Tag Archives: Call me Maybe

New York City Dance Parade

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Just a week ago, I mentioned that my pre-hobby anxiety before going to CrossFit was at an all-time high. I was worried what people would think of me, if I would be too weak, and if I would fail miserably. As I noted in the blog post—there clearly had been nothing to really worry about, but that didn’t mean that my pre-hobby anxiety never existed.

However, this week my pre-hobby anxiety was at an all time low. The only thing I felt going into this week’s hobby was excitement—pure and wonderful excitement. This week I was doing something totally novel, totally unique, and totally awesome. This week, I was doing the  7th Annual New York City Dance Parade!

I’ve watched the dance parade a number of times over the last few years. The key word in that sentence is “watched.” I should have never been watching…I should have been shimmying and shaking right along!

And not only was I signed up to do the 7th Annual New York City Dance Parade, I was signed up to break it down with the crew that won my heart on January 6—the Pon De FLO crew!

A note: Prior to the hobby year, I’ve written that dancing for me in public was difficult—especially in group       classes. A long time ago, I deemed myself choreographically challenged and found myself walking out of dance classes: I couldn’t get comfortable. I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t smile and have fun—when that’s all I wanted to do at all–well get fit–but also–just have fun. During the hobby year I took several dance classes including pole dancinghip-hop, jazz, and tap.  And in June, I took part in a flash mob. Finally—dancing in large groups of people was becoming fun.

Then I took Pon de FLO  at the DANY Studio.  And I had an epiphany—dance wasn’t just fun. It was exciting. It was freeing. For the first time in a dance class, REALLY—the first time—I felt comfortable—comfortable to be me—comfortable to be free—comfortable to FLO!

So when Pon de FLO posted on their Facebook page that they were looking for participants to join for the 2013 New York City Dance Parade, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t want to be cheering from the sidelines—I didn’t want to be restricted by some barricade. I wanted to be shaking my hips, stomping my feet, and breaking it down freely—I wanted to be in the parade, and I wanted it to be with the Pon De FLO troupe.

Prior to the parade, we had two rehearsals. While my opportunities to take the class since first jumping in at the beginning of the year had been limited due to my own scheduling conflicts, the group of men and women ready to move and groove down Boadway was quick to welcome me into their crew, for the parade, with open arms.

As I sat down in our first rehearsal and Heather (Founder of Pon De FLO) started telling us the details of the parade, I felt a smile spread wildly across my face. “This is freaking awesome,” I thought to myself. “FREAKING AWESOME.” I got so excited that when I left rehearsal I started sending texts to people that I hoped they could come out and support. Whether I looked good shaking my hips or I looked ridiculous, I wanted people to know that I was proud of my group and that I was extremely proud of my decision to dance in the parade at all.  I wanted people to want to dance too.

When I woke up on the day of the parade, I woke up with a smile on my face. And as I threw on my Pon De Flo shirt that Heather made for each of us, and as I buckled my fanny pack (yes, fanny pack), I began to two-step through the living room. “Gosh…the power of dance,” I thought. “Whew.”

fanny

libs

Upon arriving at our group’s meeting place, I could feel the positive energy already FLOwing ;). Everyone was decked out in the yellow, purple, and green Pon De FLO gear. Everyone was chatting—smiling—laughing—gearing up. I began introducing myself to a lot of the people I hadn’t met yet, grabbed coffee with a fellow flo-er, and warmed up for the parade by shaking it out to the music that was blasting out of our speakers which sat on top of our sponsor, Wicked Willy’s bike. Gracefully, I swayed my hips with one of my groupies to the sounds of reggae; freely, I busted a move to the sounds of Call Me Maybe as it blared out of a set of speakers. I guess it was Pop-De-Flo momentarily 😉

PonDeFlo2                                                        Photo Courtesy: Violeta Fabé

Not before long, I bravely took my place in our groups formation. Patiently, we waited to begin moving along the route, and as we turned our first corner onto Broadway, from 21st street—a smile expanded across my face—the same smile that I felt form at the first rehearsal—this one, however, was even bigger. And as we began to choreograph our way towards Astor Place and then St. Thompkins Square, I laughed to myself: “Two years ago, I was sitting behind the barricades, thinking I could never be in the parade. Now look at me—I’m making moves like Beyonce at the Super Bowl.”

The truth is two years ago, I was sitting behind the barricades thinking I would never have the courage to dance in the parade. Sure I’ve danced at parties or at bars/clubs when my friends have gone out—maybe at some karaoke—but never, before this past year, did I believe in myself enough to partake in such magnitude of an event.

Honestly, nothing can describe the feeling of being able to dance so freely down Broadway in New York City. Nothing can describe the feeling of being able to forget what you look like—to forget what other people might be thinking of you; to feel accepted, so quickly, in a group of people who really just met you one night prior. Nothing can describe the feelings and emotions that overwhelmed my stomping feet or my shaking hips, my body—or the feelings and emotions that overwhelmed my heart.

What an amazing parade—what an amazing day.

PonDeFlo

     Photo Courtesy Pon De FLO

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Color Me Maybe: Running “The Happiest 5K on the Planet”

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Every once in a while, it’s really nice to go back to old hobbies–hobbies I’ve hoarded, for life, in the past. Like old friends, they tend to welcome us back in with open arms when we let them.

I’ve been running races for just over three years now. In the spring of 2009, I ran my first 5k in Rhode Island, and just two months later, I ran my first half-marathon–which for a long period of time, I considered the proudest moment of my life. Since then, I’ve ran a number of 5ks, several 5 milers, a 4 miler, and a second half-marathon. Post second half-marathon, my legs yearned for a break. I went a month without running–and then another month. In June, I took my first run again–and still my legs said, “What do you think we are? Machines.” And thus began my longest hiatus from running, since my field hockey team was cut in college.

At this point, I had already signed up for the much anticipated Color Run. Nervous, I began to run three weeks before today’s run–to try and get back into 5k shape. I woke up early during my work trip, I ran, I walked for an extra work out, and today, on race day I woke up with an excitement that I knew very well beating in my chest. I threw on my white shirt, my white shirts, and slid on my bright new yellow socks:

If you could see my face at the same time as I took this photo-you would know that I totally had my game face on. While my friends and I made our trek out to Floyd Bennett Field and the Aviator Complex, I continued to spontaneously yell about how we were heading to the “Happiest 5k On the Planet.” And the truth was–we did end up at the happiest 5k on the planet. (Even the post color run patterns on my shirt said so!—Check out THAT smile on the back of my T)

As my friends and I made our way through the thousands of color runners, we stopped for free samples–happiness mingling–and special photos (which I am sure we will have a great laugh about later). When we reached the race track, I already felt a huge smile forming across my face–it could have been because “Call Me Maybe” was playing, but I have a feeling it was because I was surrounded by tens of thousands of people who signed up to have BRIGHT COLORS thrown at them in a city that tends to stick to it’s blacks and grays. I spotted neon sunglasses, much like my own (I went with the blues today instead of the yellows–for color stain reasons), neon socks, neon wristlets, neon shorts, neon everything. New York was already looking happier!

As our wave approached the starting line, I watched smiles turn to grins. It felt much different than many of the road races I’d done before, where everyone paced at the start line, worrying if their clip on their shoe to record their time was attached right. This was much more relaxed–much more anticipated–much more happy. We weren’t racing for medals–we were racing for bright yellows, pinks, greens, oranges, and blues. We were racing for happiness–and it was clear that, even in the early moments–we had won. As I ran and rolled through (YES ROLLED THROUGH) color stations, I felt life begin to feel a bit brighter–a bit more beautiful–a bit more happier.  (Just call me a hippie already 😉 ) But really–it truly was–the happiest 5k on the planet.

In the words of the Muppets: “Life’s a happy song–when there’s someone by my side to sing along”–or in this case: Run along.

 


 

 

 

 

 

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On another “Happiness” note, my good friend, fellow comic, and ventriloquism teacher April Brucker will be releasing her book this week entitled:

 I came, I saw, I sang: Memoirs of a New York City Singing Telegram Girl

 Join her fanpage HERE – and PURCHASE the book next week. I know I will!

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