If you’re on Instagram, you might have seen a new hashtag popping up in your feed. #Poptap is one of the latest and greatest crazes in the New York City dance scene. Beth Johnson Nicely started “Pop Tap” earlier this year when a number of her friends asked for personal tap training before a big audition. And Nicely’s tap skills are no joke—She’s both a former Radio City Rockette and a 4-time Broadway performer.
After a wonderful first class (and then a successful audition for her friends), Nicely decided to keep the fun going with weekly one-hour drop-in classes on Wednesday nights. The joyous, judgment-free environment paired with Nicely’s rising social media presence has helped Pop Tap gain a following beyond just Nicely’s closest peers. Any given Wednesday you’ll tap in the studio next to Broadway veterans, professional performers, beginning tappers, college students, and even business professionals who haven’t tapped since high school. “I truly believe that anyone can get better at tap,” says Nicely. “And unlike in an audition, no one will get cut!”
Each Wednesday dancers gather in a studio—interested students are encouraged to direct message Nicely on Instagram for the current week’s location (this gives Pop Tap an exciting, underground feel). After a short and simple warm-up, Nicely dives straight into choreography—set, of course, to popular Top 50 hits. Along with performing on stage, Nicely also works as a trainer at boutique fitness locale, Body by Simone. Her dance cardio training not only keeps her energy and motivation high, but it also taught her how to instruct effectively—steadily building choreography and frequently weaving it all together “from the top” so that students never feel lost. By the end of the hour, dancers have learned nearly two minutes of choreography, and they’re also ready to perform it—for an Instagram video, that is. While there’s no pressure to be filmed, most dancers are excited and honored to be a part of this weekly “music video” (check out @poptapnyc for a full archive of video clips).
Nicely’s custom-made cherry red LaDuca tap heels are as bright and cheerful as her effervescent personality. Her movement blends traditional musical theatre, rhythm tap, and dance cardio to create challenging and dynamic choreography. But above all, amidst all the adversity of show business, Pop Tap is a supportive and encouraging space to learn, grow, and express yourself to some great pop music!
For more information, check out @poptapnyc on Instagram.