Dance is important to Meagan Adler, a senior at Gulliver Prep; so important, that she has been a volunteer tap dance teacher dance at the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA along with her friend Meaghan Sylver. The two started the organization Tap Kidz in ninth grade.
“We wanted to share our passion with kids who weren’t exposed to dances like tap. Alot of kids don’t get the opportunity to take tap classes because it’s a dying art,” she says. “We’ve met the nicest kids who really love to learn new things and try new things. Regardless of whether or not it was tap, it’s fun. I’m so happy I did it and I’m so happy I’m continuing to do it.”
Each year they have expanded the program and now they not only teach young kids how to dance, they also work with students at Jackson Senior High School. During the last school year, they choreographed a dance for some of the Jackson students for a recital.
“We choreographed a high-energy tap dance,” she says.
Adler says they love working with the younger kids, but she also enjoys working with the teens. “It was really different working with the high schoolers,” she says. “We were working with people our own age who loved learning the tap dances.
It was one of our most fulfilling moments because they loved it so much, they were so eager to learn every time we walked into the room.”
Last year, Tap Kidz did some fundraising by sending out letters soliciting donations and selling goods at a winter bazaar
“We donated$1,800 to Jackson High and Mays Conservatory of the Arts, a magnet program,” Adler says.
The dance program at Mays used the funds to take all the middle and high school dancers to a two-day workshop hosted by Coral Reef High. The money paid for the buses and all the registration fees. Adler says they raised a total of $5,000. They also sent a donation to the dancer who lost her leg in the Boston bombings. The girls are also collecting gently used dance clothes and shoes.
“We have pink boxes placed at different locations,” she says.
Adler says the program will continue even after they leave for college.
“We will come back and teach,” she says
And they plan to start something at the colleges they attend using the same name and the same type of program.
As far the college Adler will attend, she’s keeping her options open. She loves the Northeast schools like Boston College Tufts, Boston University and, further south Georgetown. She is also applying to Duke and the University of Virginia. She is considering political science or comparative politics as a major because of her interest in government, both national and international.
While Adler spends a lot of time on Tap Kidz, she is also an involved student at Gulliver. She is president of Health Interested Students of America (HISA) secretary of the Hispanic Honor Society and a member of Operation Smile.
One of Adler’s most important experiences as a teen was a three-week trip to China with National Geographic Student Expeditions She says a favorite part of the trip was interviewing a couple of the locals to learning about their background and who they were.
“It changed the way I thought of things,” she says.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld