Don’t try this at home

Mr. James Rogers, ballet dancer with Kansas City Ballet, will not only be finishing up his first season this weekend but he will also be finishing up 1 season of doing Pilates and Conditioning with me every Monday!  I always held the 2:00 PM slot for him and he was here, rip – roaring – and ready to go!

I figured I had to challenge him for his last visit until August! Plus, he had an additional day off to recover so I gave him . . .

The S N A K E!

I attempted to show him until I realized that if I had my stomach probably would have landed and reverberated against the springs so I cued him instead.

James is performing this weekend in Jerome Robbin’s Interplay, Val Caniparoli’s The Lottery, and George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations!

Au revoir, James! Until August and we meet again for the 2017-2018 season!

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Say yes to new adventures!

Well it’s not completely like me to post on a Saturday, but my work week at the new job has been taking just a tad of my time (big wink wink). I’m super excited about my new adventure, learning as I go, and of course by trial and error. Going from spending my time in a ballet studio 40 hours a week for the last 20 years of my life, to spending 40 hours a week outside of one has made for quite the transition…but I couldn’t ask for it any other way.

Our clinic at Performance Rehab, housing the very first Kansas City Performing Arts Medicine Program, is a dream come true.  We have been open for just 10 days and it feels incredible when every 45 minutes another client walks in the door – smiles and finds comfort in a place of healing. Everyday another word gets out around town, and hopefully with each day that passes we will double and triple that flow. Our performing arts medicine program is continuing to grow as an alliance of doctors, orthopedics, nutritionists, physical therapists, Pilates instructors, yoga instructors, mental health experts, chiropractors, massage therapists and ballet teachers that all share the mission of keeping performing artists healthy (prevention), doing all they can to heal (recovery), and increasing the longevity and quality of their careers. It’s incredible to think what this alliance can do for all artists and so I constantly remind myself to remain patient.

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Takin by my awesome friend and photographer for fun: Geoffrey Kropp

Besides that – on the more personal side of life – I’m busy carrying my baby girl. Every Saturday I get to celebrate another week farther along! Today marks 20 weeks. Half way thru – holy cow! It’s an amazing feeling carrying and nurturing for a little one inside you. On Thursday, I got to hear her heartbeat and I was surprised at how fast her little heart sounded. Every time I get to hear her, or see her, I get a crazy urge of euphoria, followed by both happy tears and a biiiiiiiggggggggg smile. I can feel life changing, my focus changing, my heart growing in size, and an overwhelming feeling of purpose.  I’m trying my best to organize, eat well, rest up, exercise and right – back to the top – grow a baby and a business.  Good stress is gratifying and I’ll take it any day!

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Exercise Show & Tell to celebrate the Royals World Series Win!

Well the mid-sized and comfy city of Kansas City, situated practically right smack dab in the middle of America had quite the day yesterday. The Royals baseball team took the crown and over 500,000 people packed downtown Kansas City, parading and ending right in my backyard at the historical Union Station, (which once upon a time was heated/powered by a coal plant housed next door, which after renovation is now the home of Kansas City Ballet) to celebrate their well deserved win. There were many reasons why the Royals world championship win impacted our city besides the Royals first world championship win in 30 years. People are proud here. Proud of where the city is going, proud of where they live, who they support, and where the city is headed. The Royals win couldn’t have come at a better time, giving business owners, school superintendents, and city leaders the excuse to pause their workload for the day and collaborate in the celebration for both the Royals and their city!

My dog Maddie greeting kids resting on the ledge of our apartment window during the Royals celebration!

My dog Maddie greeting kids resting on the ledge of our apartment window during the Royals celebration!

However, a big crowd like that has to vanish (not so easily), and the neighborhood seems extra quiet today.

So I decided to share with you an exercise for today’s Exercise Show and Tell, which I bet would challenge dancers, and for sure the Royals baseball players.  Thank you to my beautiful model, Zoe Stein, who is a trainee for KCB for taking this video.

Steps:

1- Lie Supine (on your back on the reformer). Place your left foot turned out with the ball of your foot on the foot-bar. Place the other foot in coupé front. Be sure to stay in a neutral position, with your abdominals engaged, collar bones wide, shoulders down and your arms resting long to your side of the carriage.

2- Begin your fondú, coordinating both legs equally so both legs straighten at the same time.

3- Flex your working leg foot at the same time you flex the standing foot, lengthening the heal all the way under the foot bar (lengthening away from your hip).

4- Raise your Left heal back into a relevé poistion (heal lifted) while articulating the working leg foot back into plantar flexion (point).

5 – Battement (lowering the right leg on top of the left leg) and returning the leg back to where it just came from.

6- Return back to starting position in step 1.

7- Repeat 3-6 times on each leg. Repetition may vary based on individual needs. Once you feel that you are no longer doing the exercise correctly, it’s time to stop.

Effort vs Efforting today

What are your thoughts on the definition of effort? What about the act of efforting? Is there a difference? Is one more positive and/or more productive than the other. . .

Lately, dancehealthier has been doing a bit of research and cognitive thinking on whether there is a clear difference, and whether that difference – if it exists – is pertinent in everyday life. Yup, dancehealthier is going deep today.

The Still Point

Photo Credit: Philip Koenig

Effort is the result of attempt that often times is forced and strained, in order to make something happen.

For Example, on a physical level sometimes our body tells us, by a particular sensation, that a specific action is painful. Regardless of what our body is telling us, we still do it anyway. Therefore, we are doing everything in our effort to make it happen, ignoring what our body is trying to tell us.

A mental example of forced effort is making yourself act happy (or saying you are happy) when really deep down, you are pissed and/or sad (or anything but happy).

In both these examples, your conscious decisions could be made due to impulse, denial, perfection, or impatience. However, it is essentially important to remember that forcing effort is a part of human nature.  It’s okay to be imperfect. That’s the important part to identify with. Accept your behavior, and start again.

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This is where the breakdown of efforting occurs. Efforting concentrates more on the idea of consciously being aware of how one really feels in more of a relaxed and realistic manner.  Efforting depends on digging down deeper into your subconscious, taking account for your own self-care, and accepting the truth.

A way to practice in the dance studio:

Next time you try for another piroette, think to yourself in a calm way, “do it, do it, it,” versus anxiously and innerly forcefully yelling at yourself inside, “DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!”

It’s not always possible to not strain, yet relax, but check whether you are aware of how you talk to yourself. With time this awareness, and efforting the ability to start again, will help you along your way in a more stress-free and positive manner.

Kansas City Photographer - Aaron Lindberg www.aaronlindberg.com

Kansas City Photographer – Aaron Lindberg
http://www.aaronlindberg.com

Feel free to comment your thoughts or ask any questions by commenting.

Thanks for your attention today and remember to always dancehealthier.

Finding your Healthy Dancer Self, led by Dr. Nancy Murdock

This week a team of health experts (or on the quest to be) led by Dr. Nancy Murdock; professor and Department head at University of Missouri – Kansas City. I was invited by Nancy join her team along with Rachel Coats; soon to receive her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and Monica Oh; Ph.D psychology student at UMKC. Together the 4 of us are in the midst of teaching students attending Kansas City Ballet Summer Intensive, a series called Finding your Healthy Dancer Self. We learned a lot from this experience and we hope that the students learned something too! Here is one exercise we shared with the students, which I thought you might like too! The exercise was on positive visualization. Use it before an event that you are anxious or nervous about. Research shows that with practice, positive visualization can benefit you both viscerally and mentally. I hope you find it useful!!

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Benefits of Visualization:

  • Enhances learning and motivation
  • Enhances self-confidence, helps to visualize success
  • Create coping strategies in stressful situations
  • Enhance focus, concentration and self-discipline
  • Visualization practice empowers and centers you for performance, allowing you to enter deeply into the present moment and harness your true potential.

Here is a script for you to follow: Give it a go!

Relax and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths. Take another breath and just let it go gently, but as you do shrug your shoulders and let your arms relax.

Now you are feeling calm and relaxed. Your whole body feels relaxed and heavy.

Now allow your mind to drift to the day of the final summer program showcase performance (or fill in your own event). Allow your mind to drift over the different movements until you get a feeling, a tension, some sort of emotional reaction.

Imagine yourself performing the combination to the best of your ability. See, feel, and experience yourself moving through the actions in your mind as you would like them to develop. Freeze frame any move that does not feel right, rerun in slow motion until it feels right.

Now, imagine the dancer you want to be, and see yourself moving with ease. Focus on how clean your lines are. Continue to visualize how much control you have with every combination you perform. You can see it in your mind, you can hear the music playing, and you can feel your body executing the sequences with detail.

Picture now, that you have finished the performance. See yourself feeling confident and gratified. You are feeling proud of yourself for your accomplishments. This feeling of success and accomplishment is so wonderful, you want to perform again just to experience it all again.

Enjoy the feelings of success.

Begin to wake up your mind and body…. returning your awareness to the present.

Wiggle your fingers, feeling your hands and arms reawakening.

Wake up your feet and legs by wiggling your toes.

Shrug your shoulders… turn your head from side to side…. feel your body waking up.

When you are feeling awake and alert, you can return to your usual activities, feeling energized, motivated, and confident.