I was scrabbling about Tuesday evening trying to find my leggings and a long enough top to wear to tap class this week and it was obvious that my dancewear drawer was a mess. I haven’t really sorted it out or purged since moving house and I probably have too many tops and not enough bottoms, leggings especially.
So, how did I sort it out?
1. I got everything out of the drawer.
2. I refolded or rolled up each item of clothing and put it back apart from items I wasn’t enthusiastic about anymore (or were ill fitting). Rolling saves a lot of space.
3. I grabbed an empty shoe box and placed it in the drawer to section off a bit for dance tights, sports bras, foot thongs etc.
Hopefully it will be easier to grab what I want next week 😀
Next I should invest in a couple more pairs of black leggings.
This evening I returned to Rhythm Tap level 2 at Morley College after almost a three month break. I was kind of nervous going back, but excited at the same time.
As expected, it was a large class and plenty of familiar faces were there, people I’d been learning with from the beginning pretty much. Caught up with R, and another girl whose name I don’t know (can you ask after 2 years?). K wasn’t there, but as she works there, she might be continuing with the day classes.
Was the class as challenging as expected? Yes! It has become obvious to me that I just need a bit longer to process the step and then practice. The routine is pretty cool, but I do feel a bit like a fish out of water after being away in Ballet land, and although I enjoy it, part of me was like why am I putting myself through it? Ballet and tap are sooo different, and Rhythm Tap is probably harder still (plus the class is probably too big and I’m only doing 45mins a week). Although a tap teacher will tell you not to think about it, it really is a mental workout, whereas in Ballet I could get away with switching off and enjoying it if you know what I mean. I want to get good at tap, and know all the basics properly, so I will see how these 5 weeks go before seriously thinking about doing ordinary 1-1.5 hour tap classes right from scratch, either as a supplement or instead of Rhythm tap for a term or so.
On another note, we were down in the hot basement studio again and because works are being done on the building the windows were boarded up with the tiniest slither of air coming in! Arghhh
This evening I left work early to prepare myself for Ballet at City Lit…by stopping at Grind in Covent Garden to wake myself up with a coffee LOL.
Once I got to the college I layered up with black vest and smoky blue t-shirt, plus black leggings and cool netted socks with rose detail 🌹…
It was a full house this week so I was glad to get there early enough to get a space on the barre by the window because I always get too hot.
We ran through the usual exercises but with added content, creating longer sequences. It must have been the caffeine because I pretty much remembered everything! Well, apart from the retire-passe at the very end of the class. But you know how it is, you just style it out! 😉
My left knee gave me a bit of trouble again because I realised a while ago that it is weaker and I find it hard to keep that leg straight when doing, say, the grandbattement exercise. Still, I really enjoyed the class tonight and really worked on my arms and hands this week. I think because I’ve been watching Strictly and loving the expression you get in Latin-style arms and fingers. I’ve never thought about putting that into my ballet practice before, but it has actually helped me to understand expression in the fingers a lot more, and placing. Obviouslyyoudon’twanttoputthearms behind your shoulders when in second position, or have a straight arm in fifth, but I was able to apply the expression in the hands as we are doing a lot more portdebras than I’ve done before. Still, I mustn’t go crazy and exaggerate…
I had a bad day at work and was hacked off and overwhelmed by the fact I’ve basically been left on my own in the office for most of the week while everyone else bogged off to a conference (held biennially)/took holiday/worked from home/were off sick… All at the same time! Okay, the person who was ill couldn’t help that, but apart from him, there was no planning, communication or thought for cover. So I had a melt down and left the office 2 hours early. Left my dancewear under my desk and didn’t want to go back, so I missed the La La Land Tap Workshop. My head was (and still is) frazzled. Arghhh.
On the plus side (there’s ALWAYS a positive!) I stopped by Bloch in Covent Garden and tried on the new tap shoes designed by Chloe and Maud Arnold of the Syncopated Ladies! They didn’t have the black and white ones in my size in stock, so I tried the black ones for size. Chloe and Maud are over in the UK this week and were actually at the store yesterday talking about the shoe! I didn’t go because I’ve done a class with Maud in Brighton (remember Afro Funk? LOL) They are sooo comfortable and will be an easy transition from my current Bloch Sync tap shoes. They are going to be a Christmas present from my SO and his parents. Very excited to return to Rhythm Tap 2 in January wearing them!
Anyway, I’m going to rest this weekend. And cuddle my cat.
Filled with nervous excitement, last night after work, I went back to Ballet at the Barre! I left work at 4.20pm and caught the bus over Waterloo Bridge to Covent Garden, and then did a quick walk to City Lit. Went to the ladies toilets to get changed because the changing rooms are always occupied, but was a bit unsure about my outfit. I ended up wearing my pink leotard, black leggings, black wrap cardi and black ballet skirt, which I hadn’t worn before. The leggings kind of pulled down a bit during the class, so next week I’ll wear tights instead.
I recognised a lady called F who had been in the class the last two terms I had been, so I went on the barre by the window next to her. There were about 10 or so of us in the class, including 2 guys (plus our teacher M is also a man).
We did a head-to-toe warm up, followed by some fun things like grande battements en croix, (which I actually remembered from last time, so I wasn’t phased by which direction I was supposed to be facing), ronde de jambe (which were lightening fast for my unfamiliar feet, although it helps me to focus on the beat and the letter ‘D’). We concluded with jumps and changement. Still amazed at how my achilles are problem-free since hill-walking in Cornwall!
I was surprised to be asked to demonstrate the changement exercise while everyone watched. I mean, I haven’t done any ballet for well over a year! That was a definite feeling of imposter syndrome.
M then suggested that we take a few minutes at the end of the class to stretch before leaving. I made sure I did just that. He asked me if I’d been doing ballet class, and I was telling him all about tapping at Morley College and how weird it is to find ballet form again. Ballet is all poised and pointed and tap all bent knees and laidback.
I came away with a couple of things to work on:
Little toe on the ground & heel forward when pointing the toes en avant (forward)
General foot flexibility (tap, what have you done to me :))
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.
I’m so excited – this weekend I ordered a portable tap practice board! I actually had two expensive purchase options in mind, some new Bloch tap shoes by Chloe & Maud Arnold of the Syncopated Ladies (I was fortunate enough to take part in an Afro Funk workshop taught by Maud last year) or a tap board, which are about the same price. Then I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I already have some pretty good tap shoes (Bloch Tap Sync plus the Jason Samuels Smiths in white), but my real frustration has been not being able to practice at home in my tap shoes because I will ruin the floor (I also have a neighbour below, but he works unsociable hours so thankfully is never home in the evenings). I will let you know how I get on with it when it arrives.
On another note, I am going to start going to gentle yoga on a Friday evening at my local leisure centre. I actually used to go to that class with my SO a few years ago, but we got out of the habit. He runs for an athletics club and has recently started doing pole vault. I dance, but don’t do nearly enough stretching at the moment. We were chatting about it last night and then you wouldn’t believe it…while walking around town this afternoon, we bumped into the teacher! A sign?! So we sorted out our free drop-in loyalty cards and booked in.
I’m really looking forward to it. That particular class had mainly older members, so it was way more relaxed than the one I tried at London South Bank University, which was like an hour’s push-up class :$ It will be a nice way to unwind at the end of the week and hopefully will help with a bit of the stress I’ve been under.
How do you cross train or stay flexible? Do you find yoga or Pilates helpful?
This week is half term, so there are no tap classes this week. I am actually glad of the break because I have barely gone a week without tapping recently, and my knee was bothering me a bit over the weekend. I’ve also had a bit of plantar fascia twinge recently, so instead of schlepping about at home barefoot or in slippers, I’ve been trying to wear my (not) Birkenstocks because they give excellent arch support.
Speaking of the weekend, there were LOADS of dance wear sales on, and I got some very tempting emails from Pineapple, Dance Direct and Bloch. However, I resisted!
I spent my money on something else instead…tickets to see 42nd Street in the West End! I’m going with a dance friend on the 22nd June after work…can’t wait!