Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

No gym required

I've been conversing a lot with fellow freelancers about how to combat fear and anxiety in these rather unsettling economic times. I've fortunately got a few things on my side - a sense of humor, the ability to play, and a [usually] optimistic look at life. Plus, let's face it, I live with donkeys. And most imporatnatly, I love what I do, even when I'm not making money, which is key to anyone's longevity in a career, and life.

However, making a self employed household operate has its challenges, and one can fall into habits of coping that in the long run can back fire.Last year in February, my father was in hospice, and the entire election process was in full swing. Listening to cynical rhetoric of talking heads, together with the reality of life and death can lead even a happy-apron wearing- pie baking-shepherd girl to console herself with...well, bounties of the earth, such as apples and grapes. Only you put the apples in a butter crust, and the grapes get squished by toes and put into bottles and then served in a nice bulbous glass.

So after a year of consoling myself, and then a few months of rejoicing after the election, I felt I needed to make some subtle changes in daily existance and sustennace. One is the the little squished red grapes in the bottle has been cut in half. Second is, my walking schedule has been upgraded, which Huck likes. And now I've added a 30 minute a day dance time out in the studio. When I lived in Portland, I took my first Nia class and just loved it. I had always wanted to try modern dance, but never did. And Nia gave me that outlet, together with incorporating healing arts for my body and muscles. The walking is great, but the dancing gets my heart pumping, and it just feel good.

If you are near a Nia class, try it - of course a lot can depend on the teacher, and I lucked out with mine. My second teacher was trained professionally in ballet, and had a much more aggressive and dictorial class. So don't give up if you get a bad fit of a teacher. Nia means "Neuromuscular Integrative Action," and fuses dance movement, the martial arts and healing arts into an invigorating cardiovascular fitness program. In essence, Nia combines elements of tai-chi, yoga and dance. Nia allows you to find joy in moving, and the joy in loving how your body moves. I find when I dance like this, I feel free, vital, and I feel like ME.

This week, I've been dancing to an old favorite, "Little Creatures" by the Talking Heads. When I lived in Brooklyn way back when it came out, I listened to it obsessively on the subway commute from Brooklyn into the city. It's still good.

And as you see from these pictures, you don't need fancy work out clothes-in fact holey ones work, and you don't need a gym to dance. And your pigtails will enjoy it too.


farmlady said...

I tend to dance to music on t.v. when no one is watching. Didn't know about Nia. Do they have these classes in California? I must check.

Keep on dancing!!

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Oh I would definately think so! Just google it, I bet there are tons of classes, lucky you.

Cathy said...

Love the photos of you dancing with abandon (and showing off that tight little derrière)! Nia is new to me too, but it seems very similar to the workout I used to do with my friend Cris.

I need to start again.

Claire MW said...

I had never heard of Nia. Things take a long time to trickle into Iowa you know! But the pictures of you dancing made it look like such fun that now I want to get my groove on, so I shall have to find some music one of these evenings when I find some spare time. I really need the exercise.

CoCo said...

I can't believe you're writing this now. I just started doing NIA 2 weeks ago and am loving it. I was doing Zumba which I loved, but then my amazing Nicaraguan teacher quit teaching and I went to other Zumba classes and they paled in comparison--more traditional, boring aerobics, less dance, so I decided I needed to find a new dance form, something I couldn't compare to my zumba class with a gifted teacher and NIA did it.

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

I can feel many Nia vibrations from across the nation...actually, to be clear, my dance forms now are more Katherine-Nia than Nia-Nia, and I do what I remember, but moving is what feels good. Especially to combat the types of movement I not only do on the farm, but at the drawing table [ie chronic neck stuff like many artist's have, now under control]

So Claire, just move while you're waiting for that goat to kid. Cathy, I know you dance all day, you just don't admit it. And Cori, I've never heard of Zumba. I did check out your site and it looks like you have a pretty great service in NYC - check it out people.

coloredsock said...

you are so crackin me up...glad you're movin and a groovin (more) lately!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~