Nina Simone – Summertime

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The Kingdom of All Kingdoms, The Tax of Luxury “Episode 10”

The Kingdom of All Kingdoms
The Kingdom of All Kingdoms

No, the Queen hasn’t been just sitting over there doing nothing. She has been observing and observing. She’s pretty curious and furious too.

Zoya, the Queen, noticed something long long time ago when she was a citizen, she noticed the tax of luxury, and knew long ago that the tax is high.

Some “citizens” down there strive to have a luxurious life, in order to have everything. They work hard, days and nights, start businesses, make them grow, hiring people to work for them as well. Running round and round to see big numbers in their bank accounts. They want to have the fanciest cloths, the biggest houses, the latest technologies and the most expensive cars. They want to provide their children with the most “effective” education, and take their families on trips for the most amazing places on vacations.

They are ready for everything, good and bad, just to accomplish their materialistic goals and their social statuses. This can be good of course, but not all the time. Rich “citizens” don’t have to go through this pain, or spend all these efforts, simply because they were born and going to die this way, having everything. In the contrary, “citizens”, who want a high life, want it all, but she knew also since she was a “citizen” that no one can hold all the apples in one hand.

And so, she observed them from above, taking all the stress, making money, and thereafter they had so much to worry about, they had to pay a lot in return, bank credits, massive house holds, expensive educations, huge health insurances, cars and properties maintenance, income taxes, employees salaries, families’ financial requirements, every big and small, etc, and above all that they pay their health to reach the summits. But hey! Time… Time passes by quickly, and people age sooner than they think, and why? Because they have been too busy noticing it, too busy to enjoy their lives, too busy to get to know themselves and their loved ones. They have been working so hard to enjoy things later, instead of enjoying things now and today. And later may not come. The Queen didn’t need to imagine, but wished for them to imagine, if one of them was on a vacation to enjoy their times with their closest people, and their heads are messed up with work and stress, with digits and numbers, with responsibilities and worries, what would that vacation be like? If one worked their whole lives, and did everything to have everything and once they had it, which is always less than they wanted, and suddenly their lives were over, how sad would that be? They wouldn’t have the chance to enjoy the results of their efforts and time.

The Queen, although wanting to help the kingdoms, didn’t do anything this time to change reality. Knowing how greedy “citizens” can be, and how miserably they live and later die.

Flo Rida – How I Feel [Official Video]

Rachmaninoff Prelude in C sharp minor

Learning Choreography, Les Mills™ Instructors!

Choreography Notes
Choreography Notes

All the time instructors discuss the best way to study and remember different choreography.  But there is nothing called the best way, there is the best way for each one of us. Studying choreography needs some attention, and people learn in different ways, taking in consideration their different skills and mind-sets. Some people depend on what they read,  others depend on what they see and some depend on what they hear. People are different and they learn in different ways.

I have seen people learning in different ways and I have also read different discussions over Les Mills forums, as instructors there also discuss all the time ways to learn their choreography, here are some basic tips!

  • Learn your music:

It’s important to keep listening to the music over and over till you know it by heart. It’s important to be able to know when are the changes in the music are coming, (verses, pre-choruses, chorus, bridges etc). This is going to help you learn the choreography faster. 

It’s possible to listen to music everywhere now, and we all get stuck in traffic, use that and listen to your tracks, or in the office, while gardening, washing the dishes or surfing online.

  • Watch your DVD:

Some people once they get their new releases rush to watch their DVDs. For me I would do that to see if there are any new ideas in the new release, but none of what I’d see in the DVD would stick to my head from the first glance. But for some people it works perfectly fine, they watch it twice or thrice and it’s all in their heads! Magic, right?

In case you are not a visual learner, you will have to stick to option one first.

  • Read your choreography notes:

Reading the notes helps us find our bases or hints to study. Some of you might just listen to their music and follow choreography notes, reading them carefully a few times without the need to see what’s happening in the DVD.

Some people’s brains register what’s being written or read, so you might be one of these who’d rather read something to remember it.

Choreography Notes

Choreography Notes

What if sticking to one method only doesn’t help?

Then you should try and combine methods together. For me I listen to the music first till it’s in my head, then I pick up the choreography notes and I follow while listening to music. Once I memorize it, I might try and script it, and at the end I watch the DVD to see and visualize what I learned.

Some people actually follow the DVD physically, they push play and apply whatever is in there over and over till their bodies get used to it, like Wii games.

Some people find it effective to practice together in pairs or groups to learn together, others find that disturbing, or a waste of time.

Once I have gone through an online discussion over this matter, and one instructor suggested a very cool way to study and learn choreography, which I actually tried and liked a lot, here it is:

write on a piece of paper, after watching the DVD or reading the choreography notes, the choreography your own way, the simplest way possible for you to understand. If you use the subway or lots of trains, you can benefit from the time spent there by listening to your music and following your own notes. Or while driving and getting stuck in traffic you can stick that paper in front of you, say over the CD player, while listening to your music follow the notes you’ve written, if you do that over and over you will be able to learn your choreography easily. For me this works and I learn this way faster.

PLEASE! Be careful while driving, I don’t wanna be the reason if anyone of you gets hurt! try the previous only when you are stuck in traffic!

Good luck learning new releases, be creative and let me also know how do you learn your choreo!

Kia Kaha!
Katia

Tracy Chapman feat. Eric Clapton – Gimme one reason

Loved the duet!

Venezuela!

Venezuela's Flag

I ran across some cool information about the country Venezuela recently during some cultural exchange event, and I thought it would be great to share those info with you, although I have never been to it.

You can say Venezuela is a coffee corner;  it’s located in the north of South America, it’s a blessed earth for the sowing of the noble seed of coffee. In the plantations, big trees serve as homes to hundreds of migratory birds and provide the shade required for the bush of the coffee.

At one time, Venezuela ranked close to Colombia in coffee production, but as petroleum turned Venezuela into the richest country in South America, coffee was relegated to the economic back burner. Today it produces less than one percent of the world’s coffee, and most of it is drunk by the Venezuelans themselves. Now that petroleum has failed to bring lasting prosperity, the Venezuelans government is attempting to promote coffee growing and exporting again as a means of diversifying and stabilizing its economy.

Venezuela Map

Venezuela Map

The best Venezuelan coffee comes from the far western corner of the country, the part that borders Colombia. Coffees from this area are called Maracaibos, after the port through which they are shipped. Coffees from the coastal mountains farther east are generally marked Caracas, after the capital city, and are shipped through La Guaira, the port of Caracas.

The best-known Maracaibo coffees, in addition to Cucuta, are Merida, Trujillo and Tachira. Merida is the most distinctively Venezuelan and most likely to be found in specialty stores in the United States.

The most characteristic Venezuelan coffees, in surprising contrast to the neighbor coffees from Colombia , are strikingly low in acidity. At worst they are spiritless, at best sweet and delicate.The finest, such as the Meridas, have fair to good body and an unemphatic but pleasant flavor with hints of richness. Venezuelan, if you can find it, is a good coffee to balance sharply acid coffees in blends and a comfortable coffee drunk straight.

The combination of the grain harvested in the Andean mountains, the central valleys and the coasts of the Caribbean sea , are in a rich unique mixture in aroma, flavor and body characteristic of the best coffee.

The work of the coffee properties is carried out in an essentially handmade way, from the preparation of the land and sowing until the gathering of the grain. In the small parcels the manpower is mostly family and journeymen are only hired for the crop.

Coffee Harvest

Coffee Harvest

ManOf Venezuela:

Popular music in Venezuela emanated from a meeting of three cultures: the five-thousand-year-old musical traditions of the indigenous peoples became mixed with the Arab-Andalusian songs and dances of the Spanish conquerors and the complex sound patterns of the music of the African slaves forced to work along the Caribbean coast of Venezuela.

These manifold ethnic and multicultural melting-processes turned Venezuela into a country of Mestizos. The complex tones, the numerous rhythmic variations and the virtuosity it demands of the singers of its folk poetry, have made Venezuelan folk music one of Latin America’s most attractive.

Prominence is given here to the national instrument, the cuatro, a small, multi-stringed guitar that requires a high degree of musicality and dexterity. Other string instruments included on this recording are the guitar, the mandolin, the bandola, the Harp, plus drums and maracas.

Perhaps the most typical Venezuelan music is Joropo, a rural form which originated in the Llanos, or plains.

The word Joropo encompasses a tradition which includes village fiestas, poetry, singing, music and dance in a form of a popular expression which is constantly evolving. Improvised creativity flourish on existing structures and defined patterns of style.

Joropo music has become a genre for great solo virtuoso performances on the leading melodic instruments: harp or bandola, which is a four-string lute, while the accompaniment is with the cuatro, which is a Four-string strummed small guitar, and the maracas.

Singers improvise rhymed verses which refer to historical or daily events; the instrumentalists search for new percussive sounds and textures through constant variations, improvisation being at the heart of Joropo music.

Joropo Fiesta

Joropo Fiesta

BODYPUMP™ 89, My Personal Review!

BODYPUMP™ 89

BODYPUMP™ is the fastest way in the universe to get in shape; muscular tension, metabolic stress combined together to build strength, tones and shapes and burns body fat

This how Glen presented the new release; a great brief defention of what BODYPUMP™ is.

Let’s check the Warm Up: (Dane Rumble featuring Jupiter Project- Not Alone)

I like warm ups that hit with back and hamstrings; it’s too many muscles there that need to be taken care of before an actual great workout.  There is a very interesting thing here; triple rows twice then slowly going up with the lyrics : you are not alone! That moves to the shoulders, down to the legs, back to shoulders, then back again and shoulders. BODYPUMP™ family are making sure you are warm this time by adding push presses at the end of the warm up.

Squats: (R3hab featuring Bassjackers- Raise Those Hands)

Oh yeah! The music is absolute madness! Lovely Lovely choice! This sounds like engineering and creating new muscles.

We’ve got bottom halves, top halves, big singles, down and holds. The track is quite tough, controlling breathing is essential, and if you are the type of people who gets so invovled and taken away by music, this track will take care of you when you think you can’t go on anymore, the music is uplifting it’s all good.

Chest: (Fall Out Boy- Where Did The Party Go)

Important?

The A press is becoming the main subject here regarding the chest track, we are seeing this frequently recently. Besides that quality is over quantity.

Bar and plates: results, isolation, results, isolation and more results.

The music is not my type, but it’s okay, at least it’s a positive track 🙂 , I liked the track used in squats better.

Back: (Nero- Me & You)

Let’s work our posterior-chain; the gluts, hips and the hamstrings. high intensity interval training. NO CLEAN AND PRESSES?? That is cool! New is always cool!

Wide grip dead lifts, wide grip dead rows are perfect for your middle back, heavy single plates: squats and push presses (HIIT) will allow all your body to work, and changing the grip to under-hand grip activates your upper back.

There is some interesting change here, not doing any clean and presses doesn’t mean you are not working your back, in this track you are allowed to challenge yourself with heavier weight than usual. Glen while designing this track did focus on mixing the mechanical tension with the metabolic stress, please do check your choreography notes for more details, or watch the DVD where he explains it.

Triceps: (Lady Gaga-Applause)

four sets of work, very amusing and challenging. How does it start and finish? Triceps push ups, kneeling over head extensions, that applies to the first two sets. In set three the exercise changes to dips and we finish with seated over head extensions.

I generally like triceps tracks, since they exercises chosen usually hit the muscles right, isolates them and they are usually fun.

Biceps: (The Killers- When You Were Young)

New move?? Yeah! The open arm curl! 

So hammer curls, open arm curls, then using light bars to continue the work.

Honestly I didn’t like the song chosen! But the workout is a killer!

Lunges: (Ellie Goulding- Burn)

More and more changes, everyone love change, right?

In the lunges track this time BODYPUMP™ brings to us new tempos which introduces isometric holds, the holds at the end of each move brings the burn to the muscles, causing them to fatigue and eventually change. The holds here are so important and they are the core of the workout!

Shoulders: (Brooklyn Bounce & DJ Zealot- True Hardstyler)

Brooklyn Bounce became the band for our shoulders! I love that! Bring it down to the floor and get two sets of push ups! All the crazy upright rows, the top halves, over head presses, push presses, rotator raises, and rotator overhead presses to kill your shoulders! This one is certainly crazy and demanding! Good luck to those of you like me with relatively weak shoulders 😛

Good luck teaching it, and good luck attending the class!

Katia