Archive for February, 2012

My New Love – Pilates

February 21, 2012

Pilates class OK, I’ve been thin all my life, not counting the times while pregnant. However, I’ve always felt that I had a little pooch. I longed for the flat tummy and tried doing crunches. But, that never did the trick.

Recently I started taking Pilates Mat classes on a weekly basis. I can’t believe the difference in how my body feels and looks! And I’ve noticed a difference in ballet class. My upper body is much more stable and my balance has improved.

I wish I had tried Pilates a long time ago. I heard of it when I was a dance major at Brockport State,  but I had no idea what it was (no internet back then). Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. It is a conditioning workout that improves core strength and creates long, lean muscles. The workouts can be done on the mat or using special apparatus.

The Pilates mat class is definitely work, but I find it very enjoyable. I’ve found a wonderful instructor, Tenicia Trask (T), of TNT Fitness Studios. She has a special way of explaining how the exercises should be done. T has an eagle eye and lets you know if you are not doing the movement correctly. She is in tune with the different ability levels of the class participants and offers modifications and challenges. Pilates is a tough workout, but T makes the class enjoyable and is very encouraging.

I look forward to the the class every week because I feel amazing afterwards. And I finally have that flat tummy!

Sometime I’m going to try Pilates on the apparatus….

Nudes, Dancers, and More

February 9, 2012

Photo of Little Dance of Fourteen Years sculptureI’ve always admired the artwork of Edgar Degas, especially the work depicting dancers. Somehow he captures the beauty of the dancers’ body positions.  I can picture the dancers moving and feel like I am a part of the class .  And his sculpture,  Little Dancer of Fourteen Years,  is exceptional. Although some thought that it was ugly when it was first displayed in 1881, to me it shows the beauty and innocence of a very young dancer. The pose is not a beautiful pose, in fact it is somewhat awkward. That is what makes it so realistic.

The “Degas and the Nude” exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA, brought to light another aspect of Degas’ work. It was amazing to see how his studies of the nude body gave him a sense of how clothing draped on the body. In the exhibit there were many instances where the nude study was displayed and next to it there was a piece where he drew upon  the nude study. I found this particularly interesting because you could see how he used the nude study to further his understanding of how the body moved.

If you didn’t get to see this exhibit, there is a book  Degas and the Nude , that explores the artist’s treatment of the nude from his early years all the way to his last decades when the theme dominated his artistic production in all media. It will definitely give you a glimpse of how the study of nudes was incorporated into his work.