The Mar Vista in The DANCE Enthusiast

The Dance Enthusiast Asks Yehuda Hyman/ Mystical Feet Company About “THE MAR VISTA” and Wartime Romance

The Dance Enthusiast Asks Yehuda Hyman/ Mystical Feet Company About “THE MAR VISTA” and Wartime Romance

Published on June 1, 2015

Photo © Paula Court

Presented by LABA, a laboratory for Jewish culture.

Creative Credits:

Artistic Director & Choreographer: Yehuda Hyman

Performers: Yehuda Hyman, Ron Kagan, Dwight Kelly and Amanda Schussel

Costume Designer: Amy Page

Performance Details:

When: June 11-14, 2015

Where: The Theater at the 14th Street Y, East 14th Street (14th St & lst Ave)

Tickets: $18 presale, $22.50 at the door. Call 646-395-4310 or buy online.

More info HERE.

THE MAR VISTA is performed in 3 parts:

I:  Hamsa, a solo performed by Hyman, deals with curses, Passover, the 10 plagues and his father.

II:  Leaning Into Moisture, a duet for Hyman and Amanda Schussel, concerns his mother and her forbidden wartime romance in Istanbul.

III:  Cincinnati takes place in Cincinnati in 1951. Specifically, on the night that Hyman’s father proposed to his mother – in a hurry.


Yehuda Hyman and Amanda Schussel in Part II – “Leaning into Moisture.” © Paula Court.

Sammi Lim for The Dance Enthusiast: Tell me about Mystical Feet Company. When was it founded? Why the endearing name?  What qualities characterize your dance troupe?

Yehuda Hyman, Artistic Director of Mystical Feet Company: This engagement marks the premiere of Yehuda Hyman/Mystical Feet as an entity, but is something I have been building for the last four years. You might say that it was officially founded in December 2014 when I gathered a small group of performing artists whom I was very interested in collaborating with. Mystical Feet is a dance/theater company, which is about making dances, telling stories and weaving spells – I think that says what we do.

Why “feet” and not Mystical Fingers or Mystical Elbows? Well, a few reasons. First: for many years, I have been working with Hasidic tales that delve into the world of Jewish mysticism. The tale “7 Beggars” told by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in 1810 concerns seven beggars, each with a disability, which is in fact their greatest gift. The seventh Beggar in the story has no feet. This beggar, appearing footless to our world, actually has the most dynamic feet.  There is an interpretation, which calls to me, that when this footless beggar dances, the entire world will be transformed and perfected. Another reason is: as a 15-year old dance student, I came to New York to audition for a scholarship to study with a dance school in Europe. I had only been studying ballet for about a year, but I had a fervent desire to dance. I entered a class taught by a very famous ballet teacher at the time (I will never say who). The class was packed with about 50 dancers. The teacher walked by me as I did my téndus and said in an extremely loud and theatrical voice: “Young man, you have the ugliest feet I have ever seen!” I laugh about it now and actually, even at the time I thought it was funny. I love the idea of what is considered the lowest being the highest. Our feet are the lowest point on our bodies, but they touch the earth and through that connection, we have the potential to turn things upside down… Mystical Feet!

Yehuda Hyman performs solo in Part I – “Hamsa.” © Paula Court.

TDE: Is this your first time working with LABA or have you collaborated prior? How is THE MAR VISTA inspired by Jewish texts?

YH: LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture, which is in residence at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan, has a Fellowship Program. I was a LABA Fellow for 2013/2014. It was a fabulous experience. We would meet as a group at least once a month to study ancient Jewish texts, discuss, dissect, and eat! Every LABA Fellowship year has a different theme – mine was “Mother.” As soon as I saw that on the application I knew I had to be in the “Mother” year as I had been gathering material to make a piece about my mother since 2000.  It was time to do this.

In our monthly study sessions we looked at the great, hot-blooded sexy mothers of the Jewish scriptures: Eve, Sara, et cetera. Our sessions were led by Ruby Namdar, a brilliant writer and scholar. The sessions were always provocative and sometimes more than that. Immersing myself in mythic tales of the Jewish matriarchs in a completely uncensored forum freed me to create the second part of The Mar Vista on a deeper level than I had previously been able to get to with this project.

Srul Chait (Charles Hyman) and Sara Güver Hyman: Hyman’s parents on their wedding day in 1951.

TDE: THE MAR VISTA synthesizes dance, gesture, spoken word, improvisation and ritual. Does merging various art forms help fill in the gaps in your ‘fractured memoir’?

YH: There are dances that can only be made with words, there are poems that can only be danced by the hands. Whatever it takes, whatever form it takes to tell the story, to express the emotion that must be expressed, that is the form it takes. In our process of making work, we often go along telling the tale as a dance, and then suddenly it reaches a point and must be told in words. Our stories are told backwards and forwards and sideways too. My feet are in many worlds, many different dance languages: flamenco, Bharata Natyam, Eastern-European folk dance. I am a playwright and a poet. During rehearsals, we frequently sit and write before we make our dances. I use the term, “fractured memoir” because there are many breaks in the story – parts that I actually don’t know (my father did not communicate much of his history to me) and parts that I don’t know how to tell.

TDE: The work is also a love letter to Mar Vista, your colorful childhood neighborhood in Los Angeles. How did growing up in the City of Angels inform your artistic upbringing?

YH: During my childhood summers, my mother would gather my sister and brother and me, haul us on to the bus, and we’d be at the beach, in the water, from morning till sundown. I am a child of the Pacific Ocean and it’s in my blood. Also, I was literally born in Hollywood in a hospital that used to be on Sunset Boulevard. It’s a Scientology Center now! Hollywood, illusion, Technicolor magic, big stories – this is part of who I am.

As a 12-year old, I would stand outside 20th Century Fox Studios waiting for a glimpse of Barbra Streisand (she was filming “Hello Dolly” at the time). The space, the sun, the ocean, the actual “lack” of community formed me and is probably present in my work. I don’t know if I would actually call this show a “love letter” to Mar Vista. My childhood in the West Los Angeles neighborhood was equal parts wonderment and pain. Just so you know – this piece, THE MAR VISTA, is conceived as a two-part evening. The first part, presented this June, has everything to do with the longing for the sea (you will know why when you come), but is only briefly set in the actual neighborhood of Mar Vista. Most of Part I of THE MAR VISTA is about the separate stories of my parents – as witnessed by the adult me – and how they came together in a most unlikely romance.

13-year old Sara Güver Hyman (Yehuda Hyman’s mother) with a tambourine in Istanbul.

TDE: Part II of THE MAR VISTA addresses your mother’s forbidden wartime romance in Istanbul. When my grandparents fell in love, their romance too, was verboten. I believe that falling in love under complicated circumstances can often result in stronger relationships. Do you?

YH: Ooh – I’d love to hear about your grandparent’s verboten romance. I love stories, always have – I can sit and listen to people’s stories for a very long time. My mother’s two-year affair during World War II in Istanbul was the strongest and most lasting romantic connection of her entire life (this was according to her – and relayed to me after my father’s death). It was a romance that could not possibly continue, for reasons that will be obvious to the audience of THE MAR VISTA. I can’t tell you about my mother’s romance because I don’t want to ruin the experience of discovering it when you see the show. My mother was “romantic” from the tips of her Gypsy feet to the ends of her expressive dancing fingers. Romantic, alas, almost always implies a complication, a longing for something that can’t be.

TDE: Which is your favorite part of the performance? I know it’s diplomatic to say you like a show in its entirety, but there’s always a part you’re particularly pleased with or proud of.

YH: Oh… the hard question. It changes every day and we are still very much in the process making the third part of our show, “Cincinnati, 1951.” Right now, there’s a part where the performers, Amanda Schussel, Ron Kagan and Dwight Richardson Kelly, are telling-dancing the history of my mother’s pre-marriage romances. There were a few! The music in the background is an extraordinarily beautiful rendition of the song, “Historia de un Amor” in a 1950s recording by Luis Alberto del Paraná and the group Los Paraguayos. There is a moment where Amanda, playing my mother at age 32, is dancing an erotic duet with Dwight who is playing a Rumanian Furrier. Ron, playing my father, a Polish tailor is taking my mother’s measurements with a tailor’s measuring tape as she’s dancing with the Furrier. I (as myself) am observing the whole thing. I think it’s simultaneously beautiful, hot, funny, sad, and probably inappropriate. I like it.

It’s a GALA countdown!

14stYGala_5.14.2015

There’s a reason for everyone to attend our Gala on Thursday, May 14th.

5. The GALA is a Zero Waste event! 

With reusable dishes and silverware, recycling of programs and posters and composting of any delicious food not immediately devoured, It’s a Gorgeous night of fun, with a teeny, tiny footprint.

4.  A delectable silent auction.

Escape to Montauk or the coast of Italy, talk shop with acclaimed chefs and film critics, go backstage at a Jones Beach concert, tour the New York Times offices or the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute… PLUS a selection of sports tickets and dining, culture and entertainment items from Hyatt, Joanna Vargas Salon, Live! with Kelly and Michael, One Five Hospitality, STK, the 14th Street Y and much more. Take a look, be inspired and bid away!

3.  A chance to shine!

the 14th Street Y dresses up almost as beautifully as you do. Our theater will bring the breezy warm late spring weather indoors, with a sophisticated atmosphere perfect for music from DJ Rabbi Darkside, delicious food, performances and the great company of people just like you.

Gorgeous people dance to DJ Rabbi Darkside.
Gorgeous people dance to DJ Rabbi Darkside.

4.  Speaking of food…

Taboonette.  “The emphasis here is on fresh articulated flavors and ingredients from signature “Middleterranean” pallet, merging the kitchens of the Middle East and Mediterranean with some home-style recipes and love for hospitality.”

5.  Catie Lazarus.

Catie Lazarus and guests Robert Smigel, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mo Rocca, and Lady Rizo - Employee of The Month - The Bell House - September 18, 2013
CATIE LAZARUS– Comedian and host of popular podcast “Employee of the Month”

Catie Lazarus is a writer, talk show host, and Artist-in-Residence at Joe’s Pub. Gothamist calls her “One of the Finest Live Talk Show Hosts in New York City,” and Lewis Black said she is, “more brilliant than she will ever know.”  Lazarus has  hosted multiple web series, some animated or starring puppets; and hosts her own weekly podcast and monthly live show Employee of the Month. She even scored Jon Stewart’s first interview after he announced he was leaving the Daily Show. And she’s OUR Master of Ceremonies. You won’t want to miss it!

We haven’t even mentioned the best reason of all.  Attending the Gala means supporting everything you love about the Y. Every fitness, arts, early childhood, preschool, basketball, swim or camp program is made better by your support!

Get your tickets today!

Create. Perform. Inspire. Lead.

Hey everyone! Ashley here, Camp Director of the Teen Theater Summer Camp at the 14th Street Y. I grew up spending just about every summer at a camp very similar to our theater camp in Southern California. I met some of my best friends to this day in that program. Some of the alumni have gone on to perform on Broadway, some are working in film and TV in Los Angeles. Some are teachers, some are lawyers, some are opera singers, some are engineers. Regardless of what you study in college or what industry you end up working in, having theater in your life as a young person is an unforgettable and invaluable experience.

Our mission at TTSC is “Create. Perform. Inspire. Lead.” This summer, we are bringing together a community of unique and diverse theater companies and artists to empower our students in these four areas. Stay tuned for future posts announcing our programming partners who will work with our students to:

CREATE their own theater in workshops and breakout sessions, while developing theater technique.

PERFORM in two students showcases for an audience of family and friends and a mock audition workshop for a panel of theater professionals.

INSPIRE others through the creation of new theater based on issues facing young people in NYC.

LEAD fellow students as they work collaboratively and receive mentorship from guest artists and staff.

We are gearing up for another amazing summer of acting, singing, dancing, directing, creating, and sharing. All that’s missing is you! Register here! 14th Street Y members save on registration. Want to bring a friend? You’ll save an additional $100 on your registration! Email athaxton@14streety.org with any questions.

Thaxton Ashley  - 1092Ashley Renee Thaxton is the Camp Director of the Teen Theater Summer Camp at the 14th Street Y, originally from Southern California. A graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School, she is a theater artist, educator, and arts administrator. In the fall, she will begin her MFA at Brooklyn College in Acting. Learn more at www.ashleyreneethaxton.com

Counting The Days, Making Them Count.

Today we are welcoming our newest staff member, Brian Garrick, Assistant Program Director of Jewish Life and Learning. Brian’s first project is to engage all of us in the counting of the Omer, marking our personal and collective time between the holidays of Passover (in early April) and Shavuot (in late May).

The question has often been posed in religious and secular circles; how can we use our precious days in this lifetime? How can we make our days count?  Because it is a tradition to count the Omer,  Brian will be engaging all of us to count our days (through our 14th Street Y twitter account @14thstreetY) and talk about how we make our days count.  Please read below a message from Brian, and follow us @14thstreetY to retweet, comment, share, and count with us.

-Camille Diamond; Director of Community Engagement and Communications

In our busy, over-programmed world, too infrequently we create opportunities for self-reflection. The Jewish tradition offers us an incredible opportunity to look at ourselves and to ask questions of ourselves through Counting the Omer (Sefirat HaOmer). Omer means measures in Hebrew. When the Temple stood, it was customary to bring a measure of barley harvest as an offering three times a year, at Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot. The tradition of Counting the Omer dates to those ancient times. We measured the seven weeks between planting new barley and harvesting it; then offered a measure, in thanks, to God. The meaning of the counting and our awareness of time and its passage during those days has changed over time. Nowadays, most of us are not barley farmers, and the Temple no longer stands, so we must imbue practices like counting the Omer with new meaning.

Each Spring we count the days between Passover and Shavuot, 7 weeks of 7 days, 49 days total, leading up to the 50th day on Shavuot. During Passover, we celebrate the Exodus, the liberation of the ancient Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Shavuot is the anniversary of the day when the ancient Israelites accepted the teachings of Torah at Mount Sinai. If Passover signifies freedom, then Shavuot signifies responsibility, the responsibility of living a good, just and ethical life according to Torah. The movement from redemption of Exodus to revelation at Sinai, echoes our ancestors’ journey out of Egypt and through the desert to Sinai.

As we move toward responsibility, we have an opportunity to ask ourselves why we count. We can take a serious look at what that responsibility entails, as Jews, and/or as citizens in our communities. So our counting becomes meaningful and an opportunity to reflect on our relationship to self, to others and to our communities. It provides an occasion to ask “Why I count?” Not simply asking, “Why I count the omer?” but the larger question of “Why I count in the world?” What is my relationship to it? How do I situate myself in relation to others? What is important to me? What is important that I tell or share with others? How does my organization or my community fit into the larger framework of the Jewish community, of downtown, etc? Perhaps, one can see this reflective practice as an extension of the questioning that began at the seder. What difference can I make in the world? What is my place here? What impact can I make? The omer is a call to be more than we have been before.

 

Here at The 14th Street Y, we are providing a platform for to engage in a social media campaign around The Counting of the Omer: #YiCount. Each day of the Omer, we will invite you to share with your community why you count.  

Please follow @14thstreetY to discover the question of the day and to learn why others are counting as well.

 

We look forward to the conversation.

Brian Garrick

brian garrick

Brian is a recent transplant to New York City from San Francisco. He has worked as Program Manager for Arts & Ideas at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. He currently produces the weekly literary series at The Half King in Chelsea, New York City. He holds an MA in Jewish Studies from Emory University and has spent time learning at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.  His talents and interests include the history and science of gastronomy, collecting vinyl records, Jewish philosophy, and rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers.

What’s the Opposite of Spoiled?

I had an interesting talk with one of my children a few weeks ago.  He’s 9 years old, in 4th grade, and is just beginning to really ask some big questions about himself and his place in the world.  Recently, having noticed his interest in money, how much he has and on what he should spend it, my husband and I decided it was time for him to learn about its value by establishing an allowance.  In exchange, we told him, he would be expected to do certain responsibilities every day.  We made a list together about what these things would be, and decided what amount he would earn weekly.  I thought it was great,  my son seemed pleased, and so we forged ahead.

opposite of spoiled book

Then I started reading some of the articles about Ron Lieber, a speaker we’d scheduled for the February 28th Pause/Play event at the 14th Street Y.  He’s the New York Times “Your Money” columnist and author of the book “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money”.  Given what my son and I had just spoken about and the plan we’d made within my own family, I thought it was pretty good timing.  I dove into some of the articles Ron had written, expecting the advice to be somewhere along the lines of what we’d already put in place. But it didn’t happen that way.

Ron wisely points out that my husband and I don’t get money for doing chores around our house, and neither should my Son.  It makes sense that children should understand that their contribution to the family and to the home is just part of being a responsible human being.  These things should not be tied to money. Besides, there will surely come a time when there is something else my son will decide has more value to him than money. What happens the day he decides he’d rather not unload the dishwasher and just pass on his allowance that week?

But more importantly, Ron (in greater depth than I will go into here) makes a great case for understanding the full scope of money and what it can teach.  He underscores the importance of saving, and the importance of giving.

Here’s what happened when I spoke to my son after listening to Ron’s advice.

I told him that he was expected to do the list of chores we’d made together, and that his doing them was important to the well-being of our family.  I told him that doing them was his responsibility, and if he neglected them he would lose privileges.

I explained that the doing of these chores was not in exchange for his allowance.  His allowance would be given to him every week, because it was important that he have some money to spend, to save, and to give. We talked about what that meant.  As it turned out, he was already thinking hard about spending vs. saving. He had been troubled by the notion of spending money he received because he knew it meant he wouldn’t have it anymore.  The notion of a ‘savings jar’ was guidance that was a relief to him.

Probably though, the most gratifying thing I got out of this conversation and this approach was the conversation about giving. I hadn’t realized that my son had noticed and was bothered by the fact that some people had more than others.  He began talking immediately about homeless people that he sees every day in the subway, and organizations that help children and animals. In short, he didn’t fully realize the difference he could make and the contribution he could be in the world by his giving. To say it was heartwarming is an understatement.

There is so much more great advice in this book,  If you didn’t get a chance to come to the lecture on Saturday, we recommend that you check this link for other venues where you can see Ron.

You can also purchase his book by visiting here.

Finally, here are a few links where you can read more about Ron’s advice on giving (for grown-ups), giving (for parents and kids to discuss together), and on kids and gratitude.

Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.

This Weekend at the Y: Purim Fun for Everyone

by Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, Executive Director

Purim is a holiday that is a thankful and joyful affirmation of Jewish survival, focused on joy and hope. We celebrate an ancient tale–the Book of Esther (aka the Megillah)– to remind us that we celebrate our remembered escape from persecution by generous acts towards those who are currently in need.

At the Y, we are excited to invite everyone in the neighborhood to celebrate together this weekend, at Pause/Play on Saturday, 2/28 and at a LABAKids concert on Sunday, 3/1. 

Saturday’s Pause/Play  will feature many celebratory Purim themed activities such as juggling, art (making masks), games and sports with our wonderful New Country Day Camp staff. Kids are encouraged to come in costume and join in a Purim Parade.  Adults can participate in activities with their children, or separately in two very special activities just for them.

Childcare and kid drop off activities are available!

On Sunday, enjoy LABAKIDS Purim concert together with your kids. Come in your favorite costume, make masks for an animal parade and take snapshots with our photo booth!

Each of these events are fun and accessible ways to get into the Purim spirit.  Everyone is welcome.

Traditionally, there are four observances for Purim–and each one has ways to engage at the 14th Street Y:

  1. Retelling the Purim story, frequently with humor and levity, dressed up in costumes as the characters in the story. This weekend at the Y, you can wear a costume to Saturday’s Pause/Play, bring toddlers in costume to our singalong at 4:00PM with Debbie Brukman, and party at the LABAKIDS concert on Sunday.
  1. Having a majestic celebratory feast, which traditionally includes healthy adults getting drunk. We hope that you will come enjoy delicious snacks at Pause/Play sponsored by Colson Patisserie and Sweet Loren, and that adults will drop off their kids at NCDC classes and come to the whisky tasting at 4:45PM with Dan Friedman.
  1. Giving financial gifts (tzedakah or charity) to those in need (matanot l’evyonim)
  2. Giving care packages of food and other treats to our friends and neighbors (mishloach manot).

As you decide how to give to your friends and to those in need, come chat with NY Times “Your Money” Columnist Ron Lieber as he discusses his new book, The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids who are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money–and think with your neighbors about how to raise kids with excellent values who know how to save, splurge, and give in meaningful ways.

We hope to see you all this weekend for a wonderful celebration!

Sharing our Sadness

One of the most powerful things about community is the way we can hold one another up in celebration, in happiness, in reflection, in spiritual practice, and in grief. It is in this spirit that we are sharing that our Executive Director, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein has lost her father, Rabbi Norman David Koch, unexpectedly and suddenly.  Today we share the obituary written by his family and thank you, our community, for the many ways you support all of us at the Y every day.

May his memory be a blessing

image (1)In grief we announce that Rabbi Norman David Koch died, surrounded by his beloved family and friends, as Shabbat Yitro entered on Friday evening February 6th/18 Shevat, of silent and undetected esophageal cancer. He was 66 years old.

His death came eight days after burying his dear mother, Reta.

Rabbi Koch is survived by his beloved wife Rosalyn, his siblings, Paul Koch & Patti Marcus, Ellen Koch & Marty Shinder, by his children, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein & Dr. Jason Epstein, Yonatan & Erin Koch, Matan Koch, Adina Koch, Aytan Koch, and his grandchildren, Duncan, Jason and Avigayil Koch and Amichai and Kobi Epstein.

The funeral will take place on Sunday, February 8 at 11am at Temple Sholom, 122 Kent Road (Route 7) New Milford, CT 06776 with interment immediately following at New Milford Center Cemetery. Family will return to the home of Rosalyn Koch for the meal of consolation. Shiva will be held Sunday evening from 7-8:30 pm with a minyan at 7:30pm. For details regarding shiva after Sunday, please contact Marissa Rosenblum at Marissa_Rosenblum@14StreetY.org.  Shiva will be held in New York City on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Having retired in June from serving for 35 years as the Rabbi of Temple Sholom in New Milford, CT, Rabbi Koch was known and respected as a leader with steadfast convictions and a passion for social justice. An active member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) he was a past president of its Northeast Region.  Rabbi Koch was active in the New Milford Clergy Association, served on the Medical Ethics Committee at New Milford Hospital, was a member of the Ethics Commission of the Town of New Milford, and after serving on many boards was serving as the chair of the cemetery in New Milford.  For decades he served on the faculty of the URJ’s Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA and numerous NFTY Northeast Institutes and was dedicated to Jewish camping and to creating innovative Jewish educational programming.

Norman was a loving father and grandfather who enjoyed cooking for his family, Scrabble and crossword puzzles, and reading and playing with his grandchildren.

Donations in his memory can be made to Temple Sholom, P.O. Box 509, New Milford, CT, 06776, Congregation B’nai Israel, 193 Clapboard Ridge Rd., Danbury, CT 06811, and the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th St, New York, NY 10003.

Keeping it Green at the 14th Street Y

Kids in our After School, Preschool, and “Now We Are Three” program are always busy learning, growing and thinking about ways to be kind to the world and to each other.

Recently, all of these programs spent some time creating green themed projects, Preschool and Now We Are Three in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Holiday for trees, and After School as part of a whole day of greening.

After School  Counselor Mauricio had the idea to create carnival games out of recycled cardboard.
After School Counselor Mauricio had the idea to create carnival games out of recycled cardboard.
wack a clown
After School kids spent 13 weeks planning and creating games like this one.  The entire After School community got a chance to try them out on ‘greening day’!
bin it to win it
Would you know where to bin it? After School kids play “Bin it to Win it”, and learn when and how to recycle. And when to compost!
house 301 tree
House 301 in our Preschool created this beautiful tree in honor of Tu B’ Shevat. We like to remember the good work the trees are doing to bring us fruits and leaves when spring comes back again.
tree preschool
Preschool House 305 made this ‘present tree’ which you can see when you climb the stairs at the 14th Street Y!
trees tu b'shevat
There are so many ways to use the beauty of nature in the art that we do. We are looking forward to spring!

GAGA + YOGA returns SUNDAYS at the 14th Street Y

These kids are riveted. Focused. Gaga is the one thing besides video games that my kid loves to play. He is not an athlete, but just like all of his friends he LOVES Gaga. And this Sunday, February 1st, GAGA + Yoga returns at 3:00-3:45PM, continuing February 8th and March 1st.

gaga kids
GAGA at it’s finest

The point of Family Fitness initiatives at the 14th Street Y is to give opportunities for families to build healthy habits together.  Last year, we created the GAGA + YOGA model which gave parents a chance to use their Sunday to exercise, focus and relax, while their kids played a favorite sport with their friends, and with great instructors (Kevin Casidid is our GAGA guru).

Best of all, the 14th Street Y is now the proud owner of a professional GAGA Pit, which we debuted last Saturday at Pause/Play and will be using every Sunday!

gaga fam fit day
New GAGA pit!

Have questions about GAGA + YOGA or other Family Fitness Initiatives?  Contact our Family Fitness Coordinator Julie_GayerKris@14StreetY.org for more information.

It was the pie.

By Camille Diamond

If you’ve read this blog before you might have seen this post from last April about how I, through following advice in a book called “The State of Slim” lost 15 pounds and continued to keep it off. I paid attention to what I ate, made sure I got enough water and protein, and most importantly, kept exercising 6 days per week. I really got into it, it was a habit that simply was my life.  It was actually everything that we at the 14th Street Y strive to provide for our members, a place where you want to come so that your fitness goals simply become your new reality.  

anne and Maia curls
Moving every day became my new reality.

Last year at this time, I just finished the recommended program and was in maintenance. I leaped into January feeling pretty great.  I was so excited about the program that I started a class here at the Y, The STATE OF SLIM, every Monday night at 6:30PM. We had about 15 regular members come to try the program, discuss the challenges and victories, and really experience living healthfully. The class was so great it has continued under the leadership of Elizabeth Schneider, one of our great fitness instructors, along with member Suellen, who not only got healthy and fit by following the advice in the book, she became the person to ask about it.

I continued my life fairly healthfully, even revisiting the plan in September when I got on the scale and realized the scale and crept up 5 pounds, and it was my trigger weight to recommit to the amount of exercise, eating portioned food 6 times a day (so you don’t feel hungry) with a good lean protein with every meal. By November I was back where I wanted to be.

Then came December. Specifically, the last 10 days. I visited my parents in the mid-west and it was really, really cold, like stay indoors and don’t walk anywhere cold. Don’t even leave the house to go to the car. And while you’re there, have some more pie. Which I did.

So now, though I have not stepped on the scale, I know. I KNOW!  It takes so little time to break good habits. Luckily, it can also take little time to build them up again.  So today, I’m eating for health and energy.  Today I am visiting our 14th Street Y gym. Today!

If you can relate to any of this, you should know that the STATE OF SLIM meeting is still happening every Monday at 6:30PM. It’s part discussion, part exercise suggestions and movement, and a great way to connect with people going through the exact same thing.  Hope we see you there tonight!  Or next week.

We’ll be here when you’re ready.

Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y