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?)?

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!

 

 

Summer Term Begins

Last night I went back to Rhythm Tap 1 and 2. I was half looking forward to it and half not, having had flu the previous 2 weeks, but once I got there I was back in the zone! I have to say the classes have become really popular (we have a great teacher and the style is modern and upbeat), so it was quite full. It was also nice to see faces from last term back again.

We did some more complex steps travelling backwards across the room, adding in some extra heels here and there. We were also working on tapping in triple time, i.e. 3 beats to a bar, like a waltz. Thankfully I had clarinet lessons when I was at school, so I understand musical time signature to a point. At the moment I am trying to work on keeping down in the knees and making the steps smaller and more accurate. Easier said than done!

Nicholas

Because the class size is so big, I am finding it a little hard not to get pulled into what the crowd are doing, which tends to be speeding up like a military march and ignoring the beat of the music! Last night I tried to ignore that and feel the music and not worry about being the last one to get to the other side of the room. It’s more important to get the steps right than get there first!

Highlight of the class: heel click in the air!

Things to practice this weekend:

  • Pickups travelling backwards with extra heels (no clawing!)
  • Shuffle exercise travelling forwards and changing feet
  • Crawls

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!

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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Brighton Tap Festival 2016

Yesterday I travelled down to Brighton for the last day of Brighton Tap Festival 2016!

The Festival was held at the Brighton Youth Centre, within an easy walk of the sea front. When I arrived, I registered and while sorting myself out I bumped into my Tap teacher from Morley College! I had a feeling she might be there.

I had purchased a 2 class pass and was booked onto Maud Arnold’s Beginners class, followed by founder member Kate Ivory Jordan’s Beginners class.  However, I found out from Facebook the day before that Maud’s class had changed to ‘Afro Funk’. I had no idea if that meant it would be a Tap class or not, so I took my dance sneakers just in case. Good thing I did! It turned out to be a HIGH ENERGY dance class with a West African & Jamaican Dancehall fusion. It was so much fun, but I had to step out a few times (as did others) because it was so energetic, with plenty of winding and grinding, and it was a pretty warm day. I think next time I will take a bigger water bottle. It ran out pretty quickly!

I met some really nice people there who had been there since the start of the Festival (Tuesday) and they stayed on for Kate’s Tap class afterwards. There was just a really nice, friendly atmosphere, even though I had just turned up on the final afternoon and was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Kate’s class was just the right level for me with a bit of challenge to be able to pick up the steps quickly and perform them at speed. That’s how you improve! I defintely agree with not thinking about it, but just going for it. After learning a short routine, we did some rhythm exercises in circle and then a bit of improvisation. Although that was quite cool, I didn’t feel I knew enough steps to be able to just go for it in the same way as if I had a bit more experience. But, not a bad thing at all. It’s good to come out of your comfort zone once in a while!

After that I met Clive and we went for coffee and a chill out at Small Batch Coffee Co. followed by a nice walk along the sea front, which was buzzing with people eating, drinking, playing beach volleyball and basketball. I have to say my legs were like lead and I was completely bushed. I’m blaming Afro Funk! Had a filling Vietnamese noodle soup at Pho (although I felt almost too tired to be bothered to eat), then headed back to get changed for the evening UK Showcase and Masters Tap Gala at the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, which was sold out!

All I can say is WOW. The show was AMAZING. The talent of these Tap dancers! Everyone was incredible and I loved the live accompaniment of Jazz music by the Michelle Drees band, but my stand-outs were Avalon Rathgeb (wow, wow, wow – she teaches at Pineapple Studios and is part of Old Kent Road performing group with my teacher) and Alexandr Ostanin. A fantastic end to the festival!

I’ve definitely come away with the motivation to get practising and I can’t wait for next year!

http://www.brightontapfestival.co.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/brighton_tapfestival/

 

Rhythm Tap Summer Short 

There is a heatwave in the UK at the moment, and this is when I had my one-off summer Rhythm Tap class at Morley College!

Anyway, we were in a random upstairs classroom with a lovely view of Lambeth because the basement dance studios are out of action after some flooding a few weeks ago. 

It was great to have those Bloch tap shoes back on, and I must admit it did feel alien at first, but I soon got into it.

We did some rhythm exercises, shuffles, tap step heels, paddles, pick ups and then we learnt a short routine, which included cramp rolls. Love it!

NB I was dripping with sweat all the way through, but thank goodness for air con and a sweat towel 🙂