Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Show Must Go On.

Our annual tap-dance performance at the Collingwood Toy Library Fair* was in October rather than March this year, and as such was subject to Melbourne's famously unpredictable spring weather. Being, as it always is, an outdoor performance, we monitored the forecast all week, and saw with dismay that rain was looming. But Pollyanna-like, I crossed my fingers that it would hold off until after we'd done our performance.  And then, as all my gorgeous kid-tappers and their lovely families assembled, it became quite clear that the rain wasn't going to hold off, and it was coats on, umbrellas out and a whole lot of questioning faces looking at me to see what should happen. By then my tap boards were wet and dangerous, the stall holders had covered their wares with tarpaulins and the general public was vanishing into the stands of the old football stand where the fair was being held. It looked like we'd have to cancel so I did at first say that, and about 4 families who were feeling the cold took themselves off. But most of them hung around and a few of them started saying we could go up to the second tier of the stand, we think there's enough room there.  Which made me think well we could at least get the senior kids to perform in a limited space, so everyone hiked up and around, and there was a big enough area of concrete up there, so the Tapsters grabbed their tap-sticks and started us off.  Then the Groovers looked at me hopefully and it seemed a shame not to show off their awesome routine and before we knew it, ALL the kids were sticking their hands in the air and asking if it was them next.  So everyone got to perform, except the ones who bolted early and I felt bad about that, but seeing as it was our first time in the new surrounds and staffed by volunteers who knew nothing, it was just a hard call to make. Anyway. The Show did, in fact, Go On, and that's how I like it.


As a change and a challenge I had choreographed all the routines without music, teaching the kids to  work with just rhythms so that they made the music.  I have been incredibly impressed with the way the kids all really got on top of what they were asked to do.  Even my adorable 4 year olds were able to master an a'capella routine and some call-and-answer patterns. On the day I only had one tapper from that group, but she did a wonderful job on her own.


This was her when she'd finished; she was so delighted and cute, and her family were bursting with pride when she rejoined them


But I'm getting ahead of myself. We opened the proceedings with the most difficult of all the rhythm routines, the clever Tapsters with their tap-sticks.  This is them getting ready to start us off.


They had to tap fast, and intersperse feet rhythms with bangs of the stick on the ground.  Check out the concentration on their faces.


They're such a lovely group and their lessons are very funny because in-between being clever at learning new and hard stuff, they love to muck around with each other and they do all have loony senses of humour..


Next up was my showbiz class, the always awesome Groovers, featuring my Cherub. Their routine was called Hands and Feet because I put tap plates on their hands (© !!) and built a routine using sounds made from all the tap plates. 

They adored doing the routine, and loved building the music of it by contributing their individual beats. I'm very proud of this one. They did it so well and sounded great and recieved a rapturous round of applause afterwards.


They always steal the show, this lot.




Next up were the Flappers class, most of who only started tapping this year. Their routine began with us singing a little bit of I Got Rhythm, and then we tapped the rhythm of that song without the song if that makes sense. Usually we have more kids in the group but not everyone can do performance days so these two coped really well with just each other and me.  I have been really impressed with this group and thought the girls did a great job; not a single mistake and absolutely knew what they had to do. I think for both of them it was their first performance with me, and they coped with a tricky routine, no music to hide behind, unfamiliar terrain and uncomfortable conditions, and they nailed it. Fantastic.


The Shufflers, my intermediate class, were split into 3 groups and had to hold their group's rhythm against the other two groups. I thought they performed it marvellously well. It really was a challenge, their routine, and there were days when it took us so long just to get one little bit that I'd wonder if I was being crazily over-ambitious. But they are great, they never gave up and they got it. They absolutely got it. Champions. Here's Group Three.


And Group Two, well, what there was of it! This little trouper had no-one with her in her group, and did a wonderful job holding her rhythms down.


And this is Group One, plus our human metronome. In fact, he is my Saturday Morning Assistant (Nell's replacement) and generally his job is marking the roll and taking the money and a little bit of dogsboddery. But bonus skillz, he is also a drummer so I can haul him out from behind the desk when I need a beat kept for me. He did so for this routine using a drumstick and a handrail. He's so good, and a lovely young man to boot.


We finished up with the cheeky Gliders. usually we have heaps of them but we were missing at least two thirds of their class for the performance.  They were looking very worried that I might forget to give them a go, bless their hearts.


Didn't matter that they weren't all there, they absolutely knew what to do and stormed through a very tricky dance.


What a bunch of tapping superstars.



* Previous performances available by clicking this link. it's quite interesting seeing how we've grown.
Excellent photography by my sister.


  1. oh wow! That's fabulous :) What a great and talented bunch of kids - and they're so lucky to have you as their teacher!

  2. Oh wow, there's my Nina and Grace! The girls loved tap this year and their very first performance rain and all. Sorry we missed the last class, too much to do before we left. They'll be back next year.

  3. Hope you and the family have a lovely trip Julie! Tell the girls we are missing them in class. See you next year.

  4. Awesome performances! You left out a bit though. They say you can do difficult things as long as someone has faith that you can. I'm thinking the reason they rise to all these challenges is the enthusiasm and you-can-do-it-iv-ity of their teacher in her swanky purple pants!

    That tall guy in the red? Is it possible?

    Is it okay if I steal "dogsboddery?" Such a beautiful word. Oh, and I love that you're a diehard!

    1. Steal away Molly. And yes, that tall guy in the red. Not long before he is taller than me!

  5. ....and I applaud you for your Pollyanna-itivity. Me too. I love that in a person!

  6. How lovely! Looks like a great time was had by all.

  7. Oh my goodness, well done, everyone, what troopers! Lovely post, thank you!


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