My review of the Jason Samuels Smith tap shoes by Bloch.
A gorgeous shoe, very heavy that makes a lovely sound. But are they worth the money?
I've been wearing the shoes for two months now. I initially had to wear insoles and heel grips, however that made them too tight. I now only wear heel grips. They are very heavy so you really need to work in the leather - I'm not quite there yet but I'm only wearing them for one hour a week.
Hi I’m Megan
I have been completing my work experience at Encore Dance wear and I have loved it.
On my first day, I learnt where everything is and how the shop works. Also, we had a new stock delivery of leotards so I had to sort out the new leotards and check they were all here. I was lucky to get to try them all on and model them. I had quite a few favourites! Then I arranged the leotards on a display and changed a few bits around the shop. Later on, I helped Louise with some costumers helping them get what they needed.
On my second day, we started a stock check where we had to see if we had all the right stock in all sizes. Furthermore, we looked at some new pointe shows to order in and we can’t wait to have them in the shop. I then helped a customer get the right leotard for their dance school.
On my third day, we did some more stock check. Then we sorted and priced some more new stock. I also served a customer by my self. Lastly, I helped Louise with a pointe shoe fitting which looks very confusing.
I think working is so much better than school! The shop has lots of exciting things that I really want! I learnt a lot this week at Encore and had a very enjoyable time.
This year my children both performed in Panto. First time for them, and the first time for me as a Panto parent. I had done pantomime as a child and I always treasure it dearly, so my excitement was on another level. To get to do it together in the same team too, it will be a breeze.
Our production required the children to rehearse on Sundays in November for the majority of the day. The kids picked up the routines quickly, so some of the rehearsals were shortened. As a parent, this is no problem - dropping the kids - getting Christmas Shopping done (early I know, but I was worried I'd never get a chance!). As a chaperone it was great, you got to see the dances yourself so that you could help the children with bits they didn't quite pick up. The children were really well behaved and started to get to know each other. We had an age range from 6 - 13 and they were lovely with each other. During this time we did have a few children who unfortunately left the show - but the reserves were brill and picked everything up quickly. What was also great was we had boys! Each team had two, how great is that! Boys unfortunately rarely get to be in pantomimes (unless of course it's Peter Pan).
The last weekend in November the children rehearsed with the principal cast and the dancers - popping into their places. Most of the principle cast were welcoming to the children and had a bit of fun with them. They were still obviously getting to grips with the show themselves. Then started the week of evening rehearsals 4-8 each evening - quite hard going for the younger ones. They worked really hard and although there was a lot of time waiting whilst scenes were rehearsed, they were well behaved. We didn't always get to rehearse on the stage, and it seemed as though the bigger the space, the worse behaved the kids were - keep them contained! Chaperoning started to become a little more demanding as the children become more comfortable with their fellow performers. The older girls were completing homework and the younger ones did get a bit bored - but all in all they were a lovely lot.
Once the shows started there were three teams, and unlike other pantomimes who may do a day of shows each, ours rotated one show each. Children needed to be there 35mins prior to show time, but most arrived 40mins or more. There were a few late comers but chaperones got used to these. The children turned up in their make up - a bit of foundation, brown eye shadow and some blusher ( of course, the older ones contoured! lol), the boys weren't required to wear make up - only a little blusher. Chaperones applied the lipstick so that the children all had the same colour.
The costumes were simple, some of the girls didn't like being 'boys' in some of the scenes. Due to having different chaperones some of the kids were able to persuade the unsuspecting mum that they were supposed to wear a different costume - next time we need a list for each kid and what they wear! As with most pantos - the kids are numbered, however we'd have a boy as a number 4 in one team, but girls were 4's in the two other teams. This did cause a bit of a headache during costuming.
Some teams were more lively than others, patience and colouring needed to keep them calm. But they were all such lovely kids. Unfortunately a sick bug struck a week into the show and I would estimate that 50% of the cast were ill at some point - some children were poorly at the end of the run so missed their last shows which was heart wrenching. It's so important that children have 48hours at home when they're ill, even if they seem fine. Some of the principals were having to sneak into the wings to use the bucket - it was that bad! Disinfectant, bleach and hand sanitiser helped to save the day!
I chaperoned quite a few shows, I love it. I love the excitement, the rushing around and being able to be a part (if only a tiny minuscule part) of the show (in a way). Yes sometimes you have to be firm with a kid, but speak to the parents and explain your actions - always. Also ensure the child understands why their behaviour is unacceptable. That's the worse part of chaperoning. It didn't happen much for us though.
So, would I do it again? In a heartbeat. My kids are divided, I think my son would take it or leave it, but my daughter loved being part of a show and team. My husband on the other hand would much rather have gone away! We better start working on him now :)
Check out my review of the Bloch Proflex and Pumps.
They're both canvas split sole ballet shoes. I prefer the the simple Pump but a Proflex is definitely the best for a narrow foot. What's your favourite?
I took my children to their first pantomime auditions recently and it's very interesting how they are all done differently.
I love dance (obviously!). I really do and there's loads of reasons why.
I was putting on my clothes this morning and I realised my label was sticking out, it reminded me of just the night before at tap class where one of my dance friends had popped my label back in. Just a little something, but a lovely something. Dancers look out for one another, we have to. If we didn't look out for each other the dances just wouldn't work.
I hate it when I get something wrong, most of all when it's pointed out to me, by anyone (terrible aren't I), however if one of my dance friends didn't tell me, "Louise, we actually start on the left foot there", I might continue to do the wrong foot and look daft - then I'd be more annoyed.
There's often times when someone just can't get the step so someone else may state that they need to go over a bit when, in fact, they can do it fine but want to save the other person's embarrassment. Perhaps the other person hasn't noticed they're doing it wrong, but their team mate is trying to help without being so obvious.
Dancers encourage each other, we all have that one person we watch in class if we're not sure. And they know if you can't get a step right so will 'check' with you to make sure they're doing it right too.
I love shows, it brings out the camaraderie in us all. The silly faces you can pull when your back is to the audience to make the girls giggle. The frantic panic on getting your hair in the right place double checking which side your flower goes. Pulling off the dance, perhaps with a couple of mishaps - but getting through it and really really enjoying it with all your wonderful fellow dancers, there's no better feeling.
I love to dance so much! What are your favourite things about dancing?
This weekend will see the start of the All England regional finals. They are taking place in the following areas: South, South East, London North, Midlands and North and West.
Pupils across the country take part in various dance festivals (competitions) in the their local areas, some of which are qualifiers for the All England competition. Over two years the dancers will repeat their dances at different festivals , trying to improve and achieve the best score out of 100 they are able to. Dancers need to acquire a particular score in order to be able to qualify to attend their regional finals which take place every two years. The score depends on age - so it could be 84/100 (for the small ones) to 86/100 for the older dancers. It really is quite an achievement to be able to dance at the regional finals.
At the regional finals, the normal structure of the competition changes at little.
1) There are 3 adjudicators instead of one. They mark independently as described here: Each of three judges marks completely independently. They can give:
DSC (Distinction with Special Commendation)
D (Distinction), or
We also ask them to note their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th , 5th and 6th Places.
The mark slips are then collected and the results calculated by the Regional Director and Assistant.
Placings are worked out by adding together the places given – the dance with the lowest total being placed 1st.
Qualifying for National Finals:
All Groups with Honours.
1st place in Baby Sections, regardless of mark, and 2nd and 3rd places with Honours.
All other sections: 1st, 2nd and 3rd places with Honours.
Honours are awarded when 2 of the 3 judges give it an Honours mark, i.e. a majority.
2) There are normally a few sections adjudicated at once. For example you may finish your section and have to wait for the Under 7's to do their Ballet and some national duets before you are all brought on stage to hear the adjudication. It could even mean you having two dances being adjudicated at once - this year my daughter has her Greek, my son has his Song and Dance following straight after then her Modern straight after that! eek!
As written earlier, the dancers who receive honours and are placed in 1st, 2nd or 3rd are then eligible to compete at the All England Finals in London in the Summer holidays. It's a fabulous occasion where you really are watching some of the most talented young dancers in England. Here, a similar format is used, often with special guest adjudicators. There are various awards along with being placed in your section including Tap Dancer of the Year and Most Promising Baby.
This week I am preparing the make up box, checking the costumes and organising the CD's all ready for the regional finals for both my children #proudmum I can't wait!
So, I'm considering holding some bun demo workshops. Buns are often the bane of dance teacher's life as what some people accept others do not.
Doing a lovely dancers bun is quite a skill as it's to be rather flat and like a real (bread)bun, not a walnut whip and certainly not a doughnut - no donut rings allowed! Then, preferences for type of bun net and how to fasten it (grips vs pins) rears its ugly head. I say whatever works with your daughter's hair is fine. You also need to ensure there's no whispy hairs and if there's a ring - it will often need to 'disappear'.
There are lots of different hairstyles which as a dance mum, you need to get the knack of. Styles could include a french plait, dutch plait, loose bun, sausage bun, dog ears, the cornish pasty (I have made up the names of some of these).
Would mums come for a bun/hair demo and what would they expect, how much would they expect to pay or should it be free? Lots to think about; perhaps I should get practicing and revising my teaching skills.