ADAD Trailblazer Interim Report 2009-2010

Achievements, 19 April 2010

The Jazz Trio

When I first put my Trailblazer Fellowship proposal together my biggest concern was finding musicians I could work with. However, it turned out that fortune was on my side. I met Michèle Drees at the London Tap Jam during the summer of 2009 and by the end of the year we were scheduling time in her home studio to begin creative work. Not only was Michèle a well-experienced, fabulous drummer interested in developing in tap dance, she had just put together a jazz trio specifically to work with tap dancers. And by the beginning of January 2010 the Michèle Drees Trio were playing for the monthly London Tap Jam at Ronnie’s Bar in Soho.

Michèle and I continuously exchange ideas on tunes to listen to, and occassionally get together to try out new ideas. We have also been able to run through ideas at general tap sessions such as jams. I am currently building a working relationship with all three musicians through professional performances. One of these engagements was at Ronnie Scott’s in March 2010 as part of the Women in Jazz Week 8-13 March 2010. Michèle invited me as a special guest hoofer to work with her and her band alongside several other fabulous, special guest female musicians (Michèle’s line up). It was my first opportunity to work with a six-piece jazz band and it was particularly exciting to perform for the first time at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.



It is proving to be beneficial to have a mentor as part of the Trailblazer Fellowship, particularly for identifying and gaining advice on specific goals. I have had two sessions with my mentor, Tim Richards that have included doing practical music tasks, as well as suggestions on jazz music to listen to for ideas and inspiration. As I hoped, the sessions also tie in nicely with the Blues Piano course I’m enrolled on (with Tim), which helps to develop my musicality and arranging skills for working with musicians.

Tap dance equipment

Another positive achievement has been my research into a suitable tap dance floor. I’m currently awaiting details of when I can try out a new tap board. When it is completed I’ll be able to make a bulk order on behalf of other interested tap dancers in the UK (and so reduce costs).

Research trip – July 2010

With the support of the ADAD Trailblazer Fellowship I’m fully signed up for a two week workshop in July 2010 – Heather Cornell’s 20th Anniversary NYC Rhythm Tap Intensive Workshop: Back to our roots – Jazz intensive. This 20th Anniversary Celebration will be the last one and is limited to only twenty participants. As the title suggests, it will be rooted in jazz and there will be musicians to work with. It will be a great opportunity to learn new material, brush up on technique and develop ways to work with musicians, all of which work towards my project goals.

I am grateful to be a winner of the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship Fund 2010-2011 for the research trip of my ADAD Trailblazer project.

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Posted in Articles, Professional development, Projects, Tap dance, Trailblazer Fellowship