Sunday, February 27, 2011

Choreography!

"
Ok so the universe is finally pointing me in the right direction...  It has been a major goal of mine to understand the elements of dance well enough to choreograph beautiful pieces.  The "rules" are fairly universal, but there are a few tweaks for hoop/prop dance. 

1) Week one-
                a) Pick out a song.
                      i) I think the audience’s attention tends to wander after 3 minutes or so.... 
                b) Write down any descriptive words that come to mind when listening to the song.
                      i) Mood, speed, story, feelings, etc.
2) Week two-
                a) Listen to the song, then freestyle to it.
                      i) do this at least once a day
                      ii) Note anything that really "clicked"
3) Week three-
                 a) Write out the time signatures for the song. 
                       i) Counts, beats, transitions, chorus, apex, etc.
                 b) Write what you want your dance to portray:
                       i) story- lesson- etc
                       ii) Other Primary Elements- prop use (led, fire, other toys.) overall speed and feel, how
                           much space to take up, will the dancer/s connect with the audience/ each other
                           What shapes do you want to create?
                       iii) Secondary Elements- Costume, Lighting, background, etc.
4) Week four-
                  a) Use the Transitions as opportunities to move around the stage, or stay still (in the case
                      of 2+ hoopers, this is the perfect time to make different formations, or break off into
                      duets, solos, group, etc.)
                  b) Capture the audience’s attention with something stellar within 20 seconds!!!! No
                      kidding, by then they have already formed an opinion about if they’re going to pay  
                      attention or not!
                  c) Make sure you include movement that stays still, and some that moves, some that takes
                      up a little space, and some that takes up a lot of space, some up high, some down low.
                     (This can be applied to group formations too! <3)
                  d) Include different types of tricks and dance elements (isos, on body, tosses, etc. and for
                     dance: Jumps, turns, pleas, etc.)
                  e) Choreographing group hoop dances can become tricky as they can be distracting and
                      chaotic in the wrong way... so stay on beet, create shapes, take turns, and when you’re
                      doing different things at the same time, analyze them well to make sure they are
                      complementary!
                

                 f) Write down the choreography with the counts as you go. 
                           I) Include facial expressions and energy (ex: excited and sharp) in the notes for the
                               section :)
                           ii) Nothing is final, you can always refine, so don’t be to analytical about your
                               choices.
                  g) NEVER underestimate the importance of arm, hand, feet, and head technique and that       
                      whole group doing these the same.
5) Week Five-
                  a) Learn/ teach it
                            I) take it a section at a time. Practice every section like 5 times before moving on.
                            ii) Introduce the most difficult section first so that you can practice it longer.
                  b) I like to mark where people stand/ formations and practice that before adding
                      the dance/hoop elements.
6) Week Six-
                  a) PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
                  b) Make any adjustments necessary
                  c) Recording and reviewing is never a bad idea :)

7) Week Seven-
                  a) A couple dress/ technical (lights, stage, etc.) rehearsals.
                  b) Give group itinerary, driving directions (if, for some reason they did not get it at
                      rehearsal) and Check list of items to bring
                           i) Don’t forget to include hoops, snacks, and backup music!
                  c) Voala! From seed to fruit your dance manifested.


I hope this helps! <3 Namaste"


This was the second blog post I took from Hoop City. :D

Hooping meets Meditation

Sarah Ann Hurwitz is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Professional Hooper that I met on facebook and she recently got me interested in Hoop City: A Place For Hoopers, an online community of hula hoopers. I wanted to share a couple of blog entries that I found profoundly interesting. 


"
I would like to offer a basic technique for a hooping meditation.

Meditation reduces stress, helps put your thoughts in order, restores energy, and connects you to your higher intentions. The benefits of meditation can be felt in as little as five minutes but for the best results try to set aside thirty minutes to an hour for this practice.

Find a quiet place where you can practice undisturbed, somewhere that you can relax. If you would like, stage the meditation area a little. Straighten up, light a candle, whatever you feel will make the space special.

Lets begin...

Sit or stand in a comfortable position on the inside of your hoop. Close your eyes and breath through your nose.

Bring your attention to your breath. Not to change it. Just to observe it.

Make the decision right now to focus fully on your breath.

When your thoughts wander, which they will, gently re-direct them back to your breath.

Over and over again.

Feel the coolness of the air as it enters your nose, flows down your throat, and fills your lungs.

Feel the warmth of the breath as it leaves.

Listen to the rhythm of your breath, how long it takes. Is it smooth and strong, or broken?

What part of your lungs are receiving the breath? Do you feel the upper lungs filling? Maybe you feel the breath

draw all the way down into the belly?

Now a simple breathing practice; Three part breathing.

Inhale one third of your breath into your abdomen feeling it rise.

Pause and hold.

Continue the next third of the breath by drawing air into your rib cage expanding the ribs out in all four directions.

Pause and hold.

Draw the last third of your breath into the clavicle area/ the upper lobes of your lungs until you are completely full of air..

Pause and hold. RELAX around the sensation of being full. Relax your face, your neck, and your shoulders. FEEL the muscles between your ribs stretching, increasing your lung capacity.

Exhale slowly and evenly.

First from the top of the chest.

Continue to empty the chest feeling the ribs draw back together.

Finally feeling the lower lobes of the lungs empty as the belly button draws inwards and up towards the spine.

Exhale completely, push the remainder of the air out of your lungs.

Pause and hold. RELAX around the sensation of being empty.

Continue this practice for at least three more rounds.

YOUR LIFE BREATH. CONSIDER THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BREATHING. IF YOU WERE UNDER WATER, IT WOULD REALLY MATTER TO YOU.

At the end of your last round, let the practice drop off.

Just observe the natural rhythm of your breath without trying to control it.

( At this point in the practice, whether you keep your eyes closed or open, but focused on the hoop. is up to you. )

Begin to hoop, Something simple...

Next, bring your attention to your senses. Taste, Touch, Feel, Hear, and See. Picture your senses as mirrors, a

way to perceive the wold around you.

Take these mirrors and turn them inward.

Allow the hoop to be included, as an extension of yourself.

As the mirrors (senses) turn inward you will Taste, Touch, Feel, Hear, and See what is inside YOU. Set an intention for your practice...

It could be anything... A good example is to focus on LOVE..... When you inhale, imagine the qualities

associated with receiving love.... When you exhale, focus on the qualities of giving or being love, etc.

Continue the breath/intention practice.

Allow yourself to be completely present with the practice.

Again, each time your mind wanders, return you're attention to your breath. Continue to link your intention to

the natural rhythm of your breath.

Feel the movement of the hoop against your body and freely follow the directions of the hoop.

Notice how the breath supports your movements.

As you inhale, the breath helps you feel lighter and expand.

As you exhale, you will feel added strength and support.

Inhale as you reach up or out.

Exhale as you contract.

Continue this for some time....

NAMASTE




Eventually, with practice you're mind will be silent. This is the goal. To be fully present in the moment without
latent impressions. You are no longer judging or creating agreements with yourself. The cessation of the fluctuations of the mind opens you up to infinite possibilities.

As with all things, find your balance between what we create and what we experience. When we meditate, our minds are still. Residing in a peaceful and universal nature. It binds us together. When we are thinking; we are creating our experience through our individual body.

Focusing on a particular task is what evolves us and strengthens our minds. Take the time to refine both dynamics of awareness separately so that together, they can be stronger. (Thinking, and creating versus simply witnessing.)

Sarah Ann Hurwitz
Certified Yoga Instructor and Professional Hooper


*Please consider proper citation for any use of this and any entry. The Karmic Universe frowns upon plagiarism."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day and Red Velvet Cupcakes.

The flowers Marc gave me. 
Marc and I's first Valentines Day: February 14. 2011


Valentine's Day has never been my favorite holiday, however having a relationship with someone that I truly love, does spark a random desire to go out of the way to celebrate my relationship with Marc, and our love. So, I decided to make my sweet-mister Red Velvet Cupcakes. 


I was lucky enough to have my friend, Jess' four-year-old son, Liam, with me to make the cupcakes. Liam is one of those kids that have a real genuine sweetness about him so asking Jess to kidnap him is always a joy.

Velvet Cupcakes

Servings: 26 Points: 3 pts

·                     1 1/2 cups cake flour
·                     1 cup white whole wheat flour
·                     1 cup sugar
·                     1 tbsp unsweetened dutch-process cocoa
·                     1 tsp salt
·                     1 tsp baking powder
·                     1 tsp baking soda
·                     1 tsp white vinegar
·                     1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
·                     1/4 cup butter, softened
·                     1 egg
·                     2 egg whites
·                     2 tsp vanilla
·                     1 1/3 cup light buttermilk
·                     1 tbsp red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins with liners. 
 
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, salt, cocoa, and baking powder.

Liam licking the applesauce out of the measuring cup.
In another large bowl beat sugar, applesauce and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix baking soda and vinegar. 


Add half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, mix well. Addbuttermilk, red food coloring and mix well. Add the remaining dry ingredients and foldin vinegar and baking soda. .



Pour in prepared cupcake liners 3/4 of the way. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool, then frost with low fat cream cheese frosting.




Cream Cheese Frosting. 

FROSTING
·                     8 oz 1/3 fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
·                     1 cup powdered sugar
·                     1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth








Hooping picture update.

Singing along to the music as I dance. 

Hula hooping makes you feel strong.

Hula hooping makes you feel sexy. 

My bliss. 

Toss.


Drop.

Hooping on my ankles. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cajun Pepper Steak

Cajun Pepper Steak (5 points)

Ingredients
1 lb. boneless Sirloin steak
2 T vegetable oil
1 can beef broth 
1 can diced tomatoes 
1 c chopped green pepper 
1/2 c chopped onion 
1/2 t garlic powder
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 t cajun seasoning
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
2 T cornstarch
2 T cold water
Hot cooked rice 
Directions
Cook beef in oil until browned, stir in broth, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, and spices.  Cover and simmer 1 hour.  Discard bay leaf, mix water and cornstarch and stir into meat mixture.  Bring to a boil, cook and stir 2 minutes until thickened.  Serve over rice or noodles.

CHIPOTLE CHICKPEA SALAD


 CHIPOTLE CHICKPEA SALAD

DRESSING
1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
Zest and juice from a lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1 or more chipotle chiles (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
2 - 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the chipotle can) to taste or entirely optional

BEAN & VEGETABLE MIXTURE
2 15-ounce cans of beans, rinsed well and drained (my favorite combination is one can of chickpeas and one can black beans)
1 or more good summer tomatoes, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped (use any color for crunch, use a green pepper for color contrast)
1/3 cup chopped red onion (some times I skip this)
1 cup chopped cilantro (don't skip cilantro or another fresh herb)
Salt & pepper to taste
My special helper, Liam, stirring the the salad together. 

Rinse and drain the beans before starting the Dressing. Mix the mayonnaise, zest, lime juice and cumin in a large bowl. Scrape the seeds from the chipotle chilies and discard. Mash the chilies with the back of a spoon, add to bowl. 


Add the bean and vegetables to a large bowl and any optional additions, stir together, then mix in the dressing. 
Nutrition Estimate: Per Half Cup 2 Weight Watchers points



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Imbolc -- Februaury 2, 2010

I just found some pictures I took of the Potato Leek Soup, and bread I baked for St Brigid’s Day (an Irish festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is celebrated on February 1st or 2nd. which falls halfway between the Winter Soltice and the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere). 










I don't celebrate this holiday, however I deemed the day important enough to bake bread. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breakfast
Veggies for the breakfast omelette 
9 points
  • 3 egg white omelette -- 1 point
  •  veggies for the omelette -- 0 points
  • 2 pieces of toast with spread & jam -- 3 points
  • Refried beans -- 1 point
  • cheese -- 1 point
  • Apple sauce -- 0 points
  • orange -- 2 points
  • milk -- 1 point
              TOTAL = 9 POINTS

Lunch
  • Smart One Spicy Szechuan Vegetables & Chickens -- 4 points
  • Kale Salad -- 3 points
  • Pepsi One -- 0 points
              TOTAL = 7 POINTS


Snack 
Granola Bar = 3 points


Dinner

  •  Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar, Sweet Onions and Thyme -- 5 points
  • Roasted Beets -- 0 points
  • Couscous -- 2 points
              TOTAL = 7 POINTS
    Roasted Beets <3


Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar, Sweet Onions and Thyme (5 points)
Ingredients

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour   
3/4 tsp table salt, divided   
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, divided   

1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4 oz pieces   
2 tsp olive oil   

1 small Vidalia onion(s), cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)   

1 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth   
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar   
1 Tbsp thyme, fresh, chopped, or less to taste   
2 tsp butter   

Instructions
·         On a plate, combine flour, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and turn to coat; shake off any excess.
·         Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, flipping once, until golden and cooked through, about 7 minutes; remove to a serving plate and cover to keep warm. 
·         Add onion to skillet; sauté over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add broth, vinegar, thyme and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring often, until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
·         Remove skillet from heat and stir in butter until melted; spoon sauce over chicken. Yields 1 chicken breast and about 1/4 cup onion sauce per 





Dessert 

  • Chocolate Pudding = 1 point




TOTAL (02/08/11) = 27 POINTS