Relax… 

Yesterday my SO and I went to Sopwell House Spa in St Albans for a spa and afternoon tea (my birthday present to him) plus we added on a massage each! 

We used the gym, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and swam a few lengths in the pool, followed by our massages in the afternoon. 

I had a ESPA Hot Stone full body massage OH YESSSSS, and my SO had a Clarins Men’s Muscle Ease. I’d never had a hot stone massage before but it was recommended and it was AMAZING! If you get the chance, have one. Anyway, as I suspected, I was very knotted in the shoulders, so the therapist worked those out, and the addition of those hot stones and lavender and orange oils really helped with the relaxation aspect. She recommended that I get a back neck and shoulder massage once a month. I did used to get a massage every other month, but I wasn’t so keen on the salon I was using. Will have to try one I’ve spotted in Waterloo if it’s not too expensive. 

Had a lovely selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones. I’ve gone a week without coffee, so I had Earl Grey tea with mine. 

A much needed relaxation day after a crazy, stressful year! 

Here’s some Christmassy photos I took as I was leaving the spa hotel:

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Movie Review – Tap

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A few weeks ago now my SO and I watched 1989 movie Tap starring the late legendary Gregory Hines. Gregory’s character Max Washington gets out of jail after a conviction for robbery and returns to his old New York stomping ground to the surprise of his old dance mentors and former lover…

The story hinges on whether he will stay on the straight and narrow and get involved in a tap project that Sammy Davis Jr’s character has envisioned, or whether he will give in to the lure of a life of diamond heists and cash-money.

I didn’t realise this when I bought the DVD, but there are loads of older tap legends in the movie (Sammy Davis Jr, Steve Condos, Harold Nicholas, Jimmy Slyde to name a few) as well as the talented Savion Glover, who is a kid in the movie, well known nowadays for bringing tap to modern audiences through his innovation.

Although it seems like that plot has been run before and there is a cheesy love scene, the tap dance and the characters make the movie, especially the old guys!

There is a thread running throughout the film of how real tap kind of got eclipsed by Hollywood ‘show’ tap. You will notice this when Max agrees to go and audition for the Broadway show and feels restricted by nicety, compared to the other, more freestyle tap scenes. This was also something my Rhythm Tap teacher alluded to when I mentioned I was going to see 42nd Street back in the summer.

I have 2 favourite scenes:

1) The funky street tap jam in the middle of downtown New York in the evening

2) When Gregory dances in the club with taps that are linked up to a sound system:

Verdict: If you love tap and want to know a little bit more about it’s history, you will love this!

LCBC (Last class before Christmas) 

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 😁

We ended the class in the centre (ooh!)  with reverence 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.  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?

Feelin’ Good 

Since I’ve moved house, been getting more sleep and have cut out the frothy coffees (as of the weekend) I’m feeling a lot more awake – Yippee! Tomorrow’s ballet is my last class of the year (boo!) but that will give me some evenings in to get back on my stretches before returning to Tap in January 🙂 

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.  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!