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Woods Lake Taps Out a New Beat
Linda Mah
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Woods Lake Taps Out a New Beat

Tap Dance Troupe Adds to School with Performances

Debra Norton loves tap dancing — and she knew that her students would love tap dancing.

“Given the opportunity, what child wouldn’t want to slip on a pair of tap shoes and make noise?!” Norton said. “It is literally drumming with your feet.”

Norton launched the Woods Lake Elementary: A Magnet Center for the Arts’ tap dancing troupe last year after receiving a grant from the Greg Jennings Foundation to purchase tap shoes. She has a group of 10 fourth-grade tappers in the program. They are an energetic addition to the school’s performing line-up, which includes a fifth-grade dance troupe.


The tap dancers gave their first performance of the 2016- 2017 school year during the school’s holiday concert and received rousing applause from the audience.

Woods Lake students have a number of musical opportunities such as their regular music class, orchestra, Gilmore Piano Lab, and Kids In Tune.

 “That gives our students a great music foundation,” Norton said. “When that is combined with their regular dance class experience, I knew tap would be a good fit. Students learn to tap out rhythms with their feet.”

The students meet only 30 minutes each week. That can make it tricky to learn new steps and choreography, but students have been so enthused, they readily practice outside of class. They’ve already begun learning new material since the December concert, Norton said.

The 10 students selected for the program have done “extremely well” with tapping, she said. “This program is less than a year old and they have exceeded my expectations.”

The Wood Lake Elementary tap dance troupe has made great progress in just a year. Troupe members are, front row, from left, Jonathan Lara, Dennis Witherspoon, Brady Bond, Auni Ahmad Fahmin; and back row, from left, Cayden Harris, Layla Hemphill,  Sahriah Casey, Ashari Palmore, Seriannu Anderson. Not pictured: Samma Yuag.

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