Pam specializes in teaching the art of tap dance to all skill levels and ages. Her effective and enjoyable style of teaching is heavily influenced by the masters she closely studied with including Sherry Van, Jimmy Payne, Eddie Brown, Pat Rico, Arthur Duncan and Henry LeTang. It is Pam's mission to pass on and share the important material and repertoire she is privileged to have learned through the "Pam Covas Tap Dance Connection."
Currently Pam is working on American Rhythms IV. As in the past, the show will pay an exciting tribute to the two great American art forms: jazz music and tap dance. The performance will feature the Pam Covas Honey Taps and Generations along with special guest artists who will also be teaching in a Masters In Tap series. For a detailed breakdown of past American Rhythms performances and the Masters In Tap series, please refer to the "Projects" page.
Pam has been a noted tap instructor in the South bay for over three decades and was honored for her talent and dedication by the City of Torrance with the Excellence in Arts Award for Outstanding Contributions in Dance.
Pam's work as a dance instructor in the South bay began at the Dance and Creativity Center where she cultivated a multi-level tap program that quickly developed a reputation as the top tap program in the area. From there she began her longstanding, successful and creative career with the City of Torrance, where she developed thriving Dancercise, Broadway Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Tap dance classes for teens, adults and seniors. Her classes were in high demand filling to capacity with wait-lists, and new dancers always became longtime students.
While teaching at The Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Pam sponsored the celebration of National Tap Dance Day where participants were treated to a movie about the life of Bill "Bo jangles" Robinson, treasured books about the art of tap dance, and the camaraderie of approximately 100 others who joined in a tap session lead by Pam. To continue sharing the passion, Pam developed the "Masters In Tap" series, which brought her mentors Arthur Duncan, Henry LeTang and Pat Rico to The Torrance Cultural Arts Center. This extraordinary teaching event gave Pam's students and those in the surrounding communities a chance to learn directly from these legendary masters.
At the Dance Center, Pam taught a youth specific program for children and teen tap dancers. For the Torrance Unified School District Pam served as a guest instructor and choreographer at the elementary through high school level. She also worked with a professional children's performance group American Youth Express as an artistic consultant to polish their summer tour and holiday review. Her work at the Redondo Beach Community Center, South bay Conservatory and TCAC with adult and senior dancers was highlighted in the study by Phyllis J. Meltzer, M.D. at the International Gerontology Congress in Australia. When the Norris Center for the Performing Arts opened their new performing arts facility, Pam was asked to come on board as a master tap instructor for the program due to her expertise and loyal student following in the South bay.
Many of Pam's students have gone on to professional careers in the arts, while others have become teachers at the studio and collegiate level. She is a teacher's teacher and has taught every type of dancer from beginners to instructors, to local actors and veteran entertainers.
Pam's expertise as a dancer and instructor comes from the mentors she studied with including Sherry Van, Jimmy Payne, Eddie Brown, Pat Rico, Arthur Duncan and Henry LeTang.
Pam was introduced to tap dance by her mother Sherry Van, a respected studio owner and choreographer in Chicago. At the popular Sherry Van School of Dance, Pam gained her dance foundation in all dance disciplines. Her mother recognized a teaching ability within Pamela early on and encouraged her to assist with classes at the studio and choreography for various local community musicals and fundraisers.
When her mother felt it was time for Pam to further explore her passion and talent for tap, she took her daughter to the best Chicago had to offer, Jimmy Payne. Mr. Payne introduced Pam to his unique afro-Cuban rhythms and syncopations. He allowed Pam to pursue her natural feeling for tap dancing and trust her instincts as a developing artist. Pam flourished in this environment and came into her own as a dancer under the guidance of Mr. Payne.
After moving to the Los Angeles area, Pam studied privately with Eddie Brown and learned his "scientific rhythms" technique including the famous Eddie Brown Chorus. Pam witnessed firsthand the genius at work, improvising syncopated rhythms and heavy heelwork that he created on the spot during these private sessions. Pam had the honor of sharing the stage with Mr. Brown when he accepted her invitation to be a special guest in an educational performance she produced for the Marymount College Concert on the Hill Series.
At the Debbie Reynolds Studios, Pam met Pat Rico, known as "Teacher to the Stars". He shared with Pam his tap terminology and beautiful routines in a style reminiscent of old Hollywood movie musicals, including those he choreographed specifically for performances alongside television star Tony Danza. Mr. Rico was one of the first master dancers to share his art of teaching with tap students in the South bay through Pam's "Masters in Tap" series.
It was on the set of the movie TAP that Pam met famous dancer and Lawrence Welk television star, Arthur Duncan. A working relationship ensued and Mr. Duncan invited Pam to showcase The Honey Taps and introduce The Generations in several of his concert appearances. Pam also had the pleasure of dancing alongside Mr. Duncan while performing his elegant and audience pleasing routines. Mr. Duncan was an important influence while Pam was creating the "Masters In Tap" series and also a favorite guest artist at the event.
Pam's most influential mentor was the late Dr. Henry LeTang. She instantly connected with his choreography, as it was reminiscent of her childhood teacher Jimmy Payne, taking her full circle. Aside from his incredible body of work, including the Henry LeTang exercises and routines, Pam was given artistic guidance from Henry on teaching, choreography and life. Dr. LeTang often traveled to visit with Pam at her personal studio and work privately with her students and professional dancing groups.
© 2014 Pam Covas
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