Daytime Dance

This week I was way too tired to hang around after work and go to Wednesday night’s Rhythm Tap II class, so I emailed my teacher to ask if I could come to the Thursday lunchtime installment instead – all good!

I got to the college and checked the display board to see which studio we were in. Not the usual one. But then I spent 5 minutes running around the building looking for studio C10 when it turned out to be just along from where we are on a Wednesday night! I have to say, even after someone showed me to the corridor where it was, I still went through the wrong door (towards the boiler room) and then realised it was round to the right and up a short dark staircase! I should have just asked at reception *sigh*

I walked in to what is usually used as a rehearsal studio (it has mirrors, black walls, stage style lighting and an upstairs gallery area) and saw all these people milling around, chatting, changing; a couple of theatre-types furiously practising intricate tap steps in full leg warmers and stuff (honestly, it was like Fame when I walked in) and couldn’t see our teacher or anyone I recognised. I thought, am I in the right place? Then I spotted some older ladies I knew from level I daytime sitting to the side changing out of their tap shoes – phew! I was in the right place.

After the level one-ers cleared out, it was a class of about 7 students. I think I had been slightly nervous on the way there of a smaller class being quite exposing, but actually it was really good and more laid back. I need to stop being afraid of not getting it right away. After all it’s 45 minutes a week. I found 2 particular steps difficult when we learned them last week but after going over them all week (in the kitchen, in the corridor at work, in various larger shops!) I had them down by yesterday. One involves travelling backwards and then changing it to perform it on the spot. The other is a drop-shuffle-ball-change step where you change the shape of the shuffle so it goes around you so that you can travel forwards. I had to remember to begin with a drop-step in front first. It also helped to snap up the second part of the shuffle. I did find this more difficult on the left leg, but there we are! 

I realised that this daytime class was a week behind, so I got to repeat week 1 – boom! We filmed the routine we’d learnt and our teacher showed us the next little bit too – this helps because she said to me afterwards that they did a bit more on Wednesday night (being week 2), but I’d be fine. 

As it was a small class and we didn’t have to exit the studio right away, I got a chance to chat with our teacher afterwards about tap shoes (she has some lovely custom Ruben Sanchez shoes) and find out a bit more about her dancing background which was nice. 

Before next Wednesday I’m going to practice the routine as much as possible and watch the video to get a feel for the next bit.  

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Reflections on 2017

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I have finally had a chance this weekend to think back over the last year and my various dance pursuits. Some of the highlights:

  • Rambert Contemporary Dance Summer School – such a good day and I managed to keep up with the full time dance students, even with painful achilles tendons šŸ™‚
  • Move It Dance 2017 – I go to this exhibition in London’s Docklands every year, but in 2017 I pushed the boat out and took a tap class with the Guinness World Record breaking tap dancer Jo Scanlan of Tap Attack!
  • Learnt the Shim Sham and had a go at Tap improvisation
  • Did ballet (barre only) course at improvers level at City Lit after pining for ballet for some time
  • Got my Maud & Chloe Arnold tap shoes for Christmas

I look forward to continuing my tap dance training and attending some more festivals and workshops in 2018!

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New year, New Vest

This evening I returned to Rhythm Tap level 2 at Morley College after almost a three month break. I was kind of nervous going back, but excited at the same time. 

As expected, it was a large class and plenty of familiar faces were there, people I’d been learning with from the beginning pretty much. Caught up with R, and another girl whose name I don’t know (can you ask after 2 years?). K wasn’t there, but as she works there, she might be continuing with the day classes.

Was the class as challenging as expected? Yes! It has become obvious to me that I just need a bit longer to process the step and then practice. The routine is pretty cool, but I do feel a bit like a fish out of water after being away in Ballet land, and although I enjoy it, part of me was like why am I putting myself through it? Ballet and tap are sooo different, and Rhythm Tap is probably harder still (plus the class is probably too big and I’m only doing 45mins a week). Although a tap teacher will tell you not to think about it, it really is a mental workout, whereas in Ballet I could get away with switching off and enjoying it if you know what I mean.  I want to get good at tap, and know all the basics properly, so I will see how these 5 weeks go before seriously thinking about doing ordinary 1-1.5 hour tap classes right from scratch, either as a supplement or instead of Rhythm tap for a term or so. 

On another note, we were down in the hot basement studio again and because works are being done on the building the windows were boarded up with the tiniest slither of air coming in! Arghhh 

Outfit alert

New Year, New You

I hope everyone had a fun Christmas and is ready and raring to go into 2018? Well, I’d love to say I am, but I’ve been stuck indoors with flu since Boxing Day evening. I was due back at work today, but I still don’t feel well enough to go anywhere. Thankfully I’m over the worst of it, my appetite is returning and I should be on the mend by the end of this week. Not how I wanted to begin the new year. 

Anyway, I got the Chloe and Maud Arnold tap shoes I wanted for Christmas! They were a joint present from my SO and his parents. I knew what they were as I’d picked them, but I was still extremely excited to open them on Christmas day.

I enrolled on Rhythm Tap 2 (now sold out!) which starts again next Wednesday evening. Can’t wait to get back into it! I also bought a ticket to the annual MOVE IT dance exhibition in London in March, and I got a class ticket for a tap workshop with London Studio Centre! Should be challenging…

My aim for 2018 is to get better at tap, set up a mini practice studio in the garage with my portable tap board and practice more in between classes. The other thought is whether to try syllabus tap classes to learn from scratch. There’s a 1hour class near home on a Friday morning which I may enquire about… 

Another aim is to stretch daily and maintain flexibility! 

Have you set any dance goals for 2018?

LCBC (Last class before Christmas)Ā 

I am just on my way home from my last ballet class of the year. To warm up I walked from Waterloo Bridge to Citylit and then just did some stretches at the barre once I was changed (I had intended to change before leaving work and leave a bulky cardigan there, but there’s a girl who won’t stop talking and I literally had to just grab ‘n’ go LOL).

I hadn’t been since moving house, so I felt a bit unsure of myself, but it was ok! We were challenged with some longer sequences including battement glisses, battement piques en croix, attitudes in front and behind, pas de bouree, and more! I had another one of those moments where 2 of us were asked to demonstrate the pas de bouree exercise and I was literally blank until the moment I began! ‘Adult Learner After Work Brain’ or ALAWB syndrome, I call it šŸ˜

We ended the class in the centre (ooh!)Ā  with reverenceĀ which we never usually do as it’s a barre only class. I thought id never done it, but part way through, I realised this is what we did every week at Aviv when I was doing their 8 week adult ballet beginners course. Anyway, I enjoyed it.Ā  Made me think about doing Classical Ballet beginners or improvers, but I’ll have to see as I’m all psyched up for returning to RHYTHM TAP in January!

What are your dance plans for the new year?

At Long Last

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So after all that drama, we finally moved house last Wednesday!!! Although I had Tuesday-Friday booked as annual leave from work, I ended up being ill from the Sunday and off work sick on the Monday before moving. Not surprising really as buying/selling/moving house is one of the most stressful things EVER. I have actually been ripping out the grey hairs that have been springing up from my head throughout the year.

I was still feeling pretty rough on move day, but got through it on adrenaline…and sugar! But, I think that full-on day has set me back because I returned to work on the following Monday, still not feeling all that great and ended up worse for dragging myself in, so I was in bed Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I was about to email my ballet teacher to tell him I wouldn’t be there again this Wednesday, but before I got around to it, I received an email (and voicemail) from the college to let me know that the class was cancelled because our teacher had an emergency and couldn’t get cover, but he’s going to chat about an extra class when we meet next week. Result!

 

Knees Up

Last night I went to my ballet class with knee support in tow. Bumped into my teacher on the stairs, so I explained that I have a dodgy left knee, and he told me to take it easy. Ā I managed it until performing a fondue derriere, using the weaker left leg as the supporting leg. I didn’t fondue as far as when performing it on the other leg, but the very action upset my knee. Thankfully we weren’t working on jumps this week!

Besides that, it was another great class. We did some exercises using 4th position (where I had to be a bit careful and reduce the turnout), battement glisses, and I particularly enjoyed the sequence of attitude avant, through 1st position to attitude derriere and back again, fairly quickly. With speed, it was a challenge to control the working leg! This was part of a longer sequence that began facing the barre and rolling the knee in, passing the working leg through first position and sweeping the foot out behind in a figure of 8, if that makes any sense. Then on the 8th time of doing it we turned to the side with a sweep of the leg into a grande battement forward and HOLD.

My pint-sized Italian class colleague told me when I get home to get some olive oil and rub it into the knee. Good advice! In the end I didn’t use olive oil, but an aromatic massage oil from Neal’s Yard.

I have to say the walk back to Charing Cross station after the class was a bit on the achy side, but I will probably be taking a break next week…to hopefully move house!