We started the lesson with a physical warm up focusing on core strength and flexibility.
We began by learning the start of a lyrical routine in preparation for the Dance show at the end of the summer season. The idea of the lyrical style is to be emotional expressive through your movements, demonstrated by carrying out the steps with full extension and with a free and flowing style. The steps were relatively basic to perform, once they were striped back, however the real challenge was feeling the music and how the routine fitted to the counts and flow of the music, as the phrases were not always to strict counts so it was crucial to feel and connect with the music in order to capture the fluidity of the routine.I noticed that lots of the technique needed for Lyrical dancing routes back to the technique and positions used in ballet, for example the arm movements and shapes, in particularly the use of curved arms and contrasting straight lines to express the dynamic and emotion of the piece.
Following this we did our usual jazz technique exercises such leaps and turns from the corners. I feel my turns are getting better and I feel a to more confident in what I’m doing and the standard I can perform it at. For example my cros turns have improved a great deal, I can now travel in a straight diagonal line by spotting a particular point and keeping my focus and head turns sharp. Whereas, before I may have lost control and not cover sufficient distance as it resulted in spinning on the spot, or I would not travel in a clear line, so it just looked messy. My split leaps across the room are improving in height however I still am so inflexible and am not getting the best stretch or extension which is ruining the lines and not using the skills actualluy needed for the exercise. We also attempted box jumps where we would jump on the spot, then use the spring as power to help us split leap on alternating legs at each corner of the ‘box’. Once again, this was difficult for me for the same reasons, and caused me a great deal of frustration, as when I focus on the height I cannot get the needed stretch but if I focus on using the power and strength to get a wider split, then I tend to lose the height and therefore struggle to have the right timing of suspension in the air to do the actual split jump. I hope by continuing to focus on my strength and flexibility in isolation, it will slowly help myself develop the skills so I can apply these to exercises and dance steps like these, where they demand the combination of them both being at a high level.
We later moved on to Tap where we recapped our usual warm up exercises which covered our new close work sequence. As I missed class last week I couldn’t exactly remember the sequence steps completely and felt quite overwhelmed at the pace of the sequence. However, once we had recapped it a few times and I got Sarah to slowly tell me each individual step in turn, I soon was able to perform the exercise accurately. I think I just need to work on speeding it up by refining every small foot movement – whilst keeping the rhythms consistent.
We then continued with the tap routine the class started learning last week while I was off sick; fortunately we recapped the steps first in order to help me catch up and be slotted into the existing formations. Luckily the steps were very basic and easy to pick up quickly, so I didn’t end up feeling too far behind the rest of the class, which meant I could focus on the stylistic features of the jive like style, as well as producing clear and crisp taps. I think when doing a tap routine rather than just a skills/technique exercise, it becomes so easy to carry out the movement without actually placing the taps and focusing on the sounds and how they fit the music and tie in with the rhythms. This is why I am trying to take advantage of the fact the actual choreography is very simple as it means I can use my concentration to focus on the accracey of my taps rather than remembering the routine.