Women’s Watermen SUP

When my friend Julie told me about the Women’s Watermen SUP, I laughed and thought “I don’t know if I can do it but I’ll try.” My motto for my forties has been Tina Fey’s saying, “Just say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.”

The day before the race was stressful… I had all these big events going on but if I could look forward to getting out on the water, I’d made it! It was a HUGE release that made me proud and a happy beginning to summer. Time can be like a secret weapon in handling whatever life throws at you that day and knowing that you’ll feel amazing after the event makes it worth the effort of getting out there. 

I’ve practiced SUP yoga many times and love the zen quality of outside yoga practice…the feel of the sun warming your body, the smell of sunscreen and the relaxation of the water. The paddle board 5K was more challenging because you keep moving…it’s still relaxing but I think more difficult to keep going. My toes started to feel tingly like they were falling asleep and I desperately wanted to dangle them in the water. 

Paddle boarding is a lot like bike racing…you can draft your friend and stick together. Julie and stuck it out the whole time. I can’t wait to do it again. 

This was an all women waterboard race. There were some pretty serious athletes up at the front that were shouting encouraging words and coaching as they passed us by… “Put your paddles deeper in the water.” Julie and I were more about having fun. We listened to Bob Marley blare on the speaker, enjoyed the wind in our hair and were relaxed enough to still make conversation. A paddle board 5K is probably the most relaxing race you will ever experience. 

SUP is all around. Find your local lake and I bet you’ll see that they offer SUP. Julie and I enjoyed our paddle boarding at Bluet SUP.  

P.S.

SUP with my girl

The Four Agreements

Have you read The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz? It should be on everyone’s bookshelf. It’s a perfect read to start off the new year.

Reading The Four Agreements helps us to understand how to distinguish between a tale and the truth. Ruiz writes about letting go of the attachments and beliefs that are in the way to a direct route to a happy and meaningful life. 

Don’t Take Anything Personally

‘Nothing others do is because of you. What others say is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.’

Don’t sweat the small stuff…It’s easier said than done but helpful to know that when someone is unkind and yells, gossips or harms you that it’s not about you! It’s based on what that person believes in their personal fantasy. Once we agree with what others have said, we take things personally. If we didn’t agree, the things that others say would not affect us heartily.  If a decision can be consciously made to not take it personally then, words or behavior no longer affect the heart.



Always Do Your Best

‘Under any circumstance, always do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.’

Give great effort in all that you do and enjoying that effort without expecting a reward. The pleasure comes from finding the fun in the effort and enjoying the moment…not expecting anything in return. When making the choice to “always do your best” this allows us to be fully alive in the moment and not worrying about the past or present. Transformation happens when we are taking action and living without regret. 

Don’t Make Assumptions

‘Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.’

It is so easy to get lost in our imagination and dream up what people are thinking, saying about us, doing… When we imagine these assumptions, we sometimes believe that they are true. This whole story that we’ve imagined may only be true to us but the mind believes it and one assumption leads to another…just like band, The Fixx sang:

Do what they say, say what you mean, and baby 
One thing leads to another 
You told me something wrong, I know I listen too long but then 
One thing leads to another

Instead of making assumptions, ask questions and say what you want. Communication solves the problem of assuming people know what’s in your head.

Be Impeccable With Your Word

‘Speak only with integrity. Say only what you mean.’

When love and gratitude goes out, those closest to you feel it and will return the same positive energy. If we tell someone, “I’ll be there” but we don’t mean it, your words have less value. Say only what you mean even if you have to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t make it.”

To be impeccable is to use your word in the direction of love and truth. When applying the practice “always do your best,” and “being impeccable with your word,” it has incredible rewards…allowing you to create your life as a magnum opus

This is a spiritual self-help book that can shift your life in the most positive way. I read The Four Agreements for my yoga teacher training and found it to be truly meaningful and it falls right into place with my yoga practice. 

Handstand tips from Beach Yoga Girl

“Handstands are NOT yoga…we just put them in yoga. It’s acrobatics.” When Kerri Verna came to Dallas to teach a handstand workshop, I jumped at the chance to learn from her. Verna says, “If you want a handstand, you have to be on your hands everyday.” She recommends twenty minutes a day of handstand practice…it’s better than two hours on Saturday. 

When I’m vacationing at the beach, I always feel the need to do a handstand in the sand. After Kerri’s workshop, I find myself practicing handstands even in the winter. 

She suggests to keep your hands flat…no spider fingers and to prep yourself by holding Bakasana with STRAIGHT arms before going into your handstand. If you come up and don’t have balance, simply come back down. “Balance in the ball of the hand.” She says that this is key…”Don’t balance with your body, balance in the ball of the heel of the hand and keep your posterior tilt.” Try placing the tongue to the roof of your mouth so you don’t strain the neck and also point the feet because it engages more muscles. 

Every time you practice handstands, aim to do it in the middle of the room. The body is building a neurological pathway in the brain and if you set up this pathway on the wall, you won’t find it in the center of the room. Kerri says, “Don’t depend on the wall for balance.”

It was refreshing to see that she is authentic and easy to relate too. I noticed her tanktop right away…”No perfect people allowed.” She’s a mom in her forties, has ADD, lives with fibromyalgia, holds multiple teaching certifications: spinning, personal training, stand-up paddle board yoga, kickboxing, tai chi, Pilates, and yoga. She’s now offering a spirit led yoga 200 hour teacher training in Delray Beach, Florida. Kerri’s instagram account shows off her photography skills…with 1.1 million followers, she’s obviously hugely talented. 

Kerri Verna’s yoga sequencing goes something like this:

  • breath work
  • sun salutations (surya A)
  • standing postures (do the legs first…biggest muscle group)
  • balance postures
  • hip openers
  • core work-then twisting
  • backbends
  • twisting 
  • forward bends (always at the end)
  • inversion (blood is full of oxygen at the end…better for you)
  • heart opener
  • meditation

Kerri Verna is an inspirational yoga teacher and I’m so thrilled that I had the chance to learn from her.  Look to see when she’s in your area.

Happy handstands!!

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Come on baby light your Tapas!

The past four months for me have been spent in the yoga studio for teacher training. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do now for a while so I took a yoga leap and have been immersed in practice, observation, teaching and studying…it’s been a welcome challenge. I keep hearing “trust the process” and it’s true…this process of learning over the last several months have left me with a deeper desire to live the best life and be my most authentic self. The best part has been that I’ve been sharing this wonderful experience with like-minded yogis. 

One of my latest assignments was to focus on one of the ten yamas and the niyamas (external and internal ethics). I was assigned “Tapas” which translates as a fiery discipline, staying focused, doing your best and having discipline.                

It’s the third of Patanjali’s Niyamas (positive duties and personal observances). The word Tapas comes from the Sanskrit verb tap, which means to burn and evokes a fiery discipline or passion. This fieriness is what gets our heart pumping and fuels our desire for personal growth in our yoga practice.

Think about the times you are faced with a challenge in yoga class or in life…when we practice facing up to it, that’s tapping into Tapas and learning to be strong. Tapas ‘burns’ away self-doubt and leads to self-trust and inner strength.

I think of my grandmother who started smoking at age fourteen…when she quit and age eighty, she was miserable but then she began to see benefits and enjoyed life more fully. The removal of impurities allowed her body to better function.

What lights your fire? When we turn up the internal heat, we ride the Tapas wave. Tapas is NOT comfort driven…it can be truly painful. It’s the rewards that come from sticking with the fiery discipline that are so sweet.

When we have this focused self-discipline, we purify the mind of impurities, habits and patterns that are no longer serving us. By burning through the negative, we become freer and more in touch with life because we’re burning brighter.

If practicing tapas is too intense, back out, but if you can take the challenge and allow your brain to sort itself out…use that energy to jump into the fire and see a change that lasts. It’s the unpleasantness in the beginning that tells you, “yep, this is Tapas…I’m doing it right!” If you’ve lit the fire, imagine yourself glowing with positive energy and your yoga mat becomes your “Field of Dreams”…if you build it (heat), Tapas will come.

Deep down, we know what’s good for us. So…Come on baby, light your fire!

Five poses to guaranteed to light that ‘Tapas’ fire: Hold these poses for five or more breaths: Utkatasana, plank, boat, dolphin plank, and jump switch.

Music with a fiery theme and help you stay inspired:

  • Doors- “Light my Fire”
  • Jimi Hendrix- “Let me stand next to your fire”
  • Johnny Cash- “Ring of Fire”
  • Billy Joel- “We didn’t start the Fire”
  • Talking Heads- “Burning down the house”
  • E Street Band- “I’m on Fire”
  • Grateful Dead- “Fire on the Mountain

I’m currently working on my testing teach out and I’m working on a Tapas themed class. Now if I can just teach “breath of fire” I will feel elated! Every day should have a little bit of Tapas

An American in Paris

Have you noticed that musicals are cool again? New musicals like La La Land and Beauty and the Beast are making their mark in America. History has shown us that most great musicals come out in times of anxiety and disorder…hello?! Musicals help provide us with escapism…who doesn’t want to get away sometimes? Audiences love watching a beautiful fantasy about young people succeeding. Think about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers…they provided an elegant distraction from the Great Depression.  Classic musicals like Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris offer that escapism that people are craving and now we’re seeing them pop up again today.

An American in Paris is the theatrical version of Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly’s Gershwin-themed 1951 screen musical…very different from the Vincente Minnelli movie. Even today, the late Kelly continues to inspire dancers, choreographers and directors such as Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and British ballet dancer Christopher Wheeldon, who directed this balletic musical. English choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon, who ranks with choreographers like Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse, is a master at connecting storytelling through the language and romance of dance. 

George Gershwin’s beloved  ‘s wonderful jazzy American standards are still timeless today and they work well with the displays of bold primary colors and geometric shapes in Wheeldon’s An American in Paris on Broadway.

‘S wonderful, ‘s marvelous
You should care for me
Well, ‘s awful nice, ‘s paradise
‘S what I love to see

Wheeldon opens the show in 1945 (unlike the movie which opened in 1951) just after the end of the war. Paris is traumatized…dark and poor not cheerful and light. Opening with scenes of a shorn-headed collaboratrice being manhandled by the crowd. Wheeldon says, “In many ways, [the changes] makes the romance more potent because there is a contrast of the darkness and the light.”

The show is about an American WWII veteran trying to make it as an artist in a newly liberated Paris. American soldiers, Jerry Mulligan (Garen Scribner) and Adam Hochberg (Etai Benson), stay in Paris after the end of the war. The painter and composer befriend a wealthy Frenchman, Henri Baurel (Nick Spangler) and all become involved in the production of a new ballet. They also all fall in love with the same woman, Lise Dassin (Sara Esty), who has a secret past. 

An American in Paris is a love letter to the City of Lights. The virtuosic designs take us all around Paris…people fishing on the Seine and shoppers in the Galeries Lafayette. It’s a style fit for Gershwins’ irresistible “(I’ll Build a) Stairway to Paradise.” 

The dancers display balletic grace and emotion that seem effortless. These performers are true triple threats…they act, sing and dance so well that they lift you right out of your seat to take you along for the ride.

Escape with An American in Paris while you still can. 

Related posts:

Frank Sinatra: Five things you might not know

How to be Parisian wherever you are

Ten reasons to see LakeCities Nutcracker…again and again

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Ah, The Nutcracker…a family favorite holiday tradition and the reason so many of us fell in love with dance in the first place. It goes without saying that The Nutcracker is a delightful experience for a dance lover of any age. The first time you see it, you’re taken with all the children in many roles, the growing tree, the snow, the magically gliding angels and the grand pas de deux. There’s something so magical about this ballet and the many ornaments of enjoyment that leave you feeling like a little child in the Kingdom of Sweets.

I had the pleasure of sitting in the audience during a rehearsal before the Saturday night performance. Sarah Lane asked the conductor to pause when they first enter during their pas de deux’s opening section and to go slower during her solo…explaining that they’d like to “try something different to keep it fresh.” Lane is extremely focused…she brings more than just steps, she gives something very special to the stage, it’s magical. Ulbricht gave Lane a sugary fairy lightness by sustaining her up, up and then UP before down during their solos.

This was my little girl’s fourth Nutcracker with LakeCities Ballet Theatre. Something I noticed this year more than others was that there was so much kindness coming from the older dancers the way they cared for each other. Daniel Ulbricht escorted Sarah Lane onto the stage in Lewisville just coming in from New York and announced how happy they were to be here again and thanked everyone sincerely for having them. Ulbricht and Lane showed tremendous professionalism and I so admire how humble they both are…they were wonderful role models for all the children involved.

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Here are ten reasons why we think LakeCities Nutcracker is the best:

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1. Ballerina Doll: My son sat still in his seat to see what was in the magical box…a wind-up Ballerina Doll who danced sharp and snappy like a dismantled ballerina. The ballerina doll, Carly Greene, moved with staccato gestures and powerhouse movements that were playful and lively…especially when she would blow kisses.

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2. Herr Drosselmeier: Drosselmeier (Ken Wells) has once again shown up to the family Christmas party in Nuremberg, Germany with his puppetry and magic tricks. Drosselmeyer has a magical and whimsical character. He elevated the entire production to the level of the kind of dream that never fades.

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3. Clara: Clara (Kristina Lorelli) was the sweetest most lovely dancer (on stage and off). Sometimes older dancers might not thing to stop and say hello to the younger dancers, this Clara made time to spend with the little ones…she even gave each little Baker one of her pointe shoes. She now has a following of sweet dancers who look at her like she is the real Clara. She would convey a sense of innocence and naiveté as the audience watched a budding romance that ushered through the Kingdom of Sweets.

4. The Party Scene: The party scene is endlessly engaging. I always think the best pictures come from the party scene because it’s so visually pleasing. It’s easy to notice something new in the first act…little Fritz (Trevin Ralphs) is such a naughty little trouble maker and the poor nanny ends up upside down.

5. The Battle Scene: LakeCities battle scene is serious combat between the Nutcracker soldiers and eighteen not-so-blind mice. These little mice meant business…carrying off the wounded in stretchers. The mice are endearingly absurd and their King is so hilariously insolent of his enemy that he dies as if believing he were incapable of death as one mouse tosses a white lily onto his belly.

6. Sugar Plum Fairy & Cavalier: The Sugar Plum Fairy, Sarah Lane, is everyone’s favorite fairy. She’s regal, affectionate and delicate yet she has an assertive presence that commands the Kingdom of Sweets. Clara may be the heart of Nutcracker, but the Sugar Plum Fairy is its soul, with her sparkling, fairy-like dancing. The audience sits through nearly the whole show anticipating her entrance.

The Cavalier, Daniel Ulbricht, lights up the room with his charm…even when he’s not dancing. His technical brilliance and athleticism is mesmerizing. Together, Lane and Ulbricht, dance in culmination with such feeling…watching their small nuances and gentle touches leaves the audience in awe. Together they transport the audience to a sweet place that is loving, touching and engaging.

7. The cherubs & angels: Little cherubs and angels guide the way as they take Clara on a journey through the snow. It’s an “angel secret” how the angels appear to be floating across the stage…truly magical, truly angelic.

8. Lewisville Lake Symphony’s Orchestra: The ballet begins with a live orchestra. Tchaikovsky’s score is played by the Lewisville Lake Symphony’s orchestra lead by Adron Ming. Listening to Tchaikovsky live enhances the full experience…his score is the true candy in the Kingdom of Sweets. Every measure is filled with enchantment and nothing can prepare the ears for the grandeur that comes with the main melody…Ulbricht supported Lane as she arched back and her descent matched one of the most beautiful descending scales in Tchaikovsky’s score.

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9. The Snow scene: The snow scene is one of the most stunning moments, with lovely clusters of ballerina snowflakes fluttering about in a pool of wintery white. The off-stage vocalizations sung by a snow choir dressed in 19th-century Russian attire put the audience in a dream world. LakeCities Snow Queen, Michelle Lawyer, transported the audience to a snowy winter wonderland with her refreshing breathiness and sweetly flowing lines.

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10. The Kingdom of Sweets: In Act II, the angels lead Clara into the Kingdom of Sweets. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier introduce Clara to dances from around the world…Spain, Arabia, China, Russia and France. The audience wanted to snap along with Carley Denton, Lauren Hunter, Kelsey Rhinehelder, Mikaela Seale as “Spanish Chocolate”, Andre Harrigton’s elevated in style as “Russian Baba,” but it was the underwater artfulness of Julia Tiller and Shannon Beacham in “Arabian Coffee” that still remains one of the favorite highlights of the Kingdom of Sweets. Former Cowboys player Isaiah Stanback also returned as a hilarious Mother Ginger. The entertainment finished with the dance of the flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing with her Cavalier before Clara returned home.

There’s something special about the way artistic director, Kelly Lannin, tells the classic 19th-century story that makes sense for our community today. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Nutcracker. It will be another opportunity to notice new things and new dancers…and to ponder what’s real and what’s a dream in Clara’s fantasy world. Somewhere out there in the audience, someone’s falling in love with these dancers and what they get to do up on that stage. I never tire of watching and listening to LakeCities Nutcracker.

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Frohilich Weihachten from the Stahlbaums’ household in Nuremberg, Germany!

Photo credit: Nancy Loch Photography

Related posts:

LakeCities Ballet Theatre 2015 Nutcracker

LakeCities Ballet Theatre 2014 Nutcracker

LakeCities Ballet Theatre 2013 Nutcracker

Clara’s Tea: Nutcracker Dreams

Ballerina Cynthia Gregory: strength and impeccable technique

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Cynthia Gregory is a legendary figure in American ballet. She was an American Ballet Theatre superstar in the seventies and eighties. It didn’t matter what it was that she performed…she would take the audience into a magical world on stage. Watching her balance and stay up en pointe forever…like she does as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty is mesmerizing.

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Gregory’s technique…especially her balances were remarkable. She is also known for her musicality and expressiveness…feeling the music and letting it spill out in whatever character she was portraying…a true artist and breathtaking storyteller of narrative ballets. Every little movement was delivered with meaning and intention.

She says this about teaching expression: “What’s so beautiful about ballet itself is that you’re telling a story, physically, with your body. And you have to be with the music. Not necessarily on the music, but with it, expressing it. And if you don’t let the music come through you, then we are losing something.”

When Gregory is coaching she asks dancers, “What is the story about and who is your character?” Dancers who are lucky enough to work with her learn how to be an artist not just a technician.

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Here are five things you might not know about the great Cynthia Gregory:

  • One of the most memorable moments in ballet history was when Cynthia Gregory was smoking a cigarette onstage as she danced the Grand pas Classique. Gregory hated Grand pas Classique because it was a strictly technical ballet and she would do the role as a different ballerina every night to amuse herself. She would channel famous dancers…Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy, or Carla Fracci. One night she smoked a cigarette during a long series of releves on the diagonal and put out her cigarette with a few bourrees. When Lucia Chase, artistic director of ABT, found out about it, she was told that she would never dance the role again.
  • She first appeared on the cover of Dance Magazine at the age of seven.
  • Gregory was tall for a ballerina…six feet en pointe. Her hight wasn’t an impairment because she was partnered by the very best: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Erik Bruhn, Fernando Bujones, Perter Martins, Ivan Nagy and Rudolf Nureyev.
  • She began dancing at age five in Los Angeles when her mother enrolled her to help prevent sickness. Her nearly thirty year professional career began when she enrolled in the San Francisco Ballet school when she was fourteen. At nineteen she left for New York to join the American Ballet Theatre, where she spent more than twenty-five years.
  • Gregory was passionate about American Ballet Theatre and became rebellious because she wanted ABT to believe in America and not emulate other countries ballet companies. She believed ABT should be a ballet company that gave American audiences and American dancers opportunities to dance and celebrate their own tradition…not try to be the Kirov Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet or Royal Ballet. “On its very own steam American Ballet Theater has become an internationally recognized company.”

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Gregory says this about the difference between coaching and teaching… “Coaching is what I do best. People would ask me to help them with a role when I stopped dancing. They’d commission me to do that. Teaching has to do with the basics of class and technique. I’m much more interested in helping a ‘finished’ dancer when they’re looking at a role … it’s like finding your voice.”

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Le Ballet de Dracula: Scary good

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LakeCities Ballet Theatre’s original Le Ballet de Dracula has fans flock like people do for The Rocky Horror Picture Show during Halloween. It’s an occasion that calls for something borrowed and something black! The time period, costumes, romance and the good old-fashioned Halloween fright make this ballet a must see every October. This is not a candy-coated ballet where the SugarPlum Fairy reigns but an enticing, frightening, jump in your seat and gasp with delight ballet that’s an adventure that you don’t want to end.

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The ballet has exploded in popularity over ten years since Tom Rutherford, the company’s art director, wrote it and Kelly Lannin, the artistic director, choreographed it. Lannin draws us into the legend of Bram Stoker’s Dracula naturally and transforms beautiful ballerinas into gothic vampires. Lannin tells the story of Dracula just as Stoker’s novel did…taking us into thrilling peaks that build and keep the audience of the edge of their seats.
 
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My daughter looked up in awe at the dancer who portrayed Aurelia (the girl Dracula tries to lure from her fiancé) and whispered to her cousin, “Look! She’s under Dracula’s spell.” 
 
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Lannin requires her dancers to be actors just as much as ballerinas. They must be fully engaged in their roles. It’s obvious that Lannin’s dancers believe in their roles, they make Dracula real with the boldness and confidence of movements that explored the limits of graceful extensions that seemed to harmonize with the music.
 
The engagement of Aurelia (Carley Denton) and Marius (Steven Loch) is charming. This is the second year that Denton and Loch have performed these roles together…time is on their side. They look at each other with familiarity and love.
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The joyfulness of the Maypole dancing scene is my favorite, especially as the music and clapping build. It’s a nice contrast with the scary hissing Weolas.
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Nightmare becomes reality and Dracula descends in shimmering red to feed on Aurelia. Dracula (Shannon Beacham) has a dramatic presence that is intoxicating! Beacham has tenacity and fearlessness when he glides on stage with his cape flowing behind him.
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Steven Loch (from Pacific Northwest Ballet) has a rhythmic awareness and freshness that when he performs his grand jetés, it seems so naturally timed that you forget the music isn’t live.

It is always a pleasure to watch Denton perform. She attacks her toe hops with effortless elegance lingering just long enough to have you hold your breath as you admire her footwork.

The MCL Grande theatre is intimate enough for the audience to be more personally engaged in the fantasy. Seeing the mysterious fog, chains clanging on dungeon bars, many undead brides and Dracula rising from his coffin, it’s easy to forget you’re not in Romania but right outside of Dallas, Texas.
 
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The good news for those who missed this spooky ballet and for those who saw it and loved it…you can see these same talented young performers in more heavenly roles in The Nutcracker:
November 26th at 7:30 pm and 27th at 2 pm Marcus High School Sigler Auditorium, Flower Mound. Buy tickets here.
 
Le Ballet de Dracula photos, courtesy of Nancy Loch Photography.
 

Neil Young: Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say

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Neil Young is a rock-and-roll icon and has been for six decades…he’s not fading away! He’s released thirty-six solo albums since 1969-2015. “I don’t care what people want to hear…that’s not why I’m playing. I’m not an entertainer in the classic sense. I play what I feel like playing, and I hope the people like it.” 

Neil Young is my Dad’s age…seventy-years-old young. There’s something about this generation…their unwavering confidence and spirit of a Crazy Horse. Neil Young’s middle name is Percival…one of the knights of Arthur’s round table. Percival was one of the persevering knights who finds the Holy Grail and completes the quest. Young’s parents probably knew that Percival would suit him well.

Most music fans know about Neil Young and his epic musical legacy, but if you “come a little bit closer”…the man behind “Rockin’ In The Free World,” “Heart of Gold,” “Harvest Moon,” “Ohio” and so many more classics is even more interesting than you thought.

FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT NEIL YOUNG…

1. Neil Young has been a resident of Northern California for almost fifty years (he also has homes in Florida and Hawaii) but did you know that he’s Canadian? He’s received both the Order of Manitoba and the Order of Canada“It’s my roots, I’m proud to be a Canadian – but I don’t let it hold me back.”

2. Neil Young was once in a band with R&B legend Rick James. Before he formed Buffalo Springfield, Young played in a ’60s Toronto band called the Mynah Byrds that was fronted by seventeen-year-old Rick Super Freak James. Not only did Young play in a band with Rick James in the ‘60s, they also shared an apartment together in Toronto. In an interview Young said, “We did some wild things. It’s all very hazy to me now. I’m glad I made it through that stage. It got a little dicey.”

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3. Neil Young is passionate about paddle boarding and practices during his free time. He said he loves paddle boarding because “it’s a beautiful thing…I can’t worry about the paparazzi. You can’t see them anyway. They are taking pictures from behind trees. You can’t think about that.”

4. Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” as a diss song to Neil Young for writing “Southern Man” and “Alabama.” Young’s songs discuss the racism that existed in the American South. “Sweet Home Alabama” is about how great the South is and includes the lyrics “I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” Young actually liked the song.

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5. Young looks long and lean because of his training regimen…Pilates! He’s a trained Pilates instructor. “I have a truck that travels with me when I’m on the road, and it has a Pilates Reformer in it. I keep doing stuff like that. It keeps me fit.” Young attributes Pilates to making his performances on stage more aerobic and a form of strength training. “I can actually do it better now than I’ve been able to for years because Pilates has opened my body up. I feel much better about my ability to react physically to what I’m doing.”

It’s nice to know that Neil Percival Young isn’t retiring anytime soon. He’s writing a book right now…still on his quest like a persevering knight of King Arthur.

Related post:

Five things you might not know about Frank Sinatra

Wanderlust: Find your true north in Dallas

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My friend Lisa had a brilliant idea…“Let’s go to Wanderlust!” Saturday mornings, we usually meet for ballet class. The connection between dance and yoga is especially strong with us. We took our ballet training to the lawn at Reunion to try out dance yoga to MC Yogi, yoga slackers, and to practice yoga and drink Kombucha tea outside in Dallas.

The yoga dance party reminded me of Edge Fest in the 90’s…waving our hands from side to side in Crescent Lunge like we were at a concert while emcee spun his 90’s mix saying, “Only love is real.” Lisa and I were laughing and snapping our fingers in sync.

The stunning Faith Hunter led a very happy yoga crowd (imagine the largest yoga class ever) through a high energy yoga flow.

The favorite event at Wanderlust had to be Slacklining. It was exhilarating, challenging and humbling. I think Lisa and I thought we might have an edge being ballet dancers but instead of going straight up to find your balance, it’s better to take yourself off your balance and then find it. It’s a great way to access those balancing muscles that we don’t use on a daily basis. Slacklining could become one of those addicting hobbies. I’d like to put a line in my backyard and just play outside…my kids would love it too.

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If you live in any of the areas Wanderlust 108, find a friend and sign up. I can’t wait to go again. There’s something so freeing about practicing yoga outside.  Find your true north at Wanderlust and unplug from the ordinary.

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Yoga weekend in Galveston