727 days to go…

March 4, 2007

15th day of CNY… no more visiting, no more CNY goodies… haha… good in a way… at least we go back to normal in terms of eating patterns!

Went for my first belly dance class yesterday… really FUN!!! 🙂 9 more to go… must practice more 🙂

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The Health Benefits of Dancing

March 3, 2007

The Health Benefits of Dancing — Including Specific Benefits of Different Dances
by www.SixWise.com

If you secretly sashay across your living room when you’re home alone or long to cha-cha with your significant other, you’re in luck. Not only is dancing an exceptional way to let loose and have fun, but it also provides some terrific benefits for your health.In fact, Mayo Clinic researchers reported that social dancing helps to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Increase energy
  • Improve strength
  • Increase muscle tone and coordination
Dancing

Dancing the night away can burn more calories per hour than riding a bike or swimming.

And whether you like to kick up your heals to hip hop, classical or country, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that dancing can:

  • Lower your risk of coronary heart disease
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Help you manage your weight
  • Strengthen the bones of your legs and hips

Dancing is a unique form of exercise because it provides the heart-healthy benefits of an aerobic exercise while also allowing you to engage in a social activity. This is especially stimulating to the mind, and one 21-year study published in the New England Journal of Medicine even found dancing can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in the elderly.

In the study, participants over the age of 75 who engaged in reading, dancing and playing musical instruments and board games once a week had a 7 percent lower risk of dementia compared to those who did not. Those who engaged in these activities at least 11 days a month had a 63 percent lower risk!

Interestingly, dancing was the only physical activity out of 11 in the study that was associated with a lower risk of dementia. Said Joe Verghese, a neurologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a lead researcher of the study, “This is perhaps because dance music engages the dancer’s mind.”

Verghese says dancing may be a triple benefit for the brain. Not only does the physical aspect of dancing increase blood flow to the brain, but also the social aspect of the activity leads to less stress, depression and loneliness. Further, dancing requires memorizing steps and working with a partner, both of which provide mental challenges that are crucial for brain health.

How Good of a Workout is Dancing, Really?

The amount of benefit you get from dancing depends on, like most exercises, the type of dancing you’re doing, how strenuous it is, the duration and your skill level.

Says exercise physiologist Catherine Cram, MS, of Comprehensive Fitness Consulting in Middleton, Wisconsin, “Once someone gets to the point where they’re getting their heart rate up, they’re actually getting a terrific workout. Dance is a weight-bearing activity, which builds bones. It’s also “wonderful” for your upper body and strength.”

Dancing

Most people agree that social dancing gives them a more positive outlook on life.

Plus, dancing requires using muscles that you may not even know you had.

“If you’re dancing the foxtrot, you’re taking long, sweeping steps backwards. That’s very different than walking forward on a treadmill or taking a jog around the neighborhood … Ballroom dancing works the backs of the thighs and buttock muscles differently from many other types of exercise,” says Ken Richards, professional dancer and spokesman for USA Dance, the national governing body of DanceSport (competitive ballroom dancing).

Specific Benefits of Different Dances

If you’re looking for specific health results, here’s a breakdown of the benefits of some popular dances. Just remember that any type of dancing is better than no dancing at all!

Belly Dancing

  • Improved posture and muscle toning
  • Maintains flexibility
  • Helps prevent lower back problems
  • Tones and firms arms and shoulders
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Helps prepare women for childbirth
  • Reduces stress
Dancing Off Those Calories

How many calories will you burn while dancing? That depends on the type of dancing. Here’s a range of some of the most popular varieties, based on a 150-pound person, per hour:

  • Swing dancing: 235 calories/hour
  • Ballroom dancing: 265
  • Square dancing: 280
  • Ballet: 300
  • Belly dancing: 380
  • Salsa dancing: 420+
  • Aerobic dancing: 540+

Ballroom Dancing

  • Conditions the body
  • Helps keep the heart in shape
  • Builds and increases stamina
  • Develops the circulatory system
  • Strengthens and tones legs and body
  • Increases flexibility and balance
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Relieves stress

Salsa Dancing

  • Builds endurance and stamina
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Relieves stress
  • Helps you release toxins via sweating
  • May help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels
  • Can lead to a reduced heart rate over time

Square Dancing

  • Provides cardiovascular conditioning
  • May lead to a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and an improved cholesterol profile
  • Strengthens bones
  • Helps you develop strong social ties
  • Loosens and tones muscles

Physical benefits aside, dancing has a way of brightening up a person’s day, says ballroom owner and operator Karen Tebeau.

“A lot of times, when people come into the studio, it’s because there’s been a change in their life: a divorce or they’ve been through a period of depression. They (continue) coming in, and you see a big change. After a while, they’re walking in with a sunny expression. You know it’s the dancing that’s doing that,” she says.


789 days to go…

January 1, 2007

New year here… 2007…

Counted down at esplanade park.. very very very very very very crowded!!! Went without a tripod (last minute decision, and I was already out), but got a couple of decent shots anyway. Or at least, they are decent, to my standards! But… was blocked by trees, people, lamp posts etc… hahahaha… Just to share a few that I like

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I like this composition

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Butterflies in the park!

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More butterflies!

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Just look at that crowd!

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The finale!

anyway, went for my last basic salsa today. Think I really really get the simple turn now! I was stepping on 6 instead of just turning, which explains why I run out of time and I turn all over the room… The music’s faster, but still manageable…

Think I’ll be signing up for inter… should be fun!


798 days to go…

December 22, 2006

Went for salsa class no 8 today…

for some reason, the music was really really really really really fast. I mean it’s really really really really really fast! Ended up screaming in terror at some parts of it, as I couldn’t follow the moves! haha… but… from the safety of my room, in front of my computer, it was fun. Way more fun than the regular slow moves… hahaha… esp the song where it got progressively faster and faster and I was really turning wildly! hahahaha

After tt went PS… secret recipes… too bad my ex-student doesn’t work there anymore… hahaha… chit chat with A and S for I think close to 2 hrs… haha… super cold… next time I must bring jacket and gloves!!! hahaha…

Anyway, some insights on salsa… after 8 hrs of instruction and another 1+ hr of practice at US…

  1. Communication and trust are essential. The leader (generally the guy) must communicate his intentions clearly for the follower (generally the girl) to gain trust that she will not be suddenly surprised with a random move.
  2. Understanding each other is also very important. Sometimes, especially when the leader is a lot better than the follower, the leader gotta take a step back and see if the follower can follower. Likewise, the follower should communicate any discomfort in the following process
  3. A skill that is critical is how to put others at ease. Some people are better at putting other people at ease. Just a simple smile, the way they hold you, the way they thank you after it all can put you at ease. Some others make you tense up and hmm… usually end up with their feet stepped upon… hahaha
  4. Being observant and considerate. It just helps, I guess 🙂

Thinking of taking up intermediate. Of course, the pressing issue is whether I will be able to commit the number of lessons per month. So far, I’m enjoying it. While I’m not hoping to make it to competition level (I doubt I will ever get that far), I find it good exercise and a good way to take my mind off work, just for that hour or so… hmm hmm hmm…


Salsa Nites in Singapore

December 19, 2006

No no no, I don’t attend them all. In fact, I don’t attend them. But… in case anyone’s interested in SG’s salsa night scene…

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Tuesday

Fuego
Pure Salsa Night on Tuesdays
8.30pm till late
5 gemmil lane
(Next to club street)
No entry charge

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Wednesday

Naxos
20 Cross Street #01-22, China Square Central (just at edge of the Fountain Square).
Salsa every wednesday from 9:30 pm.
Drinks priced at S$5 per glass, inclusive of selected alcoholic drinks (Tiger Beer). no cover charge!
Tapas menu of 33 different dishes, prices ranging from S$7-11 a dish.

Naxos is a Mediterranean restaurant at China Square Central, that is now featuring Salsa Nights every Wednesday in September. DJ spun Salsa music will be played from 9pm till closing and DJs featured will be some of the best the local scene has to offer. There is no cover charge, and drink prices are very reasonable. For the hungry, there is a also very tasty dinner menu, featuring yummy tapas and other delights. And whenever you need to chill out, there’s also a cool al fresco area by the side of the restaurant.

Thumper
Wednesday 730 till late
Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, S(228221)
Tel: 6735 0827
No cover

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Saturday

Upper Club
Victoria Street, #02-01A CHIJMES

Salsa Saturday
Starting 28 October 2006

Alternate Saturday
28 Oct, 11 & 25 Nov, 9, 23 & 30 Dec 06

Salsa Tea-Dance
Time: 2.30pm to 6.30pm
Cover Charge: $15 Nett Per Person
(Includes 2 Soft Drinks)

Salsa Night Fever
Time: 8.30pm to 2.00am
Cover Charge: $20 Nett Per Person
(Includes 2 Soft Drinks OR 1 House Pour)

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Sunday

Brix
Sundays only, live band and DJ Spun music.
10 Scotts Road #B1
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Tel: 6416-7107

Brix plays mainly R&B, with one day a week (Sunday) dedicated to Latin music, including salsa. It’s located at the basement of the Hyatt Hotel along Scotts Rd.

Web site: http://restaurants.singapore.hyatt.com/brix/brix_intro.html

Xenbar
34A Pagoda Street Chinatown MRT Singapore 059191
Salsa every night except Tuesdays, Tango on the main floor and salsa at Upper floor.
Buy the first drink $10 (Non-Alcoholic), free entry for ladies every day.

5 Free Dance Classes: Salsa, Rueda, Bachata and Merengue Every Sunday Night

Xenbar will be conducting a Free Bachata and Merengue from 7:15pm to 8pm. There will be free Beginners and Intermediate Rueda from 8:15pm to 9pm at Abblu (above Xenbar) every Sunday.

Manfred of AAVX will also be conducting two free salsa classes at Xenbar every Sunday. 7:15pm tp 8pm Basic Salsa Class and 8:15pm to 9pm Intermediate Salsa Class.

So everyone can choose between 5 different classes and learn Basic Salsa, Intermediate Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and Rueda. Just buy the first drink at $7 and you can choose to go for all five classes free.

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Everyday (or almost everyday)

Union Square
165, Tanjong Pagar Road, #02-05
Tel: 6224-6116

Salsa every night except Sunday, DJ Spun music spans across various latin genres from Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, Cha Cha, Rumba. Band plays 2 sets every night. Friday ladies free flow. (9:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.)

Union Square is the longest-running salsa club in Singapore. What started as one night of salsa has now grown to six nights of salsa. Union Square is located in the shopping arcade that’s connected to the Amara Hotel; second floor, directly above Burger King. It’s a mid-sized club, so there’re lots of bar stools, a dance area and a pool table. There’s an adjoining lounge with some pretty good singers.
Web site: http://www.ntucclub.com.sg

Xenbar
34A Pagoda Street Chinatown MRT Singapore 059191
Tel. 6225 2620
Salsa every night except Tuesdays, Tango on the main floor and salsa at Upper floor.
Buy the first drink $10 (Non-Alcoholic), free entry for ladies every day.

The only club that was born only for SALSA! Most Happening Days: Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Every night is Ladies night. On Thursday Free drinks for the ladies plus great Salsa music, Salseras can’t complain much! Sunday open from 1.00 p.m. drink at 1 for 1. Opening hour from 6.00 p.m. till the last costumer walks out of the club, stays open till 6.00 a.m.

Xenbar is housed in one of those big pre-war terrace shophouses (corner unit). Three storeys, split level. Mostly dedicated to salsa. There are classes there in the evenings before 9p or 10p. So if you go there early, you can’t dance but you can observe the class.

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Wow… that’s almost like every night? hmm…… Anyway, Tuesdays are beginners’ nite at union square… at least it’s called that 😉

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BTW, the opinions expressed above ARE NOT MINE. I borrowed / stole / took / kopped / whatever you want to call it. They may or may not represent my view, for well, apart from union square (once) and xenbar (I take classes there), I haven’t been to them ok?


810 days to go…

December 10, 2006

Exciting weekend!!!

Saturday

Met up with a good friend of mine who is studying in Aus… gossip, chit chat, catch up, suanning… really makes me miss the good old days of meeting up regularly for dinner, chit chat and lots of laughter.

Joined 2 friends, SS and YL for dinner. Chitchatted about work, friends, r/s etc… really made me realise… I haven’t caught up with them for a long long long long long long long time (count for the no of months… hahaha…) Went for Salsa class no 6 with Mel after that, and why do I still have stupid problems with my Right Turn?!?! arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Sunday

Went KTV with C and our friends from an event.. H, CS and GW. Sing sing sing… retro afternoon… really retro… all the songs from 80s, 90s… we were thinking… opps… would the little kiddies from nearby rooms wonder what aunties and uncles are singing in our room? After all, everyone in the room is past mid-20s… haiz… compared to the JC and uni kids, we ARE old… hahahaha… 11 – 3… K-Lunch… really sing until tired… Went PDA shopping as C is thinking of getting on to make full use of the wireless network offered FOC for the next 3 years… was surprised by her “decisiveness” for a product that costs almost 1k! GW and I were like… hey… u need a cooling down period!

Anyway, C asked me if salsa is a very close dance… luckily when we reached the ktv room, only CS was there, not many people lah, so I demo-ed the hold. Hmm… thinking back, I think I got left and right and reversed… cannot blame me bah, I normally do the gals’ move, but was doing the guys’ move yesterday. Showed her it’s not very “low” or very “close”… and that the positioning of the gal’s hand on the guy’s shoulder allows her to push him away if he comes too near! hahaha… or sh… or pull him nearer if he goes too far and er… yah… you get the idea, right? hahaha

After GW left, C and I gossiped somemore. Dropped by bell’s dinner and omg… it was like the whole entire restaurant!!! think C got a bit shocked? surprised? about the group size. Anyway, passed some stuff to M and F and left. Still prefer a small intimate dinner with ard 10 friends… personal, intimate and more fun 🙂

Epilogue

It’s really a JC week… within 7 days, ran into 3 people from my JC… got an sms from a 4th… JC lecturer, JC tutor, and 2 JC classmates… well, it can mean 3 things… I’m getting out more, they’re getting out more, or we are all getting out more… hahahaha…

Must say I really really had a lot of fun this week. Tiring, but honestly, I gotta say, it was fun. Dance on Mon, Tues, Sat. Met up with friends on Sat and Sun… I really really gotta say… I think I will miss this sort of life when work starts again…

Hmm… did I get someone interested in my latest passion, salsa? hahaha… time will tell!!!


814 days to go…

December 6, 2006

First visit ever to Union Square yesterday. Special thanks to M who graciously accompanied this newbie to dance! (or pretend to dance…)

hahaha… while it was fun, I was totally bewildered! Few people there dance with the embrace (M later told me that it’s more restrictive) and some of the music was really really fast! (M told me it was not fast… oppz…)

We tried a few dances. Guess I’m not used to the way he leads and his cues. Not very flexible as well as I’m not that 100% confident of my steps as well. hahaha… So, the unfamiliar music + unfamiliar hold + being only somewhat confident of my steps meant I couldn’t really dance there!

M and this guy who asked me to dance are nice though, accomodating to my lack of skills by giving me verbal cues at times. Was quite bewildered when I ended up turning in unfamiliar ways, but was coached along the way by them. So nice of them both! M taught me some “shines” too…

Guess for me, I need to go back up the mountain to practice a lot more, and well, learn to be more able to just follow and go with the flow. I shall resolve not to look so totally bewildered (will 80% bewildered do?) and not scream just because I have no idea where I’m turning or when I’m turning. HAHAHA. I resolve not to be so tense and to have better posture as well!

Must really thank M for accomodating to my style. We tried the embrace and he tried to figure out what cues can help me most. Thanks a mil, M!