Tap instructor steps into rhythm with her students

By Maria Teresa Arias
Staff Writer

A group of women wearing black shoes with metal plates on their soles and heels are reflected in a mirror. The room fills with the noise of dance steps. Deborah Jones, tap dance instructor, stands in the front of the room and stops the class to ask, “Are
you ready for the music?”

Jones took her first tap dance lessons at the Cinderella Dance Studio in Redondo Beach, Calif., when she was 5 years old. She said back then she did not think she would become a dance instructor.

Jones said that teaching happened accidentally, but once she started, she realized she loved it and has continued teaching since.
Jones has been teaching tap dance at Brookhaven College since Fall 2009.

She said tap dance is the hardest type of dancing because it is not only about looking good while dancing and having the right technique. Tap also involves adding percussion to the music while doing so.

Mila Lucas, a student who is also a teacher and owns a dance studio, said she loves this particular class because of the way Jones teaches it.

Lucas said she had taken tap dance lessons before, but likes this class because it combines both technique and learning by listening and sticking to the rhythm of the music. “I play piano, too, so I learn better by listening,” Lucas said.

Tap dance at Brookhaven used to be both a continuing education and credit course class, but this semester it became part of the 50+ Education Program.

Charlie Atha, a 50+ Education Program student, said she always wanted to tap dance but did not have the chance until four years ago when she started taking the class.

Atha said the reason she loves tap so much is because it helps her to stay young.

“I have realized that the more I practice, the sharper my mind gets,” Atha said. “If you constantly keep thinking about yourself being old, you will feel and act as if you’re old, and people will see you as an old person.”