Monday, 20 November 2017

Tutti Frutti - Phoenix's Over 55 Contemporary Class

Morley Town Hall
Licence Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Every Monday between 11:00 and 12:15 during the Leeds school term I get to dance to Little Richard with a roomful of other ladies in my age group in  Morley Town Hall. Our teacher is Tanya Richam-Odoi and she is fab. The class is part of the Young at Arts programme which is delivered by Phoenix Dance Theatre. I discussed that programme in Growing Old Disgracefully in Morley 28 Sept 2015.

The class starts with a cup of tea or coffee and a right old natter.  After our caffeine fix, Tanya calls is to order in a circle with some gentle arm swinging, then some finger work,  leg and foot stretching, standing on one leg while rotating the foot on the other leg. Once we have warmed up she teaches us some routines in a contemporary idiom.  Right now we are learning Tutti Frutti which starts with four steps to the front, four to the back, then side steps rather like glissades with side bends, a lot of lunges to the right and left with "She bops to the east" and "she bops to the west". We simulate saxophones and guitars. We do more deep stretching, then another routine and finally a thorough cool down which is like a routine in itself.

Tania takes a personal interest in her students who clearly adore her. They tell her about their aches and pains, their news and there is a lot of hugging, Tania practises something called craniosacral therapy. I could be wrong, but the photo of her home page reminds me of Calgary Beach on the Isle of Mull which brings me to the other reason why I like her. She is very, very, very Scottish which reminds me of my salad days at St Andrews. These were the happiest time of my life. Tanya also reminds me of my first ballet teacher at St Andrews who was also Scottish. She taught me to jump to her clapping which still resound in my brain (never mind what the music is playing) when the teacher tells us to do grands jetés.

The class is open to everyone over 55.  It costs £3 including the tea and biscuits. You can park for free in Morrisons' car park and enter through a ginnel (or wynd) in the left side elevation of the building.

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