Tribal Fusion Belly Dancing
Monday, March 25th, 2013
On my travels, teaching and performing, many friends and students question/discuss diet and cross training for dance.
My focus is safety and longevity in my chosen profession, so I would like to share with you some books and articles you might find interesting, thought provoking and helpful to you: wherever you’re at with your health, fitness and diet right now.
As you may know from earlier posts I run, a little, only about 45 minutes a day, with the hound around the valley. I do not consider myself a runner but I do like to try! I also like to read about runners as I find their sheer will to run FAR extremely inspiring.
Eat and Run by Scott Jurek is an incredible read, in hearing what drives him to run insane distances and also in discovering what fuels his practice, as Scott is Vegan. The book includes plenty of recipes for energy and all round health. It also features tips on running technique that have totally eliminated my calf strain issues (had been happening ever since I switched to barefoot style shoes over a year ago). Thank you Scott Jurek! Even if you have no intention to run or eat a vegan diet I highly recommend this book to inspire and motivate your dance practice.
Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn is another brilliant read. Devon based writer and runner Adharanand moved himself and his family to Kenya to discover the secrets of the fastest people on earth. He also runs a blog on the Guardian website full of great articles and videos. If you liked Born to Run you will LOVE this book.
On Diet and Health I am currently reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, the study examines the links between the consumption of animal products and chronic illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel. As there is rather a lot of cancer in my family on all sides, I am taking a keen interest in the power of diet for myself and my family members, looking at health and lifestyle choices and seeing a lot of room for improvement. Also as a dancer I am keen to research foods for energy rather than relying on the demon caffeine to keep me going. The China Study is a must read.
I also recommend The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr Douglas N. Graham because it makes sense. It is so simple and feels so good when I am able to follow the suggested foods. You only need look up Dr Graham on You Tube to see what 80/10/10 is all about. That’s all I’m gonna say on this one, I think it best you discover for yourself.
Many of you have asked me about the Tabata workout we practice in class from time to time.
Here is an excellent article on that very subject via The Guardian
There are many videos on You Tube if you are looking for ideas on what to do for your own Tabata. Make sure you vary the movements to target different muscle groups. Think of your whole body as your Core (not just your Abdominal Core) in order to strengthen every corner of your body for your dance.
Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet/fitness regime. I am not a doctor!!! I’m just a fellow dancer sharing what I am researching and practicing day to day, in order to live healthier and dance LONGER.
This is my JUICE. Kale Lemon and Apples. YUM!
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
I have had a love hate relationship with running (or trotting as I preferred to call it). I know cardio is good for me. I know my dog loves to head out around the valley in the morning, but it hurt. It hurt my shins, so I changed my shoes. It hurt my calves so I ran less…. Being a professional dancer I was paranoid about the potential knee problems associated with running but I wanted to get OUTSIDE. Me and the hound. Trouble was I had no idea how to do it right.
Then I read Born to Run (thank you Lauren Boldt) It made sense. THAT had to be the way forward: by going back…back to how we ran before running shoes came along and cushioned our feet into forgetting how to work. So I got all excited and bought some barefoot (ish) running shoes and set about teaching myself based on books, YouTube and here- say. Needless to say I have been suffering calf strain and other minor problems ever since. Until TODAY.
I went HERE for a one to one with Triathlete Jonno Gibbins, and found the session invaluable. After drills followed by technical tweaks related to posture, rhythm and relaxation while running on the treadmill, my stance felt very different. I found key muscles I had not been utilizing and felt no calf strain. As a dancer I found Jonno’s knowledge of the foot especially interesting, so many nerve endings dulled by binding our feet in shoes every day. Thank goodness I dance without shoes. The fact I work barefoot most of the day means the transition to the new thin soled running shoes will be so much easier.
I threw my old runners in the bin and invested in a new pair of VIVOS (non sweat shop made)
I advise you do the same but n0t without speaking to an expert like Jonno first. I hope this post will save you time/injury by suggesting you get yourself to a VIVOBAREFOOT Certified Coach, invest a couple of hours and learn the TECHNIQUE behind the phenomena.
I know its going to take me a while to develop the new technique but I know already its going to make the daily trot something to look forward to rather than endure.
You can find Jonno at www.barefootrunningcoach.co.uk
on Twitter: @barefootcoach and on Facebook: RAW Fitness Concepts
“Running is a skill. Technique is everything”
Image from Grays Anatomy via www.bartleby.com
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
Getting back into training after a wee while overindulging in rest and food. This tip should help get you back into your practice too. Go to 8tracks and select a playlist either at utter random or say by GENIUS and sweetheart Rachel Brice (arbibi) then improvise your heart out to the whole delicious thing. Surprises abound! Enjoy.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
I know that’s not technically Belly Dance but without core strength you are headed for injury my dears, especially in this style of dance, using your core will dramatically improve hip work and abdominal isolation. When I started adding Pilates to my practice I noticed a difference right away. My undulations and hip work felt deeper and way stronger, isolation more controlled and posture improved.
I usually choose 3 different exercises like push ups, sit ups and squats and vary all three for 12 minutes. You can of course do more or less time wise depending where your fitness level is at right now. This is known as interval training and I find it highly effective in a short amount of time.
A good practice day for me consists of early morning jog followed by Yoga then a Tabata session or two followed by drills and improv/choreography work. That is a very good day. I will not pretend that happens every day, as things come up…But this is my goal.
I’m going to give you a fun variation for this type of work out by adding a Pilates Ball into the equation. There are lots of how to’s on You Tube for ideas… like this lady. I pick 3 different exercises and start the Tabata Timer.I find I don’t get bored using the Tabata method and adding the ball guarantees core strengthening by trying to stay on the ruddy thing! Wikid.
If you have any daily exercises you want to share here feel free, I know many of us work in isolation, either by living in the country side or just plain cannot afford classes every week, so my thinking is the more we share what is working for us, the quicker this art form can flourish and gain the respect it deserves from the wider dance community, innit.
Note:If you have any kind of injury, use common sense and talk to your doctor about which ball exercises will work for you! Always cool down properly after this type of rigorous exercise OK!
AND HERE IS THIS MONTH’S BOOK:
The Element by Sir Ken Robinson available here
Inspired and very amusing, Ken puts all into perspective and shows us how everyone is capable of creativity when given the opportunity.
Monday, March 14th, 2011
This month’s practice tip focuses on Shimmy. Its pretty simple, find a good long track and shimmy for the entire length with no break adding layers and traveling without the shimmy being affected at all. Try big and loose, small and fast, 3/4 and 4/4 or whatever feels good to you today! I have put up a couple of tracks on my itunes PING account which you can see via HERE to use for ideas. Enjoy!
This month’s suggested reading is Inside Ballet Technique by Valerie Grieg available HERE. Regardless of whether you are interested in Ballet or not this book proves to be a useful tool and a very accessible read indeed.
Love and Fluff
Friday, December 31st, 2010
Kicking off 2011 in the BEST WAY EVER!
Teaching and performing with Elizabeth Strong and Zoe Jakes in none other than the Fat Chance Belly Dance studios in San Francisco. I am so very lucky to be able to work with my friends across the pond again, it’s been a while. We will teach a week long intensive and also put on a show together. Yay, yay and also YAY!! For full booking info check out my calendar page where you will also find details for my ONLY other US visit in 2011… TRIBAL FEST!!!
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
Food is very important to me and any time spent at home is spent mostly in the kitchen juicing fresh juices with my Oscar juicer and cooking up a Jamie Oliver inspired storm. I used to hate cooking with a passion but getting into dancing 6 years ago started to awaken an interest in what I was putting in my belly, most of which was baaaaad stuff.
I have recently returned from a very inspiring time in Cape Town with the most excellent Marissa of SOMA dance company. There I learned about eating a healthy raw food diet, something I had written of as impossible, especially living in the UK at times like these in sub zero temperatures. The food we ate in Cape Town was tasty, colourful, varied and made me feel good. So I got the RAWlicious book , a ton of superfood supplements and have been experimenting here at home.
While I do not think I can go 100% raw just yet I am definitely feeling the benefits of being around 70% raw while at home. Soon as I hit the road however I know it will be tricky to survive in airports and on trains without being extremely organized in advance of each trip and preparing my sprouts and snacks while I am packing the striped beast who rolleth on two tiny wheels.
While I am struggling with the food miles attached to using many of the ingredients listed in the book, as it was written with South Africans in mind: where the sun shines and abundant varieties of fruit and veg grow… I am doing my best to alter the recipes to fit with what comes in my veg box each week.
Here is where I big up my friends Ed and Izzy pictured below, who grow our food as part of a community agriculture project Chagfood which they themselves set up. We are lucky enough to have organic veg grown in our valley and delivered by horse and cart!
In an effort to make the project as low-impact as possible they use horse-power for cultivation, tillage and transport of their vegetables. Samson is a Dartmoor-Welsh Cob who has been trained by them from a foal.
And now I raise my Green Juice in hand and say To Your Health!!!
Hope this has sparked yer curiosity a little, I’m off to check my sprouts!