This life we's strange, painful at times, but oh so beautiful.

I am a fusion dance artist and teacher, a fire dancer, and a visual artist. I draw inspiration from nature, music, and the amazing people that come into my life. I am also a conservationist who makes jewelry and found object multimedia craft type art in my spare time (when I'm not reading, writing, or lighting things on fire and dancing around with them). I love to dance barefoot on the beach, watch the stars move inexorably across the heavens, and to laugh with the people that I love. I am currently based in Greenville SC, working with Discordia Arts to provide unique and exciting entertainment to the Upstate.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hurt so good

I think I've mentioned my lazy winter. I don't know why I slowed down Soooo much this winter, but I did. No classes to teach, very limited funds to take workshops and attend conventions, and only a few performances lined up made for a slow dance season. Also, I'm living in a teensy carpeted apartment. I can practice my isolations while I chop onions and brush my teeth, but there's limited space to actually dance.

Combine all of this with the fact that I am already a seasonal gal (ie, I wake up with the sun and my body goes into hibernation mode when the average temperature drops below 60 degrees F), and this past winter was a slow time for me.

Well, March hit...and it came in like a lion for me. I went from next to nothing to two dance classes and one workout class to teach, plan for, choreograph for, and practice for each week. Then there's rehearsal with my new performance group, a weekly private lesson, and at least 3 hours of work with another dancer each week -plus performances to practice and plan for and buskin. I feel so alive and I'm loving it.

Here's what I've discovered about myself. I'm happier, healthier, and hungrier when I am dancing daily. Yet, when I eat I don't crave pasta and bread, I crave spinach and black bean salads and fresh avocados, nuts and bananas. When I want to drink something, I crave water...and amazingly enough, cranberry juice. For years I have hated cranberry juice. I tried it again last month and LOVE it - it has now become a mission each time I go to the store to find cranberry juice that is actually cranberry juice and not apple juice, corn syrup, and cranberry flavors.

My favorite part of this new regime is not the reappearance of my oblique muscles (though I am extremely happy about that), but actually the slight muscle ache that I feel when I sit still - as I am doing right now. Plenty of exercise and great stretch sessions mean that very rarely am I in serious pain, but I do feel a constant ache. Today it's glutes and core, which makes sense because I did a good bit of sword work on Monday and a floorwork demonstration in the advanced class last night.

Love the burn....and if you'd like to join me, here's a great little workout that I add into my routine:

1) Start off with a nice high step walk with arm circles (arms straight out to the sides, circle while you step and reverse the circles) to get warmed up
2) Suhaila squats - legs apart, knees soft and angled towards second toe, bend at the waist with a flat back and pulse up and down. Perform 12 to 16 squats with the arms out to the side, then the arms to the front, then the arms to the back. Make sure that you are keeping your back flat while you do this. Repeat the sequence at least 3 times.
3) Hang and let the legs stretch out
4) Crunches - at least 3 sets of 18 crunches with at least a thirty second break between sets
5) Lean backs - (knee pads or a folded yoga mat under knees for safety) Knees more than hip width apart and a lifted chest, engage the abdominal muscles and lean back, keeping your back straight. Do as many of these as you are comfortable with, rest, and do some more. I try to add a few each week. Don't worry about how far back you can go, focus instead on engaging the core muscles and making the motion smooth while keeping a straight posture.
6) Reverse crunches - lay flat on the back, lift the legs up, and slowly lower them to the floor. Don't allow the feet to actually touch the floor before you bring the legs back up. Keep this motion smooth and slow. I like to do three sets of 20 with a 30 second break between.
7) Stretch

This should be an easy 20 to 30 minute leg and core routine that you can add to your workout three times a week for an extra muscle boost. I vary this by mixing in other exercises as well as a variety of cardio workouts, yoga, or pilates.

Now I need to go workout. :)

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