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On Friday I reach the end of 40 Days to Personal Revolution, the yoga program that has been a big part of my life for the past 6 weeks (read all about it here). As I come out of this incredible experience, I reflect on how I will move forward from here.

The “revolution” part of the 40 days was not what I thought it would be. Basically, I’d had this vague idea that I would lose a lot of weight and get totally buff, all while becoming a more chilled out person in the process– pretty much in that order. As for the weight, I haven’t lost any. Not one pound. Not one-half of a pound. As for the buffness, I am happy to report that this expectation has come to fruition. I have some pretty nice tone and defininition around my shoulders, upper arms, and back that I have never had before. And if I poke my finger through the thick layer of fat on my derriere, there’s a nice solid gluteus maximus in there.

As for the chill factor, that two has happened, but in much more specific ways than I could have ever predicted. Having a new relaxation and centering tool (meditation) is a great new tool in my arsenal for getting through difficult moments or fending off anxiety. On a more global level, my priorities have shifted a little. I no longer feel like I have to do it all. If  I miss out on something ‘extra’ in favor of spending time chatting with a friend, visiting family, or just relaxing with a book or enjoying the weather outside, so be it. I see the benefit of not being so overscheduled and I appreciate that taking time to enjoy these little, yet most important things in life, enrich my life much more than that extra class or workshop or seminar or networking event ever could.

As I come out of the program, I will come back to dance. But things will be different. I will continue to do yoga more frequently (probably 3-4 days a week rather than the 6 I have been doing), while gradually re-integrating dance into my life. I will probably pick up a little on the blogging, but I will not feel pressure to write any more often than comes naturally to me. This blog is not a means to an end. It is simply an outlet for me to process and share the thoughts and joys that dance brings to me. Rather than “moving on” with my life, I am simply moving forward, taking with me the additional gifts I have been given.

…is grabbing a table in the perfect September sun on the Woodrow Wilson Plaza to listen to live salsa by Verny Varela and his orchestra. Even better than dessert…a post prandial dance. Trust me, it makes your day sooo much better (and is much better for you). Your TPS reports won’t look so bad after that.

Live! on Woodrow Wilson Plaza: noon-1:30 pm, Monday-Friday, June-September. Totally free and another reason to love DC.

…is taking an impromptu Sunday road trip to the beach with my friends from said dance class. Dance has given me so much more than itself.

I never would have dreamed when I started this blog that I could be an inspirational to anyone. After all, I am but an amateur dancer with no particular great ability, just a love for doing it. Over the course of keeping this blog, I’ve gotten some very nice comments from readers, but this one, from Romy in Lebanon, takes the cake:

“Dear Maria, i just fell upon your blog tonight by accident, i wasn’t even researching dance topics on the internet. Though funny enough, the topic has been in the back of mind for a couple of days now. See, i am in my mid twenties, i have already majored in computer animation, and now i find myself aching to pick up dancing seriously. A childhood dream. I visited paris to see if i can start there, and everyone around me, including universities told me the same thing you were saying, that i late. That completely discouraged me, and now seeing your blog and reading your story was a breath of fresh air. Could i really still start dancing? i am really an amateur. Is it a beautiful world after all, even when you pick it up seriously? I am bookmarking your blog, and will start reading your posts one by one. Hope you will be the Sign for me as i feel it might be. Keep it up Maria.”

I believe that inspiration is not in the greatness of your acts but in giving some voice or hope to someone that sees a part of themselves in you. It has always been my goal to find meaning in everything I do. Just writing for myself gives me enough meaning, but to know that I’ve affected others makes my heart feel very full. Thanks so much to Romy and my other readers that have given me this gift!!

I was very saddened to read that Cyd Charisse, an inspiration to me and a highlight of Hollywood’s golden age of musical cinema, has died at the age of 86 (link is to NYT article). From the moment I saw her in Singin In the Rain I knew I’d found my style and dance icon. She will live on on the silver screen.

She said her husband, the singer Tony Martin, could always tell with whom she was dancing. “If I was black and blue,” she said, “it was Gene. And if it was Fred, I didn’t have a scratch.”

(from the NYT Obituary)

 

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for the Tribute to Women in Salsa at Zanzibar. I had such a great time performing and it was nice to do a little social dancing again after a too-long hiatus.

From the feedback I got, everyone loved the Birds of Paradise, and my hat goes off to Irene Holtzman for her amazing vision and choreography. And thank you Talisa for doing my hair…I seriously wish I could wear my hair like that every day.

Congratulations to Andrea Brachfeld and Judith Condezo for being last night’s honorees.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of the other groups since we were backstage. I saw a a lot of video cameras rolling, so if there are any videos out there, please share and I will put them up here.

Thank you very much to the folks at movmnt magazine for listing A Time to Dance in their blog directory. There are a lot of great blogs out there and I am so flattered to be listed among only 18 others.

Selly at Dance Outlook posted a picture of the page, which you can see here. Thanks Selly!

PS. I am embarassed to realize that for some odd reason I never added movmnt to my blogroll on the sidebar. I have now rectified that error.

I’ve been completely out of it with a nasty illness since Friday. Other than our outing to Mark Morris, for the last five days I’ve been completely married to NyQuil, honey lemon tea, the couch, and Bravo reruns of Project Runway and Millionaire Matchmaker. It was so delightful to turn on my computer and have my day brightened by some seriously nice props.

Thank you so much to:

Doug Fox of Great Dance for saying nice things about my writing and some attention to my Mark Morris review in his most recent post.

Boris Willis of Dance A Day for giving me the most amazing compliment ever in his comment on my Mark Morris review:

Great review Maria. There has been much talk about reviews lately and this is an example of a well written and informative text that is both personal and insightful. I have seen the work many times and I know some of the company members and yet your review was enlightening. Too bad you aren’t the top critic at the Post.

The Washington Post Local Blog Directory for making A Time to Dance one of their top picks for today, February 19.

And last but by no means least, thank you to the wonderful Mr P for taking such loving, tender, and patient care of me during my illness.

I think the catharsis I got from writing three posts age really did help. There was a really nice post on kk’s blog today about it, which made me feel like I have a kindred spirit in this.

I felt pretty darn good at rehearsal on Friday and there were a ton of new faces in my modern dance class today so the teacher slowed things way down and really got into the technique of things. It made me feel super proficient for once– it’s all relative.

We are now at t-6 on the Miami countdown! This is not before having to go to Chicago for one night (study in contrasts, I tell ya), but I’m planning to hit up a salsa club while I’m there, and there is nothing like salsa travel to reinvigorate me.

Although I try to take stock of things I have to be thankful for throughout the year, Thanksgiving is always a time of deeper reflection for me.

One thing I am constantly thankful for is my wonderful husband, family and friends. You each support me, love me, and accept me for who I am in your own way. Each of you contributes something unique to my life that makes it that much richer and joyful. You are there when the going gets tough and you rejoice with me during the happy times. Thank you a million times over to all of you.

 My gratitude would not be complete without mentioning dance. In the relatively short time dance has been in my life it has transformed me in many ways.

Physically, it has made me a more fit, healthy person– and injured toe aside, I am grateful for my health each day that I have it.

Mentally, dance challenges me and expands my mind. Even the physical challenges make me mentally stronger. Internalizing technique and choreography is strengthening all my neurons and increasing my spacial intelligence and coordination.

Intellectually, dance has given me a whole new world to learn about, and I am discovering new things every day– learning from the different classes I attend, concerts I see, people I meet, and blogs I read.

Emotionally, dance feeds my soul. When I found dance as an important part of my life, it filled a void I didn’t even know existed in me. It brings me joy and satisfaction, and lifts me up when I’m having a bad day.

Coming back full circle to my incredible support network of family and friends, I have made some of the best friendships of my life through dance. It’s so wonderful to have friends that are not only compatible with me on a personal level, but also understand and share my passion for dance.

Writing in this blog has given me a creative outlet I didn’t have before. I’ve always loved to write but never could find the time or motivation. Dance gave me a reason to become a better and more frequent writer. Thanks to all of you have have commented on this blog and given me feedback and support.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you spend your day in good company, and with good food!

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