Tap instructor Germaine Salsberg's upright torso and pronounced posture are reminiscent of her days as a classical modern dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre.
Now a renowned tap teacher for more than 20 years, Salsberg uses her modern roots to supplement her tap instruction for beginners and adults.
"I structure my classes like any ballet or modern class," says Salsberg
"There's an order of events leading to a final combination.
appreciates students who have trained in other styles, because she
says their sense of body awareness is heightened.
"Modern dancers are used to quick weight shifts," she
says, which is very helpful when learning tap.
"Tap's shift of weight is very aggressive.
You want to be completely over your standing hip and be committed to one foot-so you have time to finish a complete rhythmic structure-then change very quickly," she
In order to gain what Salsberg
calls "serviceable, loose feet," necessary for tap, a dancer must allow the feet to follow the legs.
The tendency for a new tapper is to want to control the ankle joints.
offers students the image of two bungee cords hanging from the ceiling and attaching to each hip bone.
This gives a lift in the body, which frees the legs and prevents the lower back from swaying, without tightening up.
"Although you use muscles in tap," she
says, "You don't consciously muscle your way into sound.
demonstrates a basic paddle and roll without using the familiar "digs" or "spanks"-language she
feels inhibits students' speed and efficiency.
After dancing with Toronto Dance Theatre
for seven years, Germaine Salsberg
moved to New York City, where she
studied tap with Bob Audy, Charles Kelley and Danny Daniels.
Salsberg was part of the Broadway production and national tour of The Tap Dance Kid, assisting Daniels and training the young dancers in the show.
A tap instructor in New York for over 20 years, Salsberg currently teaches at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, American Tap Dance Foundation and the summer program at New York University.
also performs, directs and choreographs for her
Manhattan-based tap company, Les Femmes
Shelby Kaufman, from Michigan, and Jill Kenney, from Rhode Island, dance with Les Femmes
and are Salsberg's