I got home from work today and decided to whip up an energy boosting smoothie for the next couple of mornings. I’ve gone and enrolled on level 3 of rhythm tap after enjoying last week so much and emailing my teacher, so I’ll be dancing levels 2 & 3 from 6.45-8.45pm every Wednesday (with a 15 min break between), and getting home nearer 10pm for the next few weeks at least, so I definitely need something to keep me going:
My Green Smoothie
Guava juice (I used Rubicon juice)
Squeeze of lime
I also have some post-dance snacks and fruit in my bag (Creative Nature free-from Goji Goodness raw flapjacks) and my homemade lunches are ready in the fridge at work 🙂
Doing tap dance (or any dance!) every week really pounds your feet, so it’s important to have a good foot-care regime. After class I tend to roll my feet with a spiky ball roller, stretch my toes and so on. However, while browsing the internet, I came across these gel yoga toe spreaders which are supposed to help relieve bunions and plantar fasciitis, realign wayward toes and hammer toes and generally relax aching feet. Well, I need help with all of the above, so I ordered a set.
How did they fare?
After a bit of a fight to get the thing between my toes and the initial weird feeling of my toes being spread out beyond what they were used to, I really noticed just how relaxed my feet and toes started to feel. We spend so much time running around in shoes, or scrunching our toes up that it feels almost weird to feel truly relaxed feet where each toe is an individual. I guess it’s a bit like going from running trainers to those bare-foot five-finger running things where there is a space for each individual toe. You eventually get used to the realignment of your toes and feet.
The toe spreaders were definitely easier to put on each time and I could wear them for longer, which suggests perhaps a subtle correction of alignment, or that my toes were getting used to wearing them each time.
Verdict: I love them!
Very good value for money at £3 a pair
Any post-class ache in my feet and toes was reduced
You can wear them and put your feet up to relax in front of the TV or with a book
Made of silicone, they’re easy to manipulate and to wash (I would advise washing with soap & water and dusting them with talc before next use)
They’re not going to vanish your bunion or hammer toes overnight, but they are a good stretch for the toes 🙂
This afternoon I spent a bit of time rolling out my calves and Achilles tendons because they’ve been quite tight and achy, having not really stretched properly after Wednesday night’s rhythm tap class. Despite the heatwave, I have been really good and not worn any unsupportive flat shoes or sandals that are everywhere at the moment. Arch support at all times! Because my right foot and ankle tends to swell a bit in the heat (something I was so paranoid about when I was doing ballet), I’ve been travelling to and from work in lace-up tennis shoes to avoid that as much as possible.
Speaking to a classmate on Wednesday, I realised I did actually end up missing a week of our Candy Shop routine after all, but no disaster, I was able to catch up this week (song by Andrew Bird if you’re interested). I feel like this routine is pushing us a lot more, which is great. It seems like there is a lot going on, but at the same time, you can pick it up and the speed and sliding around makes it fun! The triumph of the evening was the fact that I was finally able to get the shuffle-step thing that most of us were struggling with last time – yay! Our teacher got us to do it again and again, and again (and again LOL).
Bumped into K, who I haven’t seen in about 6 months, in the corridor afterwards and she was asking me why I was walking away from the level 3 class! So I said about the timing etc. She’s been doing choir, which she loves, and is getting to perform regularly, but really misses tap and like me and R, wants to try level 3. As she works at the college, she said she’s going to get in our teacher’s ear about a level 3 class that is earlier in the day. We’ll see! I had intended to try level 3 that evening, but decided it would be better at the start of the new term…and not during a heatwave!
I did a crazy thing earlier that day and enrolled onto the ‘Summer Tap Intensive (Improvers/Intermediate)’ at City Lit, which takes place over 3 mornings at the end of July. OH MY DAYZ!!! I have been umming and ahhing over going to the London Tap Dance Intensive at the end of July where there are so many amazing people teaching (like Adam Garcia of Coyote Ugly fame) and I wouldn’t need to take any time off work, but then I saw this tap intensive, which is half the price, likely a smaller class size, and we’ll be learning about different tap styles, artists and history in a more relaxed atmosphere. I’m so excited!
In the mean time there is one week left of term before we head into the ‘Summer Shorts’, where I’ll be doing the Tap Shim Sham Workshop, and possibly the Improv class. August is when I tend to buy a PAYG gym pass and use the University gym opposite work a few lunchtimes a week just to keep up fitness levels.
I also have my eye on a vocal anatomy workshop at City Lit in July because I find I’m losing my voice quite easily lately, and I dread having to speak in public or read things out at the moment. I’d like to learn a bit about vocal projection, which will help in many spheres of life.
What are your plans for the summer? Dance intensives? Taking a break? Learning something new?
Yesterday my SO and I went to Sopwell House Spa in St Albans for a spa and afternoon tea (my birthday present to him) plus we added on a massage each!
We used the gym, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and swam a few lengths in the pool, followed by our massages in the afternoon.
I had a ESPA Hot Stone full body massage OH YESSSSS, and my SO had a Clarins Men’s Muscle Ease. I’d never had a hot stone massage before but it was recommended and it was AMAZING! If you get the chance, have one. Anyway, as I suspected, I was very knotted in the shoulders, so the therapist worked those out, and the addition of those hot stones and lavender and orange oils really helped with the relaxation aspect. She recommended that I get a back neck and shoulder massage once a month. I did used to get a massage every other month, but I wasn’t so keen on the salon I was using. Will have to try one I’ve spotted in Waterloo if it’s not too expensive.
Had a lovely selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones. I’ve gone a week without coffee, so I had Earl Grey tea with mine.
A much needed relaxation day after a crazy, stressful year!
Since I’ve moved house, been getting more sleep and have cut out the frothy coffees (as of the weekend) I’m feeling a lot more awake – Yippee! Tomorrow’s ballet is my last class of the year (boo!) but that will give me some evenings in to get back on my stretches before returning to Tap in January 🙂
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.
At lunchtime today I went to the gym and finally used my PAYG pass! (I had intended to go last wednesday, but I was too tired and didn’t want to run myself down).
Although I didn’t train mean, I did do 10 minutes on the crosstrainer plus a cool-down, several reps on the leg press and hamstring curl weight machines, then I spent 10 minutes stretching on the mat.
All in all a short, sharp lunch hour workout! I have to say I felt much more energised afterwards. Unlike this guy:
Something that has been on my mind recently – while I agree it is good to eat healthily, this ‘clean eating’ thing has become a bit annoying. As well as the current OBSESSION with ‘smashed avocado’, there is also a huge trend at the moment of only eating a raw, plant-based diet and juice-cleansing at every opportunity. If you want to do that, great. However, I think it can become another food-focussed obsession that feeds into the realm of disordered eating where you may view certain foods to be ‘good’ or ‘clean’ and (most) other foods to be bad or ‘dirty’.
I recently read about a wellness blogger who had a best selling book called $25 Five Day Cleanse, but by obsessively following her own advice of raw food veganism and juice cleanses, her hair fell out and her periods stopped.
A quote from her blog:
“I was on a quest for perfection. I was laser-focused on being my healthiest, cleanest, most pure self. But eventually, that focus started to dominate my life. My desire for “perfect health” trumped everything else, and for a long time, I didn’t even realize it.”
Maybe it’s the Instagram effect, but there’s a real pressure to be your best self at all times. I don’t have an Instagram account and I don’t want one, but I think any online social media presence can start to have a similar effect, which then creeps into everyday life…especially more so if you have more perfectionist tendencies and/or are unhappy in your current self. Thankfully the blogger got the help she needed.
As dancers we need to fuel our bodies (or “power-up” as I like to say), but dancers can also become obsessed with better, more, perfect… especially in the ballet world. There’s definitely nothing wrong with being vegetarian or vegan. I even went pescetarian for a while because I wanted to consume more fish, less meat and feel a bit healthier (didn’t last!). But it definitely shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health and enjoyment of life.
(While I am not a nutritionist, I have a real interest in sports nutrition and studied this as part of a fitness qualification I did a few years ago, so I could talk about this all day…)