Brooke Tanner

Oakland • New Jersey

Story

When people ask me what styles of dance I do, I used to say "All of them." No, I did not train in ballroom or stepping, so I really didn't train in all styles; however, it always took to long to say "Oh, I do ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, musical theater, hip hop, and sometimes I do Bollywood and sometimes I partner." As I've grown older, and graduated from my dance studio, I simply answer "What styles of dance do you do" with a simple phrase: "I am a tap dancer." While I have never been a part of a tap company, or done any professional tap work, my entire being would not be the same without tap. That's why I am a tap dancer. I make music with my feet, I accompany a vocalist on striped-down versions of songs I find, and I most importantly can never stop tapping my feet under my desk. I still enjoy other styles of dance, but I gain a sense of validation through tap. You can hear the mistakes rather than staring at yourself in a mirror thinking "What am I doing wrong?" It is immediate success when every beat goes right, and if you aren't dancing to any music, which is my personal favorite, there is no such thing as a wrong rhythm. When I tap, I am the musician, I am the artist. I make the rules and I decide what I like and what I don't. I like being in charge of my own happiness, and tap makes me very happy. That is why "I am a tap dancer."