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Taylors Retreat

On the 6thI got invited to Taylors Retreat in Surrey to take part in the Inter School Show Case and Taylors Masked Ball. I’d never been to Taylors before but had heard a lot about it and was excited to get to check it out for myself.

Sam Cowie (one of the Pole2Pole instructors), was asked if she would be interested in participating at the showcase with some of the Pole2Pole girls. She said yes and contacted a few of the girls to see who was available. There were three of us that were available that weekend – Hannah, Lindsay and I. We spent a few hours over a couple of weeks choreographing a routine. We had two poles to use for the performance and as we didn’t have the space to practice, we used two bricks in the garden as our pretend poles so we could mark out the routine. The four of us had great fun all having our input into the routine. Our chosen music was a mash up of songs from the iconic film ’Mary Poppins’. Never in my two years of dancing had I imagined I’d be pole dancing to Mary Poppins. It was hilarious and we definitely got into the characters well.

Our routine was fairly straightforward, Sam was Mary Poppins, and the rest of us were chimney sweeps. It was a very tongue-in-cheek routine but we still wanted to show off our skills – we were representing Pole2Pole after all. We each had a few moves on the pole with floor work arranged to fit with the music. Our costumes were easy to put together – black shorts, black vest tops, flat caps, neck scarves and the finishing touch was black makeup used to cover us in ‘soot’. We certainly looked the part.

We all met at Sam’s early afternoon and set off for Taylors Retreat. The journey should have taken a couple of hours at most, but due to an accident, we took the scenic route. ROAD TRIP! It was nice to spend some time with the girls outside of class and get to know them better!

When we arrived, it wasn’t at all like I had imagined. Lindsay had told me it was a farm, but that hadn’t quite registered in my brain. We drove past a beautiful farm house and parked the car. It was literally in the middle of nowhere, right out in the country. It was so lovely. We booked in and said a few hello’s and then got on with hair, makeup and changing. Our changing room wasn’t exactly glamorous – it was Sam’s mini cooper!

Once ready, we went to check out where we would be performing. There was a huge barn, which had about 10 poles inside, as well as an aerial hoop, trapeze and silks. There was also a bar and changing room. Outside there were various different types of poles everywhere, and stalls selling pole products and clothing. It was a great set up and I was impressed to say the least.

There were 5 dance schools taking part in the inter school showcase and in between them all, there were various other performances. We were on last out of the 5 schools so had a while to wait. The show started with an aerial hoop performance. I was totally blown away, it was amazing. Suzie Q and Toby Monson did a breathtaking trapeze performance. There was a really cool Chinese pole demonstration from Carlos (he’s from Brazil don’t you know!!) and Bendy Kate did an excellent performance as Roxie Hart from the show Chicago. Everyone was excellent and I was having a great night.

Before we knew it, everyone else had performed and it was our turn. We walked on to stage as we were introduced, the music started and off we went. There is one major difference between group and solo performances and that is awareness. To do a routine in time with each other is really difficult. You have to know where the others are, and you have to know the beats of your music. Having not actually been able to practise with two poles, it was a challenge in itself to get the timing right. But I have to say, we did it well. When we watched the recording, we were spot on for most of the routine. Not bad for a first attempt! The audience enjoyed it and so did we. As we came off stage we all hugged and I felt a huge sigh of relief – we had done it!

After a short break the results were announced. There were 5 trophies’ to be won; Best Overall Performance, Best Theme, Best Tricks, Best Costume and Best Put Together Routine. All the competitors were gathered on stage and one by one they were announced. 3 down and we hadn’t won anything. Next up was Best Costume and I thought we were in with a good chance. Sure enough we won! We hugged, jumped and screamed! Not bad for a routine put together around two bricks in the garden!

The best thing about the whole day had been getting to know the girls better, and having fun along the way. I was so proud of our performance and that we had won something as well. Plus I felt like I had handled my nerves well, which was good as the same time the following week I was doing it all over again at the Pole2Pole Cup!

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Taylors Retreat
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
On the 6thI got invited to Taylors Retreat in Surrey to take part in the Inter School Show Case and Taylors Masked...

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