Lauren Ohman 14 ~ Gene, Louise & Fred Kelly Tap Scholarship
Lauren attended her first dance class the day she turned two and hasn’t stopped dancing since. She completed her eighth year as a
company member at Dana’s Studio of Dance in Southlake last June and is now in her first year as a Teen Company Member at
Next Step Dance in Frisco. Lauren enjoys all dance disciplines, but her favorites are tap and lyrical.
Lauren is an eighth grade honor student at Indian Springs Middle School in Keller where she also enjoys Spanish class and athletics. When she’s not dancing she enjoys reading, shopping, and spending time with her friends.
Lauren has studied under such tap greats as Chloe Arnold, Melissa Bougades, Angela Carter, Maurice Chestnut, Nick DiNicolangelo, Jay Fagan, Corey Finn, Derek Grant, Acia Gray, Katelyn Harris, Keira Leverton, Ryan Lohoff, Jason Luks, Anthony Morigerato, Mary Noe, George Patterson, Barbara Phillips, Greg Russell, Emily Shoemaker, Lauren Truby, Danny Wallace and the legendary Buster Cooper. She enjoys dancing with others who share her love for tap and is enjoying her third year working with both Katelyn and Keira and dancing with DYTE! Lauren’s summer plans include the 12th Annual Soul-to-Soul Tap Festival in Austin, the 15th Annual Third Coast Summer Tap Festival in San Antonio, and her fourth year at Adrenaline’s Syncopate in New Jersey.
I had a great summer! Thanks to the Gene, Louise and Fred Kelly Tap Scholarship, I was able to attend the 15th Annual Third Coast Rhythm Project Summer Tap Festival in San Antonio, Texas. All the “tap greats” were there!!!
As I walked into the studio the first day, I was a little apprehensive. It’s not every day that you get to take classes from the tappers you see on stage and in videos. But, they were all wonderful, inviting and fun.
This experience was so much different than any convention I had every attended. These instructors are not part of the competition world. They are performers that enjoy what they do and each one has a different twist on rhythmic tap.
I got to learn the same choreography that Lane Alexander performed at the show. It was a dance about death – very different from the normal upbeat dances I’ve always performed. In Lisa LaTouche’s classes, we learned routines that involved intricate rhythms. You could tell she was great while on tour with Stomp. I learned a soft shoe routine from Tre Dumas that his group “jusLisTeN” performs. I had minimal soft shoe experience before this weekend. Max Pollak’s class was different than anything I had ever experienced before. He explained the background of Cuban music and Rumba Tap. We all learned different parts, and then he put them together to form one song. Acia Gray taught us to use our feet as instruments more than just tapping and Tasha Lawson taught us how to swing and use our partnering skills.
I still can’t believe I took classes from Dianne Walker – America’s First Lady of Tap. She is so light on her feet! You can barely see her lift them up, but you can definitely hear the rhythm she creates.
The first night, we had a Tap Jam. I was a little intimidated as it started. I didn’t know many of the people there and they had a drummer, Jai Roots, instead of music. Max came in with his body percussion and then all the other instructors started streaming in. At one point, I got stuck right in the middle of them. After I got over my initial shock, I had an amazing night. I was fun to watch everyone “do their own thing”.
The second night, I performed at the Participant Showcase. The instructors were all sitting at the front table. It was a little nerve racking to perform for them by myself, but it was a very rewarding experience when they all talked to me afterwards. It was also neat to watch Barbara Phillips group RPM perform a dance that I had learned the choreography for. I enjoy watching other’s interpretation of art.
The last night was “Jazzed on Tap” – the instructors show. All I can say is “wow”! As the show went on, the different personalities and styles of all the teachers came out. It is very obvious that they love what they do!!!
Thank you Dance Council and Barbara Phillips for this incredible opportunity. I hope to see you again next year!