Progress

At lunchtime today I went to my Rhythm Tap class and my teacher said I should definitely go up to level 2, which takes place after work on a Wednesday. I was previously a little apprehensive. Not because it will be more challenging, but because of the travel situation. They have closed Lambeth North Tube station until FEBRUARY 2017! Waterloo is walking distance, which seems like no biggie, but it is actually the busiest station ever, and when I tried the journey in July, it was convoluted and busy. Anyway, checking TFL’s website, I found that it is actually quicker to catch a bus back to Elephant and Castle and then do my usual journey home from work, or I can even bus it over the river to Westminster and catch the Jubilee Line to Baker Street and then Bakerloo it to Marylebone. Easy peasy!

So, the long and short of it is that I have booked onto Rhythm Tap 1&2 on a Wednesday night from November! (Level 1 for a warm up, level 2 for a challenge). Should be fun!

I have also just purchased a couple of books on Tap dance which I will share more about later…

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Alvin Ailey UK Tour 2016

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On Saturday I went to see a matinee of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater UK Tour at Sadler’s Wells (the home of dance!) in London. To save faffing about changing tube lines from Marylebone, we caught the 205 bus directly outside Marylebone Station all the way to Angel! Easy peasy.

I’ve only seen them once before when they were last in London, at Sadler’s Wells in 2010, so I was really excited to see the show. I went for Programme C, more for the timings than for the particular pieces, because all the programmes contained Revelations, Ailey’s fantastic signature piece, of which I have the soundtrack.

(Programme C: LIFT / Awakening / Cry / Revelations)

We were up in the Second Circle, but still had an excellent view, compared to when I’ve been to watch shows in some of the very old theatres (e.g Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, starring at the scaffolding)!

LIFT was a fantastic, African-inspired varied piece, with lots of musculature. Lively moments and reflective moments.

Awakening woke me out of my stupor. It very futuristic in the way that it balanced “chaos and resolution”. Loud, jolty music, jolty dancing in white outfits. I won’t say I enjoyed that piece particularly, but it was very avant garde, interesting and unpredictable.

Cry was choreographed by Alvin Ailey himself for his mother, and I felt it captured the mother’s spirit perfectly. Wonderful, colourful dancing.

Revelations is my favourite, and clearly everyone else’s favourite too, as the audience applause was deafening! I love the songs, the dances and the setting of the Deep South, God-fearing church-going, ladies in hats waving fans, men in suits days. Fabulous!

 

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Image courtesy of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Brighton Tap Festival 2016

Yesterday I travelled down to Brighton for the last day of Brighton Tap Festival 2016!

The Festival was held at the Brighton Youth Centre, within an easy walk of the sea front. When I arrived, I registered and while sorting myself out I bumped into my Tap teacher from Morley College! I had a feeling she might be there.

I had purchased a 2 class pass and was booked onto Maud Arnold’s Beginners class, followed by founder member Kate Ivory Jordan’s Beginners class.  However, I found out from Facebook the day before that Maud’s class had changed to ‘Afro Funk’. I had no idea if that meant it would be a Tap class or not, so I took my dance sneakers just in case. Good thing I did! It turned out to be a HIGH ENERGY dance class with a West African & Jamaican Dancehall fusion. It was so much fun, but I had to step out a few times (as did others) because it was so energetic, with plenty of winding and grinding, and it was a pretty warm day. I think next time I will take a bigger water bottle. It ran out pretty quickly!

I met some really nice people there who had been there since the start of the Festival (Tuesday) and they stayed on for Kate’s Tap class afterwards. There was just a really nice, friendly atmosphere, even though I had just turned up on the final afternoon and was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Kate’s class was just the right level for me with a bit of challenge to be able to pick up the steps quickly and perform them at speed. That’s how you improve! I defintely agree with not thinking about it, but just going for it. After learning a short routine, we did some rhythm exercises in circle and then a bit of improvisation. Although that was quite cool, I didn’t feel I knew enough steps to be able to just go for it in the same way as if I had a bit more experience. But, not a bad thing at all. It’s good to come out of your comfort zone once in a while!

After that I met Clive and we went for coffee and a chill out at Small Batch Coffee Co. followed by a nice walk along the sea front, which was buzzing with people eating, drinking, playing beach volleyball and basketball. I have to say my legs were like lead and I was completely bushed. I’m blaming Afro Funk! Had a filling Vietnamese noodle soup at Pho (although I felt almost too tired to be bothered to eat), then headed back to get changed for the evening UK Showcase and Masters Tap Gala at the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, which was sold out!

All I can say is WOW. The show was AMAZING. The talent of these Tap dancers! Everyone was incredible and I loved the live accompaniment of Jazz music by the Michelle Drees band, but my stand-outs were Avalon Rathgeb (wow, wow, wow – she teaches at Pineapple Studios and is part of Old Kent Road performing group with my teacher) and Alexandr Ostanin. A fantastic end to the festival!

I’ve definitely come away with the motivation to get practising and I can’t wait for next year!

http://www.brightontapfestival.co.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/brighton_tapfestival/