Friday, October 31, 2014

The Tap Factor Resonates with Harwood Middle/High School

I saw The Tap Factor for the first time at the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference at Indiana University and I was thrilled. They were doing something very special. They were sharing their art – tap dance - with students and adults of all shapes and sizes, of all abilities, of all ages, and together they created, performed, and had fun. I saw how they are changing our world one tap dance at a time, one friendship at a time. The Tap Factor showed us how art can promote social change and equity for all.

So when a student who I brought to the Best Buddies conference asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if they could come to our school assembly?” I knew I had to pursue her idea. Their work supports our vision of building an inclusive school and community. Christopher Erk, founder of The Tap Factor, answered my email and was very open to all our ideas.

Two months later, they came to our school to workshop and perform with our middle and high school students.  The workshops were instructive, accessible, and fun. During the assemblies, the excitement was palpable. The students and staff on stage formed a diverse group, all bubbling with energy and pride.  The students in the audience were entranced, and the faculty and administration agreed it was one of our most powerful and creative school assemblies ever.

Later that day, The Tap Factor visited a class and engaged the students in a thoughtful exercise, asking them to reflect on what each individual brings to the group. The answers were as diverse as the students and their take-away was we all bring different talents to the group. Likewise, The Tap Factor definitely brought something unique to our school!

For bookings:

Maureen Charron-Shea, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Harwood Union High School
458 VT RTE 100
South Duxbury, VT 05660
Tel. (W) 802-882-1147 (m) 802-371-8360

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Parent's View - a response to the Tap Factor's collaboration with Best Buddies NY and the FREE Players

A Parent's View 

Helene Linden is the mother of Eric Linden. Eric was one of our participants and member of the FREE Players. The Tap Factor collaborated with Best Buddies NY and the FREE Players to form a tap dance immersion program that ended on stage at Carnegie Hall, May 21, 2014, in Elaine Kwon and Friends, a benefit concert supporting Best Buddies NY. Below is an account of her experience with the Tap Factor. 

[When we were first approached about dancing with the Tap Factor at the Best Buddies gala, my initial thought was, “WOW Carnegie Hall! When will this kind of experience ever present itself again?”  For a boy who dreams of being a star on Broadway, this is a pretty amazing opportunity. But will he actually learn tap dance in a few short weeks?

When we  first met Chris Erk, creator of the Tap Factor, he shared his vision for this project.  His enthusiasm was contagious as he spoke about tap as an expression or a conversation.  After a brief meeting I was feeling very pumped about the project and less concerned about the “limitations” I often let creep into my thoughts as a result of having a child with special needs.

At the first rehearsal, we met the Tap Factor field dancers. Generally, Eric is very open and excited about meeting new people…especially when they are beautiful women!  This introduction was no different.  What was immediately clear was that these five dancers and our dedicated percussionist were equally excited about the opportunity to make new friends with people who share a love of tap dance.

Now Eric has always been a dancer, a lover of music, and musicals. However, he had very little exposure to tap so I began showing Eric tap dancing in movies and on YouTube.  By the time the group performed at the Buddy Walk - an annual fundraiser supporting Best Buddies, I knew that Chris’ vision was spot on. The kids all rose to the occasion, but even better was the response from the crowd. They ALL wanted to join in and experience what the Tap Factor was putting out there.

Perhaps the biggest change I noticed in Eric was in his expression of dance altogether.  He is always the first one on the dance floor but now I noticed him paying attention to the other dancers in addition to the music; having those “conversations” Chris spoke about.  For a person who often has trouble expressing himself, it was so rewarding to see this development.

Needless to say there was some anxiety about performance day. It was going to be a long day and sometimes, Eric can simply shut down when it all gets to be too much. I knew he was in good hands but still those self imposed “limitations” started to creep in.  

Then suddenly there they all were, on stage at Carnegie Hall. They brought the house down.  After the performance, Mariana (Eric’s buddy) told me that Eric started to show signs of anxiety just before taking the stage.  I know it was the relationship with his new friends and their experience that helped him through and go on to shine.  

I’m not sure we have completely come down from the high of the performance yet.  I know both Eric and I miss our Saturday rehearsals with our Tap Factor friends.

So now I can say my son danced at Carnegie Hall and learned that dreams really do come true.  

But really this experience was about so much more.

It was about creativity, confidence, and inclusion.  It was about the privilege of meeting wonderful people who share a love of dance. People who are kind, patient and incredibly talented.  People Eric and I now call friends.  

After all this project was always about “best buddies” and the wonderful relationships that they facilitate.

Thank you for the experience!]

*Follow this link to view our short documentary highlight some of the field work and impact of the project with Best Buddies and the FREE Players!

Christopher Erk - Facebook | Twitter | 
347-525-4201 |
Founder - The Tap Factor | | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook |

@Center for Social Innovation
601 W. 26th St. Suite 325-91
NYC, NY 10001

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Tap Factor - Feist's 1 2 3 4 with Laura Bowman in NYC!

NYC - We love an impromptu performance! When my friend Lucian Smith contacted me about tap dancing in his acoustic evening at the Theater Under St. Marks in the East Village of NYC, I immediately said yes!

Then he suggested further that he see if any of the other performers might want to collaborate with me. I said, "Perfect!"

When I heard back from singer song writer about performing to the Feist song, 1 2 3 4, I said, "No problem!"

After a few phone calls and and 4 hours of rehearsal, we were ready to go!

Check out what we were able to get together. It was a great evening for all in attendance. I hope you enjoy! 

Brooklyn School of Languages Taps!

The Brooklyn School of Languages Taps!
By: Christopher Erk

In October of last year, a good friend from high school, Dennis Chase, contacted me about speaking with students from the Brooklyn School of Languages during their Broadway-themed week. 

The Brooklyn School of Languages works with adult learners from all over the world and offers them classes in English as well as exposure to the rich resources of knowledge and culture that New York City has to offer. 

I didn’t think twice about participating and was incredibly excited to meet these students!  For The Tap Factor, it was a great opportunity to engage with a body and organization that was less likely to be exposed to tap dancing in the way that we like to present it.  We find that everyone has an inner-tap-dancer and we aim to expose that resonance with whom we cross paths.

When I proposed to Dennis that I not only talk about my career as a dancer, but end the talk with a tap dance workshop, he was all for it! 

The idea was that we would teach the students The Tap Factor way:  They would be introduced to tap dancing basics and then learn how to make their own music - improvise - within moments after learning their first steps.  This would provide an excellent forum for communication and discovery without using words. 

It was amazing to introduce tap dance to the students using this method- no words, just sounds- especially where languages are vastly diverse and can create a barrier.  I was very proud of the students’ willingness to participate and step outside of their comfort zone to try something new. 

Tap dancing in the lobby of Brooklyn School of Languages!

To learn more of the experience, see Dennis Chases' contributed statement further down the blog!

Monday, December 23, 2013

NYC - Christopher Erk engages with Flamenco at Alegrias

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness the work that is being done at Alegrias on 14th Street in NYC. They were kind to have me get up at the end of the set to tap.

Saturday, November 30, 2013 Press Release!

Here is the press release from announcing The Tap Factor - Sarasota. With the help and resources of the Asolo Repertory Theater in Sarasota, Florida, The Tap Factor founder Christopher Erk was able to orchestrate a program that got Sarasota youth tap dancing out in the public and on a professional stage. By the end of the four meetings, the participants earned the opportunity to join the cast of Noah Racey's Pulse on stage immediately following one of their performances. It was a memorable experience for all!

Thank you Dayton!

Follow the link below to a wonderful piece from Dayton Most Metro that sums up the work of The Tap Factor and it's founder Christopher Erk in its flagship city of Dayton. 
Currently Christopher continues to center his eduction and work around the development of The Tap Factor and its initiative to education the world through tap dance education and performance opportunities.