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.

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Refresh 

Ok, I did it…I redeemed my City Lit discount voucher and booked a place on the Ballet at the Barre course starting on Wednesday 20th September! It starts a week after tap begins, and runs for 12 weeks. Tap runs in 6 week blocks (Thursday lunchtime) so I may pause after the first block is finished and concentrate on ballet until January. 

I wasn’t going to enrol, but all year I’ve felt like my body has seized up a bit and I’ve lost my core muscles, posture and ankle strength since solely doing tap, and I really like the strengthening and flexibility that ballet provides. 

I’ve forgotten everything I learned, so I’d better refresh my memory while I’m away in Cornwall next week! 

Burnout 

Ok, I have to admit it. I’m burnt out. I have missed two weeks of Tap classes and am also missing tonight’s class because I am off work and have zero energy. Although I felt I had to go because I’d been telling my teacher for two weeks that I’d be back “next week” and hadn’t been, and it’s the final class of term, I just knew it wouldn’t be sensible to go. I need the rest. 

I’ve had a lot on my plate over the last few months. A lot of my stress is work-related, but I need to stay employed so I figured it would be better to not burn myself out further tonight at a class so I can actually go to work tomorrow! 

Another aspect of burnout that I’ve been reading about is that a lot of dancers hold very high standards for themselves and can end up overdoing it by signing up to too many classes and not having enough recovery or even overdoing it at each class when the fitness level is not there yet. Of course there are other factors like getting enough sleep and nutrients, but you must listen to your body. Must! 

I think a good thing for me to do would be a yoga type class for relaxation and stress relief, while also aiding flexibility and strength. 

Next week will be the first of our tap workshops, so I’m going to rest up so that I’m back in the zone for learning the Shim Sham!

Keep Calm and Carry On…Tapping

Yesterday afternoon, just before I left work to head for a coffee before Tap, I heard from a colleague that something bad was going down on Westminster Bridge. We checked out BBC News website and saw that something really bad had happened on the bridge and by the Houses of Parliament. I can see Big Ben from my desk, and looking out I realised there were lots of helicopters in the air. I was a bit concerned about heading down to Morley College…which is on Westminster Bridge Road…but not too close, and I went anyway. The walk down from the Elephant to Lambeth North was disconcerting because there were so many ambulance and police vehicle sirens as they tried to get through the traffic towards the incident site. There was a police cordon right outside the coffee shop I normally go to, and police were redirecting traffic, so I gave up trying to cross the road and just went into Morley College early and had a breather. The presence of so many visible police officers was reassuring, despite the alarming circumstances.

It had also been pretty chilly outside, so I was doubly glad to get indoors (as usual, the college was a bit too warm).

Both level 1 and level 2 classes were down on numbers unsurprisingly, but it was still a fun evening. We did some exercises with flaps, shunts, and cramp rolls, which really made my feet ache! We also did an exercise with a four-beat paddle with an extra heel in-between and then we changed it for an extra toe tap in-between (uh-oh). At first I was thrown as my natural inclination was to do the heel when I was supposed to be doing the toe tap, but then I realised it was all about where your weight is placed. This is a common theme in tap!

We seemed to have an issue with rhythm in the 2nd class. It was as though everyone kept speeding up and getting louder! ARGH

Anyway, it was great to perform the routines a few times all the way through. We have a week left to add a tiny bit more on, I believe!

I also went to level 2 at lunchtime today to get extra practice, SO glad that I trimmed my toenails last night…

I’m really glad that those of us who could, kept on tapping and didn’t let evil win.

I also want to ‘big-up’ the amazing emergency services.

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Progress

At lunchtime today I went to my Rhythm Tap class and my teacher said I should definitely go up to level 2, which takes place after work on a Wednesday. I was previously a little apprehensive. Not because it will be more challenging, but because of the travel situation. They have closed Lambeth North Tube station until FEBRUARY 2017! Waterloo is walking distance, which seems like no biggie, but it is actually the busiest station ever, and when I tried the journey in July, it was convoluted and busy. Anyway, checking TFL’s website, I found that it is actually quicker to catch a bus back to Elephant and Castle and then do my usual journey home from work, or I can even bus it over the river to Westminster and catch the Jubilee Line to Baker Street and then Bakerloo it to Marylebone. Easy peasy!

So, the long and short of it is that I have booked onto Rhythm Tap 1&2 on a Wednesday night from November! (Level 1 for a warm up, level 2 for a challenge). Should be fun!

I have also just purchased a couple of books on Tap dance which I will share more about later…