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...find it challenging to keep time, find the 1, and be comfortable in the music?
...feel comfortable in 4/4 but sweat any other time signature (5,7,etc.) beyond that?
...want to finally understand music theory AND practically apply it to tap dancing?
...want to delve into more complex music concepts like polyrhythms, accents, metric modulation, etc.?
...feel stuck when it comes to improvising?
...want to gain independence and versatility in your technique and artistry?
...want to figure out how to work with live musicians and survive a jam session?
...get lost in the form of jazz standards?
...want to tap cleaner and with more ease?
...want to deepen your connection with your instrument - your tap shoes?
...feel that there's more to tap than just learning steps?
...want to "tap" into new levels of freely expressing yourself as a tap dancer?
Then you're in the right place!
A little bit about where I'm coming from:
My name is Sandra, and I'm a tap dance artist/tap percussionist originally from Germany and based in Brooklyn.
I started tap dancing at the age of 10 through my Mom. Growing up in a small village in Northern Germany with no tap scene whatsoever I started attending workshops with masters of their craft - Barbara Duffy, Sebastian Weber, Heather Cornell, Derick Grant, and many many more. Inbetween workshops, I would practice by myself at home, improvising, self-studying, listening, soaking up endless hours of old footage, thus building a deep relationship with the art form from an early age. I am so grateful I learned tap outside of a studio context because it put me in touch with how people used to learn from the old masters - by actively seeking out new learning opportunities, going way beyond just steps but rather listening to and absorbing the spirit of this highly eclectic art form.
Since then, my journey has brought me to the most enjoyable stage and teaching experiences: Performing in Thomas Marek's show NOLA in Hamburg; performing and teaching at Europe's oldest tap festival (Tap Dance Days, former tap ahead) at tanzhaus nrw; recording, producing, as well as playing my own music that uses tap as the only percussive instrument; working with musicians from all different kinds of backgrounds in both live and recording settings; teaching masterclasses and longer residencies at places like Blue Tap (Berlin), Soundspace (Philadelphia, PA), Footprints (Hamburg), Cynthia King Dance Studio (NY) and more; and meeting inspiring and amazing people all along the way.
I love performing, and I equally love teaching.
I learn so much from every single student, no matter if they've just started or are a seasoned tap dancer.
My teaching philosophy:
- Every student has their own unique potential. Tap as a highly individualistic art form allows for a multitude of expressions, no matter your age, level, background, personality.
- As someone heavily on the music side of the tap spectrum, teaching fundamental music theory AND its practical application is one of the main elements of my classes.
- Technique is a tool. It's not enough to just have it, you have to know how to use it. I emphasize working not just on the what but also on the how.
- There's so much more to tap than just steps. The history. The spirit. The expression. The communication. The listening.
- The mind is everything. The importance of being present, mindful, and intentional, as well as working with the breath and the body are integral to my teaching.
- Improvisation is integral to tap dancing. Period. Everyone can do it, it can be practiced, and you don't need a lot of vocabulary to do it. In fact, even if all you know is toes and heels, you already have an abundance of possibilities right at your feet. I know that for a fact.
- In my lessons we will work with your body, not against it. Every body is different, and over the course of my teaching journey I have learned to elevate students' technique, no matter their body, by honoring what they bring, and working with their particular experience and needs.
- I see myself more as a guide, helping students access their own wisdom and expression while providing them with helpful tools along the way, rather than a teacher telling you what to do.
Here's what my students have to say:
"Sandra has been amazing to work with as a teacher and mentor. I knew that I wanted to start practicing tap dancing again, but her unique approach, her musicianship, sense of tone and rhythm not only helped me feel the musicality of tap dancing, but the physical body movements, and the direction of the body could really influence my practice, was simply exceptional. I was able to learn tap in a way that I had never learned before and don't know if I could ever get that experience with someone else. Not only was her teaching innovative, original, inspiring, but I could tell that she had given thought every week to how she could customize each lesson to fit my ability and my specific goals. She always met me where I was at, was willing to be flexible, but also eager to push me to explore new territory. It has been an amazing process working with Sandra and every day, her insights inspire new uncharted directions for my own tap dancing."
- Amy Oestreicher (NY), award-winning multidisciplinary artist
"Sandra's tap lessons focus strongly on a musical and rhythmic understanding as well as raising self awareness for the way the body movement influences sound.
Her lessons helped me a lot to get a deeper musical consciousness and to grow as a tap dancer. Sandra has a unique way of creating a supportive and mindful setting in her
- Cordula Decker (Germany), tap dance performer + teacher
"I really like the way Sandra breaks down the beat in a readable form and her patience to simplify the concept together learning with us...Let's work hard together!"
- Elfin Cheung (Hong Kong), tap dancer + modern dancer
“...Tap improv is a difficult endeavour for me. Meeting Sandra during this COVID mayhem & our weekly virtual discussion on “Understanding Jazz Music for Tap Dancers” was god sent. Sandra shares generously her knowledge, tips, guidance & sheds a clear direction on our role as another musician amongst jazz musicians. Each week, I look forward to our meeting, even though it means I wake up at the crack of dawn ... “
- June Yeo (Hong Kong), tap dancer