Friday, May 20, 2016

Days 1-4 : 30 Days Tahitian Dance Challenge

I am officially in day 4 of the 30 Day Tahitian challenge, explained here. Here's what I've done so far.

Tahitian Dance

Beach cover up

Crystal jewelry

Jacquard beach towel

Blomus water carafe

Day 1 Just Dance

For the first day, I eased into the challenge by just making sure I did it. I took out my old parau and top, and put on some music and did a few of each movements and tried to remember some old routines. I did't push myself to be honest, but I was still sweating and out of breath by the end of my session because as easy as it seems, Tahitian dance is WORK! 

If you're a total beginner, fear not! Terms for basic Tahitian Dance moves can be found here.

Also watch this video from youtube for how each move looks like (done by my favorite Tahitian dancer, Moena).

Day 2 Record Your Baseline

Before you can start making your routines, I think it's important to know where you are starting from. Not only will it help you see how much you've come along, but it will be good for you to see your weak points and what needs work. 

Since this is as much a fitness journey as it is a dancing one, I measured my body for my starting point. The places I am most concerned with are my waist and arms, but I also included my hips.

Next I took a mental note (and a digital recording) of how big and fast my fa'arapus are, how long I can do the fa'arapus, how far my hips go up when I do tamos, and several other movements. 

Fa'arapu: I could go longer than 30 seconds full speed but honestly becomes too sloppy.

I also did a few stretches before and after, and it all took about 30 minutes. 

My before pictures and video can be seen on my instagram @Nia_Maki

Day 3 Creating Structure

This day came after the weekend, but is a day I dedicated to working on my routine and planning the rest of the challenge out. After reviewing the videos from day 2, I was able to see what really needed work and helped me to make goals for the challenge. 


A fuller fa'arapu. It looked as though I did bring it up in the back, but I do not tilt my pelvis in enough when I bring it in the front. I need to do some hip opening stretches and include drills on folding my hips in and pushing it out. Once I can do fuller fa'arapus if I still have time I hope to work on the speed and hopefully be able to do a fa'arapu for 2 minutes straight. 

Better posture. I need to work on good posture in general, but I really must get used to how my body should be positioned when dancing so I won't hurt myself and also make it look much better. My arm movements need to be more graceful as well, but the major issues are my knees and shoulders. Keeping my upper body still and shoulders in place especially with varus is my priority. 
I used to have lots of problems with knee pain when I was in class, and part of it is because my calf area isn't flexible, my hamstrings aren't as strong, and my posture was bad so I must have been placing my weight in the wrong places and not using the right parts of my body to dance. 

Size. I say size and not weight because as you tone up I understand you might hit a point where you stop losing weight but still get "smaller". Two people can have the same weight but still look different depending on where the weight settles or how much of it is fat vs muscle. Look at this picture of Kara  at 130 lbs, but is not the same shape/size in the picture or just google what 5 lbs of fat vs muscle looks like. I would like to not have to buy a whole new set of clothes now that I'm in the U.S. and I'm serious when I say my jeans already feel tighter. 


I decided to take 30 minutes to an hour each day, depending on how I feel and what I have to get done. I won't be dancing everyday, but I'll be focusing on different things each day so it will work out. 

Week 1: Foundation, Routine, Basics (Stretching, Arms)

Week 2: Special Focus on Faarapu (Core, Hips, Legs)

Week 3: Special Focus on Tipene (Legs)

Week 4: Special Focus on Duck Walk -Still Debating on this one-

Each week will get it's own post, and I'll post daily or every other day on daily tasks. 

My basic practice session:

10-15 minutes           Stretching
15 minutes                Basic moves
15 minutes                Drills targeting a specific are/technique
10 minutes                Cool Down

Day 4 Loosen Up

As I mentioned before, I have trouble bending my knees and getting low when dancing. For this I needed to work on my hip flexors and my calf area.

This site goes more in depth of why it's important, and shows you (with video) 12 great stretches to loosen up your hip flexors. 

Here is another site for ankle and calf stretches.

After doing all of those, I will be doing the stretches from the video below, since it has hip opening exercises as well as other basic stretches.

After dancing, I also want to have a cool down stretch, and this video seems good for it.
If you don't have the 13 minutes for the cool down, here's a 5 minute alternative.

Even though I won't be dancing everyday, I will be stretching everyday from here for the remainder of the challenge.

This became a rather long and condensed post, because it combines all four days in one, but I'll try and get better about posting everyday/every other day.

Please let me know if there are any suggestions/tips =)

"Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time."
-Miguel Angel Ruiz

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