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! 

The Wall 

I don’t even feel like writing about Tap tonight.. But I don’t want to disappoint LOL

Majorly stressful times at work and with trying to sell our home on top of all this, so after a big announcement today about yet more change afoot at the office and some negative conversations, I left work, hid out in a café and almost burst into tears. I intended to read to take my mind off things but ended up instead sitting there staring into space like a zombie for half an hour before deciding not to chicken out of tap. 

Level 1 was fun, and I managed to remember bits from last week and we filmed the routine for practice. By level 2 I was a sweaty Susan and I couldn’t recall ANYTHING from last week… At all! Anyway, I gave it a go but I just just kept getting lost and wanted to just be vanished out of there and onto a yoga mat somewhere else. Not really felt like that before in this class. 

Spoke to my teacher afterwards and she said I was doing fine but she could see I had hit the wall by a certain point. Agreed! 

Anyway, I won’t let one frustrating class set me back. I just hate feeling like I’m behind, but then most people are probably feeling like they’re behind too! Now I have the videos I can practice before next week ☺ 

Rainy Days and Improv

Rainy Day

Yesterday was such a miserable, rainy day in London. I’ve been really stressed out recently and I really wasn’t feeling like going to Tap after work, but I knew that it would cheer me up and I would be energised…which it did, and I was!

I spoke to my teacher when I was grabbing water before the class started and told her I have booked a place on her Tap Shim Sham class, but I wasn’t sure about the Improvisation & Composition class the following week, and if I would be the right level. (Told her about my previous experience of Improvisation when I was still a beginner and didn’t have enough steps in my vocabulary to do a lot) She said I should definitely do it. It sounds as though it will be a relaxed and fun 2 hour workshop for level two upwards, so I am booked on!

So my summer programme is looking like this:

Weds 12th July – Tap Shim Sham 7-8pm

Weds 19th July – Tap Improvisation & Composition 6-8pm

Monday 31st July – Rambert 1 Day Adult Dance Intensive 10-4

I’m really looking forward to it, and I’ve got a day off after each event so I pace myself and don’t end up ill again.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to mention the workshops to my friend last night, and she zipped off as soon as the class was finished.

It’s funny, a girl at the level 1 class last night was asking me about other classes I’ve done as she’s interested in doing ballet as well, but is not sure about days and timings. She said she has a habit of overcommitting and burning out. Yeah, me too!

To alleviate some of the stress and back ache I am feeling at the moment, I have booked a 1 hour aromatherapy massage tomorrow afternoon. I was only going to get a half hour back massage, but the receptionist said they have a new therapist and all of her treatments are currently half price! So I went for the full hour. Hopefully it will be good…

 

Wednesday 

Really fun classes tonight! Crawls, pick-ups, shunts (watch those knees!), riffs, and more! Did a pick-up ‘plait’ which is basically doing pickups in a triangle. Managed it, but definitely something to practice!

Right, I’m off home to shower and eat! Made a lovely Goan fish curry last night…

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!

 

 

LCBE (Last Class Before Easter )

Today I went to my last Tap class before Easter. I feel really tired today as the cat keeps waking me up at 4am(!) so I wasn’t feeling at my best when heading down to Morley College at lunchtime, but I didn’t want to miss out.

As usual it was too hot, I was too hot and with a fuzzy foggy head, I was wondering if I was going to be able to get through the entire 45 minutes. I had hydrated before the class and made sure I drank throughout, but if you’re tired, you’re tired.

Rucksack

Our teacher explained after our warm up in a circle that we were going to spend the entire class on our routine. Oh no. That would require some serious brain power.

Despite my reservations, it was actually good fun as we tackled a whole extra section which included scuffs, shunts and turns. She did say to me “Sorry, but I’m going to push you” which made me slightly nervous, but I do like the challenge, but she also told me to try and push my toes forward and out as she felt I was clawing them. Yes, that is my trademark. I will try and work on that because I KNOW I do it all the time. I was told off for that in a Jazz class taster at Morley a few years ago after the teacher felt where my toes were through my shoes and it made me slightly paranoid. But it is good to be made aware of things that are hindering your progress so that you can correct them.  That is the thing with dance training – they’re always correcting your feet!

Anyway, I am going to enjoy the two week break and catch up on some sleep before returning to Wednesday night classes!