Would have thought I’d ease back. Not even sure why I agreed on this one – out of temptation / obligation / challenge? I stood around at the end of the lesson long enough to fall into the rehearsal. It’s been a different one because Ailsa couldn’t do this (due to other commitments), so Kate did our routine. A routine that’s been a thorn on me, certainly one of the most challenging I’ve ever done – Ailsa kept things simple and catered for our level of skills – her emphasis were mainly on steps. Kate’s Jazz / Performance background meant we had to use our arms and do plenty of twists in showbiz style, it was a high-tempo piece and very different from Ailsa’s ‘classical’ style! We started with 4 in Advanced and 5 in Beginners, luckily with persuasion it went up to 8 in Advanced but we ditched the planned routine with the chairs, weeks passed and we dropped to 7 and 3, then 6 and 2, and finally we levelled at 6 but Beginners only had 1 left! The decision was made to merge R into our group!
The track was…
Yup, Michael Bublé ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, again. I did my debut show with this (a year ago?) – Kate’s interpretation was very different so we needn’t worry about it. I hate being the only guy sometimes because I was given a solo entry, and smacked in the front centre of our group. I didn’t want the focus but I guess, it made sense to be up front. I had to suck it up and do my bit, after a few weeks of struggling (as documented!), I felt ready-ish.
I was awake early but my bed was so warm and comfortable I probably stayed for another hour! Eventually I braved verticality and got up. Had breakfast and pottered around the flat, ironed, sorted my Show wear, packed my bag and some last-minute practice without my Tap shoes. I left my flat around 3:20pm for the long day ahead. We gathered in the canteen, R was already there, the rest of the crew arrived steadily – Kate too, she got us the coloured T-shirts for only £2.50 each. I had lilac! Not sure what to make of it at first but apparently it looked good on me when I wore it later (meh).
We started rehearsal at 4pm in Studio 1 but halfway we moved to Studio 2 for no reason, our two remaining tappers J and H arrived just in time for our piece. We had a good reception, people DO like tap even though we did it without our shoes. A minor glitch, R and J had to go buy new T-shirts because theirs didn’t fit, they dashed to Primark! We were soon on the way to the stage for lighting and position, and of course a proper rehearsal in our costumes – it felt weird with our tap shoes on because we’ve been practising without it. Obviously striking the floor can be painful so we don’t… I had to convince myself to strike the ground harder! We should have had a quick tap run with SHOES before the stage. We’re quite different unlike Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary!
R and J made it back for our run – again, a great reception even though I didn’t think our sound was that good. The curtains opened with the track and I was to ‘look cool’ going on, then wait for the girls kick their way to me! People liked my casual entrance, according to later comments – it was good apparently (urgh!). I enjoyed watching the others – I loved the girl (Helen?) who played the violin and danced Contemporary, Kate’s Jazz routine was cool – very showbiz! I was drawn to the girl who’s always in the show (doing two or more routines!), she’s very petite but so agile and brilliant. I don’t think anyone else does the things she does. I thought Andi did exceptional with Jazz, she moved naturally – and I was somewhat surprised they were using the same steps from the lessons, I think I could have done that! As usual the ballet pieces were mesmerising. I guess this is why I do the Shows, it’s the camaraderie and the gathering of ordinary folks - I doubt many are professionals, we’re just a ragtag bunch of people drawn together by our passion for dance - and that’s a lovely thought. And everyone is so nice!
We ran through the second set of rehearsals and pottered back to Studio 2, except Jazz and Tappers went to Studio 1 for an acrobatic warm-up with Kate, it was more like a gym workout than what we’re used to. It was a Jazz warm-up, lots of upper body and even crunches – it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea! I didn’t mind it. She did allow us a moment to relax on our backs with the lights off and eyes shut, unusual preparation but interesting!
I always lose track of time on Show days, I went to Spar with Andi, chatted to R and the group, practised our steps and… waited. Advanced Tap tend to be the first on but as Mixed level we were to start straight after the interval. I really dislike waiting, much prefer to be first on and get it over with!
The curtains opened prematurely without the music, delayed my walk-on! I diddled on and… can’t remember much from it, I was on auto. I tried my best to get the sound off my feet but I knew I missed some, especially during the time steps. Everything went ok until I cocked up and didn’t spin H!!! It was so bad… I’m dreading the video. Worse because I was in the middle and in the centre (eeeek!). Apparently it wasn’t noticed but it happened so quickly, I could only remember being hit by a sharp ‘oh-uh’. It was so brief…
Luckily it was seconds before R’s entrance, the applause was thunderous because he’s 76! That reception immediately put us at ease and we relaxed and smiled our way to the end. Everything was fine except for that stupid cock-up from me. I was so gutted. They loved R, first time I experienced such an explosive reaction - it was very much deserved because he stuck to his task – he could have pulled out but instead he turned it into a charity drive and raised £540 out of his £500 target! Good man! Tappers do attract a variety of people, and we LOVE a laugh – we have such a fun group!
We gathered our stuff and joined the audience, I beat myself up for letting the group down. Just gutted. The large number of turnout surprised me, in the past the place was barely half full – this time it was almost full, probably from the media blitz by the Dancehouse and Karen. Lots of people there!
When it was over, we lost each other on the way out, didn’t get to say goodbye to our group. Saw K and her bf up front, sadly couldn’t catch her either. Ended up in the bar and hung out with the Ballet group and Mark and Karen – most people went home, Mark was hilarious, he forcefully straightened my back earlier in the day – he’s Mr. Technique. It was good to get to know other people, I laughed my way through a couple of beers then set off home. Kate was still around, she was BUZZING, so much energy! It must have been around 10:30pm – what a long day! A Bollywood curry was a necessity – I was so relieved…
Found out the next show is in June - already? Not sure what to do!
What a day, it’s been a blast!
(Yeh, despite my cock-up)