Timeless tapping

Timeless+tapping

Sophie Barker listened to the rhythmic clicking of her tap shoes hitting the floor. They were perfectly timed with the beat of the electro swing version of “A Friend Like Me.” She was lost in the moment.

During quarantine, Barker used dancing to cure her boredom. She had rekindled her love for dancing by making up her own dances to go along with some of her favorite songs.

“I found out how much I really liked it just in the past year when I was at home, and I had nothing to do,” Barker said. “I started doing it in the basement and I was like ‘I really like this!’”

Barker, now a freshman, has been a dancer for as long as she can remember. From her beginning, dancing has played a major role in shaping her into the person she is today.

When she was just 5 years old, Barker’s mom asked her if she wanted to start tap dance lessons. Her best friend from preschool was already in them, and Barker was eager to join in.

Ever since then, she has been tapping away, always improving her skills and learning new things.

Some of her favorite dance memories surround the preparation for their biannual recitals. From finding the costumes to figuring out what sets to use, Barker loves it all.

“Picking out the costumes is one of my favorite parts,” Barker said. “Sometimes we find costumes that fit with the theme of the song that we’re gonna dance to, and that’s really fun.”

Not only does she love the preparation, she also loves the feeling of performing.

“I think it makes me feel a bit more free and I just really like going along to the beat of the song,” Barker said.

Dancing has also affected other parts of her life. Since sixth grade, Barker has played the clarinet. While many students struggle with understanding music in the beginning, Barker’s long history of dancing lent itself to early success.

“Doing it for so long gave me a better understanding of how music works and how you can do so many things with it,” Barker said.

In the future, Barker thinks that she may want to join the chorus and take part in musical theater.

“I discovered how much I like musical theater,” Barker said. “I love the idea of it, and already having that experience on a stage helped that.”

Over her many years of dance, she has dedicated several hours into perfecting her craft. Her hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. 

Barker’s longtime friend and fellow freshman, Ava Campbell, knows how much effort she pours into dance. Campbell has been to every one of her recitals and has seen her work pay off time after time.

“When she gets on the stage, you can just see how much work she’s put into it,” Campbell said. “It’s really inspiring.”

Though Barker isn’t sure whether she wants to pursue a career in dancing, Campbell thinks that it would suit her well.

“I think she’d be really good at teaching dance, like tap dancing, if she wanted to,” Campbell said.

She already has some experience with teaching, as she took it into her own hands during quarantine.

Her dance studio, Dance Arts, temporarily closed due to COVID-19. She realized that she needed to practice on her own in order to keep up her skills.

“I thought that I should try to keep up with it since we weren’t doing it for so long,” Barker said. “I thought that when we got back I wouldn’t be able to do it very well. So I tried to just practice the dances that I knew and I made up a few of my own dances for songs I liked.”

Now that her dance company is back open , Barker is right back at it, doing what she loves most. It’s something that makes her unique, and she’s proud to be a dancer.

“It’s given me something to brag about really,” Barker said. “I can tap dance, and that’s not something a lot of people can do.”