Friday, May 29, 2015

Add Dance to your Life

I get a lot of beginners, many with great promise, and then I never see them again.
So I am writing a letter with words of inspiration.
Our class will be over soon and most of you will lose your motivation,  letting this great beginning come to naught.
You can let the music keep you going by tuning your car radio to a music station and thinking about how the music would work with dance. I listen to 91.9, 92.7, 89.3 & 100.3. Find the 1 beat.
Check online for inspiration and clarification, but still come out and join a dance group.
Come to the First Saturday dances.
Join a studio class. I teach year round at Cape Cod Dance Center.
Ladies,  I run a dance and stretch class for styling and body conditioning.
Look on my website
Check local nightlife for blues and dance bands.
email me anytime

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Losing weight 2015

Vanity as usual was the goad, but I am glad I was able to shed the pounds that had been building up over a few years. At least 10 pounds left, maybe more, but I wasn't carefully noting the top weight. It was over 170, and I'm hovering at 160 now.
People ask how I did it. I looked at the literature. Women's magazines always have ideas, right next to the latest recipe for chocolate cake. I clipped out a set of exercises that looked promising in Parade magazine, a barre set by Sadie Lincoln entitled "5 minutes to WOW!"
Then it was February, and Joe went off to Florida to escape the snowy winter. My daughter-in-law entrusts our grandson to me once a week, a job I refuse to miss. He will be four soon, so one more year before I am not needed in Dartmouth.
Anyway, Joe was gone, so I decided to make an effort.  I stopped buying bread. Having to make brown rice instead slows down the consumption. Also, I was eating yogurt with ginger jam and coconut butter every night, so I stopped buying any of that. Finally, the Ritter dark chocolate bars with hazelnuts had to go, even once a week.
I went to the library health section (613) and took out a bunch of books. One said a good goal was to lose 10% of your weight, so that was maybe 17 pounds. The South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet were mildly interesting, but not my style. Eat, Drink and Weigh Less by Mollie Katzen had some good recipes as well as encouragement.
The Eight Hour Diet by Men's Health magazine author David Zinczenko had an entirely different approach. Sort of fasting by starting to eat later in the day or quitting early. I toyed with that idea. Certainly giving up eating after 6:30 PM was a good idea.
I was going to the high school at 7AM to tutor for the MCAS, my spring job. For the teenagers, I need to stay on an even keel, so forget the waiting until 10:30 to break fast. I went with oatmeal every morning. I'm still on that.
The strongest suggestion was to exercise for 8 minutes before eating anything, thereby burning fat calories.  I liked the barre ones better than Men's Health.
 "Sumo Squats" describes the right way to do squats, an excellent all around useful exercise for a woman my age. Keeping the knee going over the second toe is crucial, as I discovered last summer when I tried to strengthen my knees and wound up tightening my IT band until my knees ached at night. My daughter-in-law put me on a "foam roller" a self massage technique for the outside of the thigh.
Carousel Horse is a variety of lunge. Horse Pose Plie is very wide. Starfish is a wide plie with a leg lift. I round out the routine with a minute of plank or any other core exercise from Pilates. Then I stretch the quads and roll once on the foam roller. Maybe 15 minutes in all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

PBS Ballroom 2015

It's a far cry from the heyday of PBS coverage of the Ohio Star Ball back in the nineties, just 3 hours in all, mostly the showcase dances, but still more real than Reality TV (DWTS).
Last month, and still available at three Friday evenings in a row documented the professional competition. Mary Murphy of So You Think You Can Dance teamed with Tony Meredith to introduce and comment. 
First featured was American Smooth style, the one the most like Fred Astaire's dancing, open, showy Waltz and Foxtrot. Several couples chose a type of Viennese that used the 6/8 style tripling of the music often associated with slow songs. I saw more stretching than ever.
After a half hour of that, American Rhythm was much more to my taste. Swing, not Jive, gave Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine, the Haitian, a chance to give a knock-out performance to James Brown's "I Feel Good." That was just in the finals of the dance styles, the part I used to love when the program was longer. We only got to see the Swing, not Bolero, Cha cha, Mambo or Rumba. All the showcases were excellent, and Emmanuel and his Russian partner won with a Mambo.
The next week, I managed to get the show on my DVR and watch International Standard and Latin styles on my TV. Beautiful dancers went right out of their styles to do the showcases, presenting Western style or Cabaret.
The third week was a special set of showcases choreographed for the TV prize "America's Best Ballroom Dancers". Between sets of showcases, a set of Cabaret performances included the weirdest ever, an exorcism worthy of Cirque De Soleil.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Maybe that was the peak show of Dancing with the Stars this season

I have been having trouble keeping up with the dancing on TV.
Last week's DWTS featured 4 good dancers, and the judges got involved much more than usual.
Not just tips, but choreography from Carrie-Ann, Len, Julianne and Bruno.
Each was recused from judging but it didn't matter. They all got perfect scores. Sometimes the judges don't want to find fault. They don't have to.
Tom revealed that all four had been the top scorer one week or another, including our wounded warrior, Noah Galloway, a beautiful, brave young man missing both an arm and a leg who consistently garners huge audience support. His partner, Sharna Burgess, is Australian and new to the finals.
I like the way Rumer Willis and Valentin Smirkovsky embrace the ethos of the traditional dance steps and mood. When they given the "Shake Your Bootie" song, he choreographed hip shaking as required, but agreed with Len that that was not to his taste.  He is also much more modest than his brother, the overly masculine Maksim.
The handsome young Mormon Riker Lynch is the third finalist, dancing with the contemporary dancer, Alison Holker. She mentioned his objections to the oversexualization that sometimes shows up in the show, demanding a new song when he found the one picked for them offensive.
Eliminated was the Olympic gold gymnast Nastia (Anastasia) Luikin, dancing with Derek Hough, who was phoning in his choreography for a while, having accepted a job at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. She danced with Sasha Farber, troupe member, after Derek injured his ankle.
Anyway, tonight is the finals. The finals are followed by a finale tomorrow, not mentioned on Wikipedia where charts of scores dominate the entry. A better source of information was Road to the Finals, that aired Saturday, a mish mash of old footage that I would have totally missed except that my DVR noticed.
I would rather watch again the Ballroom Challenge show on PBS. The American Rhythm sequence was the best in my opinion, and perhaps the judges as well, since the young Haitian Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine won with his Russian partner Liana Churilova.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

2015 Dance Opportunities

A lot of the dances I will be running are just a bit different.
My usual time and place for June 6.
Then a Cape Cod Dance Center Dance with Ron Gursky is tentatively set for June 14.
July, I can use the Conservatory not on Saturday, but the First Sunday, so July 5.
August, I am happy to try out Betsy's Saturday, August 1.
Then August 7, Friday, the Falmouth Historical Society has another lovely evening planned with Solon Six and the Sapphires, our dance floor under a tent, Roland's catering, silent auction,  caricatures, a good deal at $65.
September, Labor Day is too much of a family weekend, so I'll run a Second Saturday.
Then, National Ballroom Dance Week includes a Celebration of Dance with showcases, the third weekend of September.
October sees us back at St. Barnabas.
November 14 is the Mary French semi-annual fundraiser dance featuring Ron Gursky's showcases and DJ work. My committee is already thinking of decoration themes, food table, and silent auction dance items.