Thursday, June 30, 2011

Old Friends

Today I'm reuniting with an old friend. We've had a stormy relationship over the past few years. She's always been brutally honest with me and that's what friends are for. Lately I've been slacking off on my side of the friendship. I might wave hello, pass her by, but I haven't stayed very long to listen to her truths or hear her honest message. It's time to reunite us again. I feel it in my gut. Dear readers, I give you...

My Scale!

Yeah, I'm sure you thought I was talking about a real friend. Nope, just my scale. How do I plan on cultivating a renewed relationship? With one of these:

Good for the abdominals and back muscles. 

I'll get back to doing a little more of this: 

Pick up my slacking endurance. 

And I'm going to get back to writing these: 

Keeps me in check with what I eat all week long. 

I've got a plan. I'm going to make our friendship work, start checking in a little bit more, and listening to her gentle reminders. Yup, it's going to be a beautiful friendship. Like I said, I can feel it in my gut. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dancing in Dallas: Pro League Prep Dance

Monday I took myself down to Power House of Dance in Frisco again. There was a class that kept popping up, peeking my interest, Pro League Prep. You may ask, "What in the world is a Pro League Prep class?" Well, I'll tell you.

Pro League Prep is a class for those who are interested in training to be on a professional dance team such as:

The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders

The Dallas Mavericks Dancers 

The Dallas Vigilantes Dancers

And there's a new team in town, too. The Texas Legends Dancers! They have auditions coming up at the end of July. In any case, these classes prepare the dancers for these auditions by giving combinations similar to what they would perform at the games. It. Is. Fun.

First of all, what lady doesn't like pretending for an hour that they're a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader in that famous uniform? The dances are energetic, sexy, and entertaining! Don't think it's all about shaking it out there. There's a whole technical element dancers can't forget about. Every turn, every kick, and step has to be sharp, clean and precise. Luckily we had an excellent instructor for the class.

Leslie Shaw-Hatchard coached us through every step, offering helpful tips including how to look sassy without going overboard. Leslie is an extremely experienced teacher with a great background in pro league dancing. She was a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, even a Mavericks Dancer and is currently the director of the Texas Legends. I actually had the pleasure of knowing Leslie from when I was a student at Broadway Dance Center in Garland. It was great having a class with her again!

Sometimes what makes or breaks the class is the teacher and I can tell you this class is worth taking just because Leslie is so much fun! She started us off with a little stretching, getting warmed up before we really started dancing. After that, it was all about choreography. She builds on a combination throughout the week, starts the combo Monday and adds on the following two classes. It's a smart strategy, especially in a prep class. Dancers can take the class how they want. One day they can focus on getting used to the style and the next picking up the choreography more quickly.

The class is an hour long and I guarantee you will sweat. It's high energy, extremely fun, and well worth the try. The class is offered at both the Dallas and Frisco locations of Dallas Power House and with a  couple other teachers.

Class Cost: $15
Class Time: Hour
Schedule: Monday-Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30. Check Here for specifics.
Where: Dallas Power House of Dance, Frisco

If you missed my first post about Power House of Dance in Frisco, you can check it out here. Next class I took this week? Well, it's a special surprise! Stay tuned for the next Dancing in Dallas!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dancing in Dallas: Centre of Dance

This morning I rolled my happy self out of bed to try something I've yet to do, Zumba. It's the Jazzercise of today, Latin dance aerobics to a strong salsa beat. So to an extent, this is still considered in the dance realm. OR if nothing else, this is a great work out for dancers.

In my quest for new studios, I came across Centre of Dance. They have several adult classes that I'll list at the end, one of which is Zumba. The class is taught by Frankie Branham, a spit-fire of a woman with a strawberry blonde pixie cut. She is energetic, engaging, open, and friendly. I adored her from the word "go." I met her on the way in and she took time visiting with me, telling me a little about the studio, and introducing me to other participants. If that doesn't make you feel welcome, I don't know what will.

The class is non-stop constant cardio, moving around the room, keeping a solid beat, and shaking it like there's no tomorrow. "Wiggle it!" Frankie calls out and off our hips go, booties shaking, and shoulders shimmying. Not five minutes into the first combo and I was drenched with sweat. Each combination is much like a dance. For three to five minutes, you follow the instructor, consistently moving, and dancing to a strong Latin beat. Frankie took us a through a series of combinations, calling out cues and words of encouragement. There's a welcomed cool down for the last five minutes of class and that's the end of your hour workout.

It's really fun and though I may not be working on perfect turn out or extension, my heart rate is up, my abs and my gluteus maximus are on fire, and I'm having the time of my life. The music makes me feel like I'm in a salsa dancing club. I feel like I should be wearing a flirty dress, spinning across the floor with a rose pinned in my wild hair. By the time I was half-way through the class, that daydream turned into me devouring a whole bowl of chips and salsa with a good margarita on the rocks. Whatever keeps you going, right?

Alright! Information:

Class Cost: $15 (Although, first trial of class is on Frankie)
Class Time: Hour
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Thursday from 6:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m.

*Summer classes last from now until August 5th.

7517 Campbell Road, Suite 400
Dallas, TX 75248
Phone: 972-248-1112

Frankie did say her summer classes have dwindled down in size. Today's consisted total of three ladies, myself and two older woman. However, Frankie does teach at the University of Texas at Dallas on Tuesday and Thursday night from 8:00 to 9:00. She said these classes usually brought in some students around my age.

If you don't want to take Zumba, you can try these other Adult Classes:

8:00 p.m. - Advanced Hip-Hop
8:00 p.m. - Pro Team Audition Prep

7:00 p.m. - Ballet
8:00 p.m. - Beginner Hip-Hop
8:00 p.m. - Dallas Stars Ice Girls Prep

7:00 p.m. - Beginner Hip-Hop
8:00 p.m. - Jazz Contemporary
8:00 p.m. - Intermediate Hip-hop

7:00 p.m. - Hip-Hop Hustle
8:00 p.m. - Hip-Hop Heels

I'm curious to try the Pro Team Prep class. There's also one at both locations of Power House. Anyone interested in trying one with me?

Next on my list of classes to try, baton twirling! Just kidding! Guess you'll have to stay posted for the next class and studio to try!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dancing in Dallas: Power House of Dance (Frisco)

Last week I was excited to get down and funky in a hip-hop class, hoping I could get a little more comfortable in the style before I started teaching for a summer camp. I wish I had a hilarious story for you about my experience. You know, one where I got down with my bad self, split my pants, and took down a whole group of dancers while trying to bust a move. Alas, I have no such tale because I did not double check the dates when classes started at this studio. I was a week too early. *Sigh* So goes life, but I was able to take last night! 

No accidents last night nor did I split my pants. I did, however, have an excellent time at Power House of Dance in Frisco with instructor Ashley Pia. In a class of five, two of whom were sweet, sweet friends that came with me, we learned a good chunk of choreography including formations and formation changes. It's an incredibly smart teaching tool, getting students used to doing more than dance in one place. Ashley explained how much she liked to do that with her students so that when they started new works, they were already used to the idea of moving around the stage more. It's no wonder she was just made Company Director of their Frisco Hip-Hop Company! 

Ashley didn't just throw the choreography out there for us to flounder in. She took the steps and explained the feel of it us, taking time to correct students, and making them feel comfortable. I have to say, this teacher will keep you in stitches. She's got a sense of humor that relaxes you and makes you feel less nervous. I probably spent a majority of the time laughing at her quips that helped melt away my self-conciousness on the spot. 

We spent  a majority of the time working on choreography and running our combo. The last few minutes of class were used for cooling down by following what she did. Repeating general and basic hip-hop moves allowed my body to get used to the movement. It's a great teaching method to use in tap, too. Imitating her style was challenging for me. Rib isolation, hip isolation, I've got that. There's a relaxed engaged pulse of the body that requires so much energy and yet, it's as smooth and chill as can be--that's the tough part! It's like working your behind off in ballet to make movement look elegant, graceful, and effortless. It's a dichotomy between appearance and execution. 

All in all it was a great, fun class and I will surely be back there to take again! Anyone who wants to come, here's the info:

Class Cost: $15 a class
Class Time: Hour 
Schedule: June 20th - August 22nd
Close July 4th through July 10th 

If you click on Ashley's name at the top of this post, you'll find her teaching schedule. For the most part, she teaches Monday-Thursday from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. 

10850 Frisco Street, Suite 200
Frisco, Texas 75034 

Phone: 214-387-0193

There is also a Dallas location if Frisco is not close to you: 

12300 Inwood Rd, #124
Dallas, Texas 75244 
Phone: 972.960.2484

Where will I end up next and what will I take? Who knows! Stay tuned for more Dancing in Dallas! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summertime's Here!

Well, folks, we're exactly half-way through with June. Can you believe it? It brings us closer to July which means that we're right around the corner from August which in turn means we're about to start school. So really, if you follow my train of thought, we should start school this coming Monday. 

Okay, maybe not. 

Earlier in the month I got to ring in several birthdays including my grandmother's (Happy Birthday, Grandma!) and my mother's (Happy Birthday, Mom!). Celebrate we did. Lots of petite fours and delicious birthday meals! The rest of this month will be spent recovering from the sugar overload. Yeesh. 

I'll also be spending a great deal of time planning out classes for a kids camp I'm working this summer--Yay!  A summer job! I'll be teaching kids eight through thirteen eight times a day for about three weeks. They'll learn about dance, some jazz, a little music theater, and (brace yourself) hip-hop. Which leads to a burning question, who wants to take hip-hop with me? I'm a little rusty and am in need of a class. I'll be taking volunteers all week and don't worry, I'll be sure to share the embarrassment *ahem* experience with my readers.   

I was thinking back on last summer's adventures and realized that I was just getting the foundation of my thesis flushed out on paper. Somehow I can't wrap my brain around the fact that it's been a year since I started on the downhill slope of graduate school. At the time, I couldn't even imagine being completely finished with school. What's even more strange is that almost six months has past since graduation. Okay, enough reminiscing, time for a little work to be done. 

Happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dancing in Dallas: Dallas Ballet Center

Hey fellow dancers in Dallas! This is a first of many, I hope. Last week I decided I was going to try out different dance studios around Dallas and Ft. Worth and then post my findings here. If you want complete details, check it out here.

My first studio to blog about: Dallas Ballet Center.

I started taking at Dallas Ballet Center (DBC) about ten years ago. The studio is under the direction of Judy and Brent Klopfenstein, a wonderful couple who have built a fantastic studio. I really like the environment of this studio, very family oriented and encouraging. The best part? Great adult ballet classes. 

I go to their Adult Advanced Ballet class taught by Cyndi Jones. The class is full of a variety of dancers. Some are elder ballerinas, some teenage ballerinas, dancers who are staying shape, new dancers following a dream. Whatever your status is, this class is for you.  

Cyndi starts the class off with a theraputic barre before delving into plies. We have a solid hour of barre that works every part of the body. I find that no matter where you are in your training, beginner or advanced, her barre is definitely a work out. She gives you freedom to adjust the combinations to fit what you need. For example, for an advanced dancer, do your rond de jambe en l'air combination on releve instead of flat. Add additional beats to your jumps, turns at the barre, what have you. Adjustments like this allow the dancer to get what they need out of the class. 

Barre ends with a barre stretch followed by free floor stretches and a short series of crunches. We move on to centre work, adagio, turns, and allegro. Her class is all about moving and enjoying class. The class is challenging without being too hard on the body. I find that if I've been away from class, this is a great one to take to get back into things again. 

Class Cost: $15 a class or buy a class card
*Class Card pricing depends on the number of classes you wish to take. 

1-6 classes = $15 per class
7-11 classes = $12 per class
12+ classes = $10 per class

Class Time: Hour and a half

June 20th - August 6th 

Adult Beg.           -     Sat.                        9:30 - 11:00 am
Adult Beg/Int.     -    Thurs.                  12:00 - 1:30 pm
Adult Int. Adv.   -    Mon/Wed               6:30 - 8:00 pm
                                  Tues/Thurs/Sat      9:30 - 11:00 am

I know there will be classes the rest of this week (June 6th through the 11th), but not next week (June 13th through 18th). I hope this helps some of the dancers out there and maybe I'll see you in class! 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dancing in Dallas

So I graduated, right? Like five months ago and I've found that there are some definite things about school that I miss:

1) Having a busy schedule with due dates, big projects, deadlines, and creative stress. But that's not the point of this post. This is:

2) Having at least two dance classes a day.

I cannot tell you how much of a difference it makes when you go from a regimented schedule of dancing to a sporadic schedule of classes here and there. Part of this comes from the problem that I just don't know where to go, more specifically, where to go for adult classes. Let's be honest, it's not my first choice to a high school competition jazz class, but I would do it if it meant I got to take a jazz class at all.   I don't live in NYC, the mecca for dancing artists, I live in Dallas and although there are a lot of studios, I don't have a clear direction to go.

In any case, this particular post is not for complaining. I'm hoping for any dancers in Dallas this might be of some help. For the next month I'll be trying classes at different studios and then positing about it here. Why? Well for one thing, it gets me moving and dancing more. For another, it's a way to help adult Dallas dancers find something out there whether it's for the summer or the rest of the year. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to do what you love.

*Warning: These posts are not for critiquing. If anything, these posts are informational. I'll let you know what kind of class (Ballet, Jazz, Tap, other), where, how much, how long, and what you'll find there.

If you know of classes that you like, tell me! If you know of a class, but don't want to try it out alone, contact me--I'd love to try new things. I hope this helps out some dancers in the area!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Today is Grandma's birthday, happy birthday, ma grandmere! She is seventy-eight years old today and still so young at heart! I'm thankful we get to spend her special day with her this year. There's been much going on, little I can write about, but this important event warranted a blog update. So have a wonderful day, Grandma! You deserve the best! All my heart, je t'aime beaucoup!

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