The Meaning of Easter Through Dance

What is the meaning of Easter?

To me, Easter is love, sacrifice, and hope.

It is a love that we receive regardless how many times we make mistakes, hurt others, or criticize ourselves.  It is a love that never leaves our side.  It is a love so deep that we were worth dying for.

It is a sacrifice that was unimaginable.  It is a sacrifice that was slow, painful, and absolutely horrific.  It is a sacrifice that led to death so that our lives would be saved.

It is a hope that tells us Jesus died for you and me, but miraculously rose from death 3 days later.  It is a hope that shows God has power over death and that death has been defeated.  It is a hope that through God’s unconditional love and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have been saved from eternal death and we have been given the promise of eternal life.

John 11:25-26, New International Version (NIV)

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

It took me about 25 years to believe.  I pray and hope that you will one day soon believe too.

Here is one of my favorite performances that is an interpretive hip hop dance about the story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus.  It begins with Mary Magdalene about to be stoned for adultery and Jesus stepping in to save her.  The dance represents Jesus’ love for all of us regardless of our sins, and continues to show His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.  This performance was at the Hawaiian Islands Ministry Conference in 2009 with my old hip hop dance ministry, Eight Count, and is choreographed to “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis.

 

 

 

 

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Yoga Dance – “Make You Feel My Love”

It’s been about 9 months since my first Yoga Dance, and now that I am a year older as of yesterday, I decided it was time to try doing another one.  Yoga is such a challenging and humbling practice.  There is always something more to learn, more to grow, more to develop… and yet, we learn in yoga to stay only in the present moment and let go of expectations, competition, or judgment.  We let go of where we’ve been, and let go of where we want to go, and only focus on the “now.”  Every time I step on the mat, it’s a whole new experience.  Some days are wobbly and weak, other days are stable and strong.  And I just accept it, appreciate it, and remember that I am grateful for simply… being on the mat.  I absolutely love it.

Right now, I am in love with the song, “Make You Feel My Love,” by the Glee Cast, specifically sung by Lea Michelle.  Hope you enjoy my yoga dance… one in which you will see me shaking, struggling, and if you listen close enough, grunting.  =)  A big thank you to Jamie Ginsberg, the owner at Marin Power Yoga who was open to doing an impromptu video shoot after I taught my class… sometimes it’s just better unplanned.  =)

Yoga Dance

Is it possible to synchronize yoga movements with musical melodies and lyrics?  I’ve never thought of yoga as a choreographed “dance,” but here is my attempt at trying it out.  By the way, this is the direct result of having a caffeinated beverage (milk tea) after dinner: Creating random yoga dance routines at 3 am.

Note: I chose this song because so many times after introducing myself as a little girl, someone would say, “Oh like Amazing Grace?” and they would start singing. It has a special place in my heart because I’ve known the lyrics for so long, but didn’t really understand the meaning behind the words until 20 years later. I am far far far from “amazing,” but I do appreciate and am grateful for God’s wonderful and amazing graces in my life – giving me second, third, hundred chances, loving me when I didn’t love myself, helping me find a purposeful life, and guiding me day by day. This routine is a blend of everything I love: yoga, dance, choreography, music, and God. Thanks for watching!

A Just-For-Fun Choreographed Yoga Dance Routine

Music: Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” and Pink’s “Try.”

How To Be A Great Mentor

Michelle Dozois A Great Mentor

My amazing fitness mentor, Michelle Dozois.

Once in a rare while, you become fortunate enough to meet someone that takes you under his or her wing and helps you fly.

Less than a year ago, I moved to Pasadena, CA searching for a part-time job teaching fitness classes.  All the jobs I applied to online never responded back to me, and other places just didn’t have any available openings.  When I walked into Breakthru Fitness to ask about job opportunities, it just so happened that Michelle Dozois, the co-owner of Breakthru (with her husband, Phil Dozois), was available to talk on the spot.  Michelle came out to greet me, and she immediately struck me as a super positive, friendly, and enthusiastic individual.  After glancing at my resume, she was ready to set me up for a “try-out” one-on-one.  From there, I started happily teaching a few classes, not expecting anything more.

What makes my experience different is that Michelle saw a greater potential in me.  She immediately recruited me to assist in her signature Peak 10 classes, and soon after gave me a chance to help her with choreography.  All this has led me to the present day, where I never would have imagined having the privilege of filming several DVD’s or officially being an assistant choreographer for somebody!  For those of you that know me really well, this is a perfect job for me, huh???

I’ve learned so much from Michelle from a fitness industry standpoint, but also as an incredible mentor.  One day I hope I will have the opportunity to be an impromptu mentor to someone else, and help them grow into something they never could have predicted.

Here Are 10 Ways To Be A Great Mentor

1) Be Genuinely Enthusiastic

It all starts with the mentor’s attitude and the mentee follows the lead.  Mentors can’t positively influence someone if it is even slightly noticeable that they are disengaged or uninterested.  Michelle’s personality is contagious, which is probably why she is such a successful figure in the fitness industry. 

2) Find a Connection

Mentors look beyond the resume, the small talk, and the work-at-hand, and find some similarity with one another, i.e. hobbies, family, interests, etc.  Michelle and I were both ex-cheerleaders, ex-gymnasts, and ex-dancers so we really spoke the same language from day one.

3) Build Confidence

Mentors focus on bringing out the mentee’s strengths, encouraging him or her to do whatever they are best at, even during negative situations.  Initially one of my new class formats I taught was not pulling in enough attendance.  Instead of just cancelling the class, Michelle guided me to choose another format I was more comfortable teaching.

4) Take One Step At a Time

Set and establish long-term goals and then help the mentee grow by adding small challenges or new tasks.  Mentors make sure each new task is realistic and achievable, not asking the mentee to grow from A to Z at once.  Michelle started by having me just participate in her Peak 10 classes to experience the program.  Then I started assisting the instructors while they taught classes.  Now I help to choreograph the routines.

5) Guide Vs. Micromanage

Mentors should not try to clone themselves.  Leave room for mentees to have some creativity, flexibility, or add their own personality into the work-at-hand.  When I choreograph for Michelle, she gives me a little bit of direction for what the piece should accomplish, ie. stretching, upper body strength, core work, etc., but otherwise I start with a pretty clean slate and just make up any moves I feel would work.

6) Give Constructive Criticism

Mentors should provide feedback, both positive and negative, so that mentees know what they are doing right and how to improve.  Negative feedback should be constructive and mentors should provide specific examples to fix the problems.  Choreography is a multiple-draft process.  After I finish choreographing, Michelle and I review it together and she tells me which parts will work and which ones won’t.  We work together to come up with movements that might work better.  This process continues several times until the piece is finally perfected.

7) Share Your Experiences

There is so much to learn from YOU.  Share your story, your challenges, your failures, your successes, and your life, so long as it is appropriate for the mentee to learn from.  Mentees will be thankful for your honesty and openness.  I really appreciate that Michelle isn’t always work work work and takes time to share some of the struggles she goes through.

8) Show Recognition

Doesn’t everyone want to feel appreciated?  Mentors should praise and reward mentees whenever appropriate, whether it is through compliments, bonuses, or surprises.  One time Michelle and I were scheduled to meet together to videotape some choreography, but at the last minute she couldn’t make it and I filmed it by myself.  Afterwards, Michelle unexpectedly offered to pay for 10 sessions of childcare as a way to say thank you.  Wow!

9) Send Recommendations

Look out for opportunities that mentees would benefit from without expecting anything in return.  I am grateful that Michelle forwards different fitness jobs to me and she always puts in a good word. 

10) Keep Your Heart Open

Mentors don’t always have to be the teacher.  Allow yourself to be open to learning something new from your experience with your mentee.  When mentors and mentees learn to work together harmoniously, both parties benefit!  Although I feel like I benefit primarily from our relationship together, Michelle has expressed that she appreciates the time saved from having someone else help with choreography.

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.  – Napoleon Hill