Adult tap class energizes in Buffalo Grove
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A Buffalo Grove dance studio offers one group of women a chance to return to their youth, and chase all their troubles away.
Their medium? Tap dancing.
Yep, that's right. They dusted off their tap shoes more than 10 years ago now after enrolling in a Buffalo Grove Park District adult tap class and have been dancing ever since.
They describe it as an aerobic workout that challenges their brain as much as their energy level with trying to remember the routines.
Right now, they're working on dances set to "Dancin' Fool" by Barry Manilow and "Everything is Old is New Again," recorded by Hugh Jackman.
"It's all adult ladies," says Nancy Stieber of Prospect Heights. "It's such a kick."
They meet every Monday night at Emmerich Park in Buffalo Grove, with veteran teacher Franci Galinsky, who brings her experience in local theater productions as a performer, choreographer and assistant director to the role.
"It's nonthreatening and fun," Galinsky says, "and I can adapt the class for where they're at. Whether they're beginners, or have some experience in dance, or if they just want to become more proficient for community theater, we do it all."
Stieber studied dance as a child and continued until she was in her 20s. But work and motherhood took over during her young adult years, and she hung up her tap shoes.
Nearly 25 years went by, until this adult tap class caught her eye. She enrolled in the beginning class and found herself surrounded by other women from the area, who signed up for many of the same reasons she did.
Stacy Lavy of Buffalo Grove decided as an adult that it was time to do something for herself, like take dance lessons.
"I never took dance lessons as a kid," she says. "Now I'm learning new steps and routines, and making noise. I love it. I'm finally learning to dance."
Several of the original group have progressed from beginners to the advanced and intermediate classes, and have become good friends along the way.
"We laugh all the time, and have such a good time," Stieber says. "We get to dance to show tunes, and somehow Franci always manages to put a kickline in our routine, which is pretty hysterical."
They even perform in the spring dance recital — in costume — with the rest of the Buffalo Grove Park District dance classes at Stevenson High School.
"The adults always say they're not going to do the recital," Galinsky says, "but in 20 years of teaching, I've only had one class that didn't do it."
Galinsky says she starts out slowly for beginners, but once they start learning the steps and putting them together in a routine, it can be a healthy, aerobic workout.
"I've had students from their 20s all the way up to their 70s," Galinsky says, "including my mother.
"I can make adaptations for those that have knee problems, or are less mobile," she adds. "When the others are jumping, they just mark time."
Stieber was surprised that when she started, the basic "time step" came right back to her, just like riding a bike.
"There's just something about tap that energizes me."
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