High Horse

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Okay, I was naughty a few weeks ago and went and purchased another pair of Jason Samuels Smith tap shoes by Bloch, this time in black. I have to say they’re now retailing about £30 more expensive than when I bought my white ones, but I managed to track this pair down for the original price from a dancewear shop in Edinburgh 🙂 I’ve also just sold an old pair of Bloch Sync tap shoes (as well as a few other things) on Ebay.

I haven’t worn my new Jasons to a class yet, but the beauty of the Jasons is that they are very quick to wear in and I’m thinking I’ll bring these ones out either next half-term or in January. As with other shoes, it’s probably good to have at least 2 pairs of tap shoes on rotation.

On Wednesday evening I went along to week 2 of advanced beginners and intermediate rhythm tap. Both classes were amazing again, and by the end of it my toes were really sore! In the intermediate class (level 3) we had to pair up to work on a double flap exercise (f-f-lap), so I partnered with ‘L’. Talking later on, it turns out she did all the tap dance grades when she was a child and basically tapped for 10 years, stopping when she went to University. Telling her I only started learning in 2014/15, she was amazed at my progress! But then I said I want to learn to do pullbacks, but just haven’t managed it yet.

She said she can do wings and pullbacks all day, but finds the closework we do in rhythm tap (e.g. crawls and other co-ordination beasts!) difficult. This led us onto discussing the differences between **SHOW** tap and rhythm tap. I guess you could say that one focuses on appearance and the other focuses on the sounds. I wonder if I’d struggle with syllabus tap, having only learnt the rhythm style. Interesting, huh?

In level 3 we are using the song (Get off Your) High Horse Lady by Oasis. Although we had the opportunity to film level 2 (but not level 3), I have also written down what I can remember of both routines, so hopefully I won’t get the two mixed up!

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On the train home I ate a Goji Goodness raw flapjack and drank a load of water. Unfortunately I forgot to grab a banana to have as well. I got home around 9.45pm and had tiny bit of food that I’d prepared the night before and a swig of Green Smoothie.

After a shower, I ran through my super-quick routine to roll out the muscles in my feet and legs, then I went to bed around 11pm. On Thursdays I have agreed to start work at 9.30am so that I can have a lie in and recover (except this Thursday there was a signal failure on the tube, so after going all round the houses, I didn’t get to my desk until 10am). It’s a long day and I’m still not sure it’s sustainable for the long term, but I’ll enjoy it for now…until our teacher creates a level 3 class at around 5pm on a Thursday…PLEEEEEASE

Do you struggle to remember more than one dance routine?

What are your go-to post-exercise recovery snacks?

End of Summer Sort-Out

Hey, Happy Friday!

As I said in my Summer Holiday post, I had the second of the two weeks off work as a staycation. My SO and I visited the Museum of London, which was great! Worth a visit if you want to know a bit of the history of the city, from Neanderthal to now.

At home I ended up doing a lot of sorting out because my wardrobe, drawers and washing pile seemed to be overflowing with clothing, and I felt like I haven’t done as much sorting as I would have liked since moving house last year. (I know, it’s such a first world problem). I had also been gradually replacing older work wear (like worn-out cardigans etc) with better quality items. I don’t know if it’s the thing of working in Central London, but every Summer feels like a fashion show and there’s the pressure to look on point. (This is on the commute, rather than at my workplace). I love the Autumn when I can get my coat and hat back on!

There is so much advice out there about decluttering, which is really helpful, and I’ve got a couple of home organisation books* that I’m really impressed with. Well, with their help I managed to get rid of 5 carrier bags full of stuff!

In order to pare my clothing and footwear down for the charity shop, recycling and Ebay, I used the following get-rid principles:

  • Ill fitting items
  • Colour doesn’t suit (for me, this is anything in mustard)
  • Have multiples of the same or similar (I really did have more belts and woolly hats than necessary)
  • No longer your style
  • You don’t really wear dresses/skirts that much or at all
  • Cheap and nasty (keep the better quality and stop buying throwaway clothing)
  • Doesn’t suit your lifestyle
  • You no longer do that sport
  • You don’t swim or visit the beach often enough to warrant 6 pieces of swimwear!
  • You’re just not a bikini person (I prefer a tankini or full halterneck cozzie)
  • Needs repairs you’ll never get around to
  • How many pairs of legwarmers do you need?!
  • You just never reach for it, ever

For the record, I stopped buying cheap, throwaway clothing quite a while ago because the ethical side of it is questionable. Instead I buy something classic, slightly more expensive, better quality and less often… therefore less of it. Plus I follow the one-in-one-out principle as much as I can. Sadly, it’s really hard to find British-made clothing, and if you can, it tends to be very expensive. Well, who knows what will happen after Brexit? (Don’t want to open that can of worms!)

I am also giving my clothing a double purpose so that I don’t need different clothing for each thing I do. So for example, I have smart-ish and casual work wear which can double up for going out, plus a couple pairs of jeans and casual trousers and then dance/gym wear (plus cold weather items). So at weekends, instead of having specific casual weekend wear, I combine jeans, casual trousers or dance leggings with dance/exercise tops or t-shirts and cardigans, rather than having to have separate weekend wear. Obviously, I have enough of those tops not to leave myself short when it comes to dance classes!

I hope you catch my drift. Had a sort-out recently? What are you up to this weekend?

*Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider and The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley.

So Stagey

Tap was cancelled last week but I actually didn’t mind because I was quite tired anyway, but at the same time it was a shame to not tap for two weeks. Actually, MOVE IT 2018 made up for it so I really only went one week without tapping!

This week our teacher is running a catch up class, so I’ll be going along to that tomorrow lunchtime, armed with new top and microfibre sweat towel, both bargains I picked up from Decathlon which has just opened nearby 🙂

Sooo glad I have a week off work next week! However, I will still be dancing. Not tap, as that class will be taking a break over Easter. Being the keen person that I am, I have only gone and signed up to take part in OMG So Stagey CATS WORKSHOP at Pineapple Studios! Cats is my favourite musical ever and I must have seen it at the theatre least 6 times. So when I got a newsletter through from Pineapple and saw that a recent cast member was running this workshop, I was like “I’M THERE!”

It’s next Sunday afternoon and I will fill you in on the goss afterwards. Not sure if we need to dress up…

Squeezed

Today I was back to the lunchtime tap class which I used to prefer for being smaller and calmer, but find I am increasingly stressed out by squeezing it all in during my (extended) lunch hour (changing, walk there, dance, walk back, shower, change, eat). On top of that, the college is renovating the entrance and reception area to make it more accessible, so you now have to walk round to the back of the building to the temporary reception area. Thankfully Studio C10 is easy enough to find from that location.

The class was bigger than usual, but that was nice in a way, less exposing! I wore my white Jason Samuels Smith shoes, fresh from the amazing weekend in Salford! I was complimented on them by a few classmates and our teacher. One of the guys in the class was wearing the same shoes, which was cool. I didn’t really want to be the standout with the expensive shoes 🙄

I would definitely say that last weekend’s tap festival gave me a bit more confidence today. Maybe it’s the shoes! No, I think as comfy as they are, Saturday’s bootcamp taught me some new steps and helped me go over old ones with extra tips. Amazing what you can pick up (excuse the pun) in a few hours!

Today we went over the basic time step, but as a few of us were already familiar, we got to do the double version (with flaps). I was paired up with the older theatre type lady (leg warmers and everything!) to go over it in a straight way and then a swung way, but she is clearly trained in the classic style rather than heel-heavy Rhythm Tap and the more modern stuff that’s going down these days and she kept telling me off for being turned out. But that’s how I like to do it! Then she was throwing in extra bits that she knows and that went way over my head. Kind of an unhelpful pairing I’m afraid to say. Anyway, I’ll keep doing my thing!

A couple of people are going to hire the studio straight after the class from next week for a practice session – great idea! Unfortunately I have to get back to work – boo!

“Tap is by the people, for the people”

Ever been unequally yoked in a dance class?

Renewed

Some dance-related post through the door!

But I’m not going to give in and buy anything because I’ve spent enough money lately and I have enough dancewear for what I’m doing at the moment. Rhythm tap really doesn’t require leotards or a lot of specialist stuff besides tap shoes and a smile 😀

This week I’m back to Thursday lunchtime tap class with a renewed vigour after a fantastic weekend of tap in Salford!

Get Organised

Before…

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.

The result?

After!

Hopefully it will be easier to grab what I want next week 😀

Next I should invest in a couple more pairs of black leggings.

New year, New Vest

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 

Outfit alert