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School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Tap to Togetherness

Building Family Relations & Enhancing Child Development Through Tap Dance

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The K-State Tap Dance Ensemble is partnering with Parents as Teachers to bring our families a series of tap dance classes this spring.  The classes are open to any family in Parents as Teachers who has a child over 12 months of age. The classes will be held on Tuesday evenings, with two sessions each evening.

Tap to Togetherness Team

Tap to Togetherness

K-State researchers from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and the College of Human Ecology are enhancing well-being with Tap To Togetherness, a program that fosters family interactions and child development through movement. Participants attend tap dance sessions twice a month for children ages 12 months to pre-Kindergarten. Families are permitted to bring older children. 

Sessions are offered through a local Parents as Teachers program and K-State Research and Extension. Both of these organizations specialize in designing and disseminating better health and nutrition practices and are providing a network crucial to delivering and sustaining the program and maintaining the health of families and the development of children.

Tap To Togetherness Team 
Julie L. Pentz — Tap To Togetherness Dance Director and Founder 

Julie is the lead teacher for Tap To Togetherness, or T3. Julie’s contributions to the dance field include the international dance community with guest appearances at the Theatro Libero in Rome; Chinese Cultural University, National Taiwan University of the Arts, Tsoying Performing Arts School, Koahsiung Performing Arts School, all in Taiwan; the Interdansa in Banyoles-Girona, Spain; and in Accra, Ghana. Currently, Julie is an associate professor and associate director in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Kansas State University, teaching jazz and tap dance. She graduated from Shenandoah University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance education and earned a Master of Fine Arts in theater arts with a dance emphasis from the University of Arizona. Before returning to graduate study, she performed with The National Tap Ensemble and worked with master tap teachers, including Gregory Hines, Savion Glover and Brenda Buffalino.Julie may be contacted at jpentz@k-state.edu.

Janice Schroeder — Parents as Teachers Liaison 

Janice has been a Parent Educator with Parents as Teachers since 1992. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University. Janice is trained in Parents as Teachers Foundational Birth-three and 3-Kindergarten entry curriculums. She is a Kansas Home Visitation Coach. Janice is also trained in Mental Health First Aid, Baby Behaviors, ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE implementation. As an educator, Janice enjoys getting to know and work with families of diverse backgrounds. She finds it heart warming to see parents experience the growth and capabilities of their children. “To see a parent beam with pride in their child’s accomplishments is such a reward.” Janice feels like she learns from each family she works with Her ultimate goal as a Parent Educator is to provide knowledge and to support parents on how they can help their child towards a successful future, helping to identify the strengths or delays in their child. She wants parents to know that they are their child’s first and most important teacher! Janice is responsible for Tap To Togetherness enrollment information. Janice may be contacted at janices@usd383.org or 785-477-0484.

What is Parents as Teachers? 

Parents as Teachers is an award-winning, early-childhood program that supports families and teaches parents how their children grow and learn. The USD 383 Manhattan- Ogden Parents as Teachers program is free and available to families who live in the school district. Parents as Teachers uses a research-based curriculum during home visits to pregnant mothers and families with children up to 3 years. A reduced program is available to qualifying children ages 3 to kindergarten entry.

Parents as Teachers provides families with: 

  • Monthly home visits with a certified parent educator. 
  • Developmental, social-emotional, hearing, vision and health screenings. 
  • Group Connections with other parents to share experiences and discussions. 
  • Playgroup four days a week, plus one evening and one Saturday a month in Manhattan. 
  • A weekly playgroup in Ogden. 
  • A Toy and Book Lending Library, where families can check out children’s books, age-appropriate toys and parenting information. 
  • Special events and connections to community activities and resources. 
  • Monthly newsletters with notifications of upcoming events and relevant parenting topics. 
  • Our new program, Tap To Togetherness.

Tap dance sessions 

Each 25-minute session is full of nonstop movement. Families work together to learn basic tap dance steps such as the Irish, Buffalo, Maxi Ford and Jump Shuffles. The sessions explore counting, rhythm making, and call and respond activities. 

The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance 

The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance is home to approximately 500 majors and minors. Additionally, more than 4,000 nonmajors representing every department and college at the university participate in K-State performing arts. The dance program is known nationally and internationally, teaching and performing across the country and in Taiwan, Spain and Ghana.

Undergraduate research experience 

The Tap To Togetherness program offers an undergraduate research experience to participating K-State students. Students engage in the Manhattan, Kansas, community while working with young families, participating in research collection, developing grant-writing skills and contributing to published research. 

About the K-State Tap Dance Ensemble

Julie L. Pentz, Associate Professor and Director of Dance and The K-State Tap Dance Ensemble is a group of K-State students who share the love of tap dance on the K-State campus, local Manhattan community, regionally, and nationally.  This ensemble has been established for 7 years. This ensemble has reached thousands of elementary and middle school students regionally and has performed at dozens of community events that include, but are not limited to, Spooktacular at the Sunset Zoo, Purple Power Play on Poyntz, and Family Fun Nights at local elementary schools.  Visit K-State Tap Dance Ensemble to learn more.

For information about this program, contact Julie L. Pentz at jpentz@ksu.edu.