KEIRA LEVERTON Gene, Louise & Fred Kelly Tap Teacher Scholarship
Keira Leverton grew up in a dance studio owned by her grandfather, Buster Cooper. She was always around dance, so it isn’t surprising that, even though she has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in photography, Keira teaches dance, specifically tap, for a living.
Keira received most of her early training from the teachers at her grandfathers dance studio, as well as her grandfather himself. In her teenage years, she flew to Las Vegas, and Chicago to take class from Henry LeTang, and Jay Fagan, who had a great deal of influence on her. Into her early twenties, Keira started driving down to Austin almost every Saturday to take tap classes from Acia Gray. She has also been going to the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the Third Coast Rhythm Project, and Sole to Soul Tap Festival for tap classes since 2001. Keira feels these festivals were the settings that really taught her about the people and teachers in the tap community. She also received a certain code of ethics and conduct from observing the way her grandfather taught while she was growing up. Keira respects the technique, history, musicality, and guidance her teachers have shown her, and tries to employ those skills in teaching.
Keira started a tap youth ensemble, The Drawbacks Youth Tap Ensemble, in Dallas with her dance partner as co-director. Now, with their second successful season over, she has new goals for their next season, of trying to bring tap to a wider audience, through possible ventures of community outreach.
As she looks forward into her future, teaching is a huge part of it. Keira truly believes in passing down the technique and history of what she has been very privileged to learn, and thereby keeping a true American art form, tap dance, alive. She also believes, as a teacher, she needs to remain in constant contact with the tap community, and learn as much as she can. She will always strive to better her skills in the technique, performance, choreography, and knowledge of the history of tap. That is the only way she can assure herself of giving her students something important and worthwhile.