Standard tap dance lessons typically involve memorizing choreographed routines. While this is a great way to prepare for performances that give dancers experience and confidence to progress, it's probably a good idea to occasionally do some improvisation as well now and then.
Doing dance improvising can benefit tap dance students in a wide variety of ways. The following are just four of the most notable examples:
Get a better feel for the music
Taps dancing almost always is done to music. Any dancer knows that having a feel for the beat of the music is important to putting on a great performance.
Improvising helps dancers to master musicality. This means it helps dancers connect to the music and match their movements to the music's beat. Free-style improvisation practice is one of the only ways dancers can work on their overall feel for the music without relying on a pre-determined choreography routine.
Learn how to choreograph
Improvising is one of the best ways to spark choreography talent. A free-form improv session allows both students and teachers alike to come up with new moves and to find new ways to express themselves through movement with the music.
Improvisation brings out the creative aspect of tap dancing and is especially effective at sparking creativity if you devise a competition among different dancers.
Instill greater confidence
One of the most important things a good dancer needs is confidence to perform without feeling excessively self-aware up on the stage.
Students are likely to feel awkward and uncertain at first when attempting to improvise. However, as they master improvisation, their tap dancing confidence overall will increase enormously. Being able to improve in tap dancing means that students are in complete control of themselves and know how to put on on-the-spot performances.
The confidence acquired by improvisation helps students to avoid mistakes and to more easily remember choreographed steps.
Develop skills for recovering from missed steps or falls during a performance
Even if a student forgets choregraphed steps during a performance, improvisation skills can allow the student to come up with some moves to fill in the gaps so that the audience won't even notice.
Having improvisation in store as a technique that helps avoid mistakes and slip-ups during performances helps students to further boost their confidence. A student who has mastered improvisation can always take the stage knowing that he or she won't make any noticeable mistakes during even the longest and most demanding performances.