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Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

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One of the wonders of nature is the movement of large numbers of animals in a synchronization we can only observe in awe. In fish, we see schools, in insects, swarms, and in birds, we see flocking. It is a mesmerizing dance. Above we see crows, below starlings.

In the video linked to here, titled The Starling and Falcon Dance by Nick Dunlop, set to the most perfect music, we see thousands of European Starlings migrating south. They have attracted a prime predator, the Peregrine Falcon, and in attempting to evade him, they fly in synch and create amazing patterns in the sky. As fascinating as these photos might be, they cannot show you the magic created by the birds in flight.

Please take a look at one of nature’s miracles.

 

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Do you ever find yourself missing you? And by that I mean a part of you that you have always enjoyed but for which there seems to be little or no time nowadays?

Walnut-BundtCake2

On the rare occasions that I bake these days, I am reminded of times when I really used to cook and bake a whole lot more … and loved it. So when I do get in the kitchen, and take my sweet time baking a cake, (which may be to raise funds for the local equine rescue I help or when I’m a dinner guest and have offered to bring dessert), I not only enjoy it, but feel like I’ve re-found a part of myself. I call her the “domestic dolly” part of me.

Dolly likes to cook and bake – from scratch, of course – likes to sew, paint stuff – walls, furniture, do crafts – and yes, sometimes, actually enjoys cleaning … or at least the result. But as our lives get busier and stay busier, other things demand our time and attention, and these may fall to the wayside,  and hey, I’m not 28 anymore. Yeah, then there’s that.

So we pick and choose, and try, somewhere along the line, to occasionally rediscover the parts of ourselves that sometimes get lost in the shuffle. It’s a challenge. Life has different demands than in the past. We have different goals. But it’s good to remember ourselves, even if for a little while.

What about you – are you a cook or baker with no time? Love to go out dancing? Travel? Play music? Hike? Just curl up with a good book?

My suggestion? Dust off that `you’ and take her or him out for a spin. Find that time or make that time. If it’s something we love, we can’t afford to go missing.

 

 

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As they say in the movie … put your hands in the air like you just do not care!

That’s what I’m sayin’! Put your hands up high, over your head. Open up those fingers and swing your arms to the left and to the right. Swing your hips to the left and the right! And put a smile on your face whether you feel like it or not. Feel better?

HappyBogles-WhtBkgrnd2

If you actually did that, you do feel better, and I’ll tell you why. You can change your mood by changing what your body is doing. It’s true. There’s a body of evidence that tells us that we can change how we feel by doing a few very simple things. For example, it’s almost impossible to stay feeling angry when you put your hands over your head like you see in this drawing, titled Happy Bogles. Wave them back and forth; you’ll be surprised at how you feel.

Or, if you’re feeling sad or angry, go to the mirror and give yourself your best, happiest smile. Keep smiling and you’ll feel a change. Of course, one of the simplest things to do to change a mood is dance. Do you feel like dancing when you’re feeling out of sorts? Of course not, and that’s exactly why you do it anyway. And put up those hands and see what happens.

Now who are those wonderful happy bogles and what’s a bogle anyway? Happy Bogles is by John D. Batten, a British painter and illustrator, (1860 – 1932), who among his numerous works, illustrated English and other countries’ fairy tales, mostly around the turn of the century. This particular illustration, which I have loved for such a long time, accompanied The Golden Ball.

What is unique about this particular illustration is that it portrays bogles as happy. Bogles are folkloric creatures of Northumbrian and Scottish origin who play a part in any number of folk and fairy tales; however, they are not known for being happy creatures. Rather they are mischievous and enjoy making life difficult for humans, albeit not particularly harmful. But in this illustration they are joyful. (Hmmm – perhaps they just accomplished something to bother some unsuspecting person.)

Whenever I look at this drawing, I feel happy. Let it inspire you, too, and put those hands in the air with a big smile. See? It’s working!

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When was the last time you danced?
A question put to the sick by a Native American medicine man

This headed up the June 24th post by Mark Nepo in his The Book of Awakening. And I had to stop. When was the last time I danced? When was the last time I sang? Or really laughed hard? And the answer I came up with was that whenever it was, it was too, too long ago. And that got me pretty bummed. I love to dance.

There are periods in our lives when dancing is just so low on the agenda that we forget all about it. Although I vaguely remember dancing about the kitchen, holding one of my cats when she was really not doing well. I thought a loving waltz might help. I’m guessing it did, I’m sure as much for me as her.

Dancing is wonderful and I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember. Lately? Not so much. With all that’s been going on I’ve barely listened to music or read a whole book. Yesterday, with a number of stressful situations at least partially resolved, I decided to change all that. I looked through my CD’s and put on a favorite that I haven’t listened to in a long time, p.s. A Toad Retrospective from Toad the Wet Sprocket. I  came across them in the early 90’s and  have several of their albums; I love their sound and this compilation is their best.

I hit “Play” and grabbed my book, Skinny Dip, something cool to drink, and sat down on the sofa and read. And read. And read `til I finished the book. (Yes, I did make dinner for all those who were hungry and then continued reading.)

OK, I didn’t dance.  But I listened to music I love and allowed myself something I rarely do … to simply relax and enjoy. I admit I am still feeling a wee bit guilty, but all the things I didn’t do are still right here waiting for me, and today is another day. Dance? That might happen at any time.

So you might ask yourself … when was the last time you danced? sang? laughed so hard you couldn’t stop? I’m certainly no medicine man, but if the answer is anything like mine was … maybe you, too, need to carve out a little “you” time. Put on the music and see what happens.

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I was first consciously aware of this song when I saw it on Glee, though I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it before; it must not have registered. Then it came on the radio as I headed out in the car the other day. It just lit me up – and I was dancing in the car. Maybe a version of “when the student is ready ….” What a great, upbeat song.

This video of Kelly Clarkson doing Stronger also features a flash mob or two and even has some mermaids under water!

It’s Monday morning … why not start on a happy, dancing note.? Go on … get up and dance. You know you want to.

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My only occasional posting has less to do with lack of things to write about … but rather more to do with not enough time to write and too many things to write about. A million things were flashing through my brain that I would have liked to write about, but were zipping faster than I could catch them, and then … I was reminded of something that I’d seen on the web awhile back which never fails to put a smile on my face. It seemed like a good thing to share.

Need a smile? Watch this …

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Some say it’s a lost art … floor ballet. Not true. But its practitioners – unfortunately for its admirers – tend to work in isolation rather than coming together in troupes, such as in formal ballet as we know it.

I am proud to say that I have one of those practitioners right here in my very own home, pictured performing the famed masterpiece, “Danse du Soleil.” Claude wasn’t always this talented. He spent much of his young dance career in awkward leaps, caricaturistic posturing, and mad dashes. It has only been in the last few years that he has been practicing and devoting himself to floor ballet. At first it seemed like he was mastering the art of relaxation.

I was wrong. Dance is his life. It seems, as he has matured, that floor ballet has become his everything. While it’s true that he has brought the art to sofa and bed, it is the floor ballet which is his heart and soul. The sun is his greatest inspiration, but he happily jetés on the floor under so many circumstances, he has simply become an inspiration.

Although the attached photographs are lacking in detail due to the brilliant sunlight, you can see the progression of movement, the grace, the utter joy. I am so proud to have a dancer in the family.

And here I thought I had nothing to write about today.

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How often is it that you watch something on the web and you are moved to tears while feeling an inner kind of joy? Not that often in my book, but every now and then – something really hits the mark. This one did it for me.

Go take a look at Where the Hell Is Matt? and click on Dancing 2008. And then watch his Dancing Outtakes, and whatever else strikes your fancy. This guy is joining the world through dancing – he’s not going to win any dance awards – that won’t be why you check it out. You’ll be going to watch a young guy wearing a joyous smile with an energy and a love for peoples of the world who wants to share it, AND get people dancing with him. It just blows me away, and so far, everyone I’ve sent it to.

Oporto-PortugalIn his About Matt section, (his FAQ’s are pretty funny, BTW), one of the things mentioned is that Matt believes that Americans should travel abroad more. That really struck a chord with me, and I truly agree. I find that Americans as a nation are rather insular, but to travel outside of the U.S. borders is truly eye opening. The first time I left this country was to visit my cousin Norman in Portugal – I was 23 years old and had never been on a plane, leave alone in a country where I couldn’t understand one word anyone said.

Perhaps this visit should be for another posting, but let me say that the vast difference in cultures, landscapes, language, food, architecture, etc. gave me memories I’ll never forget. And yet, there was nary a soul who didn’t go out of his or her way to be kind to me, a total stranger. I think many people’s world views could change just in knowing that, despite the differences between us, there are amazing common bonds. Matt is sharing one – dancing. It really has touched me. Go look – Matt is one cool guy.

p.s. I apologize that this photo is not mine – mine are in slide format and I’ve never taken the time to learn how the thing-y that came with my scanner converts them to images I can use – but this one, taken in Oporto, (where I also visited with my cousin), is a decent stand-in for the loveliness and simplicity found in the older areas of Portugal.

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