#MotivatedArtists | Diana Brooks
Heart to Heart with Diana Brooks
We are immensely overjoyed to introduce our Motivated Community to our newest Teaching Artist - the incomparable Diana Brooks. A beloved former OCU professor who taught our Co-Founder, Elise Melendez, and Director of Programming, Anna Terese Stone to embrace the art of tap - she is now here to share her wisdom, heart, and joy with YOU. Take a minute to get to know this inspiring artist through her words, and then leap at the opportunity to get to know her on the dance floor - through her brilliant tapping feet!
If you have been looking for that tap teacher who will make you feel comfortable but push you outside your boundaries while sprinkling magic throughout the room - look no further. We could not have dreamed up a more perfect artist to teach you the art of tap dancing!
Tell us a bit about your journey with movement and dance. Is there a particular reason or moment you've experienced that has inspired your movement/dance journey?
I started dancing as a 4 year old in a small town in Texas. I quickly began to realize that I LOVED to tap but I also really enjoyed all styles. I went to Oklahoma City University for Dance Performance because of their strong tap program. I trained in Musical Theatre Tap all the way through college. I decided to move to Chicago to take dance classes between my Junior and Senior year of college and this is when I discovered Rhythm Tap. It was such a challenge for me and I loved that. The teachers didn't count but they scatted and made you feel the rhythm instead of just the counts. I performed in 3 tap companies in Chicago after graduation and also performed in Regional shows doing Musical Theatre. Throughout the years I have been lucky enough to fuse everything together to try and make tap more accessible to everyone. Some people like counts and some people like to feel the rhythm. I love both. Every class I took throughout my journey as a performer has made me the teacher I am now and has inspired me. I take pieces from everyone and try to share the knowledge as best as I can.
Have you encountered any obstacles or challenges in your movement/dance journey? How did these moments encourage or inspire you to continue on?
My biggest challenge was learning a new style of tap at an older age and to try to be accepted in a new world of dance. I worked my hardest, while trying to enjoy every moment, and I quickly became accepted because of my work ethic and excitement to learn from everyone. These moments made me want to push my students to be the best they can be and to have FUN at the same time. Sometimes we, as dancers/performers, that what we do is fun. We sometimes have to think back to why we do it and not all the moments of judgement.
Have you had a favorite experience or breakthrough moment with dance/movement?
My favorite moments in dance/movement have been meeting the people that I grew up admiring and sitting down with them to hear their stories. Tap dance doesn't have as much written in books like some of the other styles. It is important to hear the stories and share them to keep Tap and it's history alive and well.
Any advice for movers out there who may be hesitant to dive in and embrace movement and/or tap dance?
The best thing a dancer/mover can do that wants to learn how to tap is to find a teacher they are comfortable with and go for it!!!! You can start tap at ANY age as long as you can walk! Remember it should be fun and hard work. Tap is scary because you can hear and see your mistakes. I make mistakes all the time and all I can do is laugh about it and move on...and keep working. It is very closely related to singing and hearing your voice. We are making music and that is amazing.
What inspires you as an artist and as a human?
Honestly...what inspires me is teaching. Anytime I see someone struggle to get a step and get it by the end of the class...or almost get it, inspires me. Performers are amazing people and I am inspired every time I get the chance to step in a studio and help.
You recently moved to NYC! What are you most excited to do/see/experience?
I am so new to New York. I am excited about everything! Food, people, dancing, artists, parks...everything! Well, almost everything. I am not very excited about the post office in my neighborhood and when I can't get somewhere because of the subway. 😉 I am in love with teaching in NYC and helping people build confidence so they can attend those tap calls!!!
Anything else you'd like to share?
Please come and take these tap classes with Motivated Movers! My goal is to set up a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere that allows us to make mistakes without being judged and to celebrate when we get something that we thought was impossible. I am 100% a teacher and love every minute of it. I hope to get the opportunity to help you on your journey.
Eager to share the dance floor with Diana Brooks?! Join Motivated Movers for a month-long workshop focused on learning the BASICS of tap dance. It's your opportunity to learn all that crazy vocabulary, get acquainted to creating music with your feet, and arm your toolbox with all of the must-know tap steps for "movers" in our industry.
August 8, 15, 22, & 29
6-8pm @ Nola Studios