Friday, September 27, 2013

A Carrot Worth Chasing

Last Saturday night was the First Coast Dancing With the Stars event, and it went really well.  I am so proud of Karl for doing such a great job in his first-ever dance anything, and I hope I get the opportunity to work with him in the future, but in a more relaxed, less choreography-driven manner.  I'd love to guide him through the experience of learning social dancing, in which the "stakes" are typically way less stressful, for a newbie especially, than a choreographed routine and solo performance.

In the meantime, it's never a dull moment...this time next week we'll be at the First Coast Classic dance competition.  "We" is yours truly and my student Theo, pictured above at the same comp last year.  The last few months we've been really focusing on his American Smooth and International Standard dances.  Working on our posture translates into mantras of "head, left, stretch, focus, taller...OK, more taller...good, now a little taller, please...".  Improving our quality of movement comes with a chant that goes something like "arches, femur, core, chest, turn...".  Breaking them down piece by piece, trying to put them all together. 

Sound crazy?  Why do it?  Because we live for those moments when it all does come together (we wish we knew exactly how we did it).  We recognize those moments because in them, we're aware that we're working. our. butts. off.  Yet somehow the movement as a whole seems easier, lighter, more fluid.  Effortless despite the tremendous effort.  Everything else is an attempt to capture that same feeling again and again. 

Fortunately, it's a carrot we both quite enjoy chasing.  I hope everyone out there has a carrot like that.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Party in Pink 2013

Know what a Zumbathon® charity event is?   It's a massive undertaking to put one on - an enormous fitness concert that can attract hundreds of participants who buy tickets, dance/workout for 2 hours, and go home a little fitter, a lot pumped up, and happy knowing they've donated to a charitable cause.

Zumba® Fitness "joined the fight against breast cancer" by launching the Party in Pink event about three years ago.  This year is significant because, while 75% of ticket sales still go to research, it's the first time I've seen them describe specifically what kind of research:  "a study of the effects of flaxseed consumption on pre-menopausal women as a safe, low-cost, highly accessible solution to help prevent breast cancer on a global scale."  (I like the prevention message.)

Attend a Party in Pink event this fall (through October 31st) and you'll be contributing to this study, the first medical research grant named for the Zumba® Fitness program, and led by researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Texas at Austin.

You can find a Party in PinkZumbathon® event in your area here.  Just looking for more info

And by the way, since October (National Dye Everything Pink Month) is on the horizon and we're about to be inundated with it from all sides:  can we please stop saying "breast cancer awareness" and shift our focus to "breast health awareness."  If you're a survivor or related to one, you probably know what I mean.  Thanks.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dancing for a Cause

Meet Karl Schulze.  (He's the one holding the sign.)  Karl and I were recruited to participate in First Coast Dancing With the Stars. 

It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like:  local ballroom pros are paired up with local professionals (AKA Stars) who have no idea what they're actually getting themselves into.  These are successful, busy professionals who may border on work-a-holic.  And yet they carve out time from those busy schedules to learn, from scratch, many with no dance experience whatsoever, a choreographed dance number that they perform in front of an audience and judges in the hopes of winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy.

And, aside from the paperweight-to-be trophy, they let themselves get signed up for this gauntlet for one big reason:  a worthy cause.  This time around, it's Beaches Fine Arts Series, a non-profit organization that brings world-class artists to the First Coast area in concerts that are free to attend.  (There's more to them than that, so I encourage you to follow their link to get the full perspective.)

Our big event is coming up on Saturday, September 21st, at Boleros Cultural Arts Center, and as we near the end of this journey, I just want to shout out to Karl:  you have been, and continue to be, good-natured, fearless, and fun - and that is huge.  Thanks for taking this journey with me - I couldn't have asked for a better Star.  (I could have asked for one with more spare time, but I'd rather dance with you!)    ;)

Friday, September 6, 2013

My (Other) Favorite 3 Little Words

Welcome to my world. Most of us have limited spare time, so I appreciate you spending a few moments of yours with me. I will always strive to make it worthwhile.

Today let me just sum up my thoughts by quoting someone else. Her name is Kathy Kent, and she's in the health and wellness field up in the Chicago area. I get her e-mails, and always learn something I like to share with my students.

This time, she is referencing a continuing education training she attended, at which the emphasis boiled down to some pretty darn good health advice:

"Eat good things. Avoid bad things. Move your body."

I especially like the last bit. Move your body. Three words; many paths; great rewards.