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Off the Beaten Path: Soles with some serious soul

You just never know where Ross Rowling might end up. The latest journey took him to a local dance studio where he found a very special talent.

Posted: Oct. 17, 2017 9:00 PM
Updated: Oct. 19, 2017 4:00 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - You just never know where Ross Rowling might end up. The latest journey took him to a local dance studio where he found a very special talent. 

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It just takes one man, to bring an empty studio to life. "Everything around me is dead, it's just me, my feet, the floor, the beat, that's all I hear."

His feet fast, graceful, and perfectly rhythmic.

"Whatever comes to my mind, just let it flow with my feet just freestyling basically that's it," explained tap dance teacher, Malik Jenkins.

Jenkins came to Terre Haute from Chicago as a triple jumper but it's his tap shoes that have him turning heads these days.

"I love tapping so I always want to somehow keep it in my life even though I’m not home"

Three years ago Malik met longtime dance instructor Patty Willey. Searching for a way to keep the beat alive, he stopped by her studio.

"It was instantaneous he was hired, he's had a lot of experience he's really a fabulous tap dancer," Patty said.

Terre Haute's new trendy, tap teacher was born. “It's just something about kids like we just connect and I don't know I like teaching I’m known to be a fun teacher, I like to be known as a fun teacher so it's been cool."

Students can’t help but comment on Malik’s energy…

"He’s just got this nice energy, he has a way of just passing the tap on to them," said Eleanor Shagley who is a dance student. "He's really chill, like he says peace out after the classes."

With just over a year left until graduation, Malik’s time in town will eventually come to an end and he'll bring the beat to a new town. "Somehow tap I know is going to be in my life forever."

But until that day comes, his full classes get to enjoy...

"I think it means a lot that the little kids see me as I guess a role model they like the way I tap."

And why wouldn't they? Because Malik Jenkins’ soles have serious soul...


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