Keeping fit with tap classes for everyone | Vicky Meets

Vicky meets... Rachel Hogarth, performer and tap-dancing teacher.

• Where does your love of performing come from?

From a very young age, right from a toddler, I was singing, acting and dancing. I think I always knew that I wanted to be a performer. I studied musical theatre at Chichester University, which I loved.

• Lockdown for performers was really difficult. How did you fill your time?

Rachel Hogarth

During lockdown there was a free stream on YouTube called Collective Creative Initiative. It was run by Pearson Casting and I just watched loads and loads of workshops online. So basically I just kept studying.

• Why start a tap class?

I initially offered jazz dance classes on Zoom during lockdown, but my heart wasn’t really in it; I knew I wanted to teach face-to-face. When lockdown restrictions eased I had some interest in tap classes and thought why not? So I booked the hall and got started.

• What if I’m keen but unsure if I’ll be able to do it?

Being able to make sounds with your feet is so fun! I think anyone can give it a go. So long as you have a pair of tap shoes you can practise anywhere you like. I do time steps when I’m shopping! It is also really good for fitness and, after lockdown, it’s lovely to have a weekly class as a social activity. You don’t need a partner – all the routines I have done so far have been for single dancers. I offer a complete beginners class for those who have never tried to tap before, and also an intermediate class for those who have done a little bit and perhaps know how to do some of the steps. As for the hall, it is really big and clean and well-ventilated. Everyone has said how safe it feels.

• You need a pair of tap shoes to join the class, presumably?

Yes. My tap shoes, which I had all the way through college, broke by the end of my course! But tap shoes aren’t too expensive, and you can always pick them up second hand.

• What is your idea of a great tap routine?

Some of the routines in shows like 42nd Street are insane! I also love the old tap routines that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did in those old classic movies. In class we do use some musical theatre songs to dance to, but I try to make it a mixed soundtrack as not everyone is a massive musical theatre fan.

• What’s next for you?

If the last year or so has taught me anything, it is to reach for opportunities with both hands. As well as running my classes I’m looking forward to auditioning and getting myself out there.

• What are the class details?

Classes take place at Southbourne Village Hall on Wednesday evenings; beginners at 4.30am to 5.30pm and then an intermediate class from 5.45pm to 6.45pm. £5 per person, it’s a pay-as-you-go system. Ideally people should book in by email in advance: [email protected]