Andrew Nemr Shares What He Learned From “Slyde”


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Recently I asked Andrew Nemr of CPD PLUS to share a bit of advice that he received that deeply impacted him. His response was generous and inspiring. Check it out below!

Here’s hoping it changes how you express yourself through tap! Thanks Andrew!

“If I had to pick out one thing that might be beneficial to a dancer starting out on their journey I would have to pick this:

“Dance from your heart.” -Jimmy Slyde.

One of my first encounters with Dr. Slyde was at the jam session at La Cav in the early nineties commonly known as “The University.” Upon being invited to the stage to dance (the first time I ever danced with musicians), Slyde provided these words of wisdom, called the tune, set the tempo for the band, and then proceeded to leave the small stage and observe the situation that he had just set in motion.

Those seemingly simple words of advice set me on a path of self-reflection and heart-searching very early on in my journey. They helped to eliminate fears during my early days of improvisation – the pressures of doing something “right.” They also helped me to search for a vocabulary in my own dancing with which I could emote rather than recite a series of tonal patterns.

Years later they continually remind me of what is important and the gift that I’ve been blessed to have receive. That is to make sure that my heart is true, and to know that I have a physical and audible way of checking in whenever I need to: I can dance.

Andrew Nemr

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Brenda Bufalino Shares Valuable Tap Advice She Received From Her Mentor, Charles “Honi” Coles


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A few weeks ago I shared some tap advice that really helped me become the dancer I am today. I also mentioned that I had asked other tap dancers I know to do the same.

Well, Brenda Bufalino was the first tap dancer to respond to my question, a reflection on her giving nature and dedication to tap.

When asked to share one piece of advice she received that helped her become the dance she is now, she replied as follows:

One day long ago I asked my mentor and partner, “Honi” Coles, what he thought of a dance I was creating and his reply was: “Great dance baby, but maybe you crowd too much.”

So after a year of studying myself I figured out what he meant. Don’t crowd the beginning and the ending of phrases. In other words, leave some space.

I was going to add my two cents but I now think it unnecessary. All I’ll say is…Selah!

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What’s One Piece of Advice That Helped You Become The Dancer You Are Today?


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If you’re anything like me you can trace a lot of who you are back to certain key experiences that profoundly altered your outlook on dance forever.

Maybe it was a scene from a movie, or a performance that captivated you. Or perhaps some wise person (a teacher, a mentor, or a parent) said something that you return to whenever you face a new challenge.

Back in 1999 or so I took a class at Broadway Dance Center from Ayodele Casel. After class (and I know she won’t remember this), I pulled her aside and asked her a question about something that had really been bugging me. You see, I had been tap dancing for about two years at that time, and was receiving a lot of recognition back home in Atlanta about how well I was dancing, and how I had “great feet”. Still I was unsatisfied because my dancing did not yet sound the way I wanted it to.

The sounds just weren’t “right” if that makes sense.

Anyway, I asked Ayodele about this and her brief response, given on the spot with lots of folks vying for pictures with her by the way, forever changed my approach to tap dancing.

Here is her response reworded as I now remember it:

When you dance you should listen to the music in your head and then try to recreate those exact sounds with your feet, matching them tone for tone.

-paraphrase of Ayodele Casel’s advice to me

Eureka!

This advice hit me like a ton of bricks and helped make me the dancer I am today. For me, it has become a key ingredient of the stew in my creative process for dance and in life.

It’s essence is simple: Before you act – LISTEN!

I know you’ve had a similar experience. Help us all by sharing the advice that helped you in the comments below – also make sure to tell us where you heard it!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about advice that has influenced other great contemporary tap dancers, so make sure you don’t miss it.

You never know if something they share will move you to the next level forever!

Your Friend in Rhythm,

Terrence Taps

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