Monday, April 25, 2011

Pliés, arabesques and an elephant

This week is the Bay Area National Dance Week. For a dance-loving creature like me, it means a week of heaven. Every day this week, dance studios all over the Bay Area give free classes. You can try everything from Bollywood-dancing to Pole-dancing.

I've taken plenty of dance classes in my days. But instead of focusing on one particular dance, I've tried a bunch of different styles. Because I'm a non-advanced dancer, I've mostly taken dance classes at the gym or adult education classes. They have been fun, but sometimes I would like to go to a Bollywood class without it being infused with aerobics or a belly-dancing class that would be more technically challenging.

There are a multitude of dance studios around. But it's always a gamble to take a class at a dedicated dance studio. They all have classes for "beginners", but the ones I've been to, I'm always the "most beginner". I went to one beginner's jazz class last fall. The people and atmosphere was really nice, but the dancers were "proper" dancers. The instructor was very nice and supportive and helped me a lot. But after the class I couldn't walk properly for about a week. Just leaning over my plate to eat was painful!

When I saw the ad for the Bay Area National Dance Week I got so excited. I thought, maybe people who are curious about dancing would go to these classes and try them out. Maybe people would take the opportunity to venture out of their comfort zone and do something they normally don't do. There must be more people out there like me! So I signed up for a 2-hour introductory ballet class. And off I went!

And now I'm back! I had a good time, but oh boy am I glad I have taken a couple of ballet classes before! The instructor told us what to do and we did what we were told. Simple enough. I knew how to point and flex my toes. I knew the five positions and I knew how to do them in plié. I understood what he ment when he instructed us to balance an arabesque. I even kinda understood what to do when I was told to do a chassé third to fourth position. I started to get really confused when I was told to do a set of tendus from fifth followed by a set of glissés and a couple of rond de jambes, finishing with a balace in passé.

Was I the most beginner? Yes I was. Was I the only non-ballerina who took the opportunity to try ballet. Yes I was. There were a few ballet dancers who's never danced at this studio before, but the big majority were regulars. I was neither, which was beyond obvious. The elephant in the room doesn't even begin to describe it!

I still enjoyed it. But I'm not going back. The hunt for the perfect fit continues. I'm still hoping there is a dance studio out there that will not only teach me to do a proper arabesque, but also explain what it is and show me how it's done.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If I had a broken heart

The first time I heard this song, it accompanied Billy Bell and Kathryn McCormick in one of their routines on So You Think You Can Dance last summer. I remember liking it, but after the show I forgot all about the song. But yesterday I heard it again, this time on the radio. This kind of music can soon become really cheesy, but there is something about this specific song that makes it very likable. If I was heart-broken I bet I would play this song on repeat. Thankfully I'm not heart-broken, but I still want to share it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Genie in a bottle

If a genie would grant you three wishes, what would you wish for? I bet many would wish for money, success and happiness. I don't. All of that can already be achieved. I'm not saying it's easy to become rich or successful and being happy might sound trivial but it's also something lost in a whole lot of people. Nevertheless, they are all things that can become a reality to some degree.

Obviously, if I was starving and living on the street, I would probably wish for money, shelter and health, so I'm not denying that the three wishes are closely tied to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. But given who and where I am right now, my three wishes would be as follows:

Teleportation: I wish I could teleport. This is, hands down, my biggest wish. If I was only granted one wish, this would be the one. This ability would give me endless possibilities. I could have breakfast with my family in Taiwan, have lunch with my friends in Sweden, have dinner with my South African friends and still have time to catch a movie with my hubby before going to bed. I wouldn't miss out on birthdays, weddings, babies and I would be able to give my loved ones a hug whenever they, or I, needed one.

Endless eating: I wish I could eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted without it effecting my appearance or health. It would be totally awesome! My stomach rumbles just thinking about it!

Manipulate the experience of time: This wish has nothing to do with time travel. I don't believe in living in the past, how wonderful it might have been. What's past is past and it's no longer our reality. And I don't want to know the future, it would be like knowing every intricate detail of a plot before watching a movie. I don't even want to alter time, merely alter my own perception and experience of time. Time always flies when you have fun, and it's a pity. It would be great if time slowed down so one could have more time to enjoy it. Time can be a real drag when one is bored. It would be great if boredom made time fly. I'm very seldom bored, but I HATE standing in line. But I'm sure I wouldn't mind it as much if 45 min waiting to catch a cable cart only felt like a minute or two.

These are my three wishes. Now, if only I could find that genie...

Monday, April 4, 2011

White, brown or mixed?

I've been trying to live healthier for the past few months and I've been exercising regularly and it's actually not been too difficult. Even though my main objective wasn't to loose weight, I would be lying if I said it wasn't a welcomed consequence.

I have been working out several times a week, I've made adjustments in what I eat but I'm not loosing weight! Sure, I'm stronger, healthier and cloths fit me better but it would be fun if my bathroom scale got with the program! At this point I'm wondering how I didn't gain weight more rapidly before I started exercising.

I wouldn't say I excessively count calories, but I have looked at the calorie content of some of my favorite foods. I know it's debatable how good it is to count calories, but I use it more like an educational tool so I can make better decisions. For instance, I now know that fruits such as oranges are high in calories (two oranges equals one can of Coke). I know that a 9 piece nigiri sushi dinner is as bad as eating a Big Mac. I still eat oranges and sushi, but now I know I might as well substitute with a Coke and a Big Mac.

The biggest disappointment, this far, when it comes to calories is rice. I've known that white rice isn't nutritious but I had no idea how bad it is for you. Not even brown rice is that great. This becomes even clearer when you look at the glycemic index as well. All in all, it looks like it's better to eat white pasta than brown rice. This is very discouraging news. I might be raised in Sweden, but I eat like a Chinese. I don't want to be too stereotypical, but I need my rice!

I guess I will try to substitute my beloved white jasmine rice for brown rice. I haven't even begun doing it yet and I'm already disappointed. Maybe I can mix half and half... Next time I feel like indulging, maybe I will shun the pizzas and burger and stuff my face with a big bowl of lovely white grains of heaven.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A sketchy sketch

I've always wanted to have a skill. Not that I'm particularly incompetent, but I don't possess any spectacular competences either. I totally suck at some things like maths, long-distance running and answering emails. I feel comfortable cooking, speaking in public and at social events. Mostly I do things semi-ok. I play the piano, but I'm not great at it. I used to play decent golf, but I don't any longer. I've been ok at most sports I've tried, but never excelled. I enjoy doing artsy stuff, but I'm not really good at it. I envy people who can pick up a guitar and play wonderful tunes. I wish I could create a master piece just by using pen and paper. Or play tennis like nobody's business.

Ok, to be fair, all people (with very few exceptions) who are awesome at something have practiced, practiced and practiced. So, if I could make a wish, maybe I should wish for patience more than anything else. But I'm usually not the one to complain. If there is something I want and something I can do about it, I usually do.

So, I signed up for a 10 week "Figure and Portrait Drawing" class. I figured I have always wanted to know how to draw but never really given it a chance. How can I know I'm not good at it if I've never really tried? The class is open to all and held at the Senior Center. I'm the only non-senior in the class and also the only one who is not a skilled amateur artist. The level of artistry in the class is amazing but nothing about the class is intimidating. I've been there twice now and the people are lovely and the instructor is very encouraging.

More as an experiment I will show you one of my drawings I've made. This is my starting point. Let's see where I'll be 8 weeks from now. Let's see if I will have developed a new skill.