Monthly Archives: December 2009

Dance: The Answer to the “Core” Question

LA Choreographer Michael Cornell’s Core Strength in Action

Core training has been around long before the word “fitness” arrived at its current popularity and status. And the word that existed in its olden day form is DANCE.

When it comes to fitness, we all are attempting to be vigilant about our routines especially in the core area. These days there is more scientific evidence to support why we should work the core muscles, how we should do it and with what weights, balls, bands, cables, videos, magazine articles, photographs, clothing and all the rest to assist us. But really it doesn’t have to be all that complicated.

Dancers have long known the built in benefits of not only core training, but as an additional advantage, aerobic, plyometric, flexibility and strength exercises. You need only attend any modern version of the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet or Swan Lake to observe core strength in action. Balances on pointes and demi-pointes for men and women; sugar plum fairies, swans and lovers lifted on high by their princely men whose rock hard abs have no rival, except for their lovely female counterparts whose core power not only keeps them on their toes, but supports feet glued to ears elasticity; jumps, plies, dives, turns and leg lifts of every sort all working from the center. The endurance factor alone stands these athletes apart from all others as a ballet dancer’s movements are intense and exact to a very high degree.

Los Angeles choreographer and dance teacher, Michael Cornell of PrivateBalletLA, likes to describe ballet as free standing Pilates.  Quotes Cornell, also a former company member of BalletMet, Ohio, ” If you have ever taken a ballet class you immediately realize that it is all about the core. You can’t help but improve your over all core strength and posture if you take ballet a couple of times a week.”

Nike has been promoting dance via some of its popular YouTube posted videos of femme power hip hopper, Sofia Boutella, dance battles between ballerinas and hip hoppers and its Nike Dance for Women athletic line. Ballet Barre technique classes, Yoga Bootie Ballet classes, Pilates/dance workouts and all kinds of other off-shoots are popping up everywhere in every form. Clearly everyone is finally back on the dance band wagon well beyond the days of Flash Dance and the original Fame now revived.

But the other real benefits of dance are the fun, ageless, timeless, anyone can do it, stress reducing, body slimming and lengthening, factors. Awkwardness of jumping in for the first class aside, whether one has been dancing a lifetime or for the first time, dance is an experience that incorporates the core with ease and perfection without the expensive or need more space for storage at home peripherals or the monotony of the gym.

Finally, dance will make you smart. According to recent Scientific American MIND articles, by developing the core muscles and staying mentally engaged, the body develops its own body-brain intelligence and a level of awareness in three dimensional space and coordination. A double plus for focus and cognitive functioning.

In and of itself, Dance is a perfect balance of intelligence, core strength fitness, ease and fun for anyone. As an answer to the Core fitness question, it is the very reason to opt for old school simplicity over modern workout hassle.


As Featured On EzineArticles

Written by Tracey Paleo

As Featured On EzineArticles

Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes: “La Danse” – If You Dance and Love Ballet

Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes: “La Danse” – If You Dance and Love Ballet

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Vegan Heaven

While in Franklin Village this week I had a little food adventure.  Starving as I was and on the way back to my car, browsing restaurants, book stores and clothing boutiques (I am a girl after all, so what do you expect?) and after a hair appointment, I wandered into a Vegan Shop.  I was hoping for a new experience that day.
I have to admit, I was a little restless from having sat around this past week, quite a bit at my desk, writing and creating a new campaign for a client.   And it was just glorious walking around in the afternoon sunlight, breathing in crisp, December, California air – we’ve been having quite a cold spell this past week.  What I discovered was some seriously delicious fare, to which, although my bank account had been strained thin for the day on my beauty regime,  I couldn’t help but treat myself.
Although I am not a vegetarian, I LOVE raw food and the philosophy behind it.  I did actually become a vegetarian years ago for a whole year in order to turn myself around because of poor health, all the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which no one could seem to diagnose except for a homeopathic doctor in Miami.   My toxicity levels decreased and the rest is history.  I am Sicilian, however.  And in the end, food is such a decadent and downright essential part of my life, that I knew I just couldn’t live without the variety.  What I learned to change was my stress level and eating habits.  A first year in a new city like New York, where I was living at the time, can really turn you inside out.  It took me a while to get my bearings.  Balance, hence, became the mission of my life.
Start with , Katie, the giddy, fast talking counter girl,  also a manager, former but (bummer) injured dancer now back from living in NYC and seemingly running the show.  My question ‘any lime crackers?’ – ‘no, but we have …(all of these things!)’   She  took me through every counter, cabinet and product one by one advising and recommending what to buy and what also didn’t taste as good.  I ended up with killer snacks and food that I am now permanently hooked on.
“NOCHOS’ - Kale (nachos) topped with spiced nutritional yeast – mouth-watering, nutrient, dense, heaven!
Tequila Lime Chicken seitan sandwiches – gorging without the guilt!
Cacao of the Now – chocolate superfood with tonic herbs that really WILL bring you back to life!
What can I say.  Another un-avoidable weekly car trip for a new habit.  I need a bigger budget!
The name of the shop is:
Real. Raw. Live.®
5913 West Franklin Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028
866-563-4545 or 323-461-4545
And for all of the local Los Angeles raw, live food, devotees, they offer  a real. raw. live. 3-day cleanse.  And on December 13th, 2009  an Anti Aging Demo Day starting at 11:00am.  You will also get your Carotenoid score and anti-oxidant levels tested with a Bio photonic scanner.  Must clear the calendar for this!  Check it out.
If I could only think of a way to get Katie back in action, dancing and moving on film again, that would make me happier.
A shot a day keeps the doctor away.  Great recipe for health:
Hey all,  one last thing.  Please help me support the Los Angeles Youth Network.  Providing shelter for homeless kids in LA.  Just look to the right of this post in my Social Vibe section.  It only takes a click to help a kid.  Cheers!

Re-Invigoration

Been taking a lot of ballet classes lately, so I naturally felt pretty decent about being recently cast as a dancer in a short film.   But never-the-less, I decided to stretch a bit this week by stepping into an alternative genre other than my usual ballet workouts, just to see how fast and with how much precision,  I could pick up new choreography from an unfamiliar teacher.  I’ve changed quite a bit from my days gone by of being a, just normal teenager, can do anything with no damage to my body, strength, “but barely” 100 lbs, can’t get enough calories,  uber skinny and pretzel flexible from gymnastics and every day of the week dance.  And so I thought, “Rehearsals this weekend could be challenging and you just never know what style will be thrown at you.  Better be prepared.”

As luck would have it, there was an easy, as listed on the schedule, hip hop class at The Edge in Hollywood.  So I made my preparations.  Found my shoes, put on some as funky as I could manage clothing and got myself to the center just in time for a brisk walk up the stairs (so reminded me of the olden days at the original Broadway Dance, NYC) check in at the desk and the opportunity to observe the class still in progress with about 15 minutes to spare.

What first caught my attention was the music.  Really drum heavy and sexy.  Percussive and edgy.  Hard core.  I loved it.  And then suddenly inspiration hit.

I watched with a growing smile on my face and a stirring in my being, a classroom of very young dancers, all shapes and sizes, strong and perfect in their youth and attitude, tearing up the studio with a truly undefinable, indescribable, movement piece that I kept thinking was something I would have done just bouncing around my bedroom in private, for fun, to music.  And there it was – mainstream.  And it was OFF THE CHARTS exciting!

I began scanning the room and picking out the kids whose energy, precision and all out ballsy style popped.   I was hypnotized by the sheer pleasure and joy of seeing so much athleticism and power.

As I continued to watch through the front window, two seriously giggly girls came over and began chatting about the usual nothings at all of 17 or 18 years old, iPhones in hand and sharing boyfriend photos, one of them blurted out, “What is this anyway?  Is this Jazz?”  And then the other, “I don’t know what it is?  Maybe its Modern.”  “Yeah, I don’t know if I could do that but, I like it.”  As they giggled about not having a clue, they also admired how weird and cool it was.  And I had to laugh to myself.  Boy was I behind the times.  I had just been educated on a modern art form I had been missing out on for a really long time.  And it felt good.

I was completely re-invigorated, in those few precious minutes, by the energy, vibrancy and spirit of what I loved about the art and the energy and spirit inside of me.  I went on that night to do a not so terrifying after all, Hip Hop class followed by a seriously hard ballet class for a total of 3 solid hours of dancing.  I still had it!