Richard Stafford: Theatre Dance, Class begins with a warm-up based on jazz and ballet technique. Each segment builds on the next as technique is sharpened and the dancer’s core is strengthened. Contraction and release of the body and the breathing patterns that accompany these movements are an integral part of the warm up. Classic jazz isolations are explored. All music for the class is chosen to inspire and support the movement.
Adagio choreography follows the warm-up as the dancers continue to move through space finding elongation and elegance of line.
Choreography across the floor emphasizes and develops heightened awareness of musical phraseology in the dancer as well as acting-through-dance, point of view and interpretation. The choreography is performed two-by-two encouraging confidence-building and performance qualities.
A choreographic piece based in the Musical Theatre genre is given to the class. Previous classes have concentrated on choreographic styles from various periods in Musical Theatre history and the dancer is given context from which the choreography is derived. Dancers are encouraged to create characters in keeping with the story of the choreography and a great deal of individual feedback is given. The choreography is intended to give the dancer a heightened appreciation of Musical Theatre history and its many styles.
Dancers are encouraged to explore the dramatic impulse, excitement and enjoyment of Theatre Dance throughout the class and to appreciate the diversity of Musical Theatre.
*sample choreography selections can be found on my youtube channel
Richard Stafford: Tap
Class begins with a brief physical warm up in preparation for the adding of the tap sound.
Section 1 of the tap warm is comprised of simple sounds—taps, steps, heels, and brushes—which are combined to make simple patterns and rhythms. This gently warms up the feet and begins to tune our ear to the music we are making with our feet.
Section 2 (7 minutes) expands our sound base with shuffles, digs, hops, toe-stabs, leaps, turns etc. with each pattern building on the next. It is continuous and, depending on the level of the class, either broken down in advance (advanced beginner level) or called-out and led by me.
The following sections change from class to class and are always broken down by me, they are devised to continue the sharpening/strengthening/musicality of our tap dance.
I follow these center sections with across the floor (2 by 2) patterns involving turning combinations.
Pull -back combinations across the floor (continuing 2 by 2) are next.
A section of tap choreography follows and is devised to be appropriate to the level of the class. I aim to create challenging and fun pieces of choreography to musical theatre selections, jazz, and other musical styles.
Dancers are encourage to put the “dance” into tap-dance with an emphasis on upper body inclusion in all aspects of the class. The warm ups, technique builders, across the floor and choreographic combinations all have a strong theatrical flair.
*sample tap choreography can be found on my youtube channel
Richard Stafford: Ballet
A classical barre is followed by a center section (tendu, adagio, pirouettes, jumps, petit allegro and allegro.) I frequently use popular recorded music to inspire the students to think “outside the box” and to help the student connect the dance to different musical styles.