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Why dancers should ski and skiers should dance

I, like many others, am an aspiring dancer. I train at a college where I receive classes every day in different dance styles, acting and musical theatre singing. When I went on holiday this February half term to visit my friend chalet hosting (Morzine, France), I decided to have ago at two days of skiing. I have never been skiing before, despite that many people around me, including my parents, have experienced this incredible sport. I however, never really had the opportunity or the confidence to be able to also experience it.

I was very nervous before going out. Yes I thought I would have the required strength, but skiing can be dangerous. Hearing a first person story from a man, while I was tipsy at a new year party, about how he (while skiing) became part of a snow ball avalanche while rolling down the mountain, which followed by him falling off and landing lower down the mountain where he was lucky to survive, didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

Yes I was scared at times when skiing, but there were a few golden moments when I felt extremely relaxed and free. The views were not only spectacular, but it’s one of few sports where you have as much fun falling over and going wrong as you can when it goes right. So overall I loved it and would definitely go again for longer.

I also surprisingly, learnt a lot about myself and developed skills that I need for dancing.

Yes, I developed skills for dancing. I always thought my dancing ability would help skiing – my strong core and legs and good sense of balance etc. (reasons why skiers should dance to improve these), but it has impacted my dancing. Every dancer has specific things they need to focus on, for me it’s not letting tension I have when I hold myself be seen in my upper body. In other words, I need to be able to look calm while still staying strong.

After a while on the nursery slopes and swiftly moving on to the blue slopes, my instructor yelled:

“send it!!!”

rather a lot, which at the time I didn’t really understand. I sent myself down the slope where I very quickly went out of control and belly flopped forward. Despite being a bit afraid and feeling like a liability for everyone else, I got up and kept trying.

The following day I woke up. My friend asked me if I ached at all. My arms were really stiff but my legs felt fine. She said this was because while skiing I tensed up my arms and upper body. I presumed I did this because I was pretty scared, especially when I thought I was going to lose control and ski off Piste into oblivion. So I tensed and squeezed every muscle like crazy hoping that would do the trick in helping me regain control. My friend told me that the tensing technique wasn’t and isn’t effective, which annoyed me a tad because I was pretty good at that. I needed to keep my lower body strong, my weight forwards on my toes while my upper body stayed relaxed. I did this that second day, and it transformed my skiing technique. I managed to isolate my muscles and relax my upper body, something my dance teachers have been trying to get me to do for years. Yes it can still be improved but it was so much better!

I made that improvement because you can’t faff about with skiing. You have the pressure of sliding full pelt down a slope, so you HAVE to rely on your body and abilities and not hold back. Holding back usually involved me leaning backwards with the hope I would magically stop or slow down. In reality I kept skiing faster, nearly taking people out in my path.

That is the meaning of the phrase “send it” – give it everything you’ve got, don’t hold back and rely on your ability. You have to be calm and enjoy what you’re doing and then hopefully you will experience some golden moments. This is an attitude I will be taking from the slope to the studio, where I know I sometimes just need to “send it” and enjoy and embrace the hurdles I face.

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Climate Change

Do You Suffer From Nimbyism?

Students have been missing school to take part in demonstrations for governments, to take action against anthropogenic causes of enhanced global warming and its negative effects on the climate.

Yet when I read the comments on articles reporting these demonstrations, as well as motivational and supportive comments, there are many negative comments.

They claim that our generation will demonstrate for change but won’t change our own life styles. Therefore they are accusing us of NIMBYism.

NIMBYism comes from the acronym NIMBY, which stands for:

Not In My Back Yard.

It is:

‘the practice of objecting to something that will affect one or take place in one’s locality’ –

This is what prevents a lot of the mitigation strategies against enhanced climate change, for example renewable energy, reducing plastic, less meat consumption etc.

Yes it is improving, people are using bags for life, more people are becoming vegetarian, we recycle. People are becoming more climate conscious but it is not enough.

Is this our fault? Some people say it is. They say that the time youths spend on mobile phones is excessive and that we always want the latest fashion with clothes etc. People are changing habits but some habits are not easy to change or can’t be seen as they are ingrained in our society. The adults accuse us of NIMBYism? Well I accuse the government, authorities and adults that support these of hegemony. Capitalism, consumerism cause an unsustainable and throwaway culture society and economy making these negative habits of ours seem normal. They try tl persuade us that we want or need these habits and way of life for their own profit.

They advertise and sell the newest cars because it generates more money than creating an effective and cheap public transport system.

They sell products that don’t go far past the guarantee year so that you buy another. When they could be built to last or even offer a service so they can be fixed.

They don’t invest in renewable energy because apparently fracking, fossil fuels and nuclear energy are more effective. They can take the base load power, but if we invested the amount of money we spend on the disposal of radioactive waste and flood barriers (flooding because of thermal expansion of the sea due to the green house effect caused by CO2 emissions of fossil fuels), on renewable energy technology and research into how we can make it more efficient the emissions and the negative effects and waste would reduce.

Yet WE suffer from NIMBYism! Yes a bottom up approach to changing society and politics is important but the top down approach is just as important. Stop blaming the youth and people for not doing enough or encouraging us to do more just to distract from the people in power’s lack of action. They don’t want to pay for change in our society, but they will pay for the damages later. We all need to pull our weight and it must start now.

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You, He, She, Me, I

I am a bear. That’s the animal I have given myself. It might not be the animal people would associate me with, but it’s an animal that gives me strength.

Everyone goes through everyday stresses. I train as a performer, which involves a lot of self critique and critique from others. In any occupation that people have, you, he she, me or I need to have self worth. Self worth can only be given to yourself by yourself.

I have found ways of staying motivated, being positive and giving myself value. Different techniques work for different people but here are some of my personal remedies:

As mentioned in a previous blog, I have a book of a line a day. In this book I write about the best things of each day. For example, something I did well, something that made me laugh etc. Yes on some days there is more to write than others, but there is always something you can write. For me this ends the day with a positive mindset.

Walks outside are so important. You can put life a bit more into perspective, clear your head find new inspiration. It’s good for physical and also psychological fitness. Walking in groups can be socially a positive thing to do. Activities like yoga and swimming can also be calming and meditational, find what’s best for you.

Talking to friends/colleagues who can empathise with what you are experiencing can help you motivate each other. The likely hood that by listening to others you realise you are not the only one going through similar feelings is high, this can be a consolation. You also know you have someone you can go to. Talking to others about feelings can put them into perspective and organise them so you can work out what the issue actually is, rather than being all jumbled up in your head.

Have a hobby that can help you escape from work. Preferably something that doesn’t involve social media, like writing drawing, socialising etc. Have something to look forward to when you finish working.

Finally, give yourself about 5 minutes a day to breath, reflect and think about yourself. What you want your mindset to be, how you want to come across to people. I want to be a bear, strong, self assured, kind and loyal. When I struggle at work I think of myself and channel the bear. It doesn’t make me into a super hero but helps me refocus and not let all my feelings escape suddenly.

I hope this post has been helpful, chin up 🙂

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The Beast From The East

I wrote this article almost a year ago and didn’t get round to publishing it. I think however, it’s still quite appropriate…

We Brits really care about our weather. It’s the grounding of our small talk. While the Chinese choose food, the German’s only talk about work and the US just skip small talk all together, the weather is our starter and fall back for conversation.

Lately however, it’s been our complete focus of conversation, of all conversation. Why? Because it is forecasted to snow and snow isn’t normal and when the weather isn’t normal, it is the topic of interest for all Brits, because it affects our mood. Snow. Snow means excitement for some.

As I was driving in the freezing cold car, covered in a layer of white frost, the radio presenter dramatically stated that the ‘Beast from the East’ would be arriving soon and we would be kept updated exactly where and when the snow would hit. Posts on social media inform us that we need to re think the way we walk (as a penguin is best) to adapt to the snow fall that will soon be everywhere. My friends strategically tell me of the homework they aren’t going to do for Friday, because the snow will inhibit their journey to school. It is all very dramatic, but then for a places that haven’t seen snow for over 5 years it would be.

If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said is that “it better snow”. My view was: otherwise all the fuss would have been for nothing, I could have gone on a school theatre trip (cancelled by the bus company because of this looming hazard) and I may even get a day off to appreciate our inch of snow.

Yesterday, I read an article that changed this view. Amongst this there are those who are dreading the snow. There are those who will struggle even more these next couple of days. The homeless have to fight through this weather.

Here is a link where you can help:

https://centrepoint.org.uk/?gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=CjwKCAiAgrfhBRA3EiwAnfF4tpL87XEWcheI-yJxHMULDVypTTpa-bIDDt8F-pZpxDhgCTQqaEf-nRoCnfAQAvD_BwE#

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2018

2018, a blog post to reflect on the year. To make the best bits more concrete by putting them into words, to almost create a small easy to follow recipe book of how to achieve a satisfying year this year.

1. Reading and writing is a must. I have found more ways to write by owning a book (like a diary) where a line a day is written over a span of 5 years. I have had this book for almost three years now, (credit to two of my closest friends) and I see every day what I did the year or two years before. I find the best bits of every day and write them in this book. It’s extremely motivating as there is always something to write, even if sometimes there is less to write about some days than others. It also reminds me of special events and experiences and of details I may have forgotten. For example, watching ‘Some like it hot’ for something like the twentieth time and still finding it equally funny as the first puts a smile on my face.

2. Meeting friends. After finishing school most ripple out to different places whether for uni, travel or work etc. Taking a fresh start with new people and places. Obviously there are some who stay, like me, and although home is still the same, the places and people we meet change. It’s so important to stay in touch with old friends, so you can reminisce about old times. Some groups may have larger and funnier and more stupid stories than other groups, but the first time one of our group tried wine in bulk and rolled cheerfully down the drive is one of our favourites. Also you never know if one of them will be famous so it’s good to keep those connections you know. But in all seriousness, even if you are able to just stay in contact with one or two or lucky enough to stay in contact with more, and still enjoy their company, then they are the loyal friends for life. – A friend told me, if you stay friends with someone for 10 years you are likely to stay friends with them for the rest of your life.

3. Traveling. Whether alone or with others, it is a passion I have discovered. Unfortunately for my bank account it is extremely expensive, but I had some amazing experiences this year: Hiking and swimming in the Alps with my best friend. Meeting exciting people in the rooms of youth hostels – Andrew, the American back packer who is writing a book, said he would include our cool fact about the Queen owning the swans in the UK in his writing. Just remember ear plugs -he turned out to be the loudest snorer. Looking at the sites of Bucharest where architecture goes to extremes – a half built luxury apartment that is ready to be bought but will never be finished, but I guess you get the wooden rotting scaffolding included, next to a beautiful old church with fantastic craftsmanship. Below is the Parliament building, it took us over half an hour to walk from one end to the other.

These are my top 3 and I hope to carry these on this year. I hope it’s a good one for all.

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Dancing every day and feeling like a biscuit

In September I began my two year college course in dance and musical theatre and I absolutely love it. What I found hardest at the start was, due to using and building muscles every day, I started feeling like a biscuit. What I mean by that, is I felt so stiff that whenever I would stretch I felt like I would snap like a digestive. I have improved greatly over this past month, but for any fellow digestives, here is a list of Tips of what can be done to loosen yourself up after physical exercise:

1. Drinking lots of water. Yes this important for hydration, but muscles are made greatly up of water so to stop them from getting brittle and powdery (what a scientist I am) drinking is vital. If you don’t drink enough but stretch it’s not brilliant combo and makes you more vulnerable to being crumble.

2. Buying a roller and a tennis ball and rolling out tight muscles doesn’t make you more flexible, but relaxes your muscles. They can be purchased online, I highly recommend them. A place which tends to be forgotten are the feet. As a dancer, tight hammies are nothing new, a way to stretch them easily (as told by a friend) is by a tennis ball under your foot, rolling it underneath and massaging it. When using a roller, the technique a physio told me is to roll it hard to the heart and soft to the feet, do not roll on joints it will aggravate them.

3. Finally, by stretching regularly, but only after being very warm. When I say warm, I mean after doing physical exercise. Unfortunately, having a bath or a hot shower makes you warm but not your muscles so does not do this successfully.

I hope this is helpful for dancers, non-dancers and biscuits.

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Füssen on a budget

Füssen is the fairy tale city, famed for it’s two extravagant castles built on instruction of King Ludwig II. The old City is a melting pot of people from all around the world. The streets are colourful with diverse languages and phonetics. At a cafe, each table is a different country; England, France, America, China and Australia, all connected by the German cuisine in front of them. Tourists flow into this City to take in the fantastical sites. When I became one of these tourists for 3 nights, I realised very quickly that the popularity and beauty of this City was going to come at a price (a price that I couldn’t afford). Below are some ways of enjoying the fairytale city, but not going spending mad.

1. Travel. Many, when traveling, pay for car hire, but the train and bus are by far the cheapest options. If you are coming from somewhere else in Baveria, e.g Munich airport, which involves a number of travel changes and varied transport types, then the Bayern Ticket is for you. The ticket costs €31 for you and a travel partner and it includes all transport types apart from IC, ICE and EC trains! It lasts for one day and is great for journeys within Baveria. However, the DB (Deutscher Bahn) has other bargain tickets, the best way to find them is asking at the information center at train stations or at tourist centers. On top of this, many hostels and hotels provide you with a card that makes all of the bus transportation within the city free, due to the tourist tax we are all required to pay when visiting the city. Another option, the one that gives the best chance of absorbing the beautiful sites and discovering off track wonders, is walking. With direction from free city plans, Google maps, or even inexpensive walking maps (can be purchased in the tourist information center) you can walk from Füssen to Schwangau, the location of the Ludwig castles, which took us about 2 hours. On the way to Schwangau, we walked past two stunning lakes the Schwansee (Swanlake) and the Alpsee, perfect places to stop off for a break and take a swim in beautiful clear waters bordered in by mountains and trees. From Schwangau it takes about 45min to walk up to the Neuschwanstein castle or to the Marienbrücke, which shows a must see view of the castle. There are other pretty walks, for example up the Tegelberg mountain which are lovely because to the fantastical sites you can see by walking up there.

2. Stay. One of the best decisions we made was our choice of a mixed dorm hostel accommodation. As well as being a very reasonably priced option for just under £30 per person per night. The Old Kings Design Hostel, Füssen, is beautifully located in the old town near the river. I personally loved staying in a mixed dorm because of the exciting different types of people you are bound to meet there. For example, we had a back packing American, a travelling Philippine, 5 holidaying Stratfodians and a last minute booking German. We had a lot of laughs and stories.

3. Food. You can pay about €7 extra for a breakfast at the hostel, we decided against this because of a roughly €5 breakfast you could get from the bakery around the corner. (Mind some bakeries are shut on a Sunday). As for lunch and dinner, we resorted to ready made sandwiches in bakeries or in their local Rewe supermarket (near the tourist information). Something we also discovered in Rewe was a kind of pick and mix salad bar which was very reasonable, filling and yummy! If you decide to eat out, I have one piece of information that will break our budget goal… This may sound quite obvious, but unless you are eating fast food, do not go to the cheapest restaurants. They are cheap for a reason; to attract customers to eat their grotty food, or eat with bad service. If you are going to splash out and eat in a restaurant, go big and go pricy for a good quality meal. Unfortunately our hostel didn’t have a kitchen, which would have been ideal, this is a good way of keeping prices down. Alternatively, there is a youth hostel just outside of Füssen, they offer an included breakfast and a good filling dinner for under a tenner.

I hope this article has been helpful and will help you save money on your stay in the priceless Füssen.