ONE NIGHT ONLY MASTER CLASS!

Hello all my loyal reader!  My extremely talented and dear friend Alena Acker is in a FABULOUS show called Mother Eve’s Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood: The Mother of All Rock Musicals!   It is truly one of the FUNNIEST WITTIEST new shows I have ever seen!  I can’t wait to see it again!  But first – you should all know they are hosting a DANCE MASTER CLASS WITH EVAN KASPRZAK and you should take it!  He’s a phenomenal teacher and it’s a fundraiser for a great show you should certainly get behind!  Here are the details!  I would say hope to see you there – but I’ll be in Florida unable to attend.  Please make me jealous of YOU though for attending and let me know how it was!:)

 

Evan Kasprzak Thinks You Can Dance!

Jazz Master Class with Evan Kasprzak
Thursday, June 28th, 2012
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Ripley Grier, 520 Eighth Avenue, Studio 16F-G

Want to hone your dancing skills so you can stand out at those Broadway or regional musical theater auditions? Whether you are at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level, now’s your chance!

Broadway’s own Evan Kasprzak is teaching a jazz master class for one night only on Thursday, June 28th. Hone your basics, and learn how to give those moves the extra pizzazz they need to get you noticed in a crowded audition and on stage.

Currently starring on Broadway in Newsies, Evan Kasprzak placed third in Season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance! and has worked alongside such great legendary artists as Ann Reinking, Ben Vereen and Tyce Diorio. You can see him dancing in the Emmy award winning “Butt Dance,” choreographed by Mia Michaels. Evan received a BFA in Music Theatre at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he has also choreographed numerous productions and concert pieces.

This is a fundraiser forMother Eve’s Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood: The Mother of All Rock Musicals!, which will appear in the New York International Fringe Festival August 10th – 26th. With our exclusive Friends & Family Discount, we are able to offer you this class at the amazingly affordable price of $25. Space is extremely limited!

This exciting opportunity to support local theatre artists while taking your career to the next level is being offered on a first come, first served basis. Please visit http://mothereves.mcgee4me.com/Mother_Eves/Evans_Jazz_Class.html to pay via Paypal or email MotherEveWorkshops@gmail.com to reserve a spot for your dancing feet now!

Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/227264104058968/

AntiGravity Yoga

Today I DEFIED GRAVITY!

Well, not really.  But I did do AntiGravity Yoga with my brave pianist friend Candace.

 

What is AntiGravity Yoga?  Well – here is the official breakdown.  

The class I took was AntiGravity FUNdamentals at OM Factory NYC.    My description would be, a gentle riff on classical Yoga using a large orange hammock that makes the exercises even more challenging while simultaneously making you feel like a masochistic 7 year old on a playground.

You walk into “flight school,” a room with several large orange “hammocks” hanging from the ceiling. Our lovely teacher adjusted the hammocks according to our heights and assured us they were rigged to hold up to 1000 pounds so we were all safe.  She explained that this exercise technique came from a performance group called AntiGravity, which coincidentally I had seen IN performance and loved.  Our teacher also warned us that we should wear a shirt with sleeves and long pants, otherwise the hammocks might hurt a lot against our skin.  Armed with proper t-shirts, Candace and I were excited to get started.  (The rest of our class consisted of two student who looked like true yogis, then a bunch of complete exercise novices ranging in age from what looked like 11 to mid-50s.)

Class started out easy enough.  We sat in our hammocks and twisted ourselves into “womb” and cocoon-like positions.  It was rather relaxing.

 

 

 

The we hung upside down!  Which I was very excited about, until I actually did it!  I consider myself a fairly in shape mobile person, but my goodness the blood rushed to my head and was actually rather painful!  On the other hand, it definitely stretched out and decompressed my back.  So, perhaps it was worth the head pain.  The position also LOOKS very complicated and difficult, but in actuality it really isn’t.  Every in the class could achieve the position and hold onto it in a very stable fashion.

 

 

Next came the unpleasant part.  It was actually exceedingly unpleasant.  We basically turned the hammocks into ropes that we draped ourselves over and balanced on.  Doesn’t sound so bad until you are doing it and the rope digs into your hip joints in a most unpleasant way.  The teacher informed us she had “wussy pads” for those of us that just couldn’t take the pain.  With that name, nobody wanted to ask for one.  Finally I was just in too much pain, asked for one, and immediately half the class also asked to join the “wussy pad” parade.  DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR WUSSY PADS!  When you’re dangling in this position you’ll thank me!

 

 

To be honest, this whole dangling series was SO unpleasant, it alone would make me not want to take the class again, but then we moved onto upper body strength.  As I’ve discussed before, I have no upper body strength.  At all.  I’m surprised I can carry grocery bags home.  We were now being asked to essentially do pull-ups.  Exercises I’m more used to seeing Olympic Gymnasts do on the rings instead of beginners in a yoga class.

 

 

For me, just holding a position like the one pictures above is a task that requires Herculean strength!  We were being asked to bring our legs up into a pike position and a split positing!  I nearly cried.  As did Candace.  Candace was mainly crying because this particular exercise hurt her (and my) fingers.  Candace is a pianist so her fingers are insured for billions of dollars.  The way we were asked to grip the hammocks was painful, and assured she would not be returning.  I just felt like a wuss!

THEN, we finally got back to the fun stuff!  By “fun stuff” I mean, exercises that require flipping around and pretending you are a flying 7 year old on a swing set. We got into fun positions such as The Bat:

 

 

And my personal favorite the VAMPIRE – which looks very impressive, and sounded intimidating as it was being described, but was actually relatively easy and fun to execute!

 

We ended the class with five minutes of relaxing in “cocoon,” which I must admit was very very VERY nice.

 

So, would I do AntiGravtiy Yoga again?  Probably.  But the $20 a class is very steep, and I’m not sure I feel like I actually got a good workout.  There were some gentle toning exercises in a few of the position.  For example, in “vampire” we did some “Vampire Crunches” which I definitely felt in my abs, but it was nowhere near as satisfying as a pilates class.  Nor did I get the cardio high of Zumba.  But I did have fun flipping around in the hammock, when, of course, I was not in positions where the hammocks were digging into my skin!  But, you never know, I might pop in again.  Especially if I have friend with me.  Candace, however, will not be returning.  It’s definitely not a workout for everyone. I would definitely NOT recommend it to an exercise novice.  Those that seemed to fare the best were those with a very strong YOGA background.  There was another pilates instructor in the room having just as much trouble as I was. If you are looking to shake things up, however, this is a fun time.

Here are two videos about AntiGravity Yoga in case you were wondering what it looks like in action!

 

AntiGravity Yoga Video

 

AntiGravity Yoga Video 2

Urban Nomad

The wonderful Dawn Trautman asked me to write a guest entry for her blog Urban Nomad USA.  

It’s a beautiful blog that provides “Travel Sized Life Coaching for Journeys of All Sorts.”  I highly suggest you check it out and follow it!  Every Tuesday she provides a “Tuesday Travel Tip” and every Thursday a “Thursday Thought.”  This Tuesday, June 19, 2012, she asked me to provide a travel tip about staying fit on the road.  So without further adieu, please visit her blog and enjoy!

Tuesday Travel Tip: Exercise on the Road

A Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

One of my “day jobs” is a New York City Tour Guide.  I was asked to learn the Brooklyn Bridge tour so I can lead in it two weeks.  In other words, I needed to cram my brain with as much information about the Brooklyn Bridge as possible AND maybe pay it a visit, since I had only crossed it once eight years ago!  So I asked my very talented opera friend Susan to cross the bridge with me, listen to me drone about random Brooklyn Bridge Facts, and get a little exercise while we were at it.

 

Let me tell you – walking is fabulous exercise and what better way to do it than walking over a picturesque landmark on a warm (albeit slightly cloudy) spring day?  It’s free, it’s laid back, it’s beautiful, and it burns calories!

So – how do you walk the Brooklyn Bridge?  Take the 6 train to City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge.  When you exit the station, you’ll see the bridge if you look East!  You’ll have to cross the street and then you’ll follow the multitudes onto the bridge.  I must warn you, STAY TO YOUR RIGHT!  The left “lane” is for bikers and they show NO MERCY!  (But if you want to BIKE across the bridge, that would also be great exercise.  If you do – STAY TO THE LEFT!)

The bridge is 1,595 feet long, which means from the date it opened (May 24th, 1883) to 1903 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and the first to use steel cables!  If you want to learn more about the bridge you can always wikipedia it here OR read the David McCullough book THE GREAT BRIDGE or watch the Ken Burns documentary.  It has a ridiculously fascinating history, especially where the Roebling family is concerned.  Before you walk across, I suggest you do a little research so you can fully appreciate the historical significance of the bridge!  You can also learn about it’s history on your walk!  Which gets us back to our original post here – walking across the bridge for exercise!

You’ll soon reach the Manhattan tower!  On it is a plaque commemorating John Roebling, the bridge’s designer and his son Washington Roebling, who oversaw construction after his father died in a freak accident before the first stone of the bridge was put into place!  There is also a plaque explaining a little of the bridge’s history.

 

Around the periphery of BOTH towers is a series of engraved plaques by Keith Goddard which in explain, in great detail, how the bridge was built.  It was suggested to me that it would be a fun activity to bring paper and a pencil to make rubbings of these plaques.

 

 

 

 

 

After you’ve gotten your fill of the Manhattan Tower, you can continue walking towards Brooklyn.  When you reach the middle of the bridge, if you look left you will be able to see three buildings which each held the title “tallest in the world” at one point in history.  The Met Life Building, the Chrysler Building, and of course the Empire State Building.

 

 

To your right you’ll be able to see The Statue of Liberty herself!  (Officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World.) (She’s really really tiny on the right hand side of this photo!)

 

Continue towards the Brooklyn Tower!

 

My brave companion Susan!

 

When you reach the Brooklyn Tower you will see more of Keith Goddard’s beautiful engravings.  (They are identical to those Manhattan side!)  You will also see a plaque commemorating Emily Roebling, America’s first female engineer!  She is one of the interesting unsung figures in history.  After her husband, Washington Roebling, came down is a bad case of Caisson disease, Emily basically took a crash course in engineering and became his right hand “man.”  It was Emily that travelled to the bridge and gave the orders and reported back to her husband.  If this wasn’t enough, she also got a law degree from NYU!  In  the late 19th century, this was quite an unusual accomplishment!  You can read more about her here or in her American Society of Civil Engineers biography here!  

 

Emily Roebling

 

After you leave the Brooklyn Tower, you will continue along the bridge path.  I highly suggest you take the stairs as a way down!  If you follow the bridge path all the way to the end, you will end up very far from the water and Brooklyn Bridge Park (though very close the A train!)  However, if you take the stairs down then head towards the water, you will reach a lovely park.  There is a carousel that cost $2 to ride.

 

Me riding the Carousel

 

Susan getting into character on the carousel.

 

There is also a DELICIOUS ice cream shop called the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.    I’m an ice cream snob and this met my expectations.  The world famous Grimaldi’s Pizza is a block away.  Of course, these counteract the entire reason you walked across the bridge in the first place, to get exercise!  So you can just sit and enjoy the STUNNING view!

 

 

To get home you can take the A or 2/3 train, but if you have a little time to spare, I suggest you take the East River Ferry!  It’s $4, and you get a beautiful little tour of Manhattan and Williamsburg!

 

Susan on the Ferry

 

 

And that is a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!  You can walk across any of the main bridges to Brooklyn, but I recommend the Brooklyn Bridge above the others.  It has a beautiful history, but also it has a pedestrian promenade ABOVE the traffic, so you aren’t walking along side speeding traffic.  It also afford the best view!

I hope this inspires you to explore one of New York’s Landmarks!  A bit of a shameless plug, if you would like a walking tour with a live tour guide of the Brooklyn Bridge, you can always contact New York City Walking Tours!  

Happy Monday!

Candace Takes Pilates

Guest Blogger Candace Chien has been gracious enough to write an entry about her first experience with Pilates!  Here it is!

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“Hooray, I have officially done something that counts as exercise, not me trying to label something mildly active in my life as exercise. This coincides with my summer starting, where only work and practicing are priorities so hopefully I can keep it up.

Our lovely blogmistress Megan had a Pay-What-You-Can Pilates class today and it was my very first pilates experience. I even went out and bought a brand new mat! Now, my previous experiences in classes are yoga, so it was interesting how different it was. As a side note, it was intimidating being in a class where there were people who’ve obviously practiced before, or are at least physically active. However, Megan made it an incredibly welcome for all levels so I didn’t feel too much like a supernoob. It was much more mentally engaging and generally more active than yoga and I don’t really feel like there’s this stretched out rubber band feeling in my arms and legs, which isn’t really what I need anyway. My abs will cry tomorrow morning, and that I certainly DO need. I definitely walked away feeling much more aligned and walking taller, even with slinging my bag with the world in it.

PS – Megan, have one next week too! I’ll go!”

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