Tap dancing classes are fun way to get fit


At Malibu Fitness, near Zumba Beach, former Broadway performer and choreographer Joe Giamalva offers a pretty stepped-up tap dancing class.

"I danced with Cyd Charisse, Tony Martin and a lot of celebrities," said Giamalva. "I teach no matter what I'm doing. If I'm doing a show, whatever, I always keep my tap classes going."

That makes students like actress Joan Steiger, wife of the late actor Rod Steiger, very happy.

"It's great fun. If I couldn't tap, it would be the end of my life. It's my whole love," the actress said.

Steiger started tapping at age 7 and it paid off.

"I've been in a couple commercials, so you could say I'm a professional tap dancer," said Steiger.

Wailani O'Herlihy of Malibu started tap as part of a new year's weight-loss resolution.

"I've been dancing hula for 48 years, and so I came into this class not knowing what to expect. But I found the rhythm was the same as counting in Hawaiian hula," said O'Herlihy.

Even Lavinia Errico, founder of Equinox fitness clubs and a former Rockette, hoofs it here.

"This is a real treat to move to Malibu and actually find a dance class of this quality. It's been amazing," said Errico.

Tap dancing is a total body workout, but all the energy is in the legs. Depending on the choreography and your effort, you can burn up to 200 to 700 calories an hour.

"Tap is aerobic. We do a warm-up and then we go across the floor one at a time doing basic steps. Then I teach combinations. We have three or four routines that we can do from start to finish," said Giamalva.

The gym is across from Zuma Beach. Giamalva also teaches at a Topanga Canyon studio in Woodland Hills. And for the novice, Malibu Parks and Recreation offers beginning tap as well.

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