The Road to the World Tap Championships 2011 (Part 5)

The Road to the World Tap Championships 2011 (Part 5)

The concluding thoughts of Jordan Mills, part of the England Team as he prepares, rehearses and performs…Part 5 (Read Part 4, Part 3, Part 2 & Part 1)

On The Road…

So, this is what we’d been working towards – over 120 hours of solid training in preparation for this – the IDO World Tap Championships 2011. I couldn’t wait! Hmm, but how to keep this level of excitement up for the 18 hour coach journey ahead – anticipation, a load of great friends and teammates, and a tonne of coffee! After staying awake for the 800 mile journey we arrived at the hotel where we’d be staying in Riesa. The rooms were nice, and after settling in we got some sleep ready for the hectic week ahead…

Riesa

Whilst travelling to where we’d be training we got to see a bit of Riesa. It’s a really quiet town and really the only things there were a load of Netto supermarkets and the Erdgas Arena – where we’d be performing in a few days. But before we went there, we had training at a sports complex right next to the arena. Reluctantly, I performed my solo. My nerves were ridiculous, mostly due to the fact that we were in Germany and I felt overwhelmed by the experience. There was a lot of work to do before I could get on the world stage, and I would do it – I had to do it…

The right tap shoes are so important

…Second day: up early for a full day of training. One thing that made training easier was the shoes. They were Capezio’s K360 professional tap shoes courtesy of Capezio – Tap Attack’s supporters – and surprisingly I had no foot problems at all – I was lucky. Tuesday was when I started fine tuning my solo. A lot of filming and watching and then re-filming and watching myself again – something I hate doing, but it needed to be done if I was going to even feel comfortable getting up onto the stage that I hadn’t even seen yet.
Wednesday came, and with it so did the rest of the team. Now it truly felt like a team now that everyone was here, including the supporting family of the team. The junior competition had begun and it was a great start…
And before I knew, it was Thursday: more training, more performing for the team and more watching the incredible teams that we were up against. It was phenomenal to see so much tap in one place…

formation day

Friday – formation day. The scariest day so far of the week. Any spare time the team had was spent rehearsing and rehearsing and rehearsing. When we came to performing, we couldn’t have been closer as a team. But what we were going to do the next day would truly make us the best possible team…

Saturday: the last and scariest day of the week, time for my solo and the small group categories. After such a successful previous day the pressure was on to do well in our sections. But it wouldn’t be easy, as if we did well in all of the categories I would have no time to practice as I’d just be changing costumes constantly, which is exactly what happened. We reached the finals in the formation and the guys group got through to the final round.

Through to the finals

The boys group was the best dance for me as we got on so well and just had a laugh. But when we reached the final everyone started to get the “we’ve got a chance” feeling. We all knew that we had an awesome routine and if we nailed it we could be on the podium. After performing we went back on stage for the exciting part – open marking. All of the finalists stand back on the stage and watch as the judges give show placards indicating where they would place you. Our results were good and from them we could tell that we were on the podium – but where?

Waiting on side of stage as they called out the places was the scariest moment ever! Podium places were being announced, and we had worked out that we were either 3rd or 2nd. 3rd… Not us! “2nd place… Tap Attack, the boys from England!” That’s when the smile started. Standing on the podium and watching the England flag ascend in the arena was an unbelievable feeling and we had done it! But we weren’t finished yet – we still had the formation, which was much scarier!

There was much more to come

But the most nerve-racking moments were waiting to hear if I’d reached the next round in the solo category. In total there were 23 competitors from all over the world, two of them being guys from the England Team. After the quarterfinal round we were frantically rehearsing the formation and I could just hear the announcements – my name was called. I’d done what I wanted to do. Getting through the first round was enough for me, but before I could think I had performed again in the semi-finals and this time everyone was waiting to hear the results nervously backstage. Several names had been called including one from the England Team – wasn’t me. But before I could congratulate him, my name was called and the whole team erupted with excitement knowing that two of the England Team had reached the male solo finals!…

A dream outcome

…My first thought was shock, then excitement, then fear – I’d got through to all of the finals! This then meant that I had seconds to change after my solo performance into the formation. So, the time came. I watched the soloists that I was up against and I knew at that moment that I was nowhere near the podium, but just to be in the final was incredible! Performing on a stage that size individually is a ridiculously daunting and rewarding experience, and after I’d ended my final performance, I’d done all I could do.

But there was no time to think about it now, as the open marking was over and our formation was up next – I had seconds to change into my costume. Luckily the host, Michael, had been told this and chatted away so I had enough time to get ready. My head was still spinning from the solo event so clearing my head and focusing for the formation was difficult, but I had to do it. After the week of incredibly difficult rehearsals and unbelievable teamwork, we had reached the final…

… After we hit the final position, it was over. No more performances on this amazing stage, just the results: 6 trophies and 31 medals, including a junior world champion. Individually, I came 6th in the solo category, then 3rd with the team in the formation and 2nd with the guys in the small group category. An emotionally and physically exhausted England Team headed back to the hotel to celebrate… and pack. The trip home seemed to be a lot shorter and sleep was a necessity this time!…

…After saying my goodbyes, I headed home with time to think back on what exactly I had achieved with the team, and what I’d love to do again – roll on next year!

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