The Good Life: Dancing shoes

Stephanie Ackerman, director of major and planned giving in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s office of development and alumni relations, has always been a dancer. She took ballet as a child and got back into it as a young adult, but always wanted to try tap dancing. She joined an adult tap dancing class and plans to continue tap dancing after her upcoming retirement.

“I always thought tap looked like so much fun,” she said. “The hardest part about it as an adult is remembering the combinations. Children and teenagers have a much easier time with that because of the way they learn, but I thoroughly enjoy it.”

Ackerman started taking adult tap dancing classes in the early 1990s but stopped after her longtime instructor was no longer going to offer the classes.

“(Then) I got a call probably about five years ago from another friend who had started offering adult classes through the Milwaukee Ballet,” Ackerman said. “I joined and have been doing it once a week ever since.”

The class spends time learning steps to songs such as “Respect” and “Hit the Road Jack.”

“It’s great exercise,’ Ackerman said. “It is really a fun aerobic workout.”

The group meets one morning a week for about an hour. Ackerman, who plans to retire in the coming months, also spends a fair amount of time in Florida. She was able to find a tap class for adults there, which was also started by a Milwaukee woman.

“There is quite an active tap dance group in Florida,” Ackerman said. “I’ve gone to a few of their classes, which have about 70 people. I’m looking forward to getting back down there in January as well.”

The group does the tap routines primarily for themselves and does not perform them for anyone, she said.

“This is strictly for us,” Ackerman said. “I really do enjoy dancing, and with tap there is so much energy in the class. There’s a lot of camaraderie and for me it’s more than just dancing it’s an experience and has an element of creativity where we can express ourselves. It’s just a lot of fun.”


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