Yesterday I travelled down to Brighton for the last day of Brighton Tap Festival 2016!
The Festival was held at the Brighton Youth Centre, within an easy walk of the sea front. When I arrived, I registered and while sorting myself out I bumped into my Tap teacher from Morley College! I had a feeling she might be there.
I had purchased a 2 class pass and was booked onto Maud Arnold’s Beginners class, followed by founder member Kate Ivory Jordan’s Beginners class. However, I found out from Facebook the day before that Maud’s class had changed to ‘Afro Funk’. I had no idea if that meant it would be a Tap class or not, so I took my dance sneakers just in case. Good thing I did! It turned out to be a HIGH ENERGY dance class with a West African & Jamaican Dancehall fusion. It was so much fun, but I had to step out a few times (as did others) because it was so energetic, with plenty of winding and grinding, and it was a pretty warm day. I think next time I will take a bigger water bottle. It ran out pretty quickly!
I met some really nice people there who had been there since the start of the Festival (Tuesday) and they stayed on for Kate’s Tap class afterwards. There was just a really nice, friendly atmosphere, even though I had just turned up on the final afternoon and was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Kate’s class was just the right level for me with a bit of challenge to be able to pick up the steps quickly and perform them at speed. That’s how you improve! I defintely agree with not thinking about it, but just going for it. After learning a short routine, we did some rhythm exercises in circle and then a bit of improvisation. Although that was quite cool, I didn’t feel I knew enough steps to be able to just go for it in the same way as if I had a bit more experience. But, not a bad thing at all. It’s good to come out of your comfort zone once in a while!
After that I met Clive and we went for coffee and a chill out at Small Batch Coffee Co. followed by a nice walk along the sea front, which was buzzing with people eating, drinking, playing beach volleyball and basketball. I have to say my legs were like lead and I was completely bushed. I’m blaming Afro Funk! Had a filling Vietnamese noodle soup at Pho (although I felt almost too tired to be bothered to eat), then headed back to get changed for the evening UK Showcase and Masters Tap Gala at the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, which was sold out!
All I can say is WOW. The show was AMAZING. The talent of these Tap dancers! Everyone was incredible and I loved the live accompaniment of Jazz music by the Michelle Drees band, but my stand-outs were Avalon Rathgeb (wow, wow, wow – she teaches at Pineapple Studios and is part of Old Kent Road performing group with my teacher) and Alexandr Ostanin. A fantastic end to the festival!
I’ve definitely come away with the motivation to get practising and I can’t wait for next year!