Barre Only

Okay, last night’s ballet (barre only) class nearly killed me off. We packed quite a lot in, and although I was doing okay, my co-ordination went out the window towards the end (left? right? devant? derriere?)! And once again, I seemed to be the sweatiest person there.

We were all finding it challenging, especially after a day at work, and I had just had my annual appraisal in the afternoon. In dance classes, I think we often think everyone else is getting it but us.  This is probably because we don’t tend to be watching other people, and just assume they’re getting it right… until you hear the teacher giving feedback, and realise it’s not just you finding it challenging. It helps that our teacher keeps reiterating that we should remember to breathe, and also that it is NOT an exam!

I’ve had to miss the last Rhythm Tap 2 of the block today, and I emailed my teacher to say I’m now taking a break until January. Looking forward to a nap later!

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Strictly

 

Someone asked me today if I’ve been watching Strictly Come Dancing as I’ve been quiet about it this year. Yes I have been watching, and I also watch Strictly It Takes Two on BBC2 at 6.30pm every day! Obviously I need to watch it on catch-up when I’ve got Ballet.

My favourite people this year are Alexandra Burke (amazing!) dancing with Gorka, and then Mollie King (really funny) with AJ (channelling Swayze). I also think Susan Calman is doing great and so is Debbie McGee with her amazing developpe!

I am trying to stay away from Twitter on a Saturday night after becoming very annoyed with members of the public decrying those who are taking part who have apparently already had dance training:

It’s not fair! They shouldn’t win! Strictly should be about non-dancers! I can’t stand her! She’s so fake! She’s been in the West End! She’s done Ballet!

On the ballet thing, who hasn’t?? Most of the girls I went to school with did ballet lessons as kids. SO WHAT? Doesn’t mean they can walk into a studio and just start doing amazing Samba bachatas! Some of the dance training these critics refer to may actually be just some choreography for the stage (e.g. for singers). Not quite the same as the stuff they’re doing on Strictly.

Do you know what? If all the contestants were terrible:

a) the show wouldn’t have lasted this many years

b) you’d never keep the interest of the public

c) it is a prime-time entertainment show and you need a variety of dance ability

d) it has been going for so many years now, I think the pool of celebrities is a bit small to be restricted to those with zero dance training.

My SO and I had a few Salsa lessons and one Rumba lesson a couple of years ago. Although I picked up Salsa fairly well, I found the Rumba more challenging. Not every dance will suit everybody. Not everyone is used to partner dancing either. My SO found the classes a bit more challenging because he’s not a natural dancer, but he’s still had lessons, so does that disqualify him from Strictly if it were open to the public?? (Oh, he’s had dance training!)

I do find it interesting that the venom being spouted on social media was not directed at previous STAGE SCHOOL winners, such as Jill Halfpenny and Jay McGuinness…

Anyway, rant over, and no more reading of Twitter comments!

I would love to learn to Samba, but I’m doing enough at the moment!

 

 

 

A Little More Time 

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Roll it out

Ballet at the Barre

Ballet was pretty good this week, considering I was pretty tired when I went along at 5pm last night. We did our warm-up followed by some plié relevé foot exercises, and then some coups de pied, tendus, glissés, grand battements, fondus and developpés. We finished the lesson with some jumps – petit jetés, and our favourite exercise of chasses and changements, which I was asked to demonstrateargh! I was complimented on the fact that when doing a 2nd arabesque I lifted my toe off the floor on a particular note in the music. I really wasn’t aware I had done that! My weaker left knee did bother me a bit during the hour, but it will get stronger.

Rhythm Tap 

I was there in almost a haze really. The two girls who had also been chatting last week when 4 of us were late going into the studio were, like me, watching the clock, and we went in the MINUTE the music stopped! K, who was already in there for level 1 said it’s alright to come in and start getting ready.

I think I was a little thrown by the amount of extra people who were there from the Wednesday night classes, and found it difficult to see what was being demonstrated at times. Or we were too close together. 

We warmed up, did a couple of exercises and then got into our routine. I was all geared up to demonstrate the fact that I’d practised what we’d learnt the previous week, but we moved on to learning a new bit instead. It kind of went over my head. I think I could get it if I had more time going over it, but it was going too fast for me this week 😩

Chatted afterwards to a girl who does level 3 tap and does Swing dance classes. I asked her about level 3 and she said it’s really hard. Yikes!  

Be on Time!

Today I was an idiot. Actually, no, it was 4 of us and a misunderstanding. I left work with plenty of time to get to my tap class, then saw my friend R from Wednesday evening tap class was waiting to go in. We hadn’t seen each other since July, so we were chatting away catching up on things. It turns out she did get to go to the Rambert workshop in July, but she went to day 2 of 2 (I went to day 1). I think she must have danced with most of the people I danced with on the Monday as most of them were doing both days. She enjoyed it as much as I did and also felt, as I did, that the yoga at the end of the day was a bit too advanced! Anyway, after a while I tuned into the fact music had been playing for a little while, looked in and realised the class had started! Two other girls from the class had been chatting as well, so we all scurried in together and realised we had missed 10 minutes!!!

Anyway, our teacher explained that everyone who was in level 1 had stayed on for level 2, so I guess the four of us outside the studio were waiting for people to exit, alerting us to the fact we could go in, but no-one did! So we missed the warmup 😬 She also said it felt like a strange atmosphere. I think because of that weirdness at the beginning. I think we soon shook that off.

We did a couple of exercises and got straight into the Cornflake Girl routine, which I have been practicing and studying all week. I have come to the conclusion that I work better under pressure in dance. I actually felt like I was ON IT today! No lazy hesitant left foot. Did some quick alternating side shuffles which feature in our routine and I think it was the first time I’ve actually done them evenly! But my teacher did pull me up on my cat claw toes, which is my trademark. I think it helped doing the shuffles with the two newer girls who tapped as kids. They knew what they were doing so I just went with their speed. Fun!

Learnt a rhythm turn which seemed complicated, but it’s really not. Not until you try to do it on the left… It just takes practice.

The routine is brilliant, probably my favourite so far after the heel drop heavy I’m only Human After All routine. Challenging, complex, creative!

This weekend I’m going to start reading my new book about the Jazz Tap of the  Nicholas Brothers!

Style

La La Land

This morning I booked a place on a La La Land tap dance workshop, taking place at Arts Educational in Chiswick in a few weeks’ time!

It will be half-term that week, so there is a break from my usual tap class. I am always looking out for opportunities to try out what I have learnt, so it will be interesting to try a 1.5hr workshop with a different teacher, and see how it varies in style. I know my usual teacher said that Hollywood style tap is very different to Rhythm tap, suggesting the Hollywood footwork is less technical. Rhythm tap is more syncopated and complex.

“Rhythm tap, made famous by John W. Bubbles, incorporated more percussive heel drops and lower-body movement rather than emphasizing toe taps and upper-body movement. It is more grounded and focuses more on acoustic rather than the aesthetic qualities. Gregory Hines brought back this style…demonstrating that rhythm tap’s focus is always on the feet.” http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/learn-the-styles-and-aesthetics-of-tap-dance

Maybe La La Land will be easier to pick up compared to what I usually do… or maybe not! I haven’t seen the film, and Ryan Gosling’s free hand really bothers me in the movie poster (see above), but maybe I should try and watch it before I go, to get into the character…

In the meantime, I have been practising the Tori Amos rhythm tap routine at every spare moment. The next part we’re going to learn looks a little complicated, but there’s a real sense of achievement when you get it. Hopefully I won’t have a lazy left foot today.

Oooh, I have lots of tap stuff lined up this Autumn – never mind that we’re anticipating a house move in the next month or so! (Yes, that scenario is still dragging on, *sigh*)

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