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 ūüėĀ

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.

Good things…

…come to those who wait

 

Citylit
Image courtesy of Hotcourses

Last week I got an email with a ¬£10 voucher code to entice me back to Covent Garden’s City Lit. I have been considering booking onto Ballet at the Barre on Wednesday nights, which I absolutely loved and miss the discipline (and conditioning) of, but:

a) last time I tried to do that and¬†tap the day after, I was exhausted and my memory wouldn’t extend to two different routines, even though the ballet one was ridiculously easy.

b) I need to cut back on my spending as the house move approaches and all the (many) expenses that go with that.

I think I might have to delete that email and just wait until next year :(((

I’ll let you know.

42nd Street 

Last night a dance friend and I went to watch 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden’s Drury Lane, which I believe is the West End’s largest stage. On arrival we just HAD to take a photo opportunity with the chorus girls before going into the theatre! We originally had tickets for the upper circle, but we were *upgraded* to the grand circle a tier below where we got an amazing view of the entire stage! I don’t know if this is because the theatre wasn’t full or because of the heatwave (those old theatres can be saunas), but heat rises, and they seemed to have some sort of of aircon going where we were, thankfully.

Programme

The show was absolutely amazing! The sets were brilliant, the costumes captured the 1930s Hollywood golden age and I loved the chorus girls’ colourful tap shoes! The songs were great, with a few you would recognise (such as We’re in the money, and Keep young and beautiful) but the choreography and dance was spectacular! Of course I was watching the Tap Dance from a tap student’s perspective where you are trying to recognise steps… ¬†and it was just amazing how talented these people are! Of course they’ve been tapping since they could walk, so there’s no point comparing starting to learn as an adult!

I was also keen to see the show because a couple of dancers who were involved with the Brighton Tap Festival last year are in it (plus I also spotted the sister of a former school friend in the programme).

My verdict: A visual spectacular! If you love musicals, dance, the Hollywood golden age or just want a great night out, go and see it!

Tap and Kelly

I always seem to burn myself out, so today I made the decision to focus on one thing this Autumn and stick with Rhythm Tap classes. I am working in Human Resources in London 4 days a week (1.5 hr commute door-to-door), I run my own small craft business from home, which I concentrate on on Fridays (sometimes this leeches into Saturday or Sunday), I have recently started doing some HR qualifications, self-study, which I have 18 months to complete, and then I am trying to fit in 2 dance classes a week!

I went to Rhythm Tap on this sweltering Wednesday evening and I enjoyed it so much! As I said I would, I spoke to my teacher afterwards about my dilemma of level 2 being too late for getting home at a decent hour mid-week, and asked if it was worth continuing with the daytime level 1 class for practice, to which she replied ‘definitely’ and that with that one being a much smaller class, she can adapt to my ability and give me more challenging things to do (which she does)!

I also went to the second of 5 Floor Barre summer classes last night at City Lit and I found it pretty tough going, as though I’d never done any exercise or dance in my life; as though I was completely core-less! A girl behind me summed it up perfectly “It’s too much after a day at work. I’m so shattered”.LOL. Then I remembered how shattered I was last term doing Wednesday night and Thursday lunchtime classes, so that kind of sealed it for me. I feel kind of sad not to be returning to the Barre in September, but it gives me a chance to perhaps do my Ballet DVDs (not the same, I know) and have recovery time in-between.

Another thing, I recently subscribed to¬†Pointe Magazine¬†and then this week the distributor contacted me to say the magazine has ceased print! Boo! I think they will continue digitally, but I don’t have an iPad. So, I got ¬£30 back in my bank account! At least I can continue to read all their articles online, as well as Dance and Dance Spirit.

Jason Samuels Smith Tap Shoes by Bloch
Jason Samuels Smith Tap Shoes by Bloch

Anyway, the positive of these two refunds is that I have the money to purchase those AMAZING Jason Samuels Smith White Tap Shoes that I have been drooling over for months! I actually tried them on in the Bloch Covent Garden shop while I was waiting to go to my Floor Barre class, and oh wow they are so comfy! (I also saw my Interior Design idol Kelly Hoppen walking by with her team!) Anyway…the shoes were a perfect fit, so I ordered them this afternoon!

 

Kelly Hoppen