, for tap dance, itself.

THE second time I met Gregory Hines was on the street in Manhattan. The first time meeting him was amazing; the second time was life changing. We were both attending “Steel City” at Radio City Music Hall and ran into each other near the stage door. The first thing that blew me away was the fact that he recognized me and remembered my name. We started chatting and continued to do so for about 20-30 minutes. It was about that time a young child recognized Gregory and came up to us. It was a short exchange, but definitely had a beautiful effect on that young man. Then it lead Gregory to say something to me that greatly changed the course of my life. He expressed the fact that we should always teach and share whatever knowledge we have to keep tap alive and well. He said something to the effect of “we don’t just teach tap dance, we teach life through tap dance.” Simple, brilliant, and very wise words. I was always a teacher, but this changed everything for me. I will always remember that. Those words were so special and continue to be relevant to this day.

THIS past year, I produced a show in NYC entitled “Sounds of a #Taplife”  It encompasses life, tap dance, and a few monologues. In the opening monologue, I tell a bit of the story of Gregory and me on the street. Most importantly, I mention Gregory and I share that quote with the audience. It is one of the most important things anyone has ever said to me in my life and I am grateful everyday for having had that knowledge bestowed onto me. Thank you Gregory, for being such an inspiration to not only tap dancers, but to humanity.

(In recent news, “Sounds of a #Taplife” will be adding 20 minutes of new material and has just confirmed that it will show again on 11/11/16. This date happens to be the Friday night of the 2016 Big Apple Tap Festival. It will returning to Dixon Place in NYC.)

Thoughts When I Judge a Competition

Straight forward list that you can apply before going to another dance competition:

  • The more energy you put into the floor, the more energy you get out of the floor
  • In a lyrical piece, think of yourself as the Ambassador of the emotional journey we are about witness through you
  • Don’t present disconnected movement; Engage in connected dance.
  • In a dance you should show me a complete thought, but not in the first two 8 counts, because, then where do you go?
  • I don’t really want to see a Fouette or Illusion until it is stage ready
  • Do tap turns in a tap dance
  • Don’t Tap on the floor, tap 1 to 6 inches into the floor
  • What count is the spot on? Spot on the accent
  • Spatial Awareness: A strong command of understanding staging and spacing is crucial for a performer
  • I miss Jazz Dances. Nobody does a true Jazz dance anymore, I miss good musical theatre too
  • Show me you can feel the music. Make me want to watch you. Connected with the audience
  • Count! and know your accents
  • Transitions! Sharp or elongated….
  • Let’s see Contractions and isolations
  • Make sure your energy matches the energy of the music you are performing to
  • Tap: knees over your toes
  • Musical Theatre: Dance as the Character you are playing, not as yourself

There ya go. There are other things but this is a great list you can think about and immediately apply in rehearsals for upcoming competitions. Hope this is helpful.

Evolution of Tap Dance from a Different Perspective

noun: evolution; plural noun: evolutions
  1. the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.
  2. the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

Somewhere around 1999 – 2001 I started writing an article I called The Evolution of Tap Dance. At the time I may have not been the best candidate to write something like that but I had things in my brain that needed out. That said, I have revised it a few times over a period of years. I was always so torn whether or not I should try to get it published or even let other people read it. As inclusive as I feel tap dance is meant to be, others see it a very different way, especially all those years ago. I believe I even nervously sent it to Acia Gray to read at one point. Unsure what to do, the document sat in my Google Docs for many years. This was way before it was attached to gmail and monikered Google Drive. I held it back because I was concerned I would never be ever accepted into the tap community if I spoke my mind on the topic. Especially after the way I, and others, were disregarded by so many important people because of our roles in Tap Dogs. I feared it would be taken as criticism rather than love. It is, after all, just one person’s personal experience and observation from a semi-inside perspective. It was, and still is, a pretty good snapshot, or representation, of the time we were in. In the article I surely expresses my feelings as a person who was a tap dancer, who was told he wasn’t a tap dancer, because he was a Tap Dog and that doesn’t count. So it sat. Never to be seen or heard from again. Or so I thought.

Fast forward to 2015 when I recently noticed a Webinar posted by Andrew Nemr (who is very knowledgeable and I look forward to speaking with again). The Webinar was on the Evolution of Tap Dance. Obviously I had to sign up.  I attended and it was great. It was informative, educational, and I even got to ask a few questions. I highly recommend you do sign up for any of his webinars or events offered in the future. The experience also put lots of perspective on the backlash Tap Dogs received from many established artists in the tap community and why I felt the way I felt at the time. It surely eased some of the pain I experienced so long ago. I left the conversation getting closure on emotions I had long forgotten.

That said, I think it’s time for me to finally release that article I wrote so many years ago, flaws and all. I personally have not altered it since the last version somewhere around 2005/2007-ish. I did have two peers read it recently to explore and eliminate typos, flow of the article, and any other inconsistency that would make it a difficult read or untrue. I skimmed through it once or twice but when I do I want to “fix” things. Like making minor adjustments here or there, or including names and more recent developments such as newly recognized International Tap Festivals, the string of Independent Choreographer driven youtube videos such as Gravity by Justine Myles (click this link for a youtube playlist that is steadily growing with such examples), Hillary Marie and her new show “Soul Walking”, Sarah Reich and her Tap Music Project, or Chloe Arnold and the Syncopated Ladies who recently had major success on SYTYCD. I am a Star Wars fan and I do prefer the Original versions of those films before they were re-edited upon re-release. I get why George Lucas changed them but “as is” has a certain charm to it for those movies and for this article. Leaving it be is also a proper representation of the “sign of the times”.

So, without further ado I give you my Evolution of Tap Dance (As seen through one persons perspective during that particular time period).  No more disclaimers. Fingers crossed. I hope you enjoy.

“I have always been a tap dancer. As a child, I emulated Gene Kelly, Gregory Hines, James Cagney, and Donald O’Connor. I enjoyed the acrobatics that Gene and Jimmy brought to their performances. I loved the humor Donald was always sure to pull off, I appreciated the style Greg had to offer, and I loved the idea of making music with your feet. Although I was aware of these performers, and others who embraced the art form, I felt very alone for most of my career as a tap dancer. It took a variety of experiences to make me understand why I felt this way. Finally, after close to ten years performing in the show Tap Dogs, working with hundreds of dance studios, conventions, competitions, and festivals, and talking with parents, teachers, and tap students across North America, I understood. Tap dancing never evolved!
I have felt this way for years, but feared the controversy expressing my views would cause. Now, after all my travels and experience, I realize that my description of tap as a stagnant art form is not controversial at all – it is the unfortunate truth that all tap dancers, young and old, need to hear and begin to embrace.
When I was a young child in tap class I knew only one form of tap, the traditional, or Broadway, style. This form of tap is exemplified in shows such as 42nd Street and Crazy for You. All of the dancing is done on the balls of the feet, and every dancer is in unison, executing the same step, sound, and beat at exactly the same time and tempo. The great MGM musicals of the past also showcase traditional tap dance. Though I did notice a great deal of athleticism in these movies, the tap style was mostly cut from the same cloth. Although passionate teachers tried to keep this style alive, its popularity ultimately faded. As teachers became less well-rounded it suffered more and more, became weak, and wore out.
Later in my life, I discovered hoofing. Hoofing is characterized by low, fast, intricate foot work, exemplified by masters like Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, and Henry LeTang. Some great shows performed in this style were Black & Blue, The Tap Dance Kid, and Jelly’s Last Jam. Most recently, hoofing was demonstrated in the movie Tap starring Gregory Hines. Sadly, almost every legend from this film has passed on, including Hines himself.
Unfortunately, I was never able to find a teacher who actually taught hoofing in a traditional studio setting. Teachers of traditional tap always “broke down” the steps, while hoofing required students to simply “watch and learn”. This greatly reduced the number of students able to carry hoofing into the next generation. However, some famous dancers were able to learn hoofing from the masters. Savion Glover, Roxanne Butterfly, and Jason Samuels Smith are all modern hoofers. The show Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, as well as some excellent Jazz-Tap shows and yearly festivals carry on the hoofers’ style, steps, and techniques. Shows such as these, as well as River Dance, Stomp, and Tap Dogs, have brought tap back into the light. Many tap dancers say, “Those shows prove that tap is alive and well,” or “We are honoring people like Buster Brown with doctorates from places like Oklahoma City University. Tap is fine.” Well, that is only half true. Yes, we are honoring our past, but tap is not alive and well, especially compared to other styles of dance. “Alive and well” should indicate growth and new directions. Bring in ‘Da Noise was terrific as far as choreography goes, but I disagreed with what feels like or can come across as negativity towards Billy BoJangles and the Nicholas Brothers. Also, the tap showcased in this show was predominantly hoofing and self-acknowledgement, and not an  evolution of the presentation of art form. It feels like if you aren’t “this” type of tap dancer then you aren’t a tap dancer. River Dance (except for one small scene), Stomp, and Lord of the Dance do not even contain tap dancing, so they cannot be considered when analyzing tap’s evolution. The majority of the dancing in River Dance and Lord of the Dance is Irish step-dancing, which is its own genre, and Stomp showcases musicians with unusual instruments. Tap is not alive and well, as evidenced by tappers’ eagerness to pass off other styles of dance as “evolved” tap. Tap has not evolved.
The only show that has helped tap evolve during my lifetime is Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs. The first time I saw Tap Dogs was the first time I noticed a change in the art of tap dancing. The show embodied traditional ideas and techniques, hoofing, extreme athleticism, energetic rock music, and cannons, phases, and cross-rhythms. It was the first show to combine all of these elements of tap dance. I was blown away. While watching all I could think was, “These guys are freakin’ nuts” and “How the hell did they just do that for 116 minutes?” When my shock wore off, I realized something. It was the first time in my adult life that I had been amazed by tap dancing. I suddenly did not feel alone anymore, but I wondered, “Why wasn’t this show playing everywhere and why wasn’t it on every dance studio’s radar?”
I kept wondering why tap never evolved while other styles of dance grew and changed. Traditional jazz became Fosse, Hatchett, MTV, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, and Madonna. Would we have “vogued” without the benefit of our jazz roots? Jazz later evolved into breaking, poppin’, lockin’, and years later, hip hop. Ballet created modern Graham, Alvin Ailey, and Limón. Even MGM musicals led to movies such as Chicago, Saturday Night Fever, Breaking, Step It Up, and more. What happened to tap? Why did it remain stationary while both jazz and ballet evolved themselves to keep up with the changing times?
As I became more and more involved in the dance world, I continued to think about why tap had been left behind as other dance forms evolved. During the next few years I was blessed with the opportunity to meet many famous tap dancers, such as Gregory Hines and Ben Vereen. Gregory came to see Tap Dogs when we performed at the Union Square Theatre in New York City. After the show he came backstage and spent over an hour and a half chatting with the cast. I was both amazed and impressed by his sincere interest in our presentation of his beloved art form. Months later, I had the honor of seeing him after the premiere of Steel City at Radio City Music Hall. I was elated at the amount of time we spent on the street in New York City, just talking. He, the amazing Gregory Hines, was talking to me, just a tap dancer in the hot show of the moment. I felt insignificant standing next to him, but he made me feel as important to the legacy of tap dancing as he already was. He told me to teach, in order to pass on what I knew to others. When I was teaching at the Dance Teacher Summer Conference in New York City, Ben Vereen was the keynote speaker, and he gave the same message as Gregory: Teach! Pass on what you know. Make it last. Get kids interested. If you love what you do, do it to the fullest. It was the second time in my life that I had been greatly inspired by a person I respected and looked up to as a tap dancer and a performer. Both of them praised teaching and the progression of tap as an art form.
As my career continued, I added more classes to my schedule, attended more workshops and conventions as a master teacher, and expressed the importance of teaching dance. I encouraged teachers to seek out ways to be better so that their students could be better, to use updated music that students can relate to, and find steps that complement their dancers, not discourage them. Today, I teach my theory on the evolution of tap dance to all of my students. I use old names, new names, recent news, old news, current music, older music, music on the radio, and everything I have learned in my 35 years as a tap dancer. I am still learning and hopefully will learn forever. A good student makes a better teacher. My approach to teaching is what I call the “Christopher Columbus Theory”. If we only taught students that Columbus discovered America, we would only be teaching them part of the story. It would provide a good starting place, but it would be a gross negligence in the long run if it was the only story we taught. Similarly, why teach just one form of tap when we can encompass many different tap styles in our teaching? I believe that it is imperative, now more than ever, to bring tap into the present. My continuing tap series is like an updated version of Al Gilbert’s records. I am hoping these DVDs will allow me to reach out and help get some teachers back on track, while giving others that spark of creativity most could really use throughout a dance studio year. In return? The teachers get better, the students improve, and tap will have the potential to become exciting and influential again.

It took us years to recognize the legends that are now passing away. Some will pass on without recognition, and some will never be known at all. Will the tap dancers of today share the same fate? When I look at dance magazines, I see only the names of people who embrace the history of tap and traditional, well-established forms of tap. I believe that all tap should be embraced – the new as well as the old. The history of our art is rich, and the future could be wealthy. The future of tap will be determined by how the old embraces the new. If more well-respected tap dancers and traditionalists spoke positively about the importance of new forms of tap, the evolution of tap would be acknowledged and more widely accepted.
Overall, the evolution of tap dance is evident if you know where to look. I have students, and I have connections with master teachers, parents, and studio owners around the world who share my views. Now we must get the rest of the industry on board. When we achieve unity as a tap dance society, the future of tap can be solidified.”


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and please feel free to send feed back to me, via this website, by click this link —> Send Anthony Feedback


2014 Summer Florida Tap Tour Recap

Hi – Been a while and I thought it was time to post something in the TapLife blog. For the past two years I have had an amazing time setting up and teaching a Summer Studio Workshop Tap Tour in Florida. Well, at least that was the idea. It didn’t take long for it to go from a few tap classes to performances with Noise Complaint and an appearance at a tap festival to become part of the experience. After the first year Jenne wrote about our travels together and the article was published in Florida Dance Magazine. To keep with that tradition I asked Jenne to submit an article that I could add to the Taplife Blog. So, without further ado, this years submission of the 2014 Summer Tap Tour, By my friend, student, assistant & peer, Jenne Vermes.  

-Tap w/u Soon, Anthony Lo Cascio

Summer Tap Tour – Take 2!

Master Tap Teacher Anthony Lo Cascio Returns to Florida to Educate, Inspire and Perform (Article By: Jenne Vermes – Staff Writer, Choreographer, Professor, Novelist, Dance Teacher and Director of Noise Complaint Tap Company)

The world of tap dance is full of masters, and the best part is each one brings something unique to the game. For the second year in a row, studios and workshops throughout Florida were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to learn from a tap master whose style is different, innovative and fun. Anthony Lo Cascio, who was the first American with a role and a 17 year Veteran of  the international sensation Tap Dogs, is currently a on faculty at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, director of Taplife Company and can be found teaching workshops across the United States.

This past summer, his travels and workshops led him back to our neck of the woods, Florida. Here he shared his gifts and knowledge of tap dance with several dance studios, the SoFlo Tap Fest, Pensacola State and, as a new addition to the tour, audiences at both CONJure and Tampa Bay Comic Con. Anthony’s credentials as a performer, as well as his teaching experience with major conventions such as Dance Olympus and Dance Caravan, are what got him on the Sunny Florida Map in the first place. However,  it is his unique personality and style of teaching that has people asking him to come back again and again. He truly inspires everyone; Students, teachers, parents, business owners, and audience members alike, if you cross his path, you will feel the effects.

Just like last year, his first event this summer was to teach at the PSC Summer Dance Workshop, a week-long workshop at Pensacola State College. Anthony is a veteran teacher working with this program, everyone from locals to students who travel from all over the southeast participate in this workshop. While in Pensacola, he traditionally Choreographers at Five Flags Dance, This summer he had the pleasure of setting a piece of choreography on their youngest competition team. That piece will be performed this coming season. (Side note – After two years of assisting Anthony at this event, I have now earned my own spot on Faculty and will be teaching my own classes at the 2015 PSC Summer Workshop).

Later on in the summer, after a quick trip to NY where he had the honor of performing the marriage ceremony for two of his best friends, Rev. A Lo , as his friends efficiently now call him, returned to Florida to strat the tour portion of the Summer. He brought his teachings to Arts Edge School of Dance and Theatre in Fleming Island, Abella’s School of Ballet in St Augustine, Tampa Gymnastics and Dance, Rizing Starz Dance Academy and Jeanne Lynn Dance Studio in the Tampa Bay area. Anthony alos performed as a guest artist with the professional tap ensemble, Noise Complaint at two major conventions in the state: ConJure and Tampa Bay Comic Con. For the first time he shared his talents with the world of cosplay. He performed his choreography, as well as my choreography, with the ensemble. Yes, we all did cosplay as prominent video game and anime characters. It was awesomesauce.

In a special edition to the Summer Tap Tour Anthony was a faculty member at the SoFlo Tap Festival. Anthony taught along side master teachers from around the country such as Aaron Tolson, Acia Gray and Derrick Grant. What sets Anthony’s choreography  apart from many other teachers is his emphasis on foundation, as well as, crossrhythms and counterpoint (essentially this is when two or more rhythms are happening at the same time). He not only challenges the students to learn new and intricate material, but he also teaches them to be able to hear how parts can fit together, simultaneously, to create even more complex rhythms and music. Anthony loves to bring something unique for his classes to experience.

In Nov. 2013 Anthony started his own tap company, TapLife, and this summer, in between his Florida travels, he released the new video Taplife Music Video, a solo project titled “Lucky To Be Alive”. This video is a Collaboration between two distinguished artists. Anthony performs his choreography in his smooth style to the original song, “Lucky to be Alive”. “Lucky to be Alive” is written and performed by respected New York City Singer/Songwriter, Frank Persico*. Anthony filmed this performance and posted it on youtube, where it found several thousand views in it’f first few days of release. It can be found at

Anthony LoCascio has a great deal to share with the tap dance community as well as the entire world. “Ultimately, I guess my whole life experience has been different than most other tap dancers. And although I believe the destination can be more important than the journey, it is my unique journey that gives me such a different different approach to tap dancing. My style, my material, my insights, and, the way I teach, will determine what my legacy, and over all impact, will eventually be on the tap dance world. If any impact at all.” Spoken to me, by Anthony, during one of our many conversations.

Anthony is presently on staff at Broadway Dance Center in NYC, and continues to teach master classes around the country as well as internationally. He is on faculty at the Big Apple Tap Festival, and he is one of the founders of the London Tap Spree. For more information about how to have Anthony Lo Cascio teach choreograph or perform at your studio or event, you can contact him by messaging him via Facebook ( You can also learn more about him and follow him at the following social media sites:


The “Lucky to be Alive” Taplife Music Video can be found at:

Original Taplife Music

Live at the Big Apple Tap

Social Media:

Twitter: @mytaplife





Get your own Taplife Gear – Anthony and I have created #TapLife merchandise that includes T-shirts, hoodies, dance pants, bags, hats, keychains and more. Designs include #taplife as well as #balletlife, #jazzlife, #hiphoplife, #stagelife, and more! To check out their store, visit


*For more on Frank – Twitter@FrankPersico, and Frank’s song Lucky to be Alive is featured on his new EP – Live From Rockwood Musichall. This EP is currently available for download on iTunes:

My Facebook Gratitude Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a gratitude Facebook Challenge. It felt really rewarding and positive. I also received many positive replies and private messages. I feel very lucky to have so many human beings enlightened by my words and experiences.  That said, I felt it would be a great idea to collect all the posts and put them here in one spot. Please enjoy my Facebook posts from that challenge.

Day 1:

Third time’s a charm. Here we go with Day 1 of the grateful challenge: Thanks Elizabeth C Love. Still want a “take two” with you… 🙂

1. I am grateful for what my soul has endured so it could positively exist as it does now in this current moment. #livinginthemoment

2. I am grateful for my improving ability to go through life with my inner peace setting the tone around me and not the aggressiveness of others. My personal circles are getting tighter, stronger, and smarter. #JediMindCouncil #TriLateralCommission

3. I’m grateful, as a human being, for my ability and immense power over choice. I always say happiness is a choice; Choose wisely. That doesn’t do the concept justice. It is just a cute way to offer a reminder. The truth is really “everything is a choice”. Drama. Positivity. Smiling. Frowning. Hating, Racism. The list is infinite. I say, choose what feels right in your mind, body and soul. Don’t choose (or thoughtlessly comply) with what society, the media, sheeple (for lack of a better terms, not labeling), politics, or other mind controlling forces present to you on a daily basis. You define your universe, not others. #spiritualgangster #indepedndentlyeducatedhumanitarian


Day 2 of the grateful challenge:
3 things 5 days…

1) I am grateful that I have the ability to comfortably think, live and share outside the box. I don’t do mainstream media and I don’t miss it at all. It is a beautiful part of my success and happiness and I am proud to own that part of my being. #independentlyEducatedHumanitarian

2) I am grateful for my natural talent and ability. It has brought so many positive experiences to my life and awakened me to a much bigger picture that few are lucky enough to see, experience or accept. It has brought me joy, friendships, life lessons, and knowledge that I could never have experienced if talent eluded me…..All the years of practice, acceptance, hard work, and dedication paid off more than I could have ever imagined….and I am just getting started 😉 #Taplife #tapdance

3) I am grateful for my parents. Their support, love, and fandom are the fuel that started this fire and without them life would obviously be very different. I may have still gotten to this point but the path and journey would certainly not have been the same. Love them both very, very much…Just wish my Mom would get on Facebook already 😉 Wanna get on the Bobby LoCascio….

Off to start my day. More teaching on Monterey Bay. Tonight I’ll be in San Mateo. Can’t wait to take that beautiful drive again. It will be awesome to see Dana Miller and Ellen Miller tonight. Thank you Devin Adler for setting up a great weekend of Tap Classes for us. I also want to thank Kim Rademaker Moritz and Bill for their kindness and hospitality…I need to get an Aero Coffee Press – So damn good!

Be well and don’t forget – Your happiness starts from the inside out.
#Namaste #Ohm #RevALo


Day 3 of the grateful challenge:
3 things 5 days…

1) I am grateful for the NY I was born into and lived in(1972 – 1991/97). That is where I learned EVERYTHING I knew until I was 24 years old. It shaped me. Howard Beach, New York was my childhood home and will always be. Very interesting place to grow up for an infinite amount of reasons. One being it was in very close proximity to Manhattan. As a child, Manhattan was my stomping grounds (often with my Grandpa Louie)and I had no idea where I was…. This was long before NYC was stolen and globalized for the masses.We are talking close to 30 years ago. I recently read an article, in a local Manhattan paper, that stated “Manhattan has lost it’s soul”. In lots of ways I agree with that, but I also understand and accept why it has to be that way. Grandpa Louie would often tell me “This isn’t the same country/city I grew up in”. I now truly understand what he was trying to say to me. The NY experience is changing drastically but my experience there was in such a different time and I get to own that forever.

2) I am grateful for California. I fell in love with this place. NorCal is home to me in many ways. While living in Cali I became who I wanted to be. I have a very special connection to the energy here. Upon arrival I think I went through a year of culture shock. Then I settled in, opened up and learned many lessons here. All good. Some very hard on me and some that enlightened me in such ways I never understood even possible. I discovered choice and the ability to harness my energy while here. I feel like NorCal is some sort of Global Crown Jewel on the American Empire. To live in another universally significant place, that brought us the into a new technological frontier, while it was happening, was insane for me. I met all sorts of people here. During my 16 years in San Jose I reconnected with old friends, made new ones, Tap danced the whole time, got married, got divorced, got robbed, lived with countless people, taught at many dance studios, went on and off tour with Tap Dogs, lived in the most amazing apt ever, lost Zeus (the Akita), discovered Aqui Swirls, fell into love with cats, and too many other wonderful things to mention. Though I have to give Santa Cruz a quick shout out…EVERY one of of those things/experiences got me to the place I am at today. I don’t do good or bad, I do opinions and actions. In my opinion, I “let it go” and discovered myself while living in Cali. I am extremely grateful for that…..I get to take that with me everywhere I go. No matter where in the world I wind up.

3) Really I am grateful of all the states(so blessed to be born in America) and the amount of driving miles I have logged all over this country. Being on tour for years I have been to all 50 states. This may be one country but it is not filled with all the same people. That may have been the first lesson I learned on the road. Even more than that I am glad I travel Internationally and brought those lessons with me. To be away from American is an experience in itself. I have partied with stars and royalty in castles and private clubs. CRAZY! I have hung out with Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Dame Shirley Bassey (to name a few favorites) and literally bumped into Ringo Starr while performing in Monte Carlo. I opened up an international 100 billion Euro Shipping Center in Rotterdam. Tap danced for a total of 2 1/2 months in Mexico City, Mexico. Traveled all over Canada (yet Vancouver still eludes me). And, that is just the tip of the Iceberg. The thing here, that is most special to me, was the chance to talk to non-Americans about life, about the universe, about American from their point of view, and my own chance to look back into America from locations outside the country. The lessons learned from this perspective were, and still are, endless and deeply educational. Every lesson more and more valuable. I am grateful for each and every one of those experiences as they are a part of what and who I am today.

O.K. Today’s post (A.K.A. short essay) is complete. Hope you are reading these Elizabeth C Love. You are my muse for this little project. Side note: I’m loving every second of it. Thank you. namaste




Day 4 of the grateful challenge:
3 things 5 days…

1) I am grateful that this challenge means enough to me to stop and make sure I don’t miss a day of these posts. I have some insane stuff going on in my life right now. Not good, not bad, just stuff. (to me it’s all good because I choose it to be, different conversation). I don’t do good and bad, I do opinions. If our opinions are in agreement, more power to us; if they are not, I can respect where you are coming from but I would still enjoy talking it out so we can remain on good terms and not hold any animosity toward each other. For me the difference of opinion is good because it creates balance. Yin & Yang. After all, if we aren’t good to each other, who the hell are we going to be good to? That said, between teaching, meeting with wonderful friends, and trying to enjoy my time here, I am please I stay firm in my affirmations and do what I feel is morally right. No matter what light I am painted in for the benefit of taking advantage of others or lifting them up in an act of selflessness. Is the iniverse a friendly place? I think so, but you need to go further on the path. The further you get, the greater rate of faith, trust , and success. I shall try to be a better human every day. Why because I deserve it and so do all 7+billion of you. #namaste

2) I am grateful for #TapDance. Simply put. I am grateful for every person who strapped metal to their feet before me, every person who strapped metal to their feet in my lifetime, and every person who will strap metal to their feet til the end of the human era. You are all inspiring. I hope I have done my part to contribute thus far to the legacy of Tap Dance and I have more to do. Special shout out to Chris Ernest and Joanna Ernest. No matter what happens I have enjoyed every second of sharing energy with you. You represent many parts of my life. Tap Dogs, my ability to reach and respect the world internationally/globally, our love for tap dance, friendship, my creativity, entrepreneurship and much more….As Anthony Durante and I would say, you are a ‘dot,’ and that is special. Thank you. Tap dance, itself, has given me more than I could have even realized existed as a child. Joe Stanford, my tap teacher, took class from Henry LeTang as a child with Gregory Hines in Manhattan. How lucky am I that I had him as a teacher in my youth? Insane…I am so grateful for that. Dein Perry is an additional mentor (whether he likes it or not) that I have a very high appreciation. He added a whole new voice to the world of dance for Tap Dancers like me. Now he is in NY with Chris Christopher Erk potentially finding the 20 year anniversary NYC cast. Brilliant. I wasn’t even planning on being a tap dancer. I just loved doing it and soon it was clear I was going that way with out even purchasing a ticket for the train. Amazing…Darn universe guiding me along again..Good think I listened even tho’ I wasn’t paying attention 🙂 #tapdance #tapdogs #taplife

3) I am grateful I know how to move in slow motion while traveling at warp speed. It means, in some ways, that I observe traffic, I don’t sit in traffic. It is a metaphor and it was one of those special things I finally accidently (and happily) shared with General Frank Persico. I developed lots of philosophy while living in Cali and that is one of those little gems I get to take with me anywhere I go in the world, for the rest of my life. It isn’t a race, or about moving so fast you have to keep stopping due to catching up to the driver in front of you, it is about finding a speed where you never catch the driver in front of you, thus never needing to hit you breaks. You move so slow you wind up in perpetual motion and never need to stop. This creates a more positive driving experience. You are now traveling at warp speed. You are welcome 😉 #spiritualgangster

Gotta go teach now. If you made it this far, thank you for reading. Words are valuable and very powerful. They can also be spun, twisted, and used in terrible ways to hurt and control others. If you use them for all good reasons, and others decide to manipulate them and make them ugly, don’t follow them down that path, point yourself to the light, live in the moment, go to where your heart is safer and you soul is appreciated. It is always beautiful that way. Thank you for reading my words. I care about them, I care about me, and I care about you. Now go do you….. #Indepednentlyeducatedhumanitarian

PS See what you started Elizabeth C Love. Now I think about you every day and I’m gonna have to wait how long for take two? Dam…. 🙂




Day 5 of the grateful challenge:
3 things 5 days…

1) I am grateful, truly, for a lot of people in my life but few have impacted it, in recent years, as much as Anthony Durante and Fazillah Durante. The love, support, understanding, compassion, generosity, dots, Tesla, ministry, #RevALo, Stonehenge, Olivia, Ted-x, Roof gatherings, day trips, 35G Spot, Thrive, the books, bloodlines, our theories and ‘getting’ each other to the point I performed your wedding ceremony, does not go un-noticed and is very much appreciated.. You help me so much in my constant quest to better myself as a human being each and every second of each and every day. You two are a on the original Safe Zone list. You are both #soulcharges and for sure #spiritualgangster, not to mention both #jedi and #ninja. #Sheisalwayslistening I just wanted to say Thank you. You rock!!!

2) I am grateful for the family and friends who make so much of my travel possible. People I know my whole life, people I haven’t seen in 20 years, and people who I have met for the first time. All who open their house to me. Trust me around their families, spouses, inside their personal castle and unconditionally offer me all the same comforts of my own home….. Shout-outs to Anthony M. Scaraggi, Melissa Scaraggi, Gina Conigliaro De Salvia, Louie De Salvia, Jenne Vermes, David Langer, Kim Rademaker Moritz, Bill Moritz, Ellen Miller, and Dana Miller for your hospitality. I has been wonderful to spend time with each and every one of you. namaste.

3) Finally, I am grateful for you. You who read my posts, send me private messages, tell me you are my fan, insist my positive energy helps you on a daily basis. You who comment when you feel something, those who hit the like or share button, parents who seek my guidance, students who praise my classes, peers who I am just as excited, if not more, to tap dance with; Studios who fly me all over the country because they love my choreography or the way I teach a class. The people who help plans all these events. My assistants Jenne Vermes and Ellen Miller. l am grateful for every dance organization that has trusted me and my reputation enough to have me teach on your faculty. From the big to the small and everyone in between. I am grateful for every tap dancer I have ever taught, worked with, shared a story, watched them perform, or them watch me perform. I am grateful for every compliment and question bestowed upon me. I am grateful for every sound and vibration. I am greatful for life, for us, and for the human ability to realize WE ARE ALL CONNECTED and LOVE is more than we have been made to understand. I am grateful to feel like an awakened soul. I am grateful…….what are you grateful for?

Thanks again Miss Elizabeth C Love. That was an excellent experience at just the right time. It’s like the universe always has my back. So freakin cool. Peace. #epicview

……and that is it. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I know I enjoyed sharing it. Cheers.



Sometimes you have to Judge: What I see at Competition

One of the things I truly enjoy doing is judging competitions. I always joke around about not judging people in life unless I am getting paid to do it, and that would be at competition. Since the first time I judged a competition, way back in the late 90’s, I have found myself sounding like a broken record when it comes to certain things…There are new things that have popped up over time and eventually worked themselves out – (clears throat) Fouettes!!!  Especially in a Tap number, got way outta control for a while…That said, lets cover some of the most common things I have to say when I adjudicate a competition…Remember, it is just my opinion and there is no right or wrong(within reason).

The number 1 thing I mention when watching dancers perform has to do with  turning. Besides arms being a challenge, it is spotting that drives me cray cray. I have written, literally 1000’s of times, this statement – “Be sure to spot, sharp, eye level, and on the accent”. Press your shoulders down and snap that spot. You dont need to do 500 turns for me to see your technique. So many judges I have worked with also love to remind dancers – “We would rather see one or two, really well done turns, with proper technique, rather than 3 or four poorly done turns”. These statements  ring true when dancing anything from a Solo up and including Productions. I feel the better you hit those spots, on the accent, the more together a group of dancers will be. Two other turning side notes – Those turning arms come from your back near your shoulder blades AND try not to telegraph every turn….hide your preparations 😉

When I watch tap dancers I constantly note to get your knees over (or past) your toes. Use your forced arch (to make it easier or fun to remember, I call it “pop” – Pop the heels up and the knees out), think about your relationship with the floor, and press down from your center. All of this contributes to the idea of creating compression between your hips and the floor. This helps you develop a strong technique and promotes very clear, clean sounds. Also, as a tap dancer, make sure you are tapping under yourself and NOT away from yourself.

Now, I know we are all aware of how important it is to pointe your feet when you are dancing, however, this technique still eludes many dancers. I have two specific things I would like to point out on this topic. 99% of the time, even for those with excellent technique, I “bust” dancers forgetting to pointe when they are going down to, or, getting up from the floor. I think it is more a break in concentration than anything else. Make a note of it…That is the most vulnerable moment, for un-pointed feet, for so many performers. Aside from that, it is totally O.K., and often a great choice, to flex a foot here or there. I like to see that technique/leg line when it fits or is appropriate. The issue isn’t to ALWAYS have pointed feet, the issue is to have something definitive. It is when I can’t see which you are doing that I make a note, not when you are clear about what the foot is doing….Flex or Pointe; One or the other works, but a sloppy foot “just out there” doesn’t cut it.

One word – TRANSITIONS. Great rule – make every transition in a dance as important as each individual step in a dance. Transitions are the threads that tie your whole performance together. Treat them as such. They should be rehearsed and discussed. Just because you can do individual steps really well, it doesn’t mean you can do them really well in seamless succession. As a tap dancer I often take the last 4 counts of one step and the first four counts of the next step and drill that “transition” as if it was an individual step…It helps tremendously.

Let’s talk about props – First off, scenery and props are two different things. Please make a note of that. Props are awesome and should be part of a dancers learning experience. To me, scenery is not needed unless it is relevant and in a production number. That leaves “set-pieces” ex. stairs and chairs. All I want to say about this is one thing – If you bring set pieces onto the stage with you, make sure you use them for more than one 8 and more than once. Easy Peasy. I also like when the dancer brings their own props or set pieces on them self.

Speaking about “bringing on”. Entrances and exits don’t need to be elaborate (unless it has direct correlation to the “character” the performer portrays, or is relevant to a group piece). I am so grateful when I have a performer walk straight out onto the stage. Total confidence. Hit their mark, ready to go. That is the most professional way to start the majority of the performances I adjudicate.

I know how hard it is to pick songs with clean or proper lyrics. I know how hard it is to pick a song period (finding music will be a different blog post). I have read all sorts of stuff recently about teachers are not happy about how competitions are managing the whole “appropriate”,  not “appropriate” songs and movement. That said, I heard both the words “Bitch” and “Sh*t” in songs used at a recent competition I adjudicated. I am just going to offer help to those who are not sure what words are in the songs they choose….Please visit to check on any song you want to use for your dancer(s). That said, a Hip Hop dance isn’t a Hip Hop dance if you arent even using a Hip Hop song. Make sure you have the correct style of music for your dances. Example – Don’t do a Lyrical piece to an instrumental song. There are no lyrics….. Uh Huh.

On the same topic of appropriate; As far as choreography and movement, without getting too deep into it,  I only have one serious concern I want everyone to consider at the moment…We are dealing with girls and young ladies. I know the #tilttuesday thing is super popular, however, PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHICH BODYLINES YOU DECIDE TO SHARE OR EXPOSE TO YOUR AUDIENCE. Like the Fouette epidemic of the early to mid 2000’s there is a certain move people are over using without using logic. It has to do with a very questionable bodyline that choreographers are having dancers share with the audience on a pretty regular basis. I think we all know what I am talking about. It seems like when a “new” move or style is unleashed on the dance world people run to copy it. Instead, take the time to try create your own “move” or “style” that works for YOU. That choice will benefit you every time. I promise. It is much better than pointing your “special personal parts” at audience members because someone else did and it looked different. Moving on…..

I love stage presence. Who doesn’t?  Every dancer wants that quality in their repertoire. That said, work on being natural, happy, comfortable and confident when you dance. For some people it is natural and for others it comes with time and live performances. Careful with adding un-natural, choreographed, facial expression. It can often be a distraction  rather than pleasant to watch. I have seen “duck face” popping up on the face of many competition dancers. I just want to address that before it runs wild like the Fouettes and “look at my privates” epidemics. Sometimes a smile is all it takes. Along with epidemics comes song choice.

If you heard it at every competition you have ever attended  – DONT USE IT ANYMORE! Just saying. If there is a super popular song, try to think outside the box. When Blurred Lines went viral I had dozens of people asking me to choreograph a piece. They all wanted to see how I would approach the rhythms and counter point. I resisted for a while until I got what I needed to be inspired to use it (and not have the SAME EXACT SONG as everyone else). I searched for a cover. Youtube is AMAZING for finding covers. I choreographed to Blurred Lines but it wasn’t the song you heard 1000’s of times, it was the version I USED covered by Frank Persico( to become a fan or come like his Facebook page. Covers are brilliant and I highly suggest using them. If you haven’t seen the #Taplife – Live performance of my Blurred Lines watch the Taplife Live Performance of Blurred Lines  now. To me, it works so well because you know the song but you don’t know the version. People are into it but it isn’t the “same old thing”.  Here is another great version of how a cover flips the script, Sail – Acoustic Cover.

Don’t force Choreography. If a step isn’t ready, don’t put it in the dance. Perfect your movements before you bring them on stage at competition. Ex. illusions. Straightforward; Period.

Finally – This is a general rule to always remember. Make sure your energy matches the energy level of the song you’re performing to. Pretty self explanatory.

This isn’t everything I write at Competition but these are certainly the highlights. Hope this information helps and contributes to both your personal growth and professional growth (and your dancers). I truly take pride in my “job” as an adjudicator and I honestly want to help the DSI (Dance Studio Industry) as a whole. What we leave behind is our legacy. We were given a beautiful art form to protect, contribute to, and share with the youth(and audiences) of the world. Let’s make sure we do it with justice and dignity. Thank you for reading this post. I truly enjoy sharing my thoughts with you all. Namaste.




Being in an Audience, Serious Helpful Hints or SHH

I was invited to the movies this weekend and it sent me into a deep thinking mode….I wanted to go see the hottest new Summer feature but I didn’t want someone to ruin another movie for me. (Quickly, let me say that nobody can ruin anything for me but myself, it is just an expression that works well in this case…). I love going to the movies or at least I used to. Quiet, dark, exciting, and being “in the moment” are some of my favorite things about a good flick. However, I don’t enjoy people talking during a movie, loud children running to and fro (at a midnight showing of Noah), employees running around with flashlights banging on exit doors, and CELL PHONES! I can see your super bright screen no matter how quiet you think you are. You don’t need to check Facebook during a movie, and that is coming from, in certain people’s opinion, a social media nut job. Basically I don’t want distraction during a movie. Now, why am I telling you all this on my “dance” Blog? Very simple, I think we need to review the audience contract we have while taking in entertainment in a group environment…In this case Dance Competitions….

I don’t think people are aware of the contract they “sign” when they sit in a seat at a theatre or show. You are part of the performance once you enter a performance space. Doesn’t make a difference if you are backstage, on stage, or sitting in front of the stage…You signed a contract to be included in the show. Period!

What does that mean? It means a few things…First and foremost – The performance or performer, on stage, is the most important thing in the room. Nothing else. End of story.

1) Cell phones – When you are in an audience, talking cell phones, DOES NOT EXIST! “But I have a sick grandmother”. OK, I do too (for real, many of you know about Jennie) and totally respect that. Either don’t come to the movies/competition, or simply be smart and sit near and exit…You need to talk on your phone? Kindly remove yourself from the theatre FIRST. BEFORE you pick it up. Your actions affect others, whether you realize it or not. That is a scientific fact (part of The Secret too). Facts are facts even if you don’t acknowledge, adhere to, or believe them. You turning on a small bright screen in a dark quiet theatre makes that light seem like we are staring into the sun…don’t do it. At competition, it’s a bit different. I understand the value of texting and, unfortunately, it is not always a dark room. If you are a chronic texter, please sit in the back of the room, and for the love of theatre, DO NOT MAKE CALLS, let the people who are up front properly enjoy and respect the performers while you do your thing, in the back, away from others….No worries.

2) MY ABSOLUTE BIGGEST PET PEEVE!!! DO NOT TALK WHILE PEOPLE ARE DANCING ON STAGE!!!! This is very easy and straightforward. It is beyond rude, and you distract other audience members (often Judges) that are trying to be engaged in the performance. For this one i’ll just tell a little true story:

Besides adjudicating competitions, I like to pop into competitions on occasion to watch what is going on in the local dance community. Recently I went to watch a competition. The women across the aisle could not stop talking. Totally over the top. I am watching them chit chat, getting louder and louder. Eventually I figured out their studio colors and who they belonged to. It was friend of mine who was actually there with her studio. I sent a text message to that owner to have these parent removed. When the ax came down the biggest culprit said she wasn’t talking and ignored the warning. The others all clammed up for a hot moment but soon after the proceedings continued. Now here comes my favorite part….The offensive person had a son with her who came barreling down the row disrupting everyone. She turns to him aggressively. She “Shh”s him obnoxiously, and in a very loud, what she thought was a whisper, proclaimed, “Don’t you have any manners”. I just thought to myself, If I was that kid, with a mom like that, I wouldn’t have any manners because you never taught them to me. Case closed.

If you want to have a quiet, respectful discussion during competition, go do it in the back of the room. Up front you have the judges, other respectful parents, teachers, and those who are engaged in the show. Go where you aren’t noise polluting the space of others. Plus, the performers can see you talking over their lyrical solos. That is not what a dancer should have to deal with after rehearsing, learning, working hard, and then paying good money to be seen by professionals who can potentially help their abilities and further their career. You wanna talk, go do it in the back or outside where nobody will be disturbed and the performers aren’t harmed. You are, by default, harming the Dance Studio Industry, and I have issue with that.

3) Remember, as seen in that last scenario, People (especially professionals like myself) know who you belong to just by the clothes you wear. I know which kids run around like competition is play time. I know which kids are positive and help others, ALL others. I know which kids don’t respect “wing” space on stage. I do NOT want to see you in the wing while another dancer is performing, and if I see you I will remember. And, I know which kids run back and forth to see their friends backstage. It is that behavior we shall address next. I am all up for people coming in and out of a competition room but you need to know how and when to do so.

That said, pick your moment. Do NOT come and go during a performance. You exit and enter between dances. If you get to certain Broadway shows late, they DO NOT LET YOU IN until the right moment(usually a blackout). You entering and exiting during a dance is extremely distracting to others in the room. This includes the performer. Be respectful and be smart. Enter and exit when the stage is empty, not when it is full of dance!

4) I love that you want to support each other, BUT, screaming peoples names at the top of your lungs, while they are dancing, isn’t the best way to do that! Clapping – yes, shrieking loudly – not so much. Be considerate of others and their ears. Be supportive but don’t go so far over the top that the focus switches from the people on stage to the people screaming in the audience. Easy one. 🙂

5) Eyes forward – Watch the dancers. Take in the moment. Be part of the show. Applaud for every dance you watch not just your kids. This behavior puzzles me. There are always people in the audience who act like they are out to dinner with friends rather than an active audience member. Again, true story. I have seen people order a pizza, to the theatre, while sitting in competition room. They actually pull out their phone, order a pizza over the phone, and ask to have it delivered. They do this while dancers are on stage. Then, when the pizza arrives, the delivery guy calls, usually 3 minutes into a 5 minute Ballet production piece of course, and they pick up the phone. Now, phone in hand, they walk up the length of the House, talking on it whole time, only to return moments later, right past the “no food or drink” sign, with a fresh Pizza and a 2 liter bottle of diet Coke. Then they sit down and serve dinner to the people around them. Disruptive? Yes! Very. The best part is, when it is their own studio kids on stage they are perfect angels in the audience. You should respect theatre space, and ALL performers. Not just your performers.

O.K. I think we can stop there. That should get my point across. What is that point? Let me remind you. When you sit in a seat, in an audience, you are “signing” a binding contract with the other audience members and the performers.

The contract says “I -insert name here- shall be respectful and engaged. Not just for you, but for me and for the performers. I will sit back, relax, and do my part to enjoy the show. I will not talk loudly to others, especially on a phone. My eyes are forward and my hands ready to appreciate the art that is happening in front of me. I’m not running in and out during a performance. I am here for the performer because they are here for me.”

Some people may hear my opinion and ask me why is this important at a competition? I say because of two reasons:

1) Performing in a professional atmosphere is part of proper training when learning about gaining professional status, and

2) It is good practice for a cultured life, because if you ever go to a broadway show and tried to pull that crap, they will toss your a** out so fast you won’t know what happened…and they will draw the shades you when you ask for your $200.00 refund.

But seriously, things like this are important for the Dance Studio Industry, and If we don’t talk about it, nothing will ever improve. You can’t be expected to know what you have not been taught. That is all. Tap w/u Soon.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and please feel free to send feed back to me, via this website, by click this link —&gt; <a rel=”nofollow” href=””>Send Anthony Feedback</a>

Oh, and be sure to share this article. #Dancerssupportingdancers


I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

I am very excited that I will be performing LIVE, with Frank Persico, at the Bitter End, in NYC tonight….We are suggesting you arrive by 9:00pm EST sharp. Since arriving back in New York, a little over a year ago, I started plotting a path, which included organically watching and waiting for an opportunity where Frank and I could combine our talents and share them with our long time friends and new acquaintances. That opportunity  has had moments this year but really culminates LIVE  tonight. It warms my soul too see how my closest circle of friends have band together to support each other and create a positive universe whenever we get together. Tonight is a celebration. A celebration of friends, a celebration of  both Frank and my recent achievements, a celebration of art, a celebration of  life, and a celebration of the release of the new single #Luckytobealive, as well as the  upcoming release of the accompanying music video. The release date of the new video is July 2nd, which just happens to be Frank’s 40th birthday. Eyes alive, and ears on the ready. Namaste.


The link to the Taplife Company’ s first performance will serve as a great first blog post on the new site. I look forward to actually collecting some awesome past, present, and future documentation here. Cheers.