Los Angeles, CA (January 31, 2013)— Practice makes perfect. Just ask any professional dancer that started out as a tot in a tutu. However, a common problem arises for many tap dance students regardless of age or skill level: Where can you practice outside of a studio without wrecking your home’s flooring or even find somewhere to practice at all? Torrance, California native and third generation tap dancer Jackie Covas has come up with a solution for tap dance students everywhere. The Dance Dot!
For Jackie, tap dancing has always been a family affair. “My mother and grandmother have been teaching in the South Bay for the past thirty years. When I was younger, we formed a dance act called ‘The Generations’ and even danced along side tap master Arthur Duncan.”
Covas also attended USC where she founded the non-profit organization Dance Included that offers free after school dance classes to children in public schools that lack arts funding. The organization will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. After graduating, Covas landed a fundraising position at The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, but her love for performing eventually led her straight to New York City.
Soon after relocating, Covas began teaching tap dance and booking work as a dancer in a number of regional productions as well as three national tours. While on the road, she ran into a frustrating problem that many dancers face; lack of areas to practice. She began working on an idea for a portable practice surface that would be light enough for her to travel, and fashionable enough to carry around the streets of Manhattan. Covas enlisted her husband Codey Girten to help create the first Dance Dot prototype in the basement of their apartment building. Keeping her younger students in mind, she explained, “We wanted to create something that was colorful and fun. Something that families could easily use in their homes and on-the-go.” The couple landed on an innovative and kid-friendly design that would allow young dancers to safely practice their moves almost anywhere at anytime.
The couple spent a lot of time testing prototypes in their apartment. It wasn’t unusual to find Girten eating breakfast while Covas was tapping away in the kitchen on a Dance Dot. She was now able to create new choreography in the carpeted living room, rehearse her favorite steps on the hardwood floors, and transform almost any space into her own personal tap dance stage. Dance Dot made it all possible.
Covas couldn’t wait to share their creation with her students and brought a prototype with her to dance class. The studio owner loved the idea and began to offer the product to the rest of her classes. “It was a great place to launch because I got to see firsthand how the product was really helping my students. I saw so much improvement because they finally had a place to practice at home, which made all the difference,” said Covas. Parents also raved about the fun design and loved that it protected their beautiful hardwood floors from unsightly scuff marks.
Soon after the studio launch, the product was picked up by several retail locations across the country. The couple also created an online store where they began to see significant sales, prompting them to begin professionally manufacturing with an American company. They even expanded the Dance Dot line to include the DDPro, a larger model designed for “pros in the making.” Covas explained, “So many of our friends are Broadway performers and professional tap dancers who said they wished they had a Dance Dot growing up. What surprised us was that most of them were also interested in having a Dance Dot right now!”
Currently, the Dance Dot costs $75.00 and measures 2 feet in diameter weighing in at 3.5 lbs, and the DDPro ($129.00), measures 34 inches in diameter and weighs less than 10 lbs. Each is made out of tempered Masonite, the same material that was used for old performance stages. The underside features a soft rubber backing which keeps the product in place while dancing. With no sharp edges or folding parts, the seamless dance surface is perfect for kids.
“I grew up as a dancer in southern California, and I know what it’s like to want to go after a dream. When my students learn a new step, most of them can’t wait to get home and share it with mom or dad. Parents should be able to encourage their child’s passion for dance without having to worry about the damage it may do to their floors,” says Covas. Girten agrees, “Imagine the difference we could make in the lives of so many young dancers by finally providing them with the opportunity to keep dancing!”
You can also learn more about the product by visiting the company’s web site at www.mydancedot.com