B2B (Back to Ballet)

Leotards1

Filled with nervous excitement, last night after work, I went back to Ballet at the Barre! I left work at 4.20pm and caught the bus over Waterloo Bridge to Covent Garden, and then did a quick walk to City Lit. Went to the ladies toilets to get changed because the changing rooms are always occupied, but was a bit unsure about my outfit. I ended up wearing my pink leotard, black leggings, black wrap cardi and black ballet skirt, which I hadn’t worn before. The leggings kind of pulled down a bit during the class, so next week I’ll wear tights instead.

I recognised a lady called F who had been in the class the last two terms I had been, so I went on the barre by the window next to her. There were about 10 or so of us in the class, including 2 guys (plus our teacher M is also a man).

We did a head-to-toe warm up, followed by some fun things like grande battements en croix, (which I actually remembered from last time, so I wasn’t phased by which direction I was supposed to be facing), ronde de jambe (which were lightening fast for my unfamiliar feet, although it helps me to focus on the beat and the letter ‘D’). We concluded with jumps and changement. Still amazed at how my achilles are problem-free since hill-walking in Cornwall!

I was surprised to be asked to demonstrate the changement exercise while everyone watched. I mean, I haven’t done any ballet for well over a year! That was a definite feeling of imposter syndrome.

M then suggested that we take a few minutes at the end of the class to stretch before leaving. I made sure I did just that. He asked me if I’d been doing ballet class, and I was telling him all about tapping at Morley College and how weird it is to find ballet form again. Ballet is all poised and pointed and tap all bent knees and laidback.

I came away with a couple of things to work on:

  • Little toe on the ground & heel forward when pointing the toes en avant (forward)
  • General foot flexibility (tap, what have you done to me :))
  • Keep bottom tucked under 🙂

 

Advertisements

First Week

A rare outfit post

Yesterday I travelled into London with my SO so that I could attend the first Rhythm Tap 2 (advanced beginners) class of the new term! I left him to do his 4 bridge walk of the Thames, while I headed to Morley College. I felt quite nervous again after the break and I guess anticipating who would be there as I hadn’t been to the daytime classes in a while.

Besides that, when I got to the display board, I saw that the class wasn’t in the usual studio in the basement, but in a studio in the other building next door! Thankfully, I knew the other building from having attended Pilates there a couple of years back, so I knew where to go.

I got changed in my usual venue (toilet cubicle in the main building) and then made my way to the other building, bumping into the head of the dance department on the way and smiling at him as though he was supposed to remember teaching me back in 2012…

Got to the correct place and then had to check in with the security desk there and basically they won’t let students through until a minute before the class begins. Not as relaxed as the main building!

I spoke to a couple of new girls on the way in and then caught up with K and said hi to a few other familiar people who were coming out of level 1. It’s a small class, being 1.30 in the afternoon, but I like that – there’s about 7 of us.

The class was really great fun! It felt weird being back in tap shoes after so many weeks, and it took a few moments to get balanced on the balls of my feet to execute quicker shuffles, but I LOVE the warm up song we’re using (California Soul by Marlena Shaw).

For some reason I had a reluctant left foot/ankle so I kept missing a few things. Part of that is probably because my ankle has been feeling like it has needed to click for about 2 months now…and hasn’t! But at the same time I think my tapping was a bit cleaner than it has been and I got some encouraging feedback. I actually think I prefer the new studio as it’s better ventilated and not slippery like the basement studio, but my front tap plates are still slicing the floor and getting stuck sometimes mid-flow.

The routine we’re learning is really cool, and I’ve actually remembered most of what we learnt!

At the end our teacher called me back over and said she thinks I perhaps should try level 3, which I guess is intermediate! I said “really? Are you sure?” and she said it would challenge me, but maybe do these 6 weeks of level 2 and see how it goes. My teacher was excited and I was like arrggghhh! Anyway, I’ll keep you updated on my progress. I want to stick with the daytime level 2 and evening ballet until January ideally.

Resistance

This week is half term, so there are no tap classes this week. I am actually glad of the break because I have barely gone a week without tapping recently, and my knee was bothering me a bit over the weekend. I’ve also had a bit of plantar fascia twinge recently, so instead of schlepping about at home barefoot or in slippers, I’ve been trying to wear my (not) Birkenstocks because they give excellent arch support.

 

Birkenstock

Speaking of the weekend, there were LOADS of dance wear sales on, and I got some very tempting emails from Pineapple, Dance Direct and Bloch. However, I resisted!

I spent my money on something else instead…tickets to see 42nd Street in the West End! I’m going with a dance friend on the 22nd June after work…can’t wait!

Tap and Kelly

I always seem to burn myself out, so today I made the decision to focus on one thing this Autumn and stick with Rhythm Tap classes. I am working in Human Resources in London 4 days a week (1.5 hr commute door-to-door), I run my own small craft business from home, which I concentrate on on Fridays (sometimes this leeches into Saturday or Sunday), I have recently started doing some HR qualifications, self-study, which I have 18 months to complete, and then I am trying to fit in 2 dance classes a week!

I went to Rhythm Tap on this sweltering Wednesday evening and I enjoyed it so much! As I said I would, I spoke to my teacher afterwards about my dilemma of level 2 being too late for getting home at a decent hour mid-week, and asked if it was worth continuing with the daytime level 1 class for practice, to which she replied ‘definitely’ and that with that one being a much smaller class, she can adapt to my ability and give me more challenging things to do (which she does)!

I also went to the second of 5 Floor Barre summer classes last night at City Lit and I found it pretty tough going, as though I’d never done any exercise or dance in my life; as though I was completely core-less! A girl behind me summed it up perfectly “It’s too much after a day at work. I’m so shattered”.LOL. Then I remembered how shattered I was last term doing Wednesday night and Thursday lunchtime classes, so that kind of sealed it for me. I feel kind of sad not to be returning to the Barre in September, but it gives me a chance to perhaps do my Ballet DVDs (not the same, I know) and have recovery time in-between.

Another thing, I recently subscribed to Pointe Magazine and then this week the distributor contacted me to say the magazine has ceased print! Boo! I think they will continue digitally, but I don’t have an iPad. So, I got £30 back in my bank account! At least I can continue to read all their articles online, as well as Dance and Dance Spirit.

Jason Samuels Smith Tap Shoes by Bloch
Jason Samuels Smith Tap Shoes by Bloch

Anyway, the positive of these two refunds is that I have the money to purchase those AMAZING Jason Samuels Smith White Tap Shoes that I have been drooling over for months! I actually tried them on in the Bloch Covent Garden shop while I was waiting to go to my Floor Barre class, and oh wow they are so comfy! (I also saw my Interior Design idol Kelly Hoppen walking by with her team!) Anyway…the shoes were a perfect fit, so I ordered them this afternoon!

 

Kelly Hoppen