Monthly Archives: January 2010

A New Old Movement: Finding Dance in the Art of Defense, a beginning…

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Thinking about a new kind of movement.  Or rather a very old kind of movement.  A movement that is not only a dance or a defense or an art but a way of life.  Martial Arts.

I am a pure lover of dance.  Nothing makes me happier than performing, taking class, studying a new technique or watching other brilliant dancers thrive in the perfection of their own spontaneity on stage or anywhere really.  So it is interesting to me how with just an observation of a mere few movements, I can find the absolute similarities.  Especially with Martial Arts and Ballet.

If anyone is watching , reading, listening, I would love to hear YOUR stories.  What school, what philosophy, what drives you to this movement in play.

I myself have started with two items  put in front of me by a friend who has had a lifelong dedication to Martial Arts.  As I am truly a novice.  They are a great beginning.  I will eventually need more.  Will keep you posted.

Bruce Lee – The Tao of Gung Fu – A Study in the Way of Chinese Martial Art

and

Shinobi  – Winds of the 34 Generations – Limited Jitsuden Edition.

Shinobi - Winds Of The 34 Generations

Shinobi

Ballet Lessons: Adage, Adagio, part 1

[French: a-DAHZH].  Adage is a French word derived from the Italian ad agio (most commonly used in America), meaning at ease or leisure.  It has two meanings:

(1) A series of exercises following the centre floor practice, consisting of a succession of slow and graceful movements which may be simple or of the most complex character, performed with fluidity and apparent ease.  These exercises develop a sustaining power, sense of line, balance and the beautiful poise which enables the dancer to perform with majesty and grace.   The principal steps of adagio are pliés, développés, grand fouetté en tournant, dégagés, grand rond de jambe, rond dejambe en l’air, coupés, battements tendus, attitudes, arabesques, preparations for pirouettes and all types of pirouettes.

Dancing with History

Saturday morning ballet class with my beloved teacher Joan Bayley.  As I worked through the barre, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am, to be in the same room with history.  I mean here I am taking instruction from a real diva.  Looking like 60 and closer to 80 my wonderful teacher is still demonstrating and instructing and imparting knowledge to us all.  It’s like taking class with a history book – a book of dance knowledge.  And when these ladies are gone, who will carry on their tradition?  Or so I often think.   For with every age some things are inevitably lost.  Steps, techniques, names of movements.  Dance is a living art and must therefore change and evolve whether to reflect the society in which it lives or create a new ideal within it.  But it seems also that because the old stuff is so hard to do, it’s not done anymore.  Or because certain aspects of the art are not exciting to the current audiences they are not performed.  That includes some of the classical repertoire of actual ballets.

A good friend of mine, whose partner was a one time publicist for the Martha Graham School  had remarked to me that from the time of Ms. Graham’s death until present-day, much of her curriculum had been almost entirely lost because it was so hard that no one could do it.  And so it has been a real struggle to regain the steps and knowledge about how to perform them as Martha would have wanted.  And this is a woman who codified a new form of dance for the modern century when there was film around to capture it.

For now, I won’t worry too much.  But I do want to continue to relish all the moments with these aging ballerinas.  The generous gifts they offer us every day, week, month, year, and  that they are still simply here, are as precious as they themselves are irreplaceable.

A lovely bit about my teacher:

Joan Bayley trained with and became the lead dancer of the Carmelita Maracci Concert group. While dancing for Balanchine she met and married Ray Weamer, a protege of Laurent Novikoff. In the 50s and 60s she coached Judy Garland, Danny Kaye, Marilyn Monroe and many film and stage stars.

Building Muscle on a Raw Food Diet – a re-post written by Sun Warrior

Below is an in part re-post of an article I read this morning from one of my Twitter friends.  As a big supporter of raw foods, I really thought it was worth reading an alternative idea about fitness and the body.  To read more about Sun Warrior, I also added a link to the blog at the end of the article.

Building Muscle on a Raw Food Diet

Natureboy Interview with the Raw Built Body Project on
Building Muscle on a Raw Food Diet

Unlike most people putting on muscle with a raw food diet, my story is a little different. I actually came from a competitive bodybuilding background. I had a bit of an edge, or so I thought. During my competitive career, I was misled to believe that the only way to put on muscle size was to consume large amounts of animal protein. Aesthetically I looked good, but as I got older my body physically began to suffer the consequences. When I reached my mid forties, my joints began to ache and I didn’t seem to recuperate from my workouts as easily. Instinctively I reverted back to a plant based diet and immediately felt the difference. I was determined to cleanse and detoxify my body while increasing muscle size. Today on a raw food diet, I feel better and more vibrant than I did in my mid forties.

While embarking on a raw food diet, your body will go through various cleansing phases. You may notice your strength levels decrease. That is nature’s healing process paving the way to a higher level of health and vitality. I went through several stages of cleansing before my body started to respond by putting on clean healthy muscle through raw plant based foods. I truly believe an athlete can add years on to their career by adopting a raw plant based diet. But most are afraid of the unknown and unwilling to change the socially accepted norms.

Gaining muscle comes from three components:

1.) Adaptation through heavy weight training with good form. There is a direct correlation between strength and muscle size. You should always aim at increasing your workload from previous workouts. You can change the type of exercise you do, the length, the amount of weight lifted or the number or reps

2.) Rest. If you are not getting stronger from your previous training sessions chances are you are not recuperating sufficiently. Take extra rest days before hitting that muscle group again. Short naps during the day are great if you can fit them in.

3.) Diet. Diet and nutrition comprise of 85% of your health and fitness results. Eat as much raw nutrient dense foods as possible and make your post workout meal a fundamental part of your training routine. The best way to put on muscle is to have a good raw plant based protein, a raw slow burning carbohydrate, and healthy fats like seeds and nuts or oils (coconut, hemp, flax seed, etc). My key to muscle growth is placing my body in a state of positive nitrogen retention by consuming protein every three hours. I prefer to have 5-6 small feedings a day.

Building muscle on a plant based diet is possible! Stay tuned for more information on building a strong well-sculpted body naturally!

Yours in health,
Natureboy

http://sunwarriorprotein.blogspot.com/2010/01/building-muscle-on-raw-food-diet.html

New Year’s Resolutions Get “Served!”


PrivateBalletLA

 PR Log (Press Release)Jan 07, 2010 – New Year “lose weight” resolutions take notice!  Private Ballet Los Angeles is about to give you your dancing papers.
Lose weight, feel gorgeous and look cool with Los Angeles choreographer Michael Cornell of PrivateBalletLA. Michael teaches ballet a sexier and more fun way to stick to your resolution and shed pounds this year.
 “Ballet makes you feel beautiful and while you are having fun you are losing weight and building strength, better posture and overall core fitness,” says Cornell.
Featuring edgy modern pop as well as classical tunes Cornell’s ballet class is perfectly fun for any level of dancer.  Guaranteed to put a little color in your cheeks and a lift in your step without the superhuman fortitude of working to stick to your goal.

And who wants to go back to the gym for another dull routine lifting bar bells, tripping up in aerobics classes or yawning through another tread mill session anyway?  Girls just want to have fun.

Year 2010 Resolution:  Party with friends at least one to three times a week; wear slinky clothing; feel powerful; dance the pounds away.

Resolution: Served!

Editorial : Is The Film Game The New Rap Game?

Editorial : Is The Film Game The New Rap Game?

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Ballet Lessons: Abstract ballet

A ballet without a plot.  A composition of pure dance movement expressed for its own sake.

Belinda Mello – Alexander Technique Teacher NYC

Circa late 90s.  Preparing for my Shakespearean début as Hypolita in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (revised and expanded thanks to Theseus sharing his lines).  Outdoor free theatre for the Hudson River Festival, New York City.  Scary.

The performance was taking place  at Pier 64 with nothing but a floating houseboat for sound resonance and “bounce back” on top of which was, of course, surrounded by water which tends to consume sound.   Approximate number of audience attending per evening:  400.

I did not have a big voice.  I am gratefully a dancer.  I was unfortunately a nervous Nellie.  I was also rehab-ing a very serious sports injury which was affecting my normal ease of movement.  I needed coaching to sustain my physical choreography and voice projection without strain.  To the rescue – the wonderful Belinda Mello.

I had already been learning the basics of the technique with Belinda, a virtual encyclopedia of Movement knowledge, patient and generous.  But her real strength was the simplicity of her coaching and translation of so much material into a moment, an emotion, a breath, a movement.

So below I’ve added her bio to my blog.  We have thankfully stayed in touch over the years and I am excited to have her here on my page.  My personal experience with Belinda was extraordinary.  And if you are currently residing in New York City I suggest you “get thee to her class immediately” for every reason – performer or not.

Belinda Mello – Alexander Technique Teacher

About Belinda Mello - Alexander Technique Teacher

“Belinda Mello is my first recommendation for an Alexander Technique teacher in New York”.

—Bill Conable,
Teaching Member, AmSAT, ATI; originator of Body Mapping

Belinda Mello, certified Alexander Technique teacher since 1989, is a member of ATI, ATME and is an associate member of ACAT. She studied with master teacher Marjorie Barstow, her postgraduate studies include the Carrington approach with John Nichols, and an on-going exchange with Dr. William Conable. She has led workshops and group classes at many locations, notably the New York Open Center, Soho Center for the Alexander Technique, LIU Physical Rehabilitation Center and Spoke the Hub Re-Creation Center. She has given workshops specifically for Licensed Massage Therapists at the Swedish Institute of Massage Therapy and for the American Association of Massage Therapists.

About Belinda Mello - Alexander Technique TeacherBelinda currently teaches movement for actors in the CUNY/Brooklyn College Theatre Department She has been a guest lecturer and workshop leader at other conservatory and college programs including the New Actors Workshop, NYU Undergraduate Theater Department, Musical Theater Workshop, Muhlenberg College and for theater companies including the Jean Cocteau Repertory and Aching Dogs Rep. In 1995-97 she co-founded the Alexander Project for the Performing Arts with vocal coach Leann Overton as a vehicle for teaching the Alexander Technique to opera singers and classical voice students. She is presently working on an article about the training of actors with her colleague, Teva Bjerken.

About Belinda Mello - Alexander Technique Teacher
Belinda Mello draws on her background in theater, dance and movement analysis. She has a MFA in Directing, continues to direct new and devised works and has recently been part of team developing an original musical play. She has served as a movement coach and movement dramaturg on productions at the Gershwin Theater, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and the Women’s Project. Belinda has worked with directors and playwrights such as Anne Bogart, Tony Kushner, Wendy Woodson and has studied mask with Per Brahe. She has performed at The Istanbul International Theater Festival, St. Mark’s Church/Danspace, The Yard, Bread and Puppet Resurrection Circus.

Belinda has danced throughout her life and has performed with Eva Dean and Elise Long. The foundation of her dance and movement education includes ballet, modern dance technique at the Cunningham and Hawkins studios as well as African Dance, Contact Improvisation, Laban’s Effort/Shape analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Ideokinesis, Choreography, and a brief venture into trapeze dance. She has studied Body Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and co-authored a published study on posture as part of her undergraduate degree at Hampshire College. She continues to pursue her interest in movement through Yoga and the masks she creates for performance and workshops.