Sam

Int. Tap

In Dance on April 17, 2014 at 1:35 am

I couldn’t work out whether I have the cold or hay fever, it’s been messing me up all day and I fell asleep the moment I got in, it was so easy. I snoozed all the way until 7pm and bolted out the door, it was still light and I was still asleep. I arrived early to close my eyes again in the dark corridor.

Tap Intermediate

H got there in time to sign her bit on the card before we handed the gifts to Kate. She really liked it and apparently by odd coincidence she uses the same bath gel and hers just ran out, so good choice S! She loved the gifts and the card, plus the colourful scarf that came with it! She’s such a bubbly person, it’s very hard not to be drawn by her infectious nature – her energy latches onto us, Wednesday nights are like… fun nights. Not only that but we’re slowly refining our techniques, starting with Riffs and other very simple stuff, a lot less combos and more steady rhythms. 

K was there, J also turned up for a change – only for this Wednesday, H is now a regular with myself and there’s another girl who we know from Adv., hopefully she’ll join us in forming the core of regulars. We need more people! Fingers crossed for more. 

We covered Riffs, to get our feet relaxed – we’re trying to be comfortable walking with 4-5-6 Riffs then combining them into more complex patterns. The aim is to walk/tap effortlessly across the floor, I quite like this exercise – back to basics! Kate is trying to get our toe pullbacks right, we’re all capable of normal ones – on toes are HARD, so she’s doing it every Wednesday until we get it. Apparently it’s a matter of technique, I can half do them – it’s the way I jump – I need to study myself in the mirror. It’s do-able, just need the practise! It’s been a really good session, hard work but I’m really liking it. The routine was fun but we’re starting a new one next week, a livelier one!

Turned out Kate had a sore throat / cold too, apparently it was passed around from the Show and a few people had it. Thought so, I didn’t think it was hay fever because I never had sore throats before, plus my eyes were fine, my eyes are the first to go when I get hay fever… so, a common cold or a weird virus perhaps? I haven’t had the full-blown sniffles, but on the edge of one. Can’t even tell if it’s coming or going yet! 

The hour was up, I actually had a great time especially with K and J around too, there were 5 of us! Bid adios to Kate and swept into the night, I felt better after this workout - fingers crossed I’ll be better tomorrow! 

Monday Tap and Jazz

In Dance on April 15, 2014 at 2:05 am

Back to normal again. A normal lesson, no rehearsal, no pressure, just a normal hour!

I arrived after downing a mug of Lemsip because I had a sore throat all day, the kind of sore throat you expect from an impending cold – it was ok in the morning but got worse in the afternoon, I got back to my flat and threw a banana, some cherry tomatoes and olives down my throat for vitamins! It was great to breeze into the Dancehouse on a sunny evening, chatted to Ailsa briefly about Savion Glover and my mad dash to Euston. Didn’t tell her much about glover so I sent her an extract of my blog later, hopefully she can see what I experienced – an absolutely sensational show. 

Tap it is!

S and SLJ made it, we had a nice banter and told Ailsa how it went on Saturday. It was really good to see her again! We were all buzzing and ready to go! Some regulars came back and we worked on… HEELS, I’m liking these challenging sessions because we’re at a stage of moving beyond the primary ball-steps. Now it’s heels, the secondary – actually it’s equally important – we just took a while to get here! The across-the-room was fast… and heel-intensive. I admit, I felt pretty tired from Saturday but kept on going. We worked on the Drop-shuffle-heels, and added a spin… the variation was fantastic! It’s just what we needed after a Show.

We practised pull-backs and wings, had to separate the two – it was quite fun and hard, bring it on! I want to practise on my own again… because I’m feeling fatigue now, everything is go-go-go, I wouldn’t mind an hour or two alone – work through my huge back-list of steps I want to memorise. There are so many steps and spins I want to try, I need to hire a space again! We picked up the routine from two weeks ago and realised there’s a Bank Holiday Monday next week, we’ll have to wait another two weeks for the third part! Anyway, we cracked on with the cool second part and added more to the end – it’s pretty fast and funky. Some tricky heels thrown in there deliberately (CHALLURNGE!) and an old friend in the 8-step turn (?). It’s a shame we can’t do it next week, this is a long routine across 6 weeks! 

I’ll miss the guys! Won’t see them for two weeks! Might see some on Wednesday, oooh I can still get my fix with Kate!

Jazz!

J arrived late so she joined in Jazz! And she liked it too! Hopefully we’ll see her more up there! Good to see Andi back, we need coffee soon – catch up. It was a fairly busy class, had a tough warm-up and a good across-the-room, the routine was alright but I was out of space. Josh is beginning to open up and people are warming to him, so… I think I might stick around for a bit. Certain people are becoming regulars – a core group is beginning to appear. Plus I can’t complain about the music cos they’re upbeat and bouncy stuff, it’s all good!

It’s a short one for Jazz, it was good to stretch myself. J enjoyed it, I had a laugh with Andi and… I did the routine ok, I tried to groove it. Some minor steps I need to work on but that’s based on the music.

Videos

Well, Karen posted them tonight. My mistake didn’t look… that bad, although I did look VERY SURPRISED according to K lol! It happened within a second, it was such a fleeting moment I’m not sure if anyone picked it up. It actually looked ok considering we spent around 2 hours on it in total as a group. And yes, the crowd LOVED R when he came on, it was plain sailing from there. I’ll update the photos on the previous post tomorrow. It… yeh, it looked ok, I moved alright but that stupid mistake…

Meh, off I go.

Saturday Night Show Time 4

In Dance on April 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

Fourth one…

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. 

Saturday

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!

SHOW TIME

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)

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