2016-10-21 / Sports Spotlight

Rubin taking her tap talents to Germany

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Abigail Rubin, a fifth-grader at Wentworth School, practices her tap solo last week with Danielle Drouin, owner of Drouin Dance Center in the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook. In December Rubin will perform the piece, but not before heading to Germany to take part in the World Tap Championships. (Michael Kelley photo) Abigail Rubin, a fifth-grader at Wentworth School, practices her tap solo last week with Danielle Drouin, owner of Drouin Dance Center in the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook. In December Rubin will perform the piece, but not before heading to Germany to take part in the World Tap Championships. (Michael Kelley photo) WESTBROOK — Wentworth School fifth-grader Abigail Rubin tap dances under her desk at school. She taps at the bus stop, at the grocery store, around the house and even while brushing her teeth.

In early December she will be tap dancing more than 6,000 miles away in Riesa, Germany.

Rubin, 10, has been chosen to travel to the World Tap Championships in Germany in December as part of the USA Tap Team. The world championship is sponsored by the International Dance Organization and is considered the Olympics of tap dancing.

“I felt proud of myself. I put myself down a lot. It was an opportunity not to put myself down, but be happy,” said Rubin, who will be competing against tap dancers from more than 30 countries at the competition.


Abigail Rubin Abigail Rubin Danielle Drouin, owner of Drouin Dance Center, where Rubin trains, said Rubin qualified to dance in Germany through American Tap Company, a dance group based in Andover, Massachusetts she auditioned for in January. The American Tap Company is made up of dancers 9 years old and older from across the country.

The team Rubin is traveling with will compete in 26 different routines in three age brackets (children, juniors and adults) and include solos, duets, trios and group numbers. The group Rubin is dancing with comprises a dozen dancers 9 to 11, including Jillian Petruccelli, a 9-year-old from Portland. Rubin travels to Andover every three weeks to spend a weekend rehearsing for her World Tap Championship routine. This is on top of the four days a week she spends dancing at Drouin Dance Center, a dance school that includes students from 1 to 78

Rubin also does ballet, jazz and lyrical, a dance form that combines elements from ballet and jazz, but tap remains her favorite.

“In other styles of dance you use your whole body. In tap, it is about your feet and making noise with your feet. It’s a way for my feet to speak,” said Rubin, who is part of the Drouin Dance Center’s Dance Company, a group that performs and competes throughout Maine and New England.

Rubin has been dancing at Drouin Dance Center for five years. Over that time Drouin said Rubin’s dance talent has really shone.

“Two or three years before she started competing, we noticed she was a strong dancer and really picked it up quickly and picked up the rhythm. Sometimes it is hard for kids to pick up the foundation of the rhythm,” Drouin said.

The tap class that Rubin is taking, Drouin said, has dancers that are in junior high and even high school. Drouin said to be a successful tap dancer, an individual needs to be focused, work hard and be willing to learn, three things that Rubin embodies.

Rubin’s mother Brandie didn’t know if the opportunity to dance in Germany was right for her daughter.

“At first, we thought ‘this is not for her,’ but those weekend down (at the American Tap Company) are very hard and very intense, but she is really enjoys going,” Brandie Rubin said.

The dedication her daughter has shown, Brandie Rubin said has changed her mind.

“She is passionate about it. We weren’t going to go to Germany for any old reason, but she has the drive and love for it,” she said.

The World Tap Championships will not be Rubin’s only big performance in December. Later that month, she will be performing her first tap solo, a routine set to “Swinging on a Star” that she has been working on for the last six weeks.

Drouin said she is excited to hear about Rubin’s experience in Germany and how the performance goes.

“It’s a really cool opportunity, that is for sure,” Drouin said.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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