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Posts Tagged ‘Dance fitness’

Bollywood Unraveled

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I recently asked Bollywood Dance instructor Prakash Mohandas to write about Bollywood. Hope you enjoy what he has to say…

 

I am going to start this blog with the same question I ask in my classes, what do you know about Bollywood Dance?

The most common answers include Slumdog Millionaire, So You Think You Can Dance and a gesture of a light bulb being turned with one hand while squashing a bug with one foot.

My response to their comments, in this order, is always, “Wrong,”  “Well, kinda” and “Are you serious?”

While the majority of people aren’t really sure how to define Bollywood, occasionally I come across the true Bollywood fan. This person names all the movies he or she has seen, to the amazement of the rest of the class.

At this point an explanation is required as to why we’re talking about movies in a dance class. Bollywood is the name given to the Hindi film industry in India which primarily operates out of a city called Bombay (now Mumbai). So with Bombay being the self-proclaimed Hollywood of India, the term Bollywood was coined! Isn’t it ingenious?

So what exactly is Bollywood Dance and where did it come from?

Bollywood dance is, in essence, Indian film dance centered around music from Hindi movies. Bollywood dance is defined more by the music than by the dance style itself.

Bollywood dance is a genre that draws inspiration from various dance styles such as Bhangra, Folk dance, Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary and more. The choreography of a Bollywood song and the steps that go into it are governed by the music it’s set to and how these dance styles can effectively be used to communicate the music. The advantage of this diverse dance form is that it gives the freedom for the choreography of Bollywood song to range from slow to upbeat and classical to contemporary. This is what makes it fun! In fact, there is one thing that is common to any kind of Bollywood number—energy!

So now that you really know what Bollywood dance is all about come check out the Bollywood choreography and Bollywood fitness classes on Monday and Thursdays.

Do you hear Bollywood calling?

Make Your World a Playground

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

I am not Jillian Michaels. Jillian Michaels is one of the most recognizable faces in fitness today, and has inspired thousands and thousands of people to change their habits and adopt healthier, happier, and fitter lifestyles.

While I am not Jillian Michaels, am not recognized by millions, and don’t quite have her body, I do share a similar passion to see people change their habits and adopt healthier, happier, and fitter lifestyles. That’s why I love my job!

 

Today I was thinking about those three words; health, happy, fit. Which is more important? What should we strive for first in order to have it all? What comes first, the chicken or the egg? If I am healthy I am going to be a lot happier than if I’m not healthy. But does being healthy automatically create happiness? And if I’m healthy does that make me fit? No. If I am fit does that make me healthy? Not necessarily. If I’m happy can I conclude that I must also be healthy and fit? Of course not! Yes, there are facts I know. Exercise is good for me physically. Exercise is good for my stress level. Exercise is good for my brain. But will I exercise if I the exercise is not enjoyed; does not make me happy?

 

I can toss this around in my head for a long time and never come up with a good answer. There is always another question, another thought. And to take this thought to another level, don’t forget that health can be physical, mental, emotional, and so on. Fitness can also apply to many areas. So the conclusion is that we cannot separate health, happiness, and fitness. There must always be a sort of pact between the three. And for me and you, we should strive to find ways for these words to intersect in our lives.

Children have it figured out. Play! They want to go out and play. When children play, they are manifesting intrinsic motivation in its purest form. They are happy in play. And as they play they are active. If they stay active in play they tend to be healthier and fit, both in mind and body.

This week I leave you with this one thought: “Do you, and how can you get to the playground?”

 

If you are not sure where your playground is; if you’re not sure how to begin looking for something that brings both play and movement into your life, where the focus is on the enjoyment of your movement and not just the the exercise part, email me and let’s talk! There may be something fun for you at the Butler Community School!

The Hidden Top Secret Workout for Kids!

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Shhh…only read if you won’t tell your kids…

I’m on a mission to get kids moving, active and staying as fit as possible throughout life. I know I am not single handedly going to accomplish this goal. I know there are initiatives all over the country honing in on this same effort.  I also know that childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, and that children and adolescents who are overweight and inactive are likely to be overweight and inactive as adults.

And one more thing I know; when people of any age find something fun to get them moving, they stay moving. I’ve blogged about that before, but it’s true for kids as well. A recent study from University of Leeds in England shows that for inactive teenagers, emphasizing the emotional, feel-good benefits of exercise is a more effective way to encourage exercise than highlighting traditional health benefits. We all know the health benefits of exercise and that’s not always enough motivation for us or our children.

And that brings me to dance. Kids love it! Whether it’s jazz, tap, Bollywood, or hip hop, kids hear the music and their bodies start to move. This week I walked by the Disney Kids workshop and had to smile at the room full of girls dancing to their Disney favorites. I watched children and their parents moving to a Bollywood beat in Kids Dance Around the World. Three things in common; everyone was moving to great music, everyone was smiling and having fun, and everyone was getting a 45-60 minute workout without even knowing it.

Muscles moving, heart rate up; dance is an excellent all-round way to get a workout, get fit and remain healthy. Dance builds stamina, flexibility, strength and co-ordination. It helps children develop good posture. Dance uses both sides of the brain: one half for technique and control and the other for creativity and artistry. It increases brain productivity and attention span.

As if we need more reasons to get kids dancing; I see the fun they are having and know that the feel-good factor and fun will create a positive attitude towards staying active. Some day I hope I can say, “mission accomplished”.

So there you have it; dance is good for you and your kids. But help me keep it a secret! If your children think it’s good for them…well, do they eat their vegetables?

 

Looking for opportunities for you and your children to get active and have fun through dance? We have an answer for that! Come dance!

Is Your Kid on the Couch?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

When kids are active, they feel better, are more productive in school, make better choces, get a better night’s sleep, and like any adult, are more pleasant to be around! Exercise is such a mood booster!

But today there are more challenges than ever when it comes to kids getting enough physical activity. Technology, gadgets that mean we rarely have to get out of a chair, kids having cell phones at a younger age, busyness, overcommitment and stress at school and other other activities, all lead to children today being on track to be the unhealthiest generation of adults ever. In fact, some studies say that by 2048 100% of Americans will be considered obese. That’s staggering! And that’s our kids.

Why am I writing this blog? Because we all know this, and yet the problem grows. So today I join the conversation to make sure that if there is someone out there who has not heard that our kids are stuck on the couch more than any other generation, I will reach that person. And each of us can begin to make small changes in our own lives so that we are modeling healthy behavior to the next generation.

Over the next couple of months I will be blogging often about getting our kids active. I am committed. I will share articles and ideas as I come across them. Today I begin by sharing tips to get your couch kid to exercise.

Watch for new programming for kids coming to Ballet Austin. We are committed to getting kids active!

A Letter from a Workout Dropout

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

I received this letter last week from a Butler Community School client. She asked to remain anonymous but agreed her letter could be shared. Check out what she has to say:

Dear Vicki,

I am a workout dropout. I have started a new exercise regimen at least 50 times in my life. I am only 31. You do the math. My question for you is this, “where does motivation come from and how do you keep it?”

I stood outside Ballet Austin a few months ago and watched an exercise class going on through the large window to the downtown world on 3rd St.  The people inside looked like ordinary people; both men and women of various ages and sizes. I was intrigued. I decided to be brave and venture inside to check it out. I learned it was a Ballet Fit class. I heard the music of the Beetles and Adele playing, and the encouraging words of the instructor. People who looked like me working out at a ballet barre, great music, smiles, even laughter. I could do that! I had been looking (once again) for a workout that I would stick with. I know exercise is beneficial and that I should do it, but with all the activities that fill my daily life – work, family, and hanging out with friends – there is little time left for exercise. (At least that is my excuse) Honestly, I guess I choose to go home and chill rather than work out. I don’t always make it a priority.

But I made the commitment to take a Ballet Fit class and loved it. I couldn’t walk the next day; could hardly get out of bed to be honest. The funny thing is that the body ache is actually what made me want to go back. I bought the $99 Introductory 1 month of unlimited classes. Because I paid for it I went as often as I could during that month; you know, get the most for my money. Then the month ended. In my head I knew that I just had to purchase more classes to continue, but I didn’t.  I loved the class and how my body felt. I thought about continuing, but I did not.  I was annoyed with myself, because once again I became a workout dropout. What can I do to get my motivation back and keep it?

Thanks,

A Frustrated Workout Dropout

 

Dear Workout Dropout

You are not alone in your frustration. And while most people feel great after working out, and know the facts about why they should exercise, it is often not enough to motivate most individuals to keep it up. In fact, research shows that 50% of people who start an exercise program will drop out within the first 6 months.

Motivation is a funny thing. I am not sure where it comes from. Does motivation come from within a person or from external influences? Probably a combination of both. I actually don’t think your problem lies in the area of motivation. The very fact that you have re-started your exercise regimen over 50 times means you have a pretty good dose of motivation. Good for you! You could have given up, but you started again. Here’s what I think. Stop thinking of it as 50 times you have dropped out or quit. Turn that around. Shift your thinking from couch potato dropout mentality to fitness savvy mentality. Think about all the new ways and places you have discovered to work out and the people you have met along the way. By nature, humans need change, variety, and a sense of enjoyment or fun to stay motivated. The reality is that very few people find one way to work out and stick with it the rest of their life. It’s sort of like food. When I discover a new food that I love, I am hooked. I will eat that food every day if it’s available. But eventually I am stuck in a food rut. The orignal love has worn off. I need a change. Nothing wrong with that. I am on to the next favorite food.

Change your perspective and think about all the possibilities there are for you to pursue when it comes to working out. Maybe you haven’t even scratched the surface.

So ask yourself, “what’s next?” Listen to your inner voice when choosing the workout that suits you. If a hip hop class satisfies a passion for dance and you get a workout, then dance! If hiking fulfills your love for the outdoors, then hike! If it’s the music and encouragement of a Ballet Fit class that keeps you going, then head to the barre.

What will your next workout be?

Let me know

Vicki

Buddy Up!

Friday, October 12th, 2012

As a couple of old sayings go, “time passes much more quickly when you’re having fun” and “there’s strength in numbers.”

Right off the bat some of you might argue that there is nothing fun about a workout. I counter that thought with the fact (yes, there is research to back it up) that friends who exercise together get better results together.

So if you are one of those who considers exercise the “necessary of two evils” (better than being dead), and the fun of Bollywood or Zumba® isn’t enough to get you off the couch, buddy up!

A study of 3,000 women revealed 61% find it near impossible to find enough motivation and energy to exercise alone. However the same proportion enjoy working out with a friend, and say they actually push themselves harder if they have company.

Having a friend who is interested in keeping fit and toned can help keep motivation high. Workouts becomes less about the sweat, or how many calories you burn, and more about catching up on the latest news, and sharing time together. Social support encourages physical activity, provides feedback, and makes the exercise time more fun. I think that’s why the fitness apps are so popular today. They challenge us, motivate us, encourage us, make our workouts more interesting, and give us the feedback we need to keep going. I just wish I had an app that kept me from reaching for the white chocolate chip cookie!

So buddy up! Grab your friend and get started this week. It’s $5 Friend Week at Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School! Bring a friend to any BCS Drop-in class between October 15 and October 21 and both you and your friend can take that class for only $5!

What are you waiting for? Over 60 classes are offered 7 days a week! Buddy up and experience the positive side of peer pressure!

See you in a class with your friend this week!

Dance Today, Smile Today

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Recently I have been asking people a question as they leave our BCS dance classes, “Why do you dance?”

I get the many expected responses, “Dancing is an excellent form of exercise. It burns calories and tones my muscles.” “I love the music and the movement.” “I have danced for years.” “I have always wanted to learn.” But today I had someone pause after I asked the question. She looked up, looked around, and then turned a happy face back to me and said, “I dance today, I smile today.”

I am not sure if it was her words or the infectious grin that gave me a warm feeling inside. I too smiled. It made me happy just to hear her response…“I dance today, I smile today.” I wondered; if she didn’t dance today would she not be smiling? Would she be smiling regardless of the activity? Somehow I didn’t think so.

I started to wonder why dance can create such an overall sense of happiness. I know that exercise involves movement and that all exercise releases endorphins. But I also know that when I finish a 5 mile run, while I might feel good about my accomplishment and experience a relief from the stressors in my life, the run itself doesn’t cause me to light up my world with a smile. No, it’s more than just the physical activity. Is it the music? Well, I know that as soon as I hear music playing it’s not long before my foot starts tapping. Turn music on in a room full of children and they naturally start to move. Yes, music is also known to stimulate pleasure. But music can ignite other emotions as well. I wonder if the blending of the two, movement and music together could be the key. There is extensive research that gives evidence that both music and dance make us happy. Our brains are stimulated and we are overcome with a sense of well-being.

Today, however, I prefer to set aside the scientific data and lean on how I feel. When I watch movies such as Happy Feet and Madagascar, I feel good. I catch myself smiling. When I watch children dancing to music it makes me happy. Today I caught myself smiling as I looked into the faces of the people leaving a dance class, most with a big grin; some even laughing out loud. Hmm…if being an onlooker can bring me such happiness, imagine the heart of the dancer!

You too could dance today and smile today.

Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School offers dance & fitness classes for adults 7 days a week. Come smile with us! All ability levels welcome.

Are You Half Done?

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

A good workout is better than a half done workout and a half done workout is better than none at all.

We live in a time when it’s all or nothing. We apply the “all or nothing” mentality to how we eat, sleep, and work out. This past week there was a day I was not able to go for my 60 minute. Instead of going for 20 I stayed home and sat on the couch.

Think about that for a minute. For example, does it really make sense that if we eat healthy all day and then blow it with a gooey candy bar in the afternoon, we just throw up our hands and say, “oh well, I ruined my diet for today so might as well eat junk the rest of the day”?  Does it really make sense to commit to exercise every day, do great for weeks, and then laziness sets in so motivation goes out the window and you turn into a couch potato again? It happens so quickly! We miss a workout, eat unhealthy, and so on. Defeat leads to derailing.

It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise. Even when we know how good it is for us, we just find it easier to not. We’re too busy, too tired, too…whatever to exercise. And rather than put in even half the time or half the effort, we do nothing.

I know how easy it is to get trapped into the “I give up mentality. If I can’t do it all, then I will do nothing.”

So let’s flip our thoughts.

What if we look at it this way: In stead of focusing on a goal to exercise for one hour a day, we focus on a goal to limit our sitting and sleeping time to 23 hours a day!  Sounds a bit ridiculous but it just might work. Out of 24 hours in a day I can only sit or sleep for 23. Maybe I’m not too busy!

Adding a bit of practical advice to this thinking; when you are in a slump, catch yourself quickly and choose to get back on track right away. So you have slacked off a bit lately; no big deal! It happens to all of us. Accept it as a part of the ups and downs in life. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The key is to get back on track before it becomes a lifelong habit. When it comes to food, instead of eating the whole carton of ice cream, feel terrible, defeated, and give up, realise you made a bad choice, and then follow it up with a new one; a better choice. Put a stop to your defeated thoughts before they stop you! Sometimes it’s harder to do than others, but once you recognise it’s a problem, it gets easier.

Start again and move on. Your success is the accumulation of continual good choices and effort over time. The key is to make sure you have more good days then bad ones! Don’t let a bad moment, day, week, or month undo all your hard work. Start each day fresh. And remember, doing half as much is still better than doing nothing at all.

What kind of a workout will you have this week? What will you do each day to limit your sitting and sleeping to only 23 hours?  Make a choice!

 

Looking for something new and fresh to motivate you this week? Check out Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School’s dance & fitness classes and state-of-the-art Pilates Center!

Standing in My Capezio Tap Shoes

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The best stories come from real people who take classes at the Butler Community School. I recently heard from Rebecca Persons who has enjoyed tap classes at the BCS. Rebecca graduated from UT Austin with a degree in journalism in 2009 and has been dancing for 14 years.

Standing in my Capezio tap shoes, worn with age and stress from years of dancing, my gaze follows a man dressed in knee-high socks and a fedora hat as he enters the dance room. His feet move rhythmically as bee bops and doo-wops emit from his mouth in euphony with his fast-moving feet. You won’t have had to take a tap class from Ballet Austin to know that this is the Rhythm/Swing Tap instructor.

Tony Merriwether instantly reminds me of swing dancers I’ve seen in the past. But this is different. He marries basic tap techniques with The Charleston, Lindy Hop, and many other great swing variations. And to my delight, he’s just put on “Pickin’ the Cabbage,” by Dizzy Gillespie on the sound system.

I don’t usually consider tap a workout, but Merriwether brings energy and technique to the class that gets us all sweating and nostalgic for some of our favorite jazz trumpeters. I feel my shins begin to burn as we do various footwork exercises and my Achilles tendon tightens from moving my feet in ways they aren’t use to.  And the choreography is great. You can’t help but leave the class feeling like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers.

Swing Tap is now my most loved class I’ve taken at Ballet Austin, as well as one of my favorite types of dance. Broadway Show Tap is also on the BCS schedule this fall, taught by Broadway veteran Vincent Sandoval. I recommend tap dancers at any level to try out these classes. Whether you’re like me and can’t help but click your feet all day, or someone who’s always wanted to try it out, shuffle down to Ballet Austin and try a Rhythm/Swing or Broadway Show Tap Class. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Get started any time at the BCS. Check out the variety of dance classes offered each week. Tap not your thing? Ballet, Jazz, West African, Bollywood, Zumba®, and much more to get you moving and having fun!

A Conversation Between My Brain and My Body

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Vicki Parsons, Director of Schools Operations & BCS Program Director

You have heard from several Ballet Austin staff members about their likes and dislikes and challenges when it comes to working out. Now it’s my turn.

Let me go on record. I do like to work out. My story begins with a quote I posted last month on the BCS facebook page: “Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. Feel the fear and do it anyway.” 

The quote was for me. While my body loves a good workout; needs to be challenged physically, my brain and my body don’t always agree. My brain has a mind of its own. My body loves to move anywhere. My brain knows the importance of a good workout, but has a people and group exercise fear. The staff fitness challenge to get Ballet Austin staff into BCS group classes was my idea. I went into it knowing that I am not a fan of group exercise. I love to run and hike, but I go solo. I exercise for the physical benefit, the stress relief, and time to get away and think. I don’t need people around when I sweat.  It’s out of my comfort zone. But…I had committed to this challenge.

Dreading it for a week, I finally went to Turbo Kick®. And that’s when the conversation began between my body and my brain.

Brain: “Will they wonder why I am there, try to talk to me?” Out of my comfort zone; I felt the fear.

Body: “Do it anyway! Yes, there were other people in the studio, but stand in the back and nobody will notice you.”

I tried hiding behind Kody Jauron, Ballet Austin II dancer and BCS instructor. Music started, instructions were shouted out, and there we went…hard core cardio-burning 45 minutes!

Body: “Doing okay…although this is a mean workout.”  I discovered I am a bit uncoordinated (my colleagues might laugh at the phrase ”a bit”) I was definitely challenged!

Brain: In intimidation and resist mode, assuming that everyone already knew what to do, “Turbo Kick® is easy for them; they are probably laughing at me.”

The intimidation factor is why I dragged not only Kody, but my husband Mark to the class. We could all struggle together; I would not be alone in my inadequacies. Brain winning the battle? Almost! But Brain begins to come around…

Brain:  “Everybody else in the studio is far too busy worrying about getting it right to notice me. No one is trying to talk to me. Maybe if I am so self-conscious, imagining every eyeball is focused on me, somebody else might be thinking the same thing.”

About halfway through the class I looked around and realized that everyone was sweating and breathing hard. We were all in the same place…sweat dripping, muscles screaming, dying!

Brain overcoming! “WHO CARES what other people think?  Maybe in their heads they also hear, I’m embarrassed! I think I may throw up! I can’t do the moves right. Is everyone staring at me? Why am I here?’

Brain and Body: “In the end it doesn’t matter. I got one of the most awesome workouts of my life! I felt the fear. I kept kicking and boxing and pushing my muscles. I burned hundreds of calories.”

The 45 minutes flew by and at the end…I was ready for the end…I walked away with memories of the fun music, the encouraging and challenging words of Tara, BCS Turbo Kick® instructor. I survived! And I felt a sense of camaraderie with my fellow survivors. Admittedly tired, my body felt great. When I stepped outside and felt the 100 degree heat hit my face it crossed my mind that an indoor workout is a great thing during summers in Texas.

Whatever your challenge, find the workout that fits your fitness personality, your interests, and your schedule. The workout where your brain and body will agree.

Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. Feel the fear and do it anyway.” 

 
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