Thursday, May 24, 2012

kickbox mania

Ever wondered about those kickboxing classes? Bay Club Marin has several with various names: Kickbod; KardioKickXpress. This entry is a "memorial" for Heather's  last Tuesday 915am Kickbox class. (dont worry she's not gone--just teaching other places--read on!!)

We're assembled in the gym. Looking up, I see several basketball hoops and lots of banners with team names and championships gained hanging down from the ceiling. The floor is shiny oak with red circle markings: half court, free throw etc. These don't apply to us though, 40 women of various ages. The old modern dancer in me is overjoyed: "yeah--no mirrors, yeah--lots of space, lets goooo."

Heather hits the music tower and magically the first song is: "let's get it started..." At first its jumping jacks and jabs. We all try our best to imitate her. When she is boxing the air, it's a real punch. For most of us some punches are real, and some are just hanging out, trying to be tough. But the important thing is, as I throw a punch, and lean forward to kick back, I'm waking up parts of my body and letting them loose. I look around and its the same for  everyone. Our hearts pump, our bodies glow while arms and legs furiously punch and kick. For an hour we are freed and allowed to play with aggressive moves, and depending on the music and however much energy we can throw ourselves into that punch; that kick.

Most of us are working so hard to keep up and remember the sequences: jab--hook-uppercut-retreat--kick front-kick back, that we aren't watching anyone else, or thinking about anything else. That's when we slip into a trance state, an endorphin high.The "work out" becomes a "work in" as you let out-- get out--whatever it is that you didn't even know you were holding in.

Give it a try. Wear some good shoes and let your inner Rocky go. We all have a little of the commando in us. Why not let her out to play?

Check out Heather in her new incarnation:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From Studio to Stage: Sat Rep Group Highlights

Joan Lazarus, the Sat Rep Group choreographer is a gifted and prolific bay area teacher and performer. In her classes, especially ballet, she stresses technique as a definite code. But she also encourages each student to discover his or her own version of "technique." I recall her telling me "this is your second position," and showing me where my turnout from the hip really was: at 2:10, not 3:00pm--so to speak. So it follows that her version of performance would be equally radical and include many levels of ability and yet still challenge those brave enough to run the gauntlet.

She summed it up for the audience as her dancers were backstage warming up."What is Sat Rep Group?" She saw it as a natural progression for her dancers. "Class is one thing, rehearsal another and performance yet another." She chose her dancers and the pieces they would perform in order to push each of them beyond their current "comfy-sofa- place" with dance. The dancers took to the stage to show us their journey, building their body knowledge and fusing their passion for dance into a performance.

For me the most successful piece was Romeo and Juliet. The dancers formed two lines each group sparring as they strrode toward and past one another to the the deep bass throbs of Prokofiev.  I felt a defiant freedom in their pointed feet extending like swords as they crossed. Everyone was in union while still allowing for some individual dancing. The strongest dancers in the piece were those who were able to point their foot and move, as if impelled in that direction.

The piece made sense in a contained and logical way as the  dancers delved into the core movements of pointed feet, sweeping legs, a la seconde turns, and purposeful gallant walks.

There was a thrilling ripple as the line moved downstage and in canon each dancer came forward and and did a swooshing turn to the back. The rush of building momentum swept us up with the dancers on their passionate journey.  Beautiful to see!