On Friday, May 25th, at 12:45, nearly 100 Rosie's Theater Kids (RTKids) program students from the second and third grade will meet in the "gymatorium" at PS 51, the Elias Howe School, to celebrate National Tap Dance Day with a 30 minute performance. National Tap Dance Day falls on May 25 every year and is a celebration of tap dancing as an American art form.
The idea of National Tap Dance Day was first presented to U.S. Congress on September 15, 1988 and Representative John Conyers of Michigan and then-Senator Al D'Amato of New York won congressional passage of Resolution 131. As Conyers said, "By golly, there ought to be a law to make everyone love tap dancing." and the bill was signed into American law by President George H.W. Bush on November 7, 1989. Tap Dance Day is also celebrated in other countries, particularly Japan, Australia, India and Iceland.
Rosie's Theater Kids will celebrate National Tap Dance Day and at the same time bring attention to the need for quality, creative physical education programs in our public schools. So many schools today have no real physical education program, and with a population of students whose obesity rates are rising, Rosie's Theater Kids created Spotlight on Fitness® (SoFit®) – a physical education program developed by RTKids that inspires lifelong fitness by providing instruction in tap dance for pre-K through 4th grade.
Being able to dance in a beautifully equipped studio with a wall of mirrors has been a transformative experience for the students. Not only do they have an amazing double-sprung tap floor on which to dance, but they can see themselves learning a new skill. The mirrors are an incredibly useful tool-especially for kids who may have difficulty learning. With technology available for showing films, the kids also learn about the rich history of this art form.
In the fall of 2011, PS 51 had to temporarily relocate to 91st and 1st while their new school is being constructed. To accommodate this change, Toni Noblett -RTKids' Artistic Director of Tap & SoFit, goes one day a week to their school to teach, but because the school understood the importance of the littlest dancers having their first tap experience in a proper studio, the school made special arrangements. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays the kindergarten and first and second graders start their school day at RTKids' Maravel Arts Center with a tap class and then they board a bus for the rush hour trip to school on the Upper East Side to begin their academic day. This took a great deal of work on the school's and parents' part to make this a reality, but the tap program is valued so much that they made this happen.
PS 51 is a school with a rich arts program. The music teacher, Katie Traxler, is extraordinary, and the art teacher is as well. The principal, Nancy Sing-Bock constantly invites the arts community to provide a variety of programs for the student body.
For more information, please visit http://www.rosiestheaterkids.org