I have finally had a chance this weekend to think back over the last year and my various dance pursuits. Some of the highlights:
Rambert Contemporary Dance Summer School – such a good day and I managed to keep up with the full time dance students, even with painful achilles tendons 🙂
Move It Dance 2017 – I go to this exhibition in London’s Docklands every year, but in 2017 I pushed the boat out and took a tap class with the Guinness World Record breaking tap dancer Jo Scanlan of Tap Attack!
Learnt the Shim Sham and had a go at Tap improvisation
Did ballet (barre only) course at improvers level at City Lit after pining for ballet for some time
Got my Maud & Chloe Arnold tap shoes for Christmas
I look forward to continuing my tap dance training and attending some more festivals and workshops in 2018!
I have just got home from Day 1 of the Adult Summer Dance Intensive hosted by the Rambert Dance Company in their lovely modern studios by Waterloo Station. What a day!
I was a little apprehensive because I was going on my own and I haven’t done any contemporary dance since 2013… Anyway, I got there in plenty of time so I didn’t have to stress about being late.
The classes ran as follows:
10am Contemporary (Carolyn Bolton)
This was our warm up class, which got us doing typical ballet warm-up exercises, such as plies, releve, degage, grande battement etc. Aw, I’ve missed these! Then we moved into doing some contemporary exercises, including travelling corner to corner, jumps and a short routine. This was a lot of fun, but not being used to dancing bare foot lately, my achilles tendons did play up a bit on the jumps section. After this we had a 15 minute break to use the facilities, refill water bottles, grab a healthy snack and stretch.
11.30am Choreography (Stephen Quildan)
I had a feeling we would be creating our own choreography, and that’s exactly what we did! We had six words to interpret through movement: Spiral, Drop, Stab, Blue, Explode, Relax. Then we had to perform these in 2 separate groups in silence, then to a piece of music. The observing group then had to answer questions about the differences they noticed between say, music and silence, making eye contact with your partner or looking straight ahead or at the ceiling. Then we did some silly things at the end, including a dance Chinese Whispers game i.e. pass the move along the line… It really didn’t seem that scary to be performing in front of an audience. Definitely found it easier to come up with choreography in this workshop than I did at the Tap workshop the other day…
We were supposed to be learning the piece ‘Ghost Dances’, but they swapped the repertoire programme for the 2 days around, so we were learning ‘Tomorrow’, which is basically the story of Macbeth backwards. We were learning part of what is performed by the ‘witches’ on one half of the stage. It was so much fun! Lots of jagged movements, fast, slow, pauses, pulsing, shudder, shake! We ended up performing it in one big group with the teacher, Simone, then we performed it without her, then in two groups, then in four small groups (about 6 of us)! SO GOOD! Followed by a much appreciated 15 minute break.
For this class we had a cover teacher, so it took a while to get yoga mats and music sorted, but once we got started the relaxation could begin! My favourite bits were the child’s pose and lying on the mat! We were doing Yin yoga, which meant holding poses for around 4 minutes at a time for ‘deep tissue’ work. Some of it was a bit advanced for me, like even using a foam block didn’t help LOL. I also found my lower back was kind of jarred by it, so I will have to stretch and roll out the muscles this evening.
But not before filling out a feedback form and buying a T-Shirt!
Verdict: A good mixture of ages and abilities (from student to retired), and I didn’t once feel intimidated, even though some people were clearly more experienced dancers. Everyone was very friendly and the teachers who are all Rambert dancers made it a fun and relaxed environment. Being a relatively new building, the facilities are fantastic. Although contemporary dance is done bare foot, some wore socks for the whole day (I did on and off to avoid blisters when turning) and some wore foot thongs. I would thoroughly recommend the dance intensive or any of Rambert’s regular classes if you’re in London. I’m really glad I booked it and I enjoyed the chance to learn from the professionals (and other students) and to dance with such expression. BOOM!
On Saturday I went to see a matinee of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater UK Tour at Sadler’s Wells (the home of dance!) in London. To save faffing about changing tube lines from Marylebone, we caught the 205 bus directly outside Marylebone Station all the way to Angel! Easy peasy.
I’ve only seen them once before when they were last in London, at Sadler’s Wells in 2010, so I was really excited to see the show. I went for Programme C, more for the timings than for the particular pieces, because all the programmes contained Revelations, Ailey’s fantastic signature piece, of which I have the soundtrack.
We were up in the Second Circle, but still had an excellent view, compared to when I’ve been to watch shows in some of the very old theatres (e.g Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, starring at the scaffolding)!
LIFT was a fantastic, African-inspired varied piece, with lots of musculature. Lively moments and reflective moments.
Awakening woke me out of my stupor. It very futuristic in the way that it balanced “chaos and resolution”. Loud, jolty music, jolty dancing in white outfits. I won’t say I enjoyed that piece particularly, but it was very avant garde, interesting and unpredictable.
Cry was choreographed by Alvin Ailey himself for his mother, and I felt it captured the mother’s spirit perfectly. Wonderful, colourful dancing.
Revelations is my favourite, and clearly everyone else’s favourite too, as the audience applause was deafening! I love the songs, the dances and the setting of the Deep South, God-fearing church-going, ladies in hats waving fans, men in suits days. Fabulous!
This week I have been doing daily ten minute Aerobics from YouTube to try and get some cardio into my routine. It seems I have hurt my right shoulder so I had to skip last night’s Floor Barre class. Actually I wonder if Floor Barre caused it!
Next week is the start of The Place’s Summer School. I’m not taking part, but it is something I would be interested in next year, particularly if they do Contemporary Jazz again. £65 for the week is pretty good I think.
This year’s line up has Hofesh Schechter (week 1), Avant Garde Dance (week 2) and Rambert (week 3), with contemporary, ballet and Jazz classes. A great opportunity to learn from the professionals!
Speaking of which. I’m looking again at the Brighton Tap Festival and am thinking about getting a 2 class pass for £45. It will be a good excuse for a day off work!
Oh, and I think my Jason Samuels Smith tap shoes arrived!