Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kallisti Tribal Sunday February 28th, 2010

This weekend we'll be dancing at one of our favorite events, DC Tribal Cafe! There's more info at our web page. It kind of blows my mind that this will be the 4th year we've performed there. It's a fun and challenging event. You dance for a lot of your peers and some of your teachers in a small, narrow, bar space that can be packed to the rafters with an enthusiastic audience. It can be both gratifying and shocking to be right up next to people, getting lots of live feedback, all while negotiating a space that seems to have simultaneously no or a multitude of "stage" fronts with which to orient yourself . It's tough and a ton of fun.

The night before Charm City Tribal hosts it's Bloody Heart's Ball one year anniversary show! I'm really proud of this group and all they've accomplished. You can catch Kallisti member Flissy at the BHB as part of the dance duo Verve Tribal, and soloist Samantha Hegre will be at both events too. Other members of Kallisti will be relaxing and letting our hair down for the evening.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2 (video) reviews

I have been exercising my Netlix account late (or, if you're my SO, hogging the Netflix) and picked up two videos for getting my butt in gear: Every Shimmy in the Book with Bozenka and Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred. I figured someone else might find my thoughts on the videos to be helpful, so here are my reviews.

A quick note to start. I feel that neither of these videos are good for total movement beginners. It's good to have a basic knowledge of proper posture, how to keep your back flat when bending over in movements, how to keep your core engaged, all things you learn in a basic dance or fitness class. Jillian does give some pointers in her video, reminding you not to bend your knee over or toes, not to collapse your ankles and other simple instructions. Bozenka does not really get into any pointers on form, so it's good to have at least a basic idea of safe posture and movement for belly dance.

Now, I really wanted to like the Bozenka DVD. I've only seen videos of her online but I really like her dancing and yes, her shimmies are wonderful. Unfortunately this video does not do her justice, not her dancing and, I'm assuming, not her teaching. It's labeled as every shimmy in the book but it only touches on a small handful of shimmies possible. What's worse, though, is that she doesn't really explain any of the shimmies. She demos a shimmy, sort of breaks it down, does it slow, speeds up very quickly and then there is a bit of practice time but not a whole lot. There are no detailed break downs, no tips. There is no practice section where you go from one shimmy to the next. There is not much in the way of discussing the way the shimmies happen, anatomically. Each shimmy is presented in the same manner and the whole thing feels very dry. There is also a drum solo performance with her and Issam, and though it's lovely I wish BDSS had sprung for a little extra production budget because the camera angle in part of the performance shows the lights and back stage area and really? Do a couple of takes! Actually, the whole DVD felt like the production was rushed and on a tight budget, which made me realize that the one other BDSS instructional video I own, Rachel Brice's first, was very well made. Summary: I wanted to like this, and if you can check it out for free I would do so, but I wouldn't spend any money on it. The top review at the Amazon page pretty much says it all for me.

Next, the video I didn't want to like. Why? I hate exercising. I do enjoy being active and getting exercise through my hobbies or daily activities, but I do not like focused work out time. Unfortunately I have a desk job, so I need focused work out time. I ditched my gym membership when I lost my job last year, not that I ever used it enough because going to the gym to spend 40 minutes on the elliptical staring at a wall while I went no where was not my thing. What do I like? Hiking. And dance class.

Anyway, I know I need to add more activity to my life and I know I need to do it in small steps so I don't get frustrated and give up. At about the time I admitted this fact I read this helpful post at the blog Not Martha. As a side note, I almost want to get back on the elliptical if that means I get to Netflix Gilmore Girls. Taking the post to heart I rented the 30 Day Shred video and, hey! I kind of like it! I admit, I've never watched The Biggest Loser so I have no idea how Jillian acts on that show. On the video she's encouraging but also no nonsense. If you want to get somewhere while working out you need to apply yourself, and she says that straight up. I liked her attitude, the quick pace of the workout, that there are modifications for some of the moves, and that there's a progression to the video. At about the moment where I'm thinking, "Bored bored BORED!" it's over.

Now, I'm still on Level 1 as I'm not a consistent exerciser, but here are some things I've read and that I do to change up what's on the video. I warm up a little before I start, by jogging in place, or else my calves are not ready for the jump rope moves. I do not pause in the warm up but keep moving during her explanations. There is a lunge/squat move with curls that I rarely do because of my knees; instead I do the curls with squats. I don't do the jumping jacks, I know my form is awful and I don't want to hurt myself, so I jog during that section. I pull my punches a bit so I don't overextend my shoulders. I take 3-4 times as long to stretch out at the end, targeting trouble spots on my body that I need to address. When I move up I'll follow the advice of a review I read where the reviewer goes up through the levels, then on the next round ups the dumbbell weight to get a better work out. I think as I progress I may pick to sub in some moves in places as I find what I like.

Now do I think this video alone will make me look like Jillian? Hell no! But I know that some activity is better than no activity so I feel it's a really good starting place for me. This video is totally worth the money and I plan on buying it soon so I can send my Netflix version back for some other budding athlete to check out.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Snow Asana

I live in Baltimore, and as some of you may know we got one hell of a snowstorm Friday and Saturday. I spent 2 hours shoveling out my car today, and that means I don't have to do my exercise video! That also means I'm going to be achy and sore tomorrow even though I popped some ibuprofen. Thankfully Flissy posted Asana Practice for Snow Shovelers! Thank you Flissy! I'm going to give it a shot, though not right now because I am full of dinner and am not fond of the full tummy + yoga combo. Hopefully some of you in snowy climates will find this post to be helpful!