From Russia With Love – the return of the #fastestfeet
December 2012 was, let’s be honest, mildly depressing. There was cold without snow, rain without cease, and for me at least, Christmas without family for the first time in my life. As cool as Skype is, somehow hugging the screen just didn’t cut it.
However, a couple of changes in the swing of things brought about the kind of inside-warming pick me up that the gallons of Costa’s Salted Caramel Latte just couldn’t do – one was immediate, as a test in a Ginetta at Donington sprung up and became a reality in little under 24 hours. The other was a phone call from Richard Griffin, master Irish Dancing choreographer and good friend following on from the months spent touring the world with Gaelforce Dance Irish Dance troupe.
Having met up for a few hours over casual breakfast a couple of months previously, I’d given intentions of coming back on tour. This time, the conversation was short, and simple – “Ash, March 9-27, are you available?” After a carefully considered prod through my diary and confirming I was, the reply came. “We’re touring Russia. Get your passport details to me today. You’re on the tour.”
And just like that, I was back as a professional dancer.
Fast forward to the present day, and albeit still cold and miserable outside, my head is filled with the most incredible memories from 17 days spent with 19 of the most awesome people on the face of the earth.
The first of those 17 days was spent traveling back to Trim, County Meath, Ireland. The scene of rehearsals for my last tour in 2007, it was like no time had passed as I set my bags down again at the Knightsbrook Golf Resort. As well as cushy rooms and all food taken care of, the resort had the full range of spa/sauna/gym combos that ensured we were all in peak condition.
Rehearsals kicked off the following morning, and it was straight back into the swing. Most of the show hadn’t changed, so I was lucky enough to know most of the numbers still. However, hard work would soon take over as new steps had to be learned and positions remembered. Last time I had rehearsals we had 10 days to pick things up. This time, only 5, which was cut to 4 when some cast members had trouble arriving on the first day. Roll on intense hours of memorising, drilling and non stop dancing.
With the racing season closing in, the days spent dancing were awesome training – 10 till 8 every day, with an hour for lunch and dinner, spent hammering away at