Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games

Lord of the Dance Dangerous Games

From the Paganesque opening and the appearance of the Borg like Dark Lord, you knew this wasn’t going to be a completely traditional Irish experience. Continue reading

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Sunday Slackers

I’ve got my cuppa, how about you?

First up, the most eagerly awaited film this year: Second official teaser for Star Wars.

For film fans and book lovers: 25 films you may not know were based on books.

Interior Design: Who wants to live in a house like this?

Science/Humanity: Near Death Experiences

Continue reading

The People’s Strictly Blub-Fest

The People’s Strictly kicked off last night – and shares in Kleenex must have soared!

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With an audience potentially split between this, The Brits and Wolf Hall, it quickly became clear that for depth of character, drama, passion and all round life affirming goodness, BBC1 was the place to be.

This wasn’t just any emotional rollercoaster. This was us being more emotionally rollercoastered than ever before, as we met three of the deserving Strictly Come Dancing fans being given their chance to shine in the Strictly ballroom.

Michael, Cassidy and Heather are three of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet. Their selflessness in the face of shattering adversity in their own lives just serves to remind us how powerful the human spirit really is. Read all about them below, along with Trishna, Anna and Phil, who we’ll be introduced to next week and whose stories are just as incredible.

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From left to right of the above image (top row and then bottom):

The couples will compete for the People’s Glitter Ball in a live show on March 11, hosted by Tess and Claudia. We’ll vote for our winner, who’ll be crowned The People’s Strictly champion during Comic Relief on March 13.

The Twitter timeline was awash with virtual tears and tributes to these amazing people. Here’s a selection (to prove it wasn’t only me sobbing my heart out!)

The Three Heroes (click to read the quotes) 

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The Heartbreaking One

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The Men Sobbing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Competitive Edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unashamed Tributes (a fraction)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official images courtesy BBC

Sunday Slackers

The internet of fascinating things with which to hit the Sunday slow-way …

fairy-tales-624980_640Animals: Pets who could’ve sworn you just said “Treats!”

Photography: Fairytale art attack

Travel: The most breathtaking small towns and villages in the world

Life: Things creative people do differently – such as day-dreaming

puppyBear like puppies: *Warning* Serious heart melting may occur

For writers: The surprising reading level of top writers

Dance: Ballet and Irish blues gospel, who knew?

Perfect Sunday Slacker material: Pointless stuff

spirit-394324_640Music: The awesome Bobby McFerrin, his audience, Bach and Gounod. His voice is just incredible 

Supernatural: Do you believe in ghosts? Maybe after seeing these you will

Images by Pixabay: Fairy Tale; PuppyGhost

 

Sunday Slackers

The internet of interesting things to enjoy on the Sunday slow-way … help yourself to a biscuit.

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Culture: Douglas Adams on what it is to be English

Art: Even if you don’t believe in all that astrology stuff, you’ll want to check yours out!

Life: An incredibly inspiring story 

Death: All men (and women) must die. But what about after? I want to be a tree …

Writing: How to write a screenplay that sells itself

Music: Brilliant one-man cover version of Uptown Funk

Dance: I didn’t watch Britain’s Got Talent last year – I came across Yanis Marshall by accident this week and I LOVE this. Much better in a studio than on the BGT stage.

Photography: Fascinating old photos, some odd, some poignant

Travel: You can tell me how safe it is till the sun rises in the west – I still won’t like it. And I’m not sure the title of this app won’t be hijacked by a p0rn director.

Skill: Awesome arrows – do not try at home!

Image: Pixabay

Love dance? Join the Medway Dance Network

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Hosted by Rebecca at The Right Step Dance Company and Heather from Sun Pier House, the Medway Dance Network is a brand new and exciting opportunity for Medway’s dance professionals and other interested parties.

MDN will include monthly networking meetings as well as dance classes run by the dance teachers involved with the network (see poster below). The first meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 27th, from 9.30am – 11am in the Tea Room at Sun Pier House.

The initial session will identify dance needs within Medway and find those who would like to get more involved with MDN in the future. It will also be an opportunity to find out about current dance happenings, and to network with fellow dance fans, tutors and dancers, so do take along leaflets and business cards to share. If you have any ideas or items you would like to contribute, please let Heather or Rebecca know.
New for 2015 Dance ver2

Tricky lifts and dancing

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… and watch out for the B word.

Yes, it’s the annual week-before-we-go-to-Blackpool bonanza.

But back to my original reason for coming here. OLA!!! Steve can dance – just because he can throw throw you from one side of the dance floor to the other doesn’t mean we didn’t want to see those amazing Charleston moves again that we saw so brilliantly in the quickstep, and all too little of, in this Charleston. Grrr – so frustrated last week, – that could have been the dance that netted them the undying devotion of a whole bunch of viewers, just like it did for Team Cola. Such a missed opportunity 😦

It was the same disappointment I felt when Natalie walked out in a leotard with Ricky Whittle, and similar repulsion for Lisa and Brendan. As for the World Champion Show Dancers, well, I’d rather watch Scott and Joanne’s foxtrot again. Seriously – I agreed with Len, re the dance off – Scott’s foxtrot was much cleaner than Alison’s, and the whole routine was a pretty decent effort, considering where he’d come from.

Frankie and Kevin stormed the dance floor again with their tango – such an emotional song and they danced it perfectly, she’s become a strong favourite for me. Mark and Karen have brought themselves right into contention – and the training footage for tonight looks to cement that position.

Caroline is still being Miss Consistent, Sunetra still has her lovely arms, I too noticed Jake’s flappy foot a couple of week’s ago, and Steve will hopefully put in a strong showing in the Paso – he needs a big dance. As I write this, Carmen’s Overture has just begun playing on the radio – a good omen, perhaps? Let’s hope so!

The wait for a Paso Doble to Pirates of the Caribbean continues …

I love Movie Night on Strictly. This, combined with one of my favourite songs from a favourite movie being used by one of my favourite couples dancing one of my favourite dances means I was a very happy bunny last weekend.

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Team StevO did everything and more that could possibly be asked of them, with a fun, bright and lively routine to I Wanna Be Like You that must have cemented them as firm favourites of those who like their dancing with bucket loads of personality. And that’s the last use of a word threatening to usurp the ‘J’ word with an ‘F’ word!

I thought I’d reserve judgment until three weeks in, so I could get a good look at all them doing Latin and Ballroom. In the meantime, we’ve lost Gregg and Jennifer (and, very sadly, the lovely Tristan 😦 …)  and I’ve decided I’m only going to concentrate on those I enjoy the most (rather than having to be positive about those I don’t – because I’m not an Internet Troll and don’t say nasty things about people – regardless of what I might be thinking!).

So Team StevO, having stormed upon us with a fantastic tango, followed with a passable cha cha that just needed a bit more hip action – which we have seen – so I’m hopeful for tonight. You might remember that Ola and Chris Hollins began with a terrific tango, and Steve is pretty much a bigger version. Normal, happy, fun, keen to learn. I’m just sayin’ … There is a danger we could see the rise of an ‘N’ word as we go along. I can’t be doing with grumpiness and tears (see earlier Strictlyfied post).

Frankie and Kevin’s Paso Doble blew me away. The passion and attack were brilliant, her timing, the acting – it was fierce. A lovely waltz and a slightly strange yet wonderful charleston-come-jive means she’s in my top three as a beautiful dancer but very natural and n… down to earth.

Caroline and Pasha I think are brilliant together. The rumba kept moving with some lovely shapes and lots of action, especially those twirly things – supported promenades? A sassy cha cha and a dramatic tango, all delivered with real commitment. And she’s n … n …. oh, what the hell. Normal. No drama, no grumpiness, just like one of us.

As a fiction writer, I know conflict is everything, and I know TV producers probably encourage it. But Strictly (as with the Great British Bake Off) is a different animal. We want cosy, we want cheesy,  we want to sit there wearing a soppy smile along with our sequinned aprons. Which is why, as an audience, we generally vote for the down to earth, good dancers, who aren’t having to work hard in front  of the cameras. One piece of constructive criticism for Simon – don’t be grumpy! That’s the only reason you ended up in the bottom two.

Tapping on the window, looking in at my top three are Jake, Alison and Sunetra. Jake’s salsa was incredible and his waltz and tango showed off his acting abilities with great technique. Alison is fabulous, so groovy and bags of personality brought onto the dance floor with her in all three dances so far, cha cha, foxtrot and jive. Sunetra is going to get better and better I feel, and will be challenging the top of the leaderboard – a 9 from Len for her American Smooth? Come on! She’s also shown how nifty she can be in Latin.

So will things change around tonight? Will someone else make a breakthrough onto my shortlist? Will one of the above have a complete meltdown and totally shred my musings into the nearest bucket and be thrown into recycling? I hope not …

Draw inspiration from Croquis dancers

Traditionally, Croquis is quick sketches drawn by artists watching a model who occasionally changes position. However, the Croqis being introduced to Medway is a collaboration between Rebecca Ashton of The Right Step Dance Company and Richard Squarecube of Squarecube Artisans, who’ve taken it a step further by incorporating dancers.

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The artists are inspired in many different ways and are encouraged to explore the concept using their own techniques. Mostly, they’ll sketch with pencil or charcoal, but already one enterprising soul has used an iPad and others using different forms such as sculpting or modelling are also welcome.

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Taster sessions will be held in November, with the official launch in January 2015. It’s an intriguing add to the creative pot of Medway events, so why not go along and try it out?

Sunday 16th November, 2-3.30pm ‘An Introduction to Croquis Events’

Sunday 23rd November, 2-3.30pm ‘Explore Croquis Your Own way’

Sunday 30th November, 2-3.30pm ‘What Can We Do With This?’

All held at Sun Pier House Gallery and Tea Room, Medway Street, Chatham, ME4 4HF

Just £15/session or £10/session if you bring your own materials.

Book one of the limited places now, by email to: info@therightstepdc.co.uk

An invitation only promo session was held, for which there is an archive with images and feedback – the blog about it can be found here:

http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2014/09/17/croquis-event-promo/

The artists also gave verbal feedback and that’s on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/croquisevents

There’s more information online…

Website: http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/organisations/croquis-events/

Twitter: @Croquis_Events

I’m getting Strictly-fied!

It’s back, and with Tess and Claudia in charge as many of us wanted, so Yay!

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First impressions … Greg was wearing a permanent, infectious grin and Jake looked pretty nifty but too stoney faced. Frankie and Pixie, as expected,  were trim and precise, but Alison outshone both with bags of oomph. Judy seemed a little stiff but her posture looked good – she’ll no doubt warm up, while Thom could well be the whole package – as long as he’s not too earnest. Tim made me laugh – twice – his partnership with Natalie (hurrah, she’s back) already very charming and natural – and he likes flinging himself around, which is something I always want to hear. Simon clearly has a lot of talent, as we’ve seen before, and Caroline can channel the Strictly on Wheels experience to good effect. I didn’t see enough of the others to pass any judgement.

The ‘Unfair advantage’ lot are already pointing fingers, so let’s stop for a moment and discuss: It’s bullshit. Learning to dance ballroom and Latin is totally different to shaking your booty. The pop stars may have the timing, but the sporty folk have the stamina and discipline and the actors bring character. The TV and radio presenters have less experience being on stage but the nature of their jobs is to make the most of their personalities.

Which brings me to the Dos and Don’ts of how to win Strictly:

Don’t be too earnest and over analyse everything – let yourself go and enjoy it.

Don’t moan, cry or complain – we’d give our right legs to be in your position. Which would make things bloody awkward but you get my drift.

Do what your Pro tells you.

Don’t backchat the judges – they know better than you. However, they (and we) love a bit of banter – learn the difference.

Don’t keep telling us how funny you are. It’s like laughing at your own jokes, don’t do it. Make us laugh without meaning to – see note re Tim above.

Be confident, not arrogant.

Do fall in love with dancing – it’ll be obvious to us if you don’t.

Do realise that the worst case scenario of falling over, forgetting your steps or having a major wardrobe malfunction is still massively offset by being given, at the very least, four weeks intensive training with a professional, and two days of pampering and spangly frocks/tuxedos to play at Cinderella or Prince Charming.

Easy, isn’t it?