Tap Classes for Adults


Tap Dance for Fun, Community, & Health

Ongoing community classes in tap dance are offered by Sara and her faculty to adults, with a specially developed curriculum friendly to active seniors as well as young adults.  Introductory through advanced levels continue throughout most of the year, with special master classes and workshops offered from time to time.  Our unique, cardio-enhancing TapAerobics class accommodates multiple technique levels with a variety of styles. This joyous American art form attracts and creates its own community of health-conscious people who want to enjoy the dance they’ve loved watching in Hollywood movies and Broadway shows.  These classes provide adults of all ages (twenty-one and up) with their own environment separate from teen and children’s classes.

Class Descriptions. Schedule. Fees


Tap Happy Award

Tap Happy is proud to announce its awards for:

“Best Adult Tap Dance Classes”

2014 & 2015 Houston Press

From a single Introductory tap course for adults in the summer of 2008, Tap Happy has grown into the hub of a tap dance community in Houston, offering five technique levels and TapAerobics, featuring skilled, encouraging faculty, and still growing!


Check out our News & Events page to see our past field trips, parties, and other community events.





Tap Style

This style of dance focuses on the Broadway, chorus-line tradition but provides an excellent foundation for any style of tap, including rhythm tap and jazz tap.  The classes are excellent for preparing for auditions for musical theater productions.  Sara is able to coach students in a full range of styles, arms, turns, and techniques to assist in advanced and professional performance.  The advanced level Tap 4 Dancers class offers a variety of styles from a rotating roster of some of Houston’s top tap dancers and instructors.

Tap Dance Services


Sara Draper, Tap Happy Owner

Sara studied tap throughout most of her childhood and then continued with Camille Hill  (a mentor to Tommy Tune), Judy Robbins, and master classes and workshops with Louie DaPron in Hollywood, Bill Evans in Texas and Washington, and with Jimmy Slyde, Savion Glover, Diane Walker, and other tap greats.

Sara’s professional tap performances include choreography by Camille Hill; the 1989 Houston Grand Opera production of The Mikado; and her own choreography such as Those Dancin’ Shoes (1986). She choreographed Hooray for Hollywood (1988, JCC) and The Club (1981, Main Street Theater) and countless student productions, including musicals such as Anything Goes.

Sara began teaching tap to adults in 1974, and has enjoyed this work at Carla Reeves School of Dance, the Jewish Community Center, Claire School of Dance, University of Houston community education, and recently at HCC Spring Branch.  She taught tap to children at the studios above and at Houston Academy of Dance, YWCA, City Dance Studio, Bonnie Siscoe School of Dance, and St. John’s School.

Emma Douglas took her first tap dancing class at age five and remembers to this day her role as a “spoonful of sugar” in a production of Mary Poppins. She continued tap dancing while teaching gymnastics, ballet, jazz and tap in a Los Angeles studio. There, she studied Broadway style tap dancing and choreography with a former New York City Rockette.  After a career in the oil industry in Los Angeles and Houston, Emma resumed her pursuit of tap dancing opportunities. She continues to expand her tap dance accomplishments by studying with teachers of various tap styles in the greater Houston area and taking master classes with nationally recognized tap dancers, including Acia Gray and Matt Shields. She participates in the annual Space City Tap Fest, and has performed with the Golden Girl Tappers, directed by Sara Draper, as well as with the “J” Crew Tappers, directed by Susan Silas.

Emma is currently the owner of A Caring Friend Concierge Care Services, providing a wide variety of services to those in need. She is the creator of Tap n Clap, a tap, rhythm and memory class for seniors with physical challenges.

Emma is a Tap Happy certified instructor.  She teaches private classes and has taught Introduction to Tap and Beginning I and II at Tap Happy.  She co-developed our Tap Aerobics class along with her colleague, Michelle Schroeder, and is one of its original instructors.


Elizabeth Sample began her dance training at the age of 3 with Annabell Taylor’s Dance School in Nederland Texas.  After several years, she began studying under Brooks Dement at Dance Factory in Groves Texas, excelling in tap, jazz, ballet and pointe.  Liz attended Texas A&M University where she majored in Horticulture.  During this time she taught tap, jazz, and ballet at Dance Center under the directorship of Ella Trumpfeller.  Upon graduation she moved to Houston where she taught tap dance at Carol Ehler’s School of Dance.  After many years, Liz was introduced to Sara Draper, immediately joined the Intermediate Tap class, and has been Tap Happy ever since!  So much so, in fact, that she completed her certification to become one of Tap Happy’s Instructors, certified to teach the beginning levels in the Tap Happy curriculum.  Liz has also taught the Intermediate level, and she has joined the team of TapAerobics teachers, having added her talent to expand the class content.


Michelle Schroeder set in motion her love of dance at age three when she began dance lessons at a private studio in Houston, Texas. This passion followed her to Sam Houston State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching Dance and finished university life with a Master of Arts in Dance Performance, Instruction and Choreography. Michelle’s full time career has been teaching dance in public, fine arts schools throughout Houston for over thirty years. She has written curriculum, directed magnet dance programs and produced countless student productions.  Michelle has received numerous awards including Young Educator of the Year and Outstanding Dance Program for Houston ISD, Teacher of the Year, Aldine ISD and Texas K-12 Dance Educator of the Year.

In addition, as a young professional dancer, she studied tap dance and performed in musical theater productions, as well as performing with modern dance companies. Michelle has taught tap lovers of all ages and levels at numerous private studios. For fun, Michelle has applied her knowledge and skills to teach aerobic dance classes to adults in her spare time. While enjoying her recent retirement from her thirty years teaching dance in H.I.S.D., Michelle’s latest career endeavors include teaching and choreographing dance in the private sector and building her SendOutCards business as an independent distributor.

Michelle is a Certified Tap Happy Instructor and she was a guest performer with the Golden Girl Tappers in the fall of 2013. Along with Emma Douglas, Michelle has co-written the curriculum and co-teaches the TapAerobics course. Additionally, Michelle is currently teaching the Golden Girl Tappers and other adult tap classes at the Jewish Community Center in Meyerland.


Kirstin Grbic is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s Theatre and Dance department. Her degree allotted her the opportunity to explore forms outside of the curriculum and during this exploration she met Acia Gray of Tapestry Dance Company. This introduction led to a committed desire to pursue the art of tap dance on a professional level. Upon graduation, she pursued training with Sam Weber and Debbie Sternbach in the San Francisco Bay area before heading back to Texas to train with Tapestry Dance Company. With TDC, she had the privilege to perform in a regional tour of “Ears Wide Open” and an international tour in China of “The Souls of our Feet”, funded by the NEA. Along the way, she has had the opportunity to study with such masters as Diane Walker, Sarah Petronio, Katherine Kramer, Nicholas Young, Jay Fagan, Michelle Dorrance, and many more. Dancing alongside Matthew Shields, Travis Knights, Siobhan Cook, Thomas Wadelton, Katelyn Harris, and others also provided an amazing education. She later returned home to Houston and currently teaches rhythm tap classes and private lessons all over town. Her goals include exposing new audiences in the Houston area to this percussive American art form.  Kirstin is a regular guest instructor with Tap Happy on the rotating roster for the Tap 4 Dancers class.


Alde Lewis, Jr.
, started as principal modern dancer with Dianne McIntyre’s Sounds in Motion Dance Company.  Tony award dancing extraordinaire Charles ‘Honi’ Coles inspired Mr. Lewis to become a tap dancer when Mr. Coles chose to mentor him in the art form after Mr. Lewis won the World Famous Amateur Night at the Apollo contest early in his performing career.  Mr. Lewis went on to have extensive credits in dance, film, television and theatre as an actor, dancer, director, choreographer, producer, and now musical playwright.  He was featured in Carnegie Hall’s black Broadway historical event Live the Dream celebrating one hundred years of jazz at Carnegie Hall and The Black Male Stars of the Great White Way.  He’s credited as Executive Producer and actor in the upcoming fim, Yeshua vs Frankenstein in 3D, directed by Wendell B. Harris, Jr. and starring Steven Soderbergh and Lawrence James.  He originated the role of Otis in Bob Fosse’s last original Broadway production, Big Deal.  He is seen in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie, The Cotton Club.  Another credit of his is being an original cast member of the My One and Only Broadway production.  He has appeared in numerous off-Broadway and regional theatres as well and was in the national touring companies of Sophisticated Ladies and Cab Calloway’s Cotton Club Revisited as the featured Tap Dancer.  He went on to perform in The Goodspeed Opera House production of My One and Only, accepting the invitation to re-create the Tony award winning role of Mr. Magix that his mentor had performed.  Mr. Lewis has penned the book and lyrics to an original musical play titled, Dee’s Days of Tap Dancing in Time that he seeks to mount in the near future.  He has produced the feature film, Chameleon Street format conversion to DVD that is now available online.  Most recently he has conceived, produced, and directed the television production, Pivotal.  He is the founder of A.L. Efficacy Movement, a registered nonprofit organization, and owner of Acacia Productions; together, these companies posses screenplays and scripts for movies made for TV that are in various stages of development, written by his artistic and business partner, Wendell B. Harris, Jr.   Mr. Lewis is a frequent guest instructor with Tap Happy on the rotating roster for the Tap 4 Dancers class.


Leanna Sparacino has over forty-five years of experience in dance and the arts. She has performed, choreographed, taught, produced and directed for stage, television and film. She trained with Patsy Swayze, Robert Joffrey and Manolo Agullo of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She has performed lead roles in “42nd Street”, “Evita”, “Brigadoon”, “Paint Your Wagon” and “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. Feature films include “Urban Cowboy” with John Travolta and “Liars Moon” with Matt Dillon. Originally from Houston, her career has taken her around the globe to places such as St. Petersburg Russia, where she danced with the Kirov Ballet; Berlin Germany to choreograph a German American collaboration at the Schlotzplatz Theatre; Nice, France to work with La Compagnie Rick Odums; and Los Angeles and New York City.  Leanna has taught dance and developed arts programming in public schools and private studios in Houston and San Antonio.  Her former students have attended universities on scholarship and are working on Broadway, in Los Angeles, and around the world.

Leanna has taught Tap Happy master classes, was the long term guest instructor for Intermediate Tap, and is a guest instructor on the rotating roster for the Tap 4 Dancers class.


Aaron Girlinghouse trained intensely in all forms of dance at nationally recognized studios across the nation. His varied performing experience includes musicals, industrials, and professional dance companies, in New York, Los Angeles, Houston and, most notably, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. He has choreographed for dance companies, studios, and colleges as well as having choreographed over thirty musical theater productions.

Over thirty years ago, Aaron’s first dance class was tap dance. He studied with Ric Sanford in his hometown and later worked with Ginger Folmer of Centenary College. He continued taking master classes with great teachers such as Michael Williams, Barbara Ryan Phillips, Acia Gray, Scott Thompson, and Germaine Salsberg.

Aaron has taught young children to senior citizens, as a studio owner, and for nine years at the collegiate level.  Since moving to Houston, Aaron has taught tap dance at several dance studios and at Theater Under the Stars. He was middle and upper school dance faculty for St. John’s School (where he and Sara worked together), dance director at The Village School, and currently teaches and choreographs at The Kinkaid School.

Aaron is a guest master teacher of master classes with Tap Happy, and is a guest instructor on the rotating roster for the Tap 4 Dancers class.


Marian Hart graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Dance Performance and Choreography with an emphasis on tap dance. Marian’s love for tap dance is rivaled only by her love for comedy. This resulted in the creation of a show that blended stand-up comedy with hoofing. Her professional tap dance career began in 2007 when she wrote and starred in the stand-up comedy and tap dance piece, One Step Closer. The show was a success and in 2008 she was asked to perform it at the American College Dance Festival. Her next stand-up show, titled Me and Two Others: A Solo by Marian Hart, was written in 2009. Marian performed the hour-long set at The Stafford on Main Street at Texas A&M and at Sam Houston State University. Also in 2009, Marian wrote and starred in a solo concert produced by SHSU. The concert, I Want To Be Famous, was an evening-length show that featured her physical comedy. 2010 was a busy year as Marian continued to write and perform. That same year, Marian was asked to tour One Step Closer. What Happened?: Life After Grad School was her next project which she presented in 2011. Currently, Marian performs across the US at clubs, colleges, and as a guest artist in concerts. She has taught dance to all ages at dance studios, universities, and through master class series. Marian is also an accomplished percussionist and has taught music and dance at the high school and college levels.

Marian is a guest master teacher of master classes with Tap Happy.


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