Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dance Bags

After my reader PSA for all to take an adult ballet class some of you mentioned that you would but are too intimated to wear a leotard.  Don't worry!  Unless you are taking a university class there are typically no dress codes for adult ballet.  I always wear tights, leotards, and a skirt only because I like to but most of the others in my class wear what you might wear to yoga class.  Just make sure YOU feel comfortable and are able to move.

That said, one of the many joys about being a dancer is having a dance bag.  I remember my first one.  It was from J. Crew and I loved it so much.  As I've gotten older I have acquired a vast collection of these bags and I can't seem to stop.  Everyone needs a dance bag to hold their ballet shoes and water bottles and to express their style and personality.  So let's go shopping for a dance bag!  What Springtime tote from Kate Spade do you like best? 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reader PSA: Take an Adult Ballet Class

Audrey Hepburn loved her ballet classes.

I feel a need to expound the virtues of adult ballet classes. 

Better posture.  You will feel confident in your swim suits, class presentations, and when you ask for that promotion.

More flexibility.  Did you know that tight muscles equate to weakened muscles?  Be strong!

Bring out your inner graceful ballerina.  We all have one needing to get out and love life.

Miss Hepburn, enjoying her great posture, strong muscles, and love of life.  image

For all you secret ballerinas needing to get out look up local studios and sign up for an adult ballet class.  Reap its benefits and discover the pure joy that comes from dance.

"Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great not because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."
-Martha Graham

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Williams-Sonoma Breakfast

Good Morning!  I just thought I'd share my love for breakfast.  Today we are eating at Williams-Sonoma.

And my ultimate favorite...

Who else loves breakfast?  Let me hear it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Friend is in Dance Magazine!

Remember my friend, Ashley, from the flip flop post?  Well guess what...

She's in Dance Magazine!  The company she dances with has a feature and there she is, front and center.  For those who don't know, Dance Magazine is the largest dance magazine in the world.  I am so excited I can't wait to go out and buy this month's issue. What's amazing is how humble she is.  The only reason why I found out is because someone else posted about this and tagged her on Facebook.  While I'd be shouting it from the rooftops she's completely low key about it.  I guess when your face is on the BART Station in Oakland you get used to publicity.  But even then, this photo was taken from someone else's Facebook page because she's too humble to make it her profile picture. 

Oakland BART station.  Ashley is on the far right.

An interview with Ashley is coming soon.  You'll completely fall in love with her sweet personality and striking beauty.

Remember when I was in a magazine?
And meet a Disney Dancer.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How I Stay in Shape

Photographer unknown.  This makes me sad because it is a beautiful photograph.

A few readers have asked me how I keep in shape.  Although I do not believe I'm in the best of form I thought I'd share my working out habits with you.  Forgive me if it's boring, but here's a typical schedule of my "activities".  Since my schedule right now only allows one ballet class I've really gotten into yoga to stay flexible and in tune with my body.  I'll be taking more ballet and modern classes in April.  Also, it's the off season for the dance company I'm in but we typically rehearse a few times per week and right before we perform we rehearse three to four times a week. 

Treadmill 45 minutes
Yoga class 1 hr 15 mins
Teaching 3 hours
Yoga one hour (if I feel up to it!)

Treadmill 45 minutes
Ballet class hour and a half
Teaching 1 hr 30 mins

Treadmill 45 minutes
Teaching 2 hours
Yoga 1 hour

Treadmill 45 minutes
Yoga 1 hour 15 minutes
Teaching 4 hours

Treadmill 45 minutes
Yoga 1 hr 15 mins
Teaching 3 hours

Treamill (however long I have the energy)
Rehearsal 5-8 hours

Day of Rest

Listen to your body!

When I'm not feeling well or I'm really tired I might break up the treadmill sessions in two.  Sometimes I'll go for an entire hour if I feel up to it.  I just really try to listen to my body and not push it beyond reason.  Also, it's my job to stay in shape so if the working out seems excessive to you just remember that my monthly membership to a yoga studio is considered an investment and since I am a private contractor it's also a tax write off. 

How often do you work out?  Are you getting ready for the swim suit season or are you "meh" about it?

My Favorite Pilates Move
Ballet Surprises
Yoga Surprises
What It's Like to be a Dancer

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flip Flops and Sandals That Are Good For You

The response to yesterday's post was interesting, painful, and just plain funny.  So many of us are addicted to flip flops!  I read each of those comments and thought "There has got to be a solution." 

I did some research and found some good for you sandals.  As mentioned, flip flops are okay but only with a supportive arch.  Unfortunately, sandals like those are not very cute (we have some very fashion savvy readers of this blog).  As mentioned in the ABC News article, Reefs are great for long term use.  Good news for us because most of the sandals on Reefs' website have an anatomical arch support and are way cuter then the typical walking shoe.  Here are my favorites.

For the more casual look:

See that arch support?  And look how cushy the sole is.  Not all the shoes on their website have this so make sure you get ones that do.

No joke, these sandals have mood beads on them that change color depending on your mood.

Feel better?  Good health starts with a good foundation.  Please take care of yourself during sandal season.

Beware of imposters... I bought some flip flops last summer from Nine West with an "arch" but it was clearly not a very good one because I always had a shooting pain in my foot by the end of the day. 

Anyone here a Reef fan?  What was your experience with them?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reader PSA: Do Not Wear Flip Flops

These are 2 for $5 at Old Navy.  But are they really worth the price of your health?

As the weather gets warm and ankle boots are put away let's remember the number one cardinal rule for dancers.  Do not wear flip flops.  Flip flops are known to cause long term feet, ankle, knee, back, and hip problems.  Damage is caused not only because people scrunch their toes in an effort to keep their shoe on but also because of the general lack of support that flip flops offer. 

My good friend Ashley is a professional ballerina in the bay area and the most talented dancer I have ever met.  She also is an avid Minnie Mouse fan.  She knew that while walking around Disneyland she needed shoes that gave support to her beautiful high arches.  Flip flops were out and Minnie Mouse crocs were definitely in.

Me and my fellow dancing friends used to wear flip flops until our feet hurt and then we would switch to a shoe with more support.  Bad.  Very bad.  Just avoid them all together.  Doctors say that wearing flip flops for short lengths of time is okay, but who wears a pair of shoes for a short length of time?  Just avoid them all together.

 A few years ago ABC News reported on the hazards of flip flops so if I have not convinced you already, maybe a major news corporation will.

Are you a flip flop wearer?  Have you ever experienced pain from them? Reader Elizabeth, from E Tells Tales, commented in the last post that her grandmother yells at her for wearing them, claiming they'll ruin her toes.  That reminds me: Spring is here and sandals are out.  Don't forget your pedicure. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Summer Wardrobe

Remember my ode to summer post?  Well, I didn't tell you this then but the very next day I went out and purchased half my summer wardrobe at Old Navy.  That store is perfect for the casual look of lazy summer days.  I'm going for the "oversized, beachy, layered, colorful" vibe and since I plan to spend my days dancing, going to yoga class, and having barbecues I figured Old Navy was the perfect place for me.

I love these Weekend Jeans.  Isn't summer a perpetual weekend?

A tote to carry to rehearsal (or the beach!)

Dancers aren't supposed to wear flip flops but I can't help myself.

It might rain and you can never have enough printed umbrellas.  I have too many to count.

What will be your Summer wardrobe?

More Summer Posts:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yoga Surprises

As most of you know, I started yoga three weeks ago in an effort to help my dancing and get in better shape.  So far it has given me buffer arms and a "really nice butt".  Well on Wednesday, for the first time in my life, I attempted to do a yoga headstand and guess what...

This just looks like a lot of fun. image

I totally did it!  It felt amazing to feel so centered and in control of my body.  I never thought I could ever do something as scary as a headstand and the fact that I did it without the aid of a wall or someone to catch my ankles makes me pretty happy.  I feel like a (semi) true yogi! 

I think I deserve one of these awesome yoga cookies.

Yoga cookies from

Any proud yoga accomplishments?  How have your workouts been lately? 

Some old Dancing Branflakes posts you might like:
Sugar Plum Fairies
An Interview with a Naval Officer
Spring is Almost Here!
My Favorite Pilates Move

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Do You Blog?

 Margot Fonteyn during rehearsal.  She is the epitome of a dancer with impeccable style.  She has inspired both my dancing and my personal sense of fashion.  Photographed by Michael Peto.

I love getting to know you.  I love searching your blogs, reading your comments, and finding fun things out like where you live.  I am also very curious to know: Why do you blog?  Or, for my non blogging friends, why do you not blog?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Interview with a Naval Officer

I met Drew ten years ago. He is originally from Los Gatos, California, but is now stationed in San Diego.  At one point in our lives we leaped and turned together across a dance floor. In my eyes he is the epitome of a gentleman and his goofy sense of humor can make even the hardest hearts smile. I have great pictures of us as 16 year olds in New York riding the subway and chilling on some stoops in SoHo. Since then he has graduated from UC Berkeley and Offiicer Candidacy School. He currently works for the Navy and, although he is not an artist by profession, I thought it might be fun to interview him. I have such a respect for those in the armed forces and I'm so happy he agreed to be interviewed for the blog.

Dancing Branflake: The last time I saw you was in San Antonio in 2007. You were attending Officer Candidate School (OCS) and flying some type of military aircraft. What have you been up to since then?
Drew: Well since you last saw me, I have moved a few more times. I moved back to Pensacola after living in Corpus Christi, where I started my advanced flight training in the TH-57 military training helicopter. From Pensacola, I got stationed back in San Diego to start learning how to fly the helicopter that I now fly. Now I’m in Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron EIGHT. We are stationed here in San Diego, and fly off the USS Stennis, which is an aircraft carrier. We fly a brand new MH-60S Knighthawk, basically the navy’s version of a blackhawk. It’s a mulitmission platform – doing missions that include Search and Rescue, Transport, inserting Navy Seals, drug interdiction and even an attack platform when we arm ourselves with Hellfire missiles.

I'm not sure what he's doing here but I love the picture.

DB: Why did you choose the Navy?
Drew: My family has a lot of Navy heritage, and the Navy has always interested me. My grandfather was a Chief on submarines during World War II. My father retired as a Commander in the surface fleet, working on destroyers and frigates. So I figured I should join the Navy, and I’ll take the air side of it all – that way we had all three covered. I remember wearing my dad’s cover (military hat) around when I was a kid, and loved seeing all the uniforms. I think the pomp and circumstance of all the weddings, and ceremonies, and traditions is very attractive. Then of course you join and have to put up with all the "unnecessary stuff"  (not really the words Andrew used).

OCS Grad.  Doesn't he look nice?

DB: You seem like you have a deep commaderie with the people you work with. The stress of your job is a bit different than the stress of a civilian job. How does that affect your relationships with your coworkers?
Drew: I think the stress of our job definitely develops that deep camaraderie. Especially with the pilots and aircrew. Every time we take off, there is an inherent risk and chance of dying, whether we are just flying as a transport mission or if we are flying in the contours of the mountains at 100 feet. Whenever we are flying, we know that our lives are in each other’s hands and we all must rely on each other to work as a team in order to complete some of the missions that we do. But I think a lot of the camaraderie also stems from the fact that we have to spend so much time together. We live, work, eat, and play together when we are on the ship and many times at home. It’s important to build those bonds and trust.

DB: Even though you are stationed stateside your still have a prospect of being in danger. How does your mother feel about having her son in the Navy?
Drew: Easy....she hates it. Ha-ha. My mom definitely did not want me to join the military, and then when I decided to, she didn’t want me to become a flyer. I made a deal with her though. I only tell her when I land...never when I’m taking off or what I’m about to do. Even though we are stateside for the remainder of this year, we do go out on ships for short dets, and this summer, I’m off in the pacific for 2 months. It always is dangerous landing on ships, esp. the small ones. Very hard to land on a moving, rolling, pitching spot in the middle of the night with the rotor blades only a few feet from the superstructure of the ship. Again – something my mom hates to hear about, though my dad gets a kick out of it.

Boat Landing

DB: What are your plans for the future?
Drew: I’m really not sure what the future holds – either within the military or outside in the civilian world. As a pilot for the military, you sign a fairly lengthy obligation to the Navy – which equals out to be just over 10 years of active service and 4 years of reserve following that. I’m only on year 4. So I have a while to think about it. I think when I leave the command that I’m currently in I’d like to be a flight instructor either here in San Diego or back in Pensacola, FL. Whether or not I plan to do a full 20 years in the military, or get out after my obligated service – who knows...definitely would be a hard decision to make, and probably one that I’ll make at the last minute. Some things I think about doing are flying for life flight, fighting forest fires with the US forestry service, or even crop dusting out in the central valley. (Always loved watching the crop dusters when I was a kid) - I would really like to open a winery and vineyard...see – too many options.

He seriously has the cutest dog ever.

DB: Describe what kind of physical shape you are expected to be in.
Drew: The navy overall keeps us in pretty good shape. We do have physical fitness tests twice a year that we must pass. However the navy gives us plenty of time to keep in shape. Friday morning, the officers all get together and play football, and during the week they give everyone an hour or two to hit the gym, so all you have to worry about is eating healthy.

DB: How many copies of Top Gun do you own?
Drew: I’m a helicopter pilot....I don’t like that movie. (Okay it’s a pretty good movie and I have to admit to owning 1 copy)

DB: Does your uniform help you pick up on the ladies? (Kidding! Kind of. I'm anxious to hear a good story!).
Drew: Ha-ha – I guess so. Can’t say that the uniform doesn’t help a man’s “mojo”. I remember in Officer Candidate School, we were required to wear our summer whites out everywhere that we went. So we’d definitely hit a few bars, one called Florbama (on the border of Florida/Alabama). There would always be girls there wanting to wear your cover and take pictures with you – and for that matter dudes that would buy you a bunch of drinks. Actually come to think of it, probably was a fairly dangerous mix. But the uniform can only get a man so far. Then my wonderful charming personality would take over. Just kidding.

Drew and his "charming personality"

DB: Anything else you want to add?
Drew: The Navy has been a big journey for me, and definitely is an exciting job. I have already lived in 5 different places since joining the navy, and you never really know what’s next. I guess that is the appeal of the job, but also a giant downfall of the job. All in all, I’m proud of my job and the opportunities that is has provided me that I would never have been able to pursue or accomplish outside of the military.

Thanks Drew!  I am grateful for all the men and women who serve to protect us.  I know the lifestyle isn't easy and we are indebted to your sacrifice.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blog Award!

Hope Chella has given me this award and I'm here to pass it on!  These blogs always make my day a little happier through their fabulous comments and awesome posts. 

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Thank you!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where Do You Live?

I love blogging because I get to interact with thoughtful/creative/awesome people like you on a daily basis.  But I want to get to know you better and I'm wondering: Where do you live?  Also, where are you from originally?  I was born and raised in Sacramento, California and that's where I've ended far.

And... if you aren't a follower yet... ummm why not?  And don't forget to follow me on Twitter so I can follow you!  I seriously haven't figured that thing out yet but I think I'm liking it.  Twitter friends are hilarious!

Also... thank you Hopechella for the blog award!  I'll be passing this along soon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Anthony Aiu: A New York City Dancer

Anthony Haumanava Mataheiari'i Aiu, originally from Hawaii, recently moved to New York City where he is currently dancing and choreographing.  Like almost every artist in New York he moved there with hopes that the city could help him get the experience he needs to acheive his professional goals.  I've always loved Anton's dancing and I'm thrilled to be able to share his talents and New York experiences with you.

DB: You are Hawaiian and have a strong tie to your culture. How does this influence your dancing?
Anthony: The first thing that comes to mind when I think of how my ties to my culture influence my dancing is that I feel like the dance needs to represent something with meaning, or has substance and also is very aesthetic, full of emotion, and energy. Other than that, my culture affects my work ethic, how I interact with other people, my expectations of other people, and the way I move.

Sporting some Polynesian body paint.

 Dancing Branflake: You made it out to NYC! What are you doing out there?
Anthony: I did make it out to NYC huh, Lol! Right now I'm in the process of building my own dance company. It is a blend of modern dance with Polynesian (Tahitian and Hawaiian mostly) traditional dances. It's quite exciting. I've done both pretty extensively, but separate from each other, and have always wanted to do something with them combined. So here goes!!!

DBHow do you keep in shape? Do you supplement your dancing with anything? Many dancers have turned to yoga, pilates, or meditation.
Anthony: Keeping in shape is a fun topic. Classes tend to get pricey, so you gotta get creative. If I get to class once a week, that's great. Often, I pick my bed up and move it to the corner and do my own class at home, sometimes I go for a run, the world is my gym :-), teaching class keeps me moving, but that can be difficult, for in shape purposes, because you're constantly focused on the students. I love yoga and pilates and try to incorporate that into class and personal training, and if I could meditate myself into shape, just forget everything I just mentioned, haha!

And he can dance ballroom!  Nice! 

DB: In the professional world, being a male dancer is just as cut throat as being a female dancer. How do you handle the constant pressure, insecurities, and criticisms that come from others and from yourself?
Anthony:  Criticism hasn't passed my way. Casting directors are so great at keeping positive, whether they're thinking that way about you or not. In fact my first audition in NYC was for a ballet dancer in The Phantom of the Opera. It was awesome. I was there til the end, which was all day, basically, and didn't make it, but I didn't feel bad at all. I know I did well, and the casting director was very professional and motivating. I walked to the train station so upbeat and excited. Kinda backwards huh, seeing I just had gotten rejected. I appreciated it though. It made it easier to go to the next audition.

On tour in China

DB: You've had some amazing experiences traveling. Tell us where dance has taken you.
Anthony: Dance has taken me all over the world. And I plan on it to continue. Besides many places in the US, I've been to China, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Tahiti, Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Morocco, England, Japan, Samoa, and New Zealand.

DB: What are your plans for the future?
Anthony:  I hope to have an internationally recognized dance troupe and company. It has always been an idea, since with friends from high school, to open a performing arts school/academy. Because we didn't have this option in our little island village, yet we were so into it. Basically dance and I will not part.

DB: All dancers one day desire to end up in NYC. How has living there changed or helped your dancing?
Anthony: NYC can be a great and exciting place, but can also be just awful. Sometimes I feel like it has slowed my progress a little. You would think that in such a crazy fast paced city things would move along quicker, but that is not always the case. There’s so much involved in just being here, then on top of that, the life of dancing, supporting yourself, there is a lot to take in, it’s a culture shock for some, there are lots of distractions. I have definitely learned a little more about how to function as a working dancer in the city. You definitely discover more of who you are, your strengths, weaknesses, how much drive you have. New York forces you to really narrow and specify what it is you really want. I wanted to do so many things, but to do it here would require so much too many different directions. It is the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” but it really helps to know what that dream is.

DB: Anything else you want to add?
Anthony: Every dancer should experience New York; whether or not it is included in your goals.

Cirque Terre, Italy

Thanks Anthony for your insights!  I would love to dance in New York City one day.  I love the fact that the city is full of writers, painters, musicians, dancers, and those who appreciate the arts in general. 

Anyone here in New York?  Any advice to aspiring artists wanting to move out there?

ps.. all photos are from his Facebook page.