Check It Out

I never made it to my tap class last night because I was feeling a bit on the fatigued side and decided to head home and rest, instead of overdoing it and ending up unable to surface for a busy work day in the morning (or passing out in the studio). Sometimes you’ve just got to give in and rest.

As is tradition now, today I had a little practice of a pickup exercise we’ve been doing. Check it out LOL

 

 

I also booked tickets to see The Tap Pack at Sadlers Wells’ Peacock Theatre in Holborn next Thursday evening! I had kind of written it off due to going to 42nd Street this coming Saturday (oh by the way, turns out my brother used to teach the lead actress!) and wanting to calm it down a bit, but I got an email from Sadlers Wells featuring a clip of the show and the tickets are discounted for certain evenings… Cannot wait!

Courtesy of Peacock Theatre

Next Wednesday we have a guest teacher at our tap class so that should be fun!

3 Beat Roll

This week I was a bit spaced out at tap class, despite having had over an hour to chill out and forget about work. I think I was just really tired! We had open windows this week (yay!) as the building work has progressed so that the wall is no longer covered in plastic sheeting.

We worked on a backward travelling exercise using pickups, where we did 3 alternating heel-drops in between each. A good tip is to sit back so that the weight is on your back foot, otherwise it complicates matters in terms of travelling. It was quite challenging with a faster piece of music, but with more practice time, it’ll be easier… I hope!

We also went over our 3-beat cramp roll with a fun exercise to Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk.

Here’s a video of my quick practice (during a break at work, in heels!) of the 3-beat cramp roll that we are using in our routine. It has another name, but I keep forgetting what that is!

 

 

I’ve seen on social media that booking is open for the London Tap Dance Intensive, which takes place over 3 days at the end of July, using 3 different venues (Base, Danceworks and Pineapple Studios) with an amazing faculty line-up, plus Brighton Tap Festival is also advertising at the moment. I really don’t want to overdo it this year because I’m trying to get my soap business side gig back on track and will be doing a couple of local summer fairs, plus I already went to the amazing Tap Festival UK at the start of the year. I could also do with cutting back a bit on my spending, so I will probably do one day at the London Tap Dance Intensive and let Brighton be because I have been before and it involves a bit more travel. Or, I allow LTDI (and the modern phenomenon of FOMO) and go to Brighton as it’s during my summer holiday fortnight. These events are great for cementing what you’ve been learning in regular classes and also give you new skills and steps. I dunno, I’ll keep you posted!

Happy weekend whatever you’re up to! โ˜€๏ธ

Hot Lunch

Last year I was in survival mode trying to get through to the finishing line of moving house and I gave into frothy coffees, chai lattes and comfort foods. Amazing what stress and lack of sleep does to you.

Now I’m trying to get back on track with healthier eating and making lunch rather than buying. (I’m good with bulk prepping evening meals, but not lunch so much – I get bored quickly!) My lunch of the month is homemade stir fried rice, having got the idea from a meal prep blog that I follow.

My rice dish is basically:

  • Basmati rice (cooked a few hours before)
  • Chicken or lean pork
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chilli flakes

When they’re all prepped for the week I’m not tempted to buy anything out. OH YEAH

Easy

Yay, the sun is out and we have warm weather! I was celebrating this fact yesterday until I suddenly thought, oh no, I bet the tap class will be in the usual evening studio A04. This studio is in the basement and is usually quite warm. Last time I was there the windows were pretty much sealed up due to ongoing building works to make the reception area more accessible. Well, last night there was plastic sheeting over the entire wall of windows… But we had 2 fans!

Anyway, enough about that. It was GREAT to be back at the Wednesday evening class! It was busy but not crazy big as it usually is. Caught up with my pal R who I haven’t seen in a while and I told her about the Cats Workshop at Pineapple Studios so hopefully she’ll come to the next one in June. I’ve been gushing about it so much I should get some commission (or a free t-shirt)! We also spent a while talking about tap shoes because it was the first time I’d worn my white Jason Samuel Smiths to the evening class. Once in a warm-up circle, I felt slightly self conscious because everyone else was in standard black taps.

We learnt a travelling pickup step which moves in a triangular formation – a lot of crossing your legs and trying not to get tangled while still making all the sounds! Our teacher asked if I was doing it without thinking. Me: “er, yes”. Then she got me to go a bit faster. Fun!

We also learnt a different sort of cramp roll, where the toe of one foot stays on the ground, so you get 3 sounds instead of 4. Both this and the previous exercise fed into our **routine**, which is a slow one to Lionel Richie and the Commodores’ Easy.

It was a really fun evening, and despite saying that I wanted to swap to Thursday lunchtimes, I think I’m going to stick with Wednesday night.

Which reminds me, I’d better book the next one before it sells out ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Home Dance Studio

During my week off work I finally got to set up my home dance studio/gym in the garage! Now I have somewhere to practise tap dance ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

It is a great space because the people who owned the house before had installed electricity for lights and heating, plus a proper door from the garden and a window, which brings natural light. There is also plenty of light from the transparent roof.

The studio is comprised of the following:

  • Interlocking foam floor tiles (wood effect)
  • 3 over-the-door mirrors (around ยฃ14 each from The Range)
  • Cube unit for storing dumbbells etc
  • Foldaway ballet barre
  • Tap board
  • Motivational posters
  • Plants

I had attached some red ‘Dance’ lettering to the wall above the mirrors, but it fell down and broke overnight, so I need to find a way fix it and try to attach it more securely.

The next task is to get rid of the rest of the furniture sitting at the other end of the garage!

I’m so pleased with it because I was getting kind of frustrated with having nowhere to practise other than in the corridors and toilets at work. Yay!

Has anyone done anything similar?

OMG Cats Workshop

Pineapple Studios

So yesterday afternoon I went into London and took part in the OMG So Stagey Cats (The Musical) Workshop at Pineapple Studios, Covent Garden, taught by cast member Cameron Ball (Macavity/Admetus).

It was AMAZINGGGGGGG!!!

It was a packed studio as expected, and extremely hot until someone found the air con switch! We did a quick aerobic warm up consisting of jogging with various arm circles, plus some stretches and some cat-like movements and mannerisms to get us into character and ready for the routine we’d be learning…. The Jellicle Ball! OMG Yes, everyone was very excited!

If you know the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical, you will know it’s the bit everyone gets excited about. It’s a 12 minute full on dance piece, but we were only learning the first few minutes. Apparently the full piece is notoriously a killer! The part we learnt is an audition piece – ooh!

The choreography by Gillian Lynne is amazing. Formerly a ballet soloist, she is now 94 and apparently still does the splits, every day. Wow.

I’ve been to see the show several times, including once at its original home, the New London Theatre in Covent Garden’s Drury Lane. I also have the show on DVD, which I used to dance along to a bit here and there, so I kind of know the part we were learning very well, but obviously we were learning the intricacies that you don’t pick up from a DVD, i.e. the particular steps, and the bits when the camera pans away to something else! But this prior knowledge definitely helped me remember where I supposed to be going because there are a lot of changes of direction. We performed the piece various times as a whole group, in 2 groups and even in 3 groups while the others watched. There were also people watching from outside the studio – all adds to the exhilaration of performing!

After learning the routine, we were then taught the bit at the very start very start of the Jellicle Ball, where we all begin by lying on the floor and then different cats pop up as they sense that someone is there (Grizabella, a fallen glamour cat). We were all labelled number 1, 2 or 3 and then each number had a different thing to do once the music kicked in. I was a number 1, so I was tapping on the floor with my claws 6 times, then I had to come up to standing, bring my hands up in front and behind my midriff with knees bent and then do a kind of jazz-hands, head shake, body shake. Others were shoulder shimmying and or shaking their booty. So much fun! This then led into our main routine, which we then performed all the way through in groups and all together!

I have to say I felt my back pinch the last time through, but, the show must go on! I was ok, I had just over-rotated when I was on the floor.

Watch the Jellicle Ball here (we ended at 1:18):

It was such a fun afternoon and I finally got to learn some of the Cats choreography, which I’ve wanted to do since I first saw the show in the 90’s.

p.s. Only one person was dressed up head to toe in costume, plus makeup! No, it wasn’t me ๐Ÿ˜

OMG So Stagey do other West End Workshops at Pineapple (Kinky Boots, Les Miserables etc), so check them out if you’re in the London area.

Catch Up

Happy Easter!

On Thursday we had a catch up tap class, as the final class of term was cancelled. My colleagues were going to be in a board meeting when I’d be due back from the class so I wasn’t too worried about rushing back this time ๐Ÿ™‚

There were 5 of us this time plus our teacher and we had a really nice, laid back class! (Made me think twice about returning to the busy evening slot after Easter ๐Ÿ˜ญ)

We learnt a really cool timestep which reminds me a bit of the Shim Sham, although I think the only similarity is the pickups…but still! We did this on the right side and the left to the music from The Pink Panther. Our teacher was just going to leave us with the one side and move on to our routine, but we wanted more! Yes, we were very demanding this week.

Then we went on to finish off the routine we’d been learning over the 5 weeks to George Ezra’s What You Waiting For’. Despite missing 2 weeks out of the 5, I remembered the start and picked up the rest pretty well! This didn’t happen last year when I was stressed out of my mind, sleep deprived by noisy neighbours and topped up on caffeine! I’m really noticing the difference in memory recall and brain power since moving house.

Afterwards we hung around and chatted for a while. There was debate over whether a certain step was the Manhattan or the Cincinnati. Tap is quite fluid and not as formal as ballet, so different people call steps different things! Helpful, right?

I filled our teacher in on MOVE IT 2018 and the Stomp and Syncopated Ladies workshops and she was asking which tap people were there etc, i.e. Tap Attack, London Tap Jam etc. There is a quite a big tap scene and lots of people know each other or know of each other. Turns out she had once auditioned for Stomp!

One of the girls was talking about going to see The Tap Pack at the Peacock Theatre in London in May. I’ve had this on my radar, but I’m taking my mum to see 42nd Street in May and my SO and I hope to visit the London Tap Jam in Hoxton at the end of May, so I think I’ll have to give it a miss!

Anyway, we were chatting away when I suddenly realised I needed to GET BACK TO WORK! Oops. The rest of the group tend to stay on for a practice time that two class members had arranged, or don’t need to be anywhere immediately after the class, so no one else was in a hurry to leave…

Anyway, my work colleagues were in a meeting when I got back to my desk about 15 minutes later than usual so I didn’t feel like anyone was clock watching when I returned (not that they really do) and had my shower. (Anyway, I usually make up the time by staying late either that day or the day before).

Enjoy the long Easter weekend (if you have one) and remember to stretch!

Love this!