42nd Street 

Last night a dance friend and I went to watch 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden’s Drury Lane, which I believe is the West End’s largest stage. On arrival we just HAD to take a photo opportunity with the chorus girls before going into the theatre! We originally had tickets for the upper circle, but we were *upgraded* to the grand circle a tier below where we got an amazing view of the entire stage! I don’t know if this is because the theatre wasn’t full or because of the heatwave (those old theatres can be saunas), but heat rises, and they seemed to have some sort of of aircon going where we were, thankfully. 

The show was absolutely amazing! The sets were brilliant, the costumes captured the 1930s Hollywood golden age and I loved the chorus girls’ colourful tap shoes! The songs were great, with a few you would recognise (such as We’re in the money, and Keep young and beautiful) but the choreography and dance was spectacular! Of course I was watching the Tap Dance from a tap student’s perspective where you are trying to recognise steps…  and it was just amazing how talented these people are! Of course they’ve been tapping since they could walk, so there’s no point comparing starting to learn as an adult! 

I was also keen to see the show because a couple of dancers who were involved with the Brighton Tap Festival last year are in it (plus I also spotted the sister of a former school friend in the programme). 

My verdict: A visual spectacular! If you love musicals, dance, the Hollywood golden age or just want a great night out, go and see it! 

Heatwave 

Yesterday we experienced temperatures of up to 34 degrees centigrade in London. Oh that’s nothing compared to Australia/Dubai/India, you say. Yeah, except those countries are set up for hot temperatures. We’re not. And don’t get me started on the Tube (add on ten degrees). 

My office has been unbearably stuffy for the last few days and yesterday I was finding it hard to breathe normally (I had heat stroke last year and have a slight heart murmur, so no laughing matter really) so they told me to go home. I said “but I’ve got Tap tonight”. They told me “NO TAP”. So, I travelled home just before midday, and sat in my other office with the fan on, cat in the in-tray and a bottle of fizzy guava in my hand, trying to work from home. 

Emailed my tap tutor to let her know I wouldn’t be there and she recommended an ice bath 🛀. I was actually wondering before this whether I would even manage both classes seeing as Morley College has NO air-con. 

It’s 42nd Street tonight, and thankfully it has cooled down. 

Stay hydrated! 

Knees

Ever since I decided to throw myself 110% into Tap Dancing, I have found that it has affected my knees a bit, depending on what exercises we’ve been doing. The culprits for me have been things like shunts and stomps. I’ve been dancing fine, but then hobbling around like an old lady at the weekends. I did start to wonder if this was just part of starting Tap in your thirties, but after doing a bit of reading around, I realise it is probably more a case of needing to strengthen the muscles that actually hold the knee in place. I have to say it has helped a lot after just a week!

Blausen_0597_KneeAnatomy_Side

My top exercises for dodgy dance knees:

  • Demi-pliés – in 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions
  • Developpés…slowly
  • Tendu
  • Sitting on the floor and raising each leg alternately to strengthen the quads
  • Leg raises while lying on your front to strengthen the hams

So basically a mini ballet class! I just used a chair (as my purple foldaway ballet barre is currently in storage). It also helps to stretch the quads and hamstrings on a daily basis.

The Wall 

I don’t even feel like writing about Tap tonight.. But I don’t want to disappoint LOL

Majorly stressful times at work and with trying to sell our home on top of all this, so after a big announcement today about yet more change afoot at the office and some negative conversations, I left work, hid out in a café and almost burst into tears. I intended to read to take my mind off things but ended up instead sitting there staring into space like a zombie for half an hour before deciding not to chicken out of tap. 

Level 1 was fun, and I managed to remember bits from last week and we filmed the routine for practice. By level 2 I was a sweaty Susan and I couldn’t recall ANYTHING from last week… At all! Anyway, I gave it a go but I just just kept getting lost and wanted to just be vanished out of there and onto a yoga mat somewhere else. Not really felt like that before in this class. 

Spoke to my teacher afterwards and she said I was doing fine but she could see I had hit the wall by a certain point. Agreed! 

Anyway, I won’t let one frustrating class set me back. I just hate feeling like I’m behind, but then most people are probably feeling like they’re behind too! Now I have the videos I can practice before next week ☺ 

The Mind Boggles 

Tonight we were back to Rhythm Tap level 1 and 2 classes! As usual it felt a bit alien after a week’s break, but I got back into the swing of things pretty quickly. I find it’s best to just calm down and enjoy it… Especially the 1930s jazzzzz…

Both classes were quite large as is usually the case, but it didn’t feel like a hindrance this time as people spaced out quite well. It was great to see faces who had returned, including R and K!

One highlight of the week was learning the six beat riff, yes, SIX beats! It was very exciting! The other was a new time step that I feel I recognise maybe from watching tap dance in the past.

I have to say I found the routines quite challenging, and a few of us agreed about this at the end and decided that our teacher does it to gauge what students are capable of. A couple of people had just done their first double class (ie the addition of level 2) and were reassured when I (apparently a veteran!) said I found the routines really hard this time. And when they spoke to our teacher before that, I heard her say she is going to challenge us and not give us things we can already do! It’s true – that’s how you get better.