A Journey to the World Tap Dance Championships 2011- Part 1
The thoughts of Jordan Mills, part of the England Team as he prepares, rehearses and performs…
How It All Began
Jordan Mills. Full-time student. Tap dancer. First time blogger. Here goes…
I never thought that I’d be able to say, “I am a member of the youth tap company Tap Attack, which is the only one of its kind in England.”
I never thought that I’d be able to say, “I’m representing my country, performing a solo routine on an international stage at the World Tap Championships.”
I never thought that I’d be able to say, “ Syncopated double pick-up wing triple time steps – I can do that!”
As I approach the last couple of months of intense training before the IDO World Tap Dance Championships 2011 in Riesa, Germany I’ve been reflecting on 14 years of preparation.
The transition from my exam classes and performance opportunities at Poole Academy of Dance to my work with the Tap Attack Youth Company has been intense and I’ve loved every second.
I’ve been with Poole Academy of Dance now for 14 years – studying modern jazz, ballet and tap – taking vocational exams, performing in shows as well as acting and singing. Yet whatever I did, tap was always what I really loved, (I remember faking an injury, so that I didn’t have to do a modern class, but not for tap!)
Tap – quick, rhythmical, precise, strong, technical, awesome to watch, listen to and perform. Although I’d always loved it as a hobby, I didn’t think that I’d want to take performing on stage any further. But that all changed and I can remember exactly when.
Got To Dance!
Back in 2008 I performed in the Poole Academy of Dance show, “Follow The Yellow Brick Road” (The Wiz, Wizard of Oz, Wicked), I took the lead role, as Fiyero in Wicked. It was a great week of big audiences and a fabulous cast. On the last night, as we stood in front of the sell-out crowd and listened to the applause, I knew that I wanted performing, dance, tap to be more than just a hobby. I knew that I wanted to be a professional dancer. Now to tell the parents!
My Mum is a ballet teacher and my sister performs with South Coast Ballet and Poole Academy of Dance, so they really encouraged me, it was only my Dad that took a bit of convincing. But I went to summer school at Performers’ College and got some great feedback, attended Laine’s Junior Squad through the winter and then went to a Tap Attack workshop in Portsmouth.
The workshops are run all over the country, you can find out where at www.tapattack.co.uk. I would recommend them to anyone interested in tap. You’ll be coached and choreographed by some of the best in the business. Once I’d experienced Tap Attack’s one hour workshop with one of the team, I loved it, the style of tap really suited me. It was completely different to what I was used to and I found it difficult to master. It really took me out of my comfort zone after all those years that I’d had at Poole Academy of Dance. It felt great and I wanted more…
In the meantime I auditioned for the Poole Lighthouse Pantomime, Peter Pan with Debra Stephenson and Michael Absalom. I performed as a senior dancer, Pirate and Nana the dog, and managed to get time off from school to take on the relentless rehearsal and performance schedule. It was a terrific run with an amazingly supportive and friendly cast; the whole experience drove me forward towards my goal of performing professionally.
My First Steps
I’d been following Tap Attack’s progress on Sky 1’s “Got to Dance”, (they reached the semi-final) and I had been regularly checking the Tap Attack website for local workshops and then one evening saw that they were holding open auditions for the Youth Company Squad. It’s from this squad that the England Team for the World Championships was picked and the “Got to Dance” team – I wanted in.
The auditions were in May 2011 at the Dance Attic in London…
Next time London to Reading via Swindon & Liverpool…the audition and the long wait…
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