Tap Workshop: Improvisation & Choreography

Tap Poster

Last night I went to the final Tap workshop as part of Morley College’s ‘Summer Shorts’…Improvisation and Choreography. There were less people than last week, but still plenty of us there for the 2 hour workshop.

We warmed up in a circle, then we went round the circle (like last week) and had to fill 4 bars with something using heels & toes only… ARGH! We did this a few times, and then we did some exercises in rows facing the mirror, such as playing with crawls, we refreshed our memories on some steps, did some call and response (i.e. respond to the teacher’s combination with something different, but to the same beat) and made up our own time step. We also made up some of our own choreography in pairs, and did some improvisation in smaller groups where one person danced in the middle and then signalled to someone that they were going to swap with them.

It was so much fun! But it was also kind of scary to come up with something on the spot when the spotlight is on you. I think it got easier as the time went on, but there is always that feeling of butterflies when you know you’re next! Everyone was in the same boat and really supportive of each other, and our teacher is very encouraging. I have done improvisation before in other styles of dance, but trying to make my feet do what I wanted them to do was another story! I’d love to drop into the splits and slide back up to standing like the Nicholas Brothers, or Prince, but it ain’t happening.

Great tips I picked up for improvisation:

  • Don’t plan ahead
  • Steal steps from other people!
  • Keep it simple

One I would add for me is to repetitively practice steps over the summer using your new tap board! We are DEFINITELY going to be moving to a house over the next few months (YAY!) so I will be able to utilise this resource more fully LOL.

Side note: I have been suffering a bit the last few weeks with tender Achilles tendons, but I didn’t want to miss this class, having missed three weeks of the last term of classes. I am wondering if my Achilles tendons are inflamed from over-use, plus I’ve had swollen ankles from the humid heat, which has thankfully cooled. I will rest after this…I promise (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)! I have one more summer workshop coming up – the Adult Summer Intensive at Rambert, Waterloo, which one of my Tap friends might be joining me at. I need to see how I go. Might have to wear ankle supports.

Prince Splits

A Little Practice 

This evening I decided to actually practice the routines for tomorrow’s tap class, using what I filmed 2 weeks ago. I know I missed what extra they learned last week, but it won’t be so bad if I get the first bit right! 

Decided to glam it up this evening! 

42nd Street 

Last night a dance friend and I went to watch 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden’s Drury Lane, which I believe is the West End’s largest stage. On arrival we just HAD to take a photo opportunity with the chorus girls before going into the theatre! We originally had tickets for the upper circle, but we were *upgraded* to the grand circle a tier below where we got an amazing view of the entire stage! I don’t know if this is because the theatre wasn’t full or because of the heatwave (those old theatres can be saunas), but heat rises, and they seemed to have some sort of of aircon going where we were, thankfully.

Programme

The show was absolutely amazing! The sets were brilliant, the costumes captured the 1930s Hollywood golden age and I loved the chorus girls’ colourful tap shoes! The songs were great, with a few you would recognise (such as We’re in the money, and Keep young and beautiful) but the choreography and dance was spectacular! Of course I was watching the Tap Dance from a tap student’s perspective where you are trying to recognise steps…  and it was just amazing how talented these people are! Of course they’ve been tapping since they could walk, so there’s no point comparing starting to learn as an adult!

I was also keen to see the show because a couple of dancers who were involved with the Brighton Tap Festival last year are in it (plus I also spotted the sister of a former school friend in the programme).

My verdict: A visual spectacular! If you love musicals, dance, the Hollywood golden age or just want a great night out, go and see it!

Sunshine ☀ 

After work yesterday I decided to walk from Waterloo to Charing Cross (with a sneaky stop at H&M and Holland and Barrett)  to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful blue skies. On Waterloo Bridge I took a photo of the Rambert dance studios, where I’ll be attending their 1-day Adult Dance Intensive on 31st July – It’s the boxy building directly behind the police van!

Summer School

This week I have sorted out what dance I am going to do this Summer, after hearing that there is no Brighton Tap Festival this year.

Shim Sham

Yesterday I booked onto Tap Shim Sham with my usual tap teacher, which takes place at Morley on Wednesday 12th July. As it will be a late one getting home, I’m taking the next day off work!

Rambert
Photo Courtesy of Londondance.com

Secondly, I have gone all out and booked a place on the first day of the 2-day Adult Summer Dance Intensive with Rambert, based at Waterloo! I’m nervous, but also really excited! It will give me a chance to do something non-Tap. I’ve been chatting with a lady at Tap class about doing something along the lines of ballet barre or yoga to stretch out a bit, so I might mention it to her if she’s there this evening. It involves Contemporary dance technique, repertoire, choreography and some yoga and Pilates to finish! I’ve booked the following day off so I can recover LOL.

I’ve also since discovered, that my tap teacher is also doing a 2 hour Tap Improvisation & Composition class on Weds 19th July! That would be great, but not sure if that will be one thing too many, with work and the possibility of moving house… Must pace myself.

Anyone else doing any summer schools or festivals this year? How do you find fitting in dance classes and work (and commuting?)?

Denied

Found out last week that there will be NO Brighton Tap Festival this year! Noooo! It was so good last year. The organisers said it is due to personal circumstances and venues being refurbished. However, they will be back in 2018 bigger and better! Looking forward to that. 

In the meantime I have joined Associated Tap Dancers (ATD) who organise tap events throughout the year, so I can be in the loop on all of their Dancer’s Days Out and festivals, which take place all over the UK! I am quite interested in the DDO taking place in Surrey soonish. There is also a festival in Torquay at the end of June, but I’m not sure I want to travel that far as I may be moving house this Summer. I’m trying to have a go at other tap workshops just to put what I’ve been  learning into practice. 

Another thing I saw was a Tap Show UK tour from September to November by TAP FACTORY! The promo looks amazing and they will be coming to Watford and South Bucks which aren’t far from home at all. Must get tickets! 

Let it Shine

Mega Taps

Last night I went to Rhythm Tap 1 & 2 after a really dull day at work. I wasn’t sure if I was tired from work or boredom, but there we are. Anyway, got there and then I found some energy from somewhere!

In level 1 we spent a lot of time practising flaps. Because these are quite familiar now, I had a go at jazzing it up and playing around with different speeds and timings, which was noted by my teacher. (Didn’t realise she was watching!) Our routine is to Take That’s Let it Shine!

I was sensible this time and filmed the routine at the end because I NEVER remember the level 1 routine. (Sorry, I can’t share this!)

After running to put my phone back in my bag as level 2 peeps came in, I barely had a breather before the next class warm-up began!

In level 2 we practised some more complex pick-up exercises (I’d been practising at home because last week I got completely lost) and some crawls to Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars). A really fun co-ordination exercise!

Then we moved onto our routine which is to…I don’t know what the track is actually. Maybe I should ask. But I’m really enjoying it! Lots of crawls and three leaps with a heel click in the air! I also took the opportunity again to film it at the end.

Got home, ate, showered and stretched and used my spiky ball rollers on my feet and legs.

Can’t wait for next week!