NYC Dance Week 2015, FTW!! NOT TO BE MISSED THIS YEAR!!

No, not like I’d missed last year’s Dance Week …

I went “back” to Masala Bhangra (via the Dance Week NYC Pass) for a trial class.

But it’s in a dance studio, and it is different than when it had been taught in a yoga studio (don’t ask:  the teacher wore a T-shirt emblazoned on the back with the words: “Masala Bhangra Ambassador”; and her literal function — though I hadn’t consciously recruited her for it —was to have served as an ambassador for tiniertina herself, to be doing business again with a yoga studio that hosted her class, a yoga studio that had gotten a little too greedy with their upsales for my very limited potential private session/live class yoga patronage)

This was a long story, but because I am no hypochondriac and had no health insurance at the time, I unknowingly had fooled them with sporting the bloated-but-not-strong, upper body muscles of the insulin resistant … I’d been, roughly, up to 30 pounds heavier at that time.  Oh, and as a primarily home yoga practitioner for over 3 years by that time, and possessing of a high enough IQ to know middle path and when I want it and no swaps for it, in hatha and vinyasa yoga.

There had been a bit more moves from yoga postures thrown in, by the Masala Bhangra teacher in my (now totally former) studio—I’d seen to that a few weeks ago – this time no threats of lawsuits against me from the control freak owner (she had “mellowed”, such as it were) anywhere.  I have not patronized them for a couple years … they’d no longer had The Masala Bhangra Workout on their schedule…So, now, it is obvious that Sarina Jain, the founder of The Masala Bhangra Workout and by extension the world-class leader of this class, instead puts in jazz balletomane-pleasing (and very tough for me) moves.  Come on, this is The Alvin Ailey Extension we’re talking about here!

Okay, maybe I’m a bit of a schlepper with dance-exercise; but I am mobile, agile, lithe in as absolute a sense as NYC body fashion wants to make of it (even if for the first couple of years in my life) and can bust the moves and keep at my own pace (middle path, remember?) for my advanced age … Young peoples’ aerobics are not going to totally take over the world yet; and Senior Cardio is, while a bit gentler on my joints, frankly—to me—a little insulting.  For instance:  first having, reluctantly, admitted Gentle Yoga into my life last year, at age 59 – about 11 years too soon for me.  Maybe not for her At 92 Years Young, An Incredibly Inspirational Yogi Of Mind, Body And Adventurous Spirit, but for me; hey – unanticipated Type 2 diabetes happens.  As does other, joint-related, fall-related stuff …

Senior Cardio, in addition, and as generally taught in the U.S., barely nods to world music; and in so doing, doesn’t address the needs of the erstwhile American yoga student who is (still) into the richness of the desi (if not Hindu) culture and/or philosophy …  you know—we who know our way around meditation.  Like about 40 minutes every single day.  No advanced asana needed.  Actually, maybe some of the other Bollywood-inspired workouts do … but the first thing I’d thought of was:  I have to go take a class in The Masala Bhangra Workout because, having gotten bored with Hemalayaa videos, I found I cannot get any Bollywood sessions around my neighborhood that aren’t rich-people private-session/wedding pre-training stuff!!!

Knowing how fast-paced and traveling-moves-heavy the Masala Bhangra Workout really is, I hadn’t known if I could take the class without at best being unable to focus, learn and grow; or at worst, its leading to my falling and breaking something. A relative I am close to was in the hospital on the 22nd; and I had kept trying to find out, by phone if she was finally admitted; and where she was admitted to … She’s out of the hospital, now.  But it had been such touch-and-go in the days right after my NYC Dance Week introduction.  I could not go and use another copy of my pass. [More on that later.]

However, I did fine in class …

Like with the large handful of live Masala Bhangra classes I’d taken before, via varying nationalities (not just Indian), the actual culture barely touched upon.  But, my introduction to The Masala Bhangra Workout back in 2013, had been more than just to the dance-exercise modality.

It had also been to the Punjabi music … I’d run down to the store Music of India in early 2014 in Manhattan’s Curry Hill and procured  a CD.   An American resident of greater New York City—for whom, they’d taken the time to play opening bars of all the tracks; because they knew I would not know the songs via title alone.

Had to get it back on iTunes, so that it played right and in the proper sequence (this was a 2 CD Box set, music that was non-audio-fitness-instructional), that I’d gotten for nearly a song …
So glad I perfected my playlist … only 47 minutes… and here and there I’d  off-and-on, designed my own workout self-sequenced interval training, based on cardio bhangra bellydance fusion (do not have quite enough room for “traveling dance moves” in my studio apartment…)

Day after class:

I must rest these knees. They haven’t hurt this much, since more impact driven dance-fitness than that (I am talking my old-school Jane Fonda, out from under wraps, in the audio fitness world!! No secret as to why Sarina Jain is called the Indian Jane Fonda!).  Masala Bhangra is not for the faint of heart … particularly if taught by its founder at Alvin Ailey Extension, and particularly, if live … there is a lot of traveling moves around so you’re kinda stuck to the pace of the other classgoers .. since I’d had 13 live classes in it w/ the last one just under 2 years ago, previously [and, of course, my home dance practice routines, many self-choreographed and a few videos]; taught by my snarky former teacher … I did not place myself in the very back… which—I quickly despaired of—filled up before I could run over there.  I am not criticizing any lack of density control here, due to the infusion of guests.  Because this is a dance-exercise class, not an exercise in logistics (nor, for that matter, ability-shaming!) so you cannot expect that of all teachers, only the really really nasty, control freak ones – and Sarina Jain is NO control freak!

Sarina Jain additionally instructed with no snark, sarcasm, deprecation, “fitting into the bikini”-talk or banter … As the founder of the workout, she had absolutely nothing to prove to anybody or to put somebody else down about … I’d expected the Indian-American Joan Rivers, based on experiences with her direct protegée (though an Irish-American former jazz dance—not Jazzercise, but the real thing—instructor) who’d taught me a few years ago (and, more than obviously, fit in personality-wise at that yoga studio—good riddance to them; and really hope they have a nice life!) … and was very pleasantly surprised with Sarina Jain’s personality which was fitting to the term, “Masala Bhangra Ambassador”…

Anyway, my own choreography, is still not as TIFT (Taking it From the Top)-ed as I like in a dance exercise workout—most likely authored by others, TIFT-ing being a tall order with my slow ability to remember things cold – stuff gets boring by the time I get the patterns and sequence down—(and, like I said above, I need a bit more room to execute most of those workouts) … kind of reflecting how The Masala Bhangra actual workout changed in just a few short years … less TIFT-ing than before.  [It’s by now considered a little old-school, but it can approximate interval training in the dance-workout-choreography-savvy … TIFTing is even used in aerobic weight training and boot-camp-ish stuff, not just dance/dance-exercise, I later found out!)

When I’d felt (due to diabetes) that I had to switch from yoga/belly dance /5 Rhythms to intense, vigorous dance cardio, I’d felt so at home with a highly TIFT-ed class:  The Masala Bhangra Workout … whatever the personality quirks of the instructor …

The founder of Masala Bhangra, Sarina Jain herself (she looks so small and lithe, compared to pictures of her …) thanked me, personally, for coming to the class …

Not only that, but I could tell they had regulars who wouldn’t miss the “free week”. Some of them (obviously those not afraid of Dance Week crowds), came up to me after class and invited me to consider returning … that they take the class “every chance they get”.

Passed up going to a free core-focused All Levels vinyasa yoga class at Mang’Oh Yoga Studio (I’d been involved with several hospital visits during this week …

Had my eye on a free Pilates Mat Class …

Well, they defaulted to allowing in members/paid attendees, obviously; or those who reserved at the opening bell of the Dance Week the moment it went live (not me, for I had been informed via Videofitness.com – and that was several days into it ..)

I was following the pilates studio, Power Pilates, Mindbody Online (they had never returned my phone message, as advised by the Website) … so – well – guess I did the math right this time …

A few days in advance of NYC Dance Week 2014, Doonya …

Doonya had caused me to chicken out of 2014’s dance week, because there had been a real compassionate instructor, Aisha Russell, and wow, it had seemed as good as it gets

and I’d told her so to her face …this had been a free, outreachy type of class ….

… If she had been supposed to do “fitting-in-the-bikini-talk” or act control freak on everyone, maybe that hadn’t been her to begin with!

But, Doonya?!? A workout that should have gone the Zumba route, but didn’t … and, as alluded to before, Ido appreciate desi culture, song, story – the works, the lifestyle, whathaveyou …

I thought only Soul Cycle and Tracy Anderson and routines like that – as well as their predecessor:  go to SoHo, take out a rock and hit any number of yoga studios just like that (tee-hee!), were the type to have exclusive exercise spas …

Oh, well.

I am living in the wrong life to be paying $30 for a walk in at the Doonya NYC Fitness Center …

I may yet spring for an actual class with the Sarina Jain again, even though Doonya seems to be my preferred workout … at home, at home, at home !!  What I’m attempting to say here is, that Doonya had gone all Boutique Fitness on me and the rest of us NYC poor souls … who would rather pay for their own, home, residential electric bill .. because that’s where the money has to go first ..

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