Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Intrepid exerciser hits the slopes--and the studio!

No--IE was not skiing but snowshoeing--Really fun!


 While it doesn't have the thrill of the downhill,  you get to drink in the alpine high without the "yardsale" risk.

And since IE is working on an injury (more on that later) this was the perfect exercise to get circulation going, joints rolling, and "elevate" the mind and heart rate.


By luck, I coupled it with a "dynamic stretching" class--which really was a personal training since it was just Nancy (the instructor) and I.

In this beautiful chalet-type studio, Nancy, a PT, and trainer for several National Snowboard Team athletes, led me through a series of moving stretches.

According to  the  Norcal SC website http://www.norcalsc.com/what-is-dynamic-stretching-why-is-dynamic-stretching-important. Dynamic stretching are active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position."

The opposite of this is static stretching, like yoga, where the position is held for any given amount of time--depending on your insturctor--see my post on that at: http://plierelevelife.blogspot.com/2013/01/intrepid-exerciser-3-pilates-and-yoga.html 

NC site explains the science behind Dynamic Stretching:" Your body has many mechanisms that need to be activated and stimulated.  When you put your body through a series of stretches while in motion, it sends signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work.  Your body’s temperature begins to rise and blood is pumped to the working areas of the body... Along with getting proper blood flow to the working area, the muscle fibers and connective tissues will gain more flexibility and range of motion. In other words, by doing dynamic stretching after your warm-up and before your workout, you are going to feel stronger and work up to a heavier load."

My favorite stretch was the one that is probably most sport specific to dancing, called the "scorpion".

 Followed by a dip in the pool, and viola, apres ski anyone?


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

leotard longings

What is it about a leotard?

1062PM Zip Front Polka Dot Mesh
Somehow it just makes you HAVE to pull up and extend. It reminds you: " yeah i do have a torso and I CAN lengthen it--

Anyhoo, it's unanimous among all my dancer friends: we love the freedom of sport bra and loose pants but really, when we want to dance the" leo" is the go-to-- Formal, a bit, yes, but soooo easy. For dance class put on leo and tights or leggings and a long top over it all and "Viola" you are dance ready!

Here are some of intrepid exerciser's/ inveterate dancer's favorites:

128KL Celeste With Kara Lace
another lace option with three quarter sleeves--wish the skirt came with but it doesn't--oh wel..

Nicoleblack and white lace option with skinny straps..

  This Mondor one is my favorite, loved it so much I bought it. Wish  I could get a better picture. It is a corset-type with boning down the sides for a really snug fit and leg height is lowish. The straps on the black one are nude so it looks more like a  strapless leotard--how cool is that?

 Happy shopping!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Do You Hula?

On a recent trip to Hawaii I was treated to a hula performance in the lobby of the hotel. I was taken by the simple graciousness of the movement in the older dancers and the delicate intensity in the younger students. I snapped some pictures and then wanted to find out more. 

Turns out there are two styles of hula: ancient hula called "kahiko" accompanied by chant and traditional instrument and "auana" a more modern type, which is what I saw, that developed in the 19th century onward incorporating western instruments in addition to traditional Hawaiian instruments like the ukelele. 

Kuhi no ka lima, hele no ka maka.
Where the hands move, there let the eyes follow.
A rule in hula.
                                                Pukui: 1868-201

With no written language, the ancient Hawaiians recorded their histories, genealogies, legends, and the phenomena of their gods through the creation and memorization of chants (oli) dances that eventually came to be called hula.

Considered a narrative movement, hula embraces the meanings of the chants while releasing the grace and spirit of the dancer.  The essence of hula is to go inward, to touch one’s center.  Dancers are especially aware of their feet touching the earth, and of the earth itself, which is felt to be the source of the power of the dance.

Hula dancers are trained by a hula master, or kumu hula, in a school called a hālau. Even the youngest students showed great knowledge and presence.


 All information on hula from http://www.hawaiianencyclopedia.com/hula-and-mele.asp