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

Tap Thursday

I am so annoyed that I had bail out and go home early last night instead of going to my final Wednesday evening Tap 1&2 classes. Basically, I was kept awake most of the night by a neighbour and was like the walking dead most of the day, just surviving a day at work on Lattes. But, I am also glad I listened to my body (and hollow dead eyes) and went home, had homemade Goan prawn & egg curry with rice, broccoli and kale, stretched, showered and rested so that I could drag myself into London today and go to my lunchtime level 2 class.

A colleague of mine was talking non-stop and I ended up being pushed for time, so I literally got to the college with about 5 minutes to spare and was puffing and panting and quite warm from power-walking and sunshine, with no time to stretch or really cool down. Then my teacher came out of the studio and said “it’s really hot in there”. Oh great!

Yes friends, it was like a sauna. Someone even called it ‘Bikram Tap’…

We did some co-ordination and pick-up exercises, which are always good to get your teeth into, got some posture correction and noticed the shift in weight placement which is always good, and then we spent the last 15 minutes on our Rag n’ Bone Man routine, which I’m loving. For some reason I can remember every step; usually I struggle to remember anything!

It is quite hard to do really even shuffles when you’ve been enjoying the swingbeat. On a positive note, I am no longer clawing my toes when I do pick-ups!

Next week is the last Thursday lunchtime class before Easter. Then we’re back the week of the 24th April. I haven’t booked onto Thursday lunchtime next term, even though I prefer it. It’s a bit of a squeeze to fit everything in during the lunch hour, so I’ll stick to Wednesday after the hols.

I also have the week of Easter Monday off work. Yay!

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.

_95281580_londontop