Master Tap Teacher
Many people aspire to dance through life, but few figure out how to make that dream come true. Fortunately for all of us here at RG, we have Germaine Goodson, Broadway performer and lifetime member of the dance community, to show us the way.
Germaine began her journey in Philadelphia, where a loving Godmother encouraged her passion for the Arts by supplying her with music and movement classes of all kinds (dance, voice, acting, violin and swimming). Her curiosity led her to pursue a college degree in Child Psychology and an MA in Theatre and Dance. It also led her to California, where she was approached by a dance school to teach lessons after impressing her teachers with her technique. The classes were so successful, they inspired Germaine to return to the east coast, and follow her dream of dancing on Broadway. That dream came true when she crossed paths with legendary choreographer Henry LeTang. He cast her as one of the tap-dancing Rhythm Queens, and Germaine remembers this time fondly: "He brought the three of us together to learn his style and be in all his shows. He hired us for everything!" The Rhythm Queens were in high demand, opening for Cab Calloway and touring with him for nearly a decade when they weren't doing Broadway (Black and Blue, Play On!), Off-Broadway (Back in the Big Town with Harold Nicolas), or playing Vegas (Cotton Club on Parade - another show with Henry LeTang). She also toured internationally and collaborated with everyone from Mercedes Ellington to Maurice and Gregory Hines.
Even though Germaine was busy living her own dream, she never forgot the dancers following in her footsteps. She began teaching tap and jazz-tap to lucky students at Broadway Dance Center, and here, at RG. She's passionate about teaching her students not only how to perfect their technique but to find joy in what they do, as well as learn the importance of being a team player. As Germaine puts it: "I don't do it for the money. I do it just because I love it. It makes me happy! I never wanted to be a star. I just wanted to always work, so I wouldn't be poor, and I wanted to be part of an ensemble. A team!"
In recent years Germaine has focused her energy to primarily teaching & choreography (as a nod to her notable mentors). "I do a lot more choreography now. I've always been surrounded by amazingly talented people who have taught me so much, so I'm always trying to give back what they gave me."
Germaine's love of dance has certainly taken her on many adventures; But if there's one place she calls home, it's right here: "I love the spirit here at Ripley-Grier. I feel at home. It's the most professional place to be! And the staff is so good to everybody. I love the atmosphere... Everyone really reaches out to be of service. I love being here!"
We're proud to say Germaine was one of the first teachers at our 72nd Street location back in the 80's, and with 35 years of teaching and performing under her belt, I think we can agree her legacy is set. But of course it's always good to have a back-up plan, and as expected, this inspiring teacher has a good one. When asked what other career she would choose (outside of the Arts) she said, "In my next life, I'd like to be an Eye Doctor. I believe the eyes are the window to the soul! When you look in someone's eyes, you get to meet their heart... But even if I was an Eye Doctor, I feel like I would somehow find my way back to Ripley-Grier to see if anybody needs glasses or contact lenses." Thanks Germaine, for bringing your passion to our studios. As a dancer, teacher or optometrist, we're always happy to see you around!
You can catch Germaine and fellow Rhythm Queen, Deborah Mitchell (pictured above) in the upcoming Jazz Dance Documentary Transmission.
To contact Germaine or view her class schedule, visit her website at www.GermaineGoodson.net
Original Interview By Graham McCarty - February 2019
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Artists navigate change well. We were made for times like these and we will see it through.