About Thelma Goldberg
Thelma Larkin Goldberg recently received her PhD in Educational Studies from Lesley University. She founded The Dance Inn, a suburban private sector dance studio serving more than 400 students weekly, in 1983. She teaches regularly at dance teacher events including the Dancelife Teacher Conference, the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap Teacher Training Program, and the Beantown Tap Fest. She received the 2015 Dr. Michael Shannon Dance Champion Award from the Boston Dance Alliance for “her sustained excellence in teaching and passionate advocacy for the art
of tap dancing.” Her research centers around the experience of the tap dance educator in the private sector dance studio and she shares teaching tools and her books through Thelma's Tap Notes.
Thelma Larkin Goldberg grew up in Cambridge, MA, where she studied dance at Bates School of Dance in Central Square. After earning her B.S. in Special Education from Lesley College in 1974, she taught in the Boston Public School system, earning her Masters in Special Education from Regis College while starting a family and relocating to Lexington, MA. After founding the Dance Inn in 1983, in the dining room of her home, Thelma eventually found her way to the rich tap scene in the Boston area, studying at the Leon Collins Studio in Brookline and meeting many of the friends and associates who have continued to inspire her since then. In 1997 she started Dance Inn Productions, a nonprofit organization producing annual International Tap Day Festivals that honored master tappers with the Tapestry Award for Teaching. Among the dancers she has celebrated are Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Sarah Petronio, Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde and Billy Siegenfeld.
She has one published article in the Dance education in Practice Journal titled "Release, Relax, Ready: A Rhythm-First, Holistic Approach to Teaching Tap Dance" (17-24). Included here is the link to the article: "Release, Relax Ready"
Check out our new Tap Into History lessons posted weekly on the blog Page.
Check out our new Tap Into History mini-lessons.
This series is designed to support the tap dance educator in her/his efforts to include tap history in their programs. The history of tap dance is complex and no simple guide can do justice to the stories of the men and women who kept tap dance alive since the early days of tap dance history when slaves and indentured servants were brought to America. A single slide will be posted each week which discusses one of the following topics:
Tap History Eras
Classic Dance Steps
Classic Dance Repertoire
Each slide can be a lesson of its own or a catalyst for discussion and further study. Some suggestions include:
Introduce a new topic/person when teaching a new dance step or introducing a new style of music or dance.
Recommend additional study through video links and recommended readings.
Reinforce material with student activity sheets.
THELMA'S TAP NOTES represents more than 40 combined years of experience in the public school classroom, the dance classroom, and the academic classroom where I recently earned a doctoral degree. My holistic approach is centered on the simple idea that relaxation in the joints and clear weight shifts will result in a release that results in readiness to tip, dig, strike, brush, lift, etc. the foot or a part of the foot to tap. My first product was a teaching manual for children (2013) and since then I have published a second book for teens and adults and I've developed several teaching tools for the classroom, including rhythm cards, worksheets, and assessment material, a tap history poster, and T-shirts designed with rhythm phrases. New resources in development include tap history teaching modules, teaching musicality, and brain challenge steps for specific use in 6x6 foot limited spaces. Contact me at with questions and comments and let's start talking about tap dance education!