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?

Green Smoothie

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

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • 2 bananas
  • Guava juice (I used Rubicon juice)
  • Squeeze of lime

Easy!

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 🙂

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.

New Term

Last night was the start of the new term of Rhythm Tap at Morley College. I was really excited about it, but with the usual nervous butterfly stomach just beforehand!

I am enrolled on level 2 (advanced beginners) but for the first week back I decided I was finally going to also try out level 3 (intermediates) straight afterwards. I didn’t tell my teacher this beforehand, just incase I ended up shattered at the end of level 2 and couldn’t do any more LOL. So:

Level 2 

Level 2 was a BIG class. The warm-up circle took up the whole studio! But this always happens at the start of term, and apparently the class was sold out again. The acting couple were there and a few other regulars, but no R or K this time – boo! We worked on a toe-tip, heel-dig exercise, which would form part of our routine. At the end of the class there was some homework! We were asked to note down the music we are using for the routine so that we can go away and listen to it to get into the rhythm (I tend to download the tracks anyway). We’re using Come by Jain. The other task was to think of a question you would like to answer or something you would like to learn by the end of the 6 weeks to either share with her, or keep for yourself.

I went up to my teacher at the end and she asked “are you staying?”, and I said YAASSSSS!

Level 3

Level 3 which lasts an hour, rather than 45 minutes, was a lot smaller, a much better size. I chatted to the Swing dance girl who it turns out also sings in a band! She told me to come down to Soho on Sunday and check them out. I meet so many creative people!

The warm up was a call-and-response exercise, which is something I LOVE doing. I remember when I went from level 1 to level 2 that I found the transition to the speed of warm-up the first challenge, but I didn’t have that this time. It helps that I have been going to intermediate level workshops and intensives when I can.

We learnt the double-flap (f-f-lap), which creates 3 sounds, as opposed to a flap which creates 2 (f-lap). Quite hard to be accurate at first, but I was told to keep my head forward and not look down! Helped.

We also learnt a new timestep – yes! I don’t know many, so it was great to learn another one. I think that’s 6 on my list now…not that I remember 2 of them – doh! We were paired up to check in on each other and make sure we weren’t missing something. That was cool. I paired up with a lady who said she did grades years ago, but hasn’t done anything for years and doesn’t practice. We got there in the end!

Our next exercise was a tap turn, which our teacher stole from US Hoofer Derrick Grant who she took a World Dance class with at the Brighton Tap Festival. I was gutted to miss it this year, but I was on holiday, and this summer I decided not to over-do it and burn myself out. Technically, I could have gone on the way home from a week in Devon, but seriously! Toe-toe-heel-heel-toe-toe, travelling along the studio while turning 360 degrees-ish. The music was amazing and it was so much fun and we all ended up dizzy!

Our routine was amazing. I picked up the beginning quickly, but then we spent a while on the next bit and then I forgot the beginning LOL. I know it starts with flaps.

Anyway, at the end when I was changing my shoes my teacher said I should definitely change over to level 3, but I had to say I really enjoyed it…but it’s just too late on a school night with my commute. Knowing I would be staying on that evening and getting home around 10pm, I told work I would be in later just so I could have a lie-in and catch the 8.30am train, as opposed to the 7.13am. I could probably manage it for a couple of weeks, but it’s not sustainable long-term as I’d be burning the candle at both ends.

I said out of the side of my mouth “do an earlier level 3 class. Do one on a Thursday.” A few others said they have a lot of hanging around to do before the class starts and so on. Anyway, it depends on funding and our teacher is looking at what she can do. A difficult one. I LOVED IT.

Anyway, thanks for reading my essay!

 

Summer Holiday

Last week my SO and I had a nice week away in North Devon. I love visiting the south-west, and have been to Cornwall many times, but it had been a while since we’d been to Devon, so we decided to stay in the surf capital, Croyde Bay.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite warm enough to go swimming, surfing or body-boarding, although many people did! But we got out and about and visited Exmoor Zoo, Lynton and Lynmouth, home of the Cliff Railway, the Victorian seaside town of Ilfracombe, Dartington Crystal to watch glassblowing in action, Westward Ho! for a savoury cream tea (onion chutney and cream cheese instead of jam and clotted cream), and Arlington Court National Trust house and carriage museum.

I did take my Tae Bo and Sleek Ballet dvds with the intention of working out every morning… but it never happened! At least we did a lot of hill walking 🙂

Although we had the rental bungalow until Saturday morning, we decided after dinner on Friday evening to pack up and do the 4 hour drive there and then rather than get caught in crazy motorway queues on Saturday. 👍 👍

Did you get away this Summer, or did you have a staycation? Or did you have to work? (Boo!)

Today’s Workout

This rainy afternoon I finally got out into my garage/dance studio and did a bit of tap! ☔ I played music from my phone through the Bluetooth speaker and had a go at some drills, including flaps and lots of shuffles, especially on the left hand side which seems to miss the floor a LOT when I use my tap board. I dunno, it’s a bit slippery and I guess being confined to a square compared to using a whole studio makes it difficult. Still, it was good!

Next I did some ankle strengthening using a balance board. It’s really hard to keep it even and centred, which makes it ideal for working those ankles!

Next I did some 5kg weights, lifting them above my head, out front, behind, to the sides, and then some squats. I followed this up with crunches – it has been a while!

I finished up my sweatfest with some stretching. Maybe I’m motivated because I’ve now got 2 weeks off work 🙂

My (eclectic) Playlist:

  • My Same – Adele
  • California Soul – Marlena Shaw
  • Get Off – Foxy
  • Hanky Panky – Madonna
  • Cornflake Girl – Tori Amos
  • Candy Shop – Andrew Bird
  • These Days – Take That
  • Changing – Sigma feat. Paloma Faith
  • Forget – Lianne La Havas
  • When My Baby – Bing Crosby

Improvement

Fiat500
You need me…

Hey! How was your weekend?

This weekend just gone my SO and I went to look at a cute pre-loved Fiat 500 that I spotted online after I had been wondering about whether or not to get a slightly better and more reliable make of car in order to bring down my annual repair bills (currently driving the second Ford KA I have owned).

My SO did the test drive because I was too nervous about driving a circuit around town with the car dealer in the car. It was such a smooth drive and the interiors were lovely, and I could have got a good finance deal, but…I decided I don’t really need a new car, I don’t do much mileage at all, the finance deal meant a large deposit upfront, and I remembered my original goal to eventually get rid of my car and use public transport, especially as I pay for an Annual Season Ticket for work which also covers my local buses since moving house. At the moment however, the bus doesn’t quite intercept the train I need to catch in the mornings…

Instead of getting the lovely Fiat, I cleared the trash out of my car, gave it a vacuum, replaced the filthy floor mats with some stylish new ones and put up a new scented garland on the rearview mirror – there you go, new car! LOL).

On a tap dance note, now that the extreme heat has subsided (for now) I got out into the garage and did a bit of practice. I ran through some of the steps we did at the Tap Dance Intensive at City Lit 2 weeks ago, including trying to work on my pullbacks. Still very much a work in progress, but I feel a bit more confident in knowing what I should be doing.

Looking forward to getting back to it in September!