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Variations on a Theme, Post #47 - Laura Wise

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August 8th, 2015

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10:11 am - Variations on a Theme, Post #47
Saturday thoughts, 2, variations on a theme:

1) I've been listening to an audiobook (new to me), From Shakespeare with Love, a selection of just over half the Sonnets. One thing that's really striking me is the variations within and between the voices of the readers. The first 8 sonnets, for instance, are divided between David Tennant (using his Scottish accent) and Bertie Carvel. Both readers are wonderful, varying their voices to great effect to emphasize meaning -- but the vocal qualities of the two are really different. D Tennant's voice is deeper at its starting point, and more open (if that's a thing); B Carvel's is lighter and sharper. Same thing goes for, say, Juliet Stevenson, whose voice is a husky, sort of confidential alto which then soars upward as needed, and Maxine Peake, whose Northern voice is husky too but much sharper.

I love voices. I love thinking about them and hearing the infinite variety of them.

2) So I've been working out to a Pilates streaming video (done by the improbably perky Denise Austin, actually) for the past two weeks -- my own cardio and the Pilates abs one day, a bit of cardio and then the Upper Body and Lower Body workouts the next -- and I am feeling it in very good ways. In search of variation, however, I decided that it would be wise to add a different workout into the mix, and because I realized that I enjoy the Pilates and dance and yoga spectrum of workouts more than Cardio Death Weights or similar, I decided I'd investigate ballet workouts.

(When I was 13 or so, in the grip of puberty hell, I became so unbelievably clumsy that I could trip over a line drawn on the floor. My wise mother said to me that I needed to learn to live in and control my body, and told me I could choose between swimming and dance. I chose swimming, and a part of me has regretted it for decades.)

I decided to try a Mary Ellen Bowers Ballet Beautiful workout. She's the ballerina who trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan, and I've read about her work for a while. Here -- her recommendations for stretching at work. Anyhoo, so I purchased a nice soothing video, which has two 30-minute workouts: the first is an "undemanding" one, according to the Amazon reviews, so I decided that would be good.


On the good side: it's soothing(ish) but more challenging than one thinks at first. On the bad side: I still have terrible balance. On the good side again: so this workout, if I do it a couple of times a week, is going to address a decades-long problem.

What voices do you like? What kind of movement makes you happy? May you have only the best variations this weekend. :)

(18 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
Ballet workout! Very interesting! I was a little ballet girl as a child--still have my last pair of toe shoes, and still remember the pain of dancing in them--but extreme lack of talent meant that I didn't keep it up. But ballet workouts sound like fun. There's a Pure Barre near my house, but I suspect they don't have a senior class. I think I'll investigate your video, or see if there's anything online.

I could definitely use anything that helps with balance!

And the sonnets sound fascinating.
[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2015 06:39 pm (UTC)
Bowers has a LOT of videos on Youtube (look up Ballet Beautiful). I've seen testimonials for Ballet Body, too, but it seems a little too much for me and the way I want to use the workouts. :)

And if you danced as a girl, you are ahead of the game! :)

Cheers to you today.

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