Tuesday 10 March 2020

Fresh Fields

Autumn Chrysanthemums
Shen Zhongqiang, 1949

It's feeling a little autumnal around these parts, so always a good time for some change and a redress of the routine. I've given up my calisthenics classes in favour of something different, Dear Reader, and I'm hoping this so-called Kale of Exercise is going to do me some good. 

So far, some long underused muscles have been re-engaged and some new neural pathways have been furiously laid. It's a challenge, for sure, but rather good fun already. You see, I've taken up dancing again and have been trundling off regularly to some adult classes at the rehearsal studios of the Sydney Dance Company. I'm trying something old and something new.

The something old is ballet. So far, so predictable of me. But the something new is tap dancing! Eleanor Powell and Ann Miller et al. are such excellent role models for my new pastime. I do hope the neighbours aren't going to mind. ...

Image credits: 1: ArtNet 2: Pinterest


  1. Oh, tap dancing! How fun! I hope that the dance class gives you both loads of joy and re-invigorates the old leg muscles!

  2. Funnily enough, I've always liked the idea of tap dancing. I have tried on many occasions (haven't we all), but lessons are certainly a good idea. We shall expect a video!

  3. Bea: It's HARD! But incredibly good fun so far. Not sure what's more exhausting - the workout or the brain work!

    Cro: Yes, those old movies are very inspirational, especially when a couple of glasses of red wine have been imbibed! Lessons are essential ... A video would need to be sped up somewhat. So far, it's like dancing in slow motion!

  4. For inspiration here is Sammy Davis Jr's Mr Bojangles
    Also see his much more reflective and moving rendition in Germany 1985 when cancer was starting to take hold. Robbie Williams does OK at Royal Albert but to see the reel McCoy youtube search the master himself Bill Robinson with little Shirley Temple that everybody in the 1st World marveled at in the 1930s.
    GSL's softshoe is very underrated.

  5. Bravo! A couple of neighbors, who are very into ballroom, have expanded into tap and they love it. Am jealous. Ballet sounds wonderful, too. There's a contemporary class for adults nearby, but the adults are in their 30s and could be my children. Not sure my knees could keep up (actually, it's more the floor work, and getting up from the floor).

  6. GSL: Thank you for the link! The youtubes is a marvellous source for footage of all the Big Names and much time has already been spent being distracted by talent galore from the Olden Days. Where would we be without it? Your softshoe shuffle is not of the slipper variety, I take it, haha!!

    ToF: Oh, the knees! I did wonder, after the first few classes, if I'd done myself a great disservice to the joints after the agony which required some pain killers - however, it turned out just to be old muscles prodded out of superannuation, and once reawakened, they are feeling mostly normal again (still clicking like crazy but that's why there's music!) ... As to the ages, I'm not the oldest but when I say that there has been a space of almost 40 years between now and my last dancing classes, I don't jest. The majority in the classes are well under 30 years old so cannot even fathom what 40 years might look like ... Do try your local classes - you could find it's your thing!!

  7. Oh my goodness. That sounds like a lot of fun and hard work. I've always loved ballet but never took any lessons. I still love to watch other people perform though.

  8. Loree: Yes, it is, on both counts. I'm determinedly in the back row, however, as public performing has never been my thing!

    I took as a very young thing I loved the shoes!
    MY BEST FRIEND IN HIGH SCHOOL who lived in ROSS by the way still takes TAP!!!!!!
    I can see it now tapping your way down the sidewalk!!!!!!!

  10. Contessa: There's quite a variety of ages doing this beginners class and I'm not the oldest, happily. Mr P, however, has strongly suggested that I'm not to expect him to join me. Such a pity!! xx

  11. Fantastic! I love tap. Did you know I was a tap dancer? I worked with Gregory Hines, Tommy Tune, and many of the other old timers. It is so much fun. Congratulations.

  12. TAS: Thanks, Stephenie! No, I didn't realise it was tap that you danced - I'm not sure quite what I thought the style was. I shall have to go onto the youtubes and see if I can see you in any of the performances that I'm sure will be out there! As a form of exercise, it does tick quite a few boxes, that's for sure.

  13. Yonosoy: Hello and how very kind of you to visit my blog. What a nice idea to have a look at new blogs as a distraction from these interesting times. Although I daresay the unpredictable nature of my blog posts can prove a challenge to any reader!

  14. stylefrontier: Hello and thank you for stopping by! Fun, learning something new and noisy exercise (to disguise the clicking joints!) - what more could one ask for?

  15. I reckon you are doing a hell of a lot more dancing now !!!
    Are you self isolating and distancing ?!! We are staying in and have done so much gardening, our garden will be worthy of The Chelsea Garden Show !!!
    Take care and keep washing your hands ! XXXX

  16. Jackie: Ha! Dancing on my Pat Malone now, the studios have shut, unsurprisingly. So long as we still have some working internet, I'll be able to follow along some remote lessons, plus get some inspiring masterclasses from the vaults of the 30s and 40s films on the youtubes. Otherwise I'll just have to don my tap shoes and start making it up as I go along! ... I just cancelled lunch with good friends which would have involved us taking the train to the suburbs since we're carless, a decision which took a lot of humming and hahing for us to come to but I think Social Responsibility will have to be the new catch phrase ... There'll be a good opportunity for the home renovation projects and garden sprucings to be proudly broadcast to a wider audience via the wonders of the interwebs - perhaps like a national/international moral boosting exercise! Keep beautifying Jackie and yes, keep washing your hands! xx


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