Tap into the Network or Combination Burnout

I had the pleasure of teaching a class at Gregg Russell's tap intensive called Tap into the Network.  I taught a combination to an Eminem song (it was the clean version I promise).  I was VERY excited and a bit nervous to teach it.  I had created it a week before specifically for this occasion, and I was really feeling it.

Sometimes as a tap teacher you don't always really feel every combination you create.  Granted I always try to create something I like, sometimes you're just more inspired (or less fried?) than others.  Of course it's always nice when you get inspired before a big class/event like this.

One of the challenges for me since I teach at 3 different studios is "combination burn-out."  I like to create my combinations ahead of time, but I learned long time ago that it was a little crazy to have completely different combinations for every level at every studio.  Even with notes (which I use - more on that in another post) trying to load your brain with completely new information for every class can have you spinning in circles. I've found it's best to create 2 or 3 core combinations that can then be adjusted to the level of each class.

The upside is that after you've taught the combination once, you've got a good handle on it and it's in your brain so you really don't have to reference your notes very much.  The downside though is that after doing it a few times with a few classes you get tired/bored of it.  Now I'm the first to say if you're bored with it, spice it up with harder feet or style.  That's not a problem for a student, but as a teacher I can't just go and add a bunch stuff to a class that's just trying to get the core choreography.

So how does this relate to teaching at Tap into the Network?  Well I always want to be well-prepared (perfectionistic tendencies are stubborn things) so I rehearsed the combination a lot and even did a dry run teaching it (to imaginary students of course) to make sure I had all the counts down and so forth.  Well the morning of the class I was concerned I had over-rehearsed it and would be bored (combination burnout) but it actually turned out just right.  In fact I was very glad I had done the teaching dry run because it was very helpful to have the counts already worked out.

On a side note, I don't choreograph counts, I choreograph rhythms and then figure out how to count them (usually).

So I'd love to hear from some fellow tap teachers out there how you deal with combination burnout?

Rod Howell at http://www.unitedtaps.com


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