Lynn Schwab teaches a class at the Point Tap Festival. In addition to performing around the world, Schwab is a faculty member at The American Tap Dance Foundation and Steps on Broadway, and assistant director of “Tap It Out,” an annual outdoors event of New York’s Tap City.

Annual Tap Festival dances into Stevens Point

If you’ve had an inkling to tap dance, here’s your chance: Learn with seasoned tap dancers who share New York City roots at the sixth annual Point Tap Festival, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Held Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 6-8, the festival was created by Jeannie Hill, an associate professor of dance. She and internationally known tap artists Max Pollak, Olivia Rosenkrantz, Mark Goodman and Lynn Schwab will bring together tap students of all abilities for three days of workshops and performances. The public is welcome to participate.
“Tap dancing provides an international language of rhythm that brings people together. It spans generations and embraces all genres of music,” Hill said. “Tap dancers come in all shapes and sizes.  I absolutely love the inclusivity of this dance form.”
The festival offers a variety of tap classes for a range of abilities, from beginners with little or no experience to those with advanced skills.
For those who have never tapped and want to give it a try, Hill will teach a Saturday beginner class from 12:30-2 p.m. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for ages 12 and under. Tap shoes are not required.
“A lot of people harbor a secret desire to tap dance,” said Hill. “This is a great way to unleash the joy of making rhythm while dancing.”
Stevens Point resident Cindy McCabe had never taken dance or tap before, but out of curiosity, she attended the first tap festival.
“I loved it,” said McCabe, now attending for the sixth time. After that first experience, she bought a pair of tap shoes and has continued with local tap classes ever since.
“It’s totally invigorating without being too draining,” said McCabe, a UW-Stevens Point mathematics professor. “It’s so versatile and interesting. It’s my favorite hobby.”
Tap dancing also inspired her to collaborate with Hill for UW-Stevens Point’s “Danstage 2012” concert. “The Sum is Greater” featured choreography based on the rhythmic connections McCabe and Hill discovered by exploring repetitions in modular arithmetic.
McCabe encourages those who are shy or have little dancing experience to consider attending the festival.
“It’s not intimidating at all,” she said, as the instructors and classes are inclusive and welcoming. “Beginning classes teach you basic sounds and then you can start mixing it up. There are always new things to learn and hear.”
Over the last five years, the festival has drawn participants from across the country, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Colorado and Marseilles, France.
“There’s something very inspiring about being with others who are intrigued and excited by the same activity,” said Hill. “It’s joyful.”
The instructors bring award-winning tap skills and teaching methods that create a friendly and challenging environment, she said. “It’s an incredible opportunity for the participants to build a relationship with their teachers by having three days of intense study. Those connections continue long after the workshop ends.”
Registrations are being accepted for this year’s Point Tap Festival. Attendees may choose the full package with 12 classes or a half package with six classes. Both include daily events and tickets to the festival show on Saturday. Single master classes are also available. For more information and registration, go to Registrations will also be accepted at the door.
Public Point Tap Festival events
  • Friday, Aug. 7, 12:30-1:30 p.m., faculty tap rap lunch, a question-and-answer session with instructors, Noel Fine Arts Center Room 283, free
  • Friday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m., tap jam session, all dancers and musicians are welcome, Mathias Mitchell Public Square, Stevens Point, free
  • Saturday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m. festival show and reception, Noel Fine Arts Center Room 136, $15 for adults at the door, ages 12 years and under free