When faced with a decision while planning RIFF 2017, my thoughts always went to the saying, "Go Big or Go Home". My desire remains to bring the best experience for tap dancers together into one amazing event that is both nurturing and educational. Because, what good is it to further our technique and skills without building the relationships and connections that make what we do so very special.
I was blown away by all of the amazing tap dancers, their parents, and the guest artists who came together for 4 days and encouraged each other. I saw older tap dancers cheering on younger tap dancers. I saw highly experienced tap dancers honing their craft at all hours during their off time. I saw parents come together from all parts of the country and enjoy bonding at a local Tex Mex restaurant. I saw a tap legend sit in the lobby and tell stories of days gone by. I also saw that same tap legend, who on a whim, decided to perform a solo with a live jazz band because the students in the first act had inspired her so much.
These are just some of the memories that were created with this "go all the way" mind set. While my soles have yet to have the time to experience any of my own tap classes at RIFF, my tap soul is being fed very well. This one long weekend of the year is the highlight of my professional life and each year somehow seems to get better and better.
Now having 3 festivals under my belt, I look forward to planning more events and of course RIFF Dallas 2018. There are so many people that help make this happen and I just simply couldn't do it without their gracious donation of their time and talents. From the parents that are my room monitors to the people who laid my floors, I am eternally grateful for their support. I'd like to mention some of them here: My Mary, yes that has become her name...she is my right hand; Shelly Santillan, Mary's right hand; Shane Hendricks and Dennis Hanson, my floor gurus; Robert Martinez, who didn't quite know what he was getting into when he offered to help; Pamela & Mehrdad Moayedi, for always being so hospitable, Jennifer Carter for being someone I can always call in a pinch; my amazing interns, Emily Mikiolitch and Josh "Where's Waldo" Nixon who do anything and everything; my host families and drivers including JoAnn Mikolitch, my husband Kevin and Jocelyn Moore. I really hate to make a list like this as I know that I am leaving someone very, very important to me out. But this has more to do with my ADD and memory is crap brain than anything else.
Tap dance and the support of tap dance is so very strong and I am both grateful and encouraged by the love shown by everyone that I mentioned. I believe that tap dance is "Going Big", and there is no turning back now.