On Wednesday, Alex and I rented a small room at Ripley Grier for an hour and tap danced! It was super awesome. I have from time to time in my past carried my tap shoes about and found empty rooms with wooden floors to practice in, but I often run out of ideas of what to practice before I run out of time. Tapping with someone else means that sometimes we can just do our own things, but then we can also teach each other combinations and exercises and steps that we know, which means that not only do we have more stuff to do to fill the time, but we are practicing picking up new things, which can be a tricky endeavor outside of a class! Plus, I found my folder full of tap notes - mostly dances and exercises from Berle, plus some really old stuff from Sue B., plus some stuff from Bob Boross and some from Ray Hesselink (whom, p.s., Alex and I saw while we were there! We ran out of the room and said hello, and he remembered that we'd been on the UCI Satellite program, and congratulated us on moving here, and we said we'd come take class from him soon! So exciting!) - so when we run out of our own stuff to do, we can work on the stuff in there! The room was $24 for an hour, which was $12 each, which is about 2/3 of the cost of a class - plus we got to dance the whole time, instead of waiting while everyone else goes across the floor or practices stuff I've figured out already, or while the teacher figures out what to teach next, or any of the enormous number of other things that slow down dance classes.*
So that was great. The plan is to go three times a month, which is as often as I can afford.
And on Wednesday evening we went to see Making It! It was wonderful. It was so wonderful. It was Stew on guitar and vocals (and I think he wrote most of the music), and Heidi Rodewald on bass, and a guy on tuba and a guy on trombone and a guy on clarinet and bass clarinet and flute and sax and a guy on drums and a guy on keyboards, and I think that's everyone. It was music about the end of relationships, and it was music about the end of Stew and Heidi's stint on Broadway, and it was "Black Men Ski," about the many things black men do (I wonder if black women do them) that white people think only white people do because white people have a very ridiculous restricted view of black people, and it was music about touring, "there is an intimacy in motion that transcends the stationary," and it was music about drugs - speed, "the kingdom of drink," another person, and about the real, still, because that's how he relates to music, uses it to find truth and uses truth to find it and is always searching, or anyway, that's how his interaction with music appears to me, always searching for something deeper, and anyway it's what I think music should be, if I were to think of a single way that music should be, which I don't - and I loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it. If you ever have the chance to see Stew, do it.
And then as we emerged at the end of the show, a group of people were talking about Passing Strange, not the part it plays in Stew's musical curriculum vitae (I feel like there is a better phrase for that, but it is not coming to mind), not how his music has gone around it and through it and changed or not changed, not about theatre and music, not about the differences and the similarities and the overlaps and the divergences, not about anything across or around or through or among or between, but just about the content and quality of Passing Strange, and I was like, boy, did they miss the point or what.
*This is not to say that I don't absolutely love taking good tap classes. I love it. I would love to take some. I would love to be able to afford to take tap class twice a day five or six days a week. But that is not an option.