Those curious about tap dancing or just wanting to try something new are invited to a workshop this weekend where attendees will learn both how to make DIY tap shoes and a tap routine.
How To Tap Dance is from 1-4 p.m., Feb. 22, at OK#1, 5414 E. 11th St. For a $5 suggested donation, local dancer, choreographer and teacher Amber Marie Deen will teach the class and encourages beginners to give it a try. “I taught my first adult beginners’ class at 19 to a bunch of sassy ladies in their 60s, and they brought down the house with their recital dance,” she says. “There’s such an excitement about learning something new or giving it another try as adults that makes us feel alive.”
A multidisciplinary artist, Deen has primarily focused on choreography, teaching and performance in the past five years. She performed at OK#1’s opening talent show in September and had some ideas for future programming, like this tap class, OK#1 proprietor Lucas Wrench says.
Wrench is in his second year as a Tulsa Artist Fellow. He came to Tulsa a few years ago for a fellowship at Philbrook Museum of Art by way of Los Angeles, where he worked at an experimental arts venue. It was important to Wrench to create a space in Tulsa for artforms and performances that are outliers in the arts community, something independent of mainstream organizations.
That’s how OK#1 formed, and he funds the space with the living stipend he receives from TAF. “A goal for this next year is to do fundraising and grant writing and kind of build the long-term sustainability of the space,” Wrench says.
How To Tap Dance attendees are encouraged to bring an old pair of shoes to transform into tap shoes. Deen will teach a number at the workshop, and there will be a recital at 8 p.m. on Leap Day, Feb. 29. “I’ll send everyone home with videos to practice with until the recital,” she says.
Even if you’ve never set foot on a dance floor, both Wrench and Deen encourage anyone to come. “You don’t need to be good at something to start performing,” Wrench says.
“Tap is one of the many forms of dance I love and teach, but what makes it really special for me is it’s connection to rhythm, musicality, and experimentation,” Deen explains. “Tap makes me feel like a kid again, stomping out a beat anywhere I could.”