Guest Post- “Dance for your body. Dance for your mind” – Yvonne Hegarty

As mentioned on the blog not so long ago, I’m taking sometime away from it to reassess things and to make time for other priorities, including my mental health. During my hiatus I hope to have a few guest posts for you to sink your teeth into and the first is truly inspiring. 

Yvonne Hegarty is a passionate dancer and part of a recently established Dance Company, Saoirse, alongside fellow dancer Fiona Burke. In this piece, Yvonne details her own experiences with Dance and how she feels it should be for everyone.  Visit the companies Facebook page HERE to learn more about Saoirse. Enjoy reading and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the commentsClaire x 

I truly believe now more than ever that dance, as a hobby, as a sport or as a vocation is in fact for everyone. I have danced my whole life in every sense of the word. I am a classically trained Ballet dancer since the age of three, I have studied dance full time in college and now I’m doing what I love, dancing whenever and wherever I can. My perceptions of what it is to be a dancer seem to have changed and altered over the course of my training. Since I was a little one I wanted to be the Prima Ballerina, in other words, I wanted to have legs up to my ears, weigh less than a hundred pounds and be on a stage where everyone’s’ eyes were firmly fixed on me. This ideal is no longer in anyway desirable to me, having discovered that dance for me isn’t about learning steps and doing exams,  it’s about having passion, having soul, having creativity and love for movement. It’s about your bare feet in the sand connecting with the Earth and the wind in your hair. The people who understand this, they are the dancers I aspire to be now.

Dance Blog

Don’t get me wrong, technique is important to me and those who can understand the beauty of a properly pointed toe or flat turn out will be with me on this. Dance technique is hours of pain and dedication beyond belief and I have complete respect for that. I am grateful for my training, right back from my days in Dublin Ballet School where my love of dance began, it was impressed onto me to have technique and hats off to Linda Higgins, the woman who really made it possible for me. It was worth it, the 6am starts, the unpaid work experience, the endless point shoes and generally jugging the life of a normal young person and the life of a dancer. Have you ever been hungover in a Tutu? I have, it’s not pretty.   It was Hell at times but now I have my technique, the foundation of my life and my future.

I had some time off dance for a while. I got disheartened after a few failed auditions I began to realise my legs weren’t up to my ears, perhaps I didn’t want to weigh less than a hundred pounds, maybe I wanted people to give me some praise rather than constantly being told, “you don’t have great turnout” or “you’re not good enough for that” or “dance isn’t for everyone”. I tried to blame others for failing and to be honest It really sucked and I gave up.  Bad move, but it gave me the time out to realise that the world is full of haters. There are not many people who can shine through that, there are not many who can persevere through the hate and I told myself to love instead. I told myself I was good enough, more than enough and then came the birth of my own dance company Saoirse with another dancer who I completely respect and admire, Fiona Burke. She has gone through similar struggles in the dance industry and we have found ourselves the proud owners of a company we believe will make a difference. Saoirse for us is a place of creativity and love of dance that extends further than just technique. We use our training to create something meaningful and something that will hopefully inspire Dublin to keep dancing and keep loving art and theatre.  Here’s a link to “Violet Hour” a short film we made this summer.

It wasn’t until I had that time out of the dance community (which in Ireland is tiny) that I realised the joy of dance should not be an exclusive pleasure; it should be and is for everyone. I was involved in a performance called “The Choreography Project” with about twenty other dancers; some, including myself had years of dance experience and some had none at all. The choreography consisted of a collaboration of all our work which we created by moving our bodies the way certain memories made us want to move. It was a beautiful process, free of prejudice and the competitiveness you might associate with the stereotypical dance studio vibe. The choreography was beautiful because it came from an authentic place for us all, not just learned steps and sequences but movement shaped by memory and real experience.

Dancers blog

On a superficial level I started losing weight without even trying. I was fitter and healthier but more importantly I was happier. Leaving dance for me was a decision I always knew was wrong. When sitting on the train going to work in a job I didn’t like, with the rest of the 8am commuters, my mind was always dancing. I imagined choreography all day long, I secretly danced in the tiny kitchen of my apartment that I was working day and night to pay for. Dance was never far from my heart. This jump back to fitness gave me the passion and drive to be adventurous to do it on my own, to be one of the brave ones and start sharing this love.

Dance to lose weight

My time in “The Choreography Project” and some wonderful performances in “Creative Steps” (An amazing platform for young dancers ages 16-25) have inspired me to keep this experience as a way to encourage every single person to dance. I am trained and dance has been my world forever but I know there are people who have never taken a class but they are dancers too. If you dance, you are a dancer. So do it, just get up and move, feel the power that you create by just swinging our arms around. Okay, I sound like a hippy but it’s true, choose to be a lover not a hater and choose to dance.   There are platforms for the over 60s, for young adults and countless schools for children. If joining a project or taking a class all seems too intimidating also, I strongly encourage people to just dance around their kitchens, or throw shapes in the local night club. Dance is the source of all my energy (that and coffee) and it is my joy to see it come to life in Dublin again. Dance for your body. Dance for your mind.

You are all dancers and I am making it my personal journey to get people to start believing in that.

Yvonne Hegarty 

If you’re a blogger or just have something you are passionate about and would love to write about it please contact me here.  

Advertisements

Taking a step back with a mini blogging hiatus

2014 has been a year of self-assessment and life examination for me. I have been blogging consistently, working full time, writing for Groupon’s City Guide and transforming my lifestyle and mental outlook. Hard work, let me tell you.

After a rollercoaster 9 months I have decided I need a break from something and despite my passion for writing and enjoyment of blogging, musicandeverything.com is going to have suffer slightly.

I’m at a place now where I have gained a lot of confidence and knowledge and I intend to spend the next six months increasing both of these to help carve out a future I can be proud of and, most importantly, that I will enjoy. While I’m doing that I need to remove one of my, I suppose, regular commitments, so I can also do the things that keep me balanced and happy like training, socialising and reading myself calm. It is taking a lot for me to admit this: I can’t do everything all at once, and lately I’ve learned that hobbies and looking after my mental health are as important as writing and as important as my future and my career.

I’m not giving up; it’s not in my nature to do so, and I’m not taking a full on break, but for the next six months I won’t be blogging as often; once a week at most. Hopefully when these six months are over my passion for blogging will have been reinstated and perhaps I will have experienced enough to generate new and exciting content for you.

I’ll have a couple of projects to entice you with come then as well, hopefully.

I’m aware I haven’t got the largest readership but everyone that reads, comments and shares means a great deal to me and I hope that you can continue to support the blog despite the lack of regular content.

I do have some beauty and fitness posts in the pipeline over the next few months and I hope to have some guest posts from wonderful bloggers and writers to keep you titillated.

Incidentally, if you wish to contribute content on any subject, so long as it’s not overly political/religious (Nana always said never discuss those two particular subjects), head to the contact tab and get in touch with me, or hit me up on Twitter. 

I’ll leave you with a little quote that I found to be quite apt.

life quotes

*source

Lifestyle: Reasons to love Goodreads.com

Goodreads is a book lover’s dream app

As you probably guessed from my previous post on my new Kindle, I’m a bit of a bookworm.Needless to say a website that is dedicated to books is absolutely my kind of thing; more than that, it’s something that has factored into my daily routine.

goodreadslogo

*source

Goodreads.com is a handy website that allows you to discuss books with likeminded folk, take reading challenges or join book clubs. You can also keep track of the books you have read, the ones you are reading and the ones you want to read.  Really though, I think it works best as an app; you think of a book or you see one in a shop you want to read, you add to your list on the go; it’s great.

Here are the reasons I love Goodreads and why I think you will as well.

1. One of the best things about Goodreads is the recommendations function. You read a book, or add one you’ve read before, rate it and it recommends books to you based on your taste. For example, I rated The Fault in Our Stars with five stars and it suggested Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which I read, I rated that and I was recommened more books. 

Goodreads compiles genuinely intuitive lists based on what you have expressed enjoyment in reading, which has, in line with a few bloggers I read, resulted in close to 200 books being added to my to-read list. 

2. You can see what your friends or favourite bloggers are reading. Like any social site you can add friends and you can share your reviews and statuses. This is a great because it gives you another way to gather new books to read but mostly I like it because I’m nosy. I always find it really interesting to see what other people read; it says a lot about them and where they are in life at the moment. As well as that; Christmas present list! You can see what kind of books your friends and family like to read and build a fairly good assumption of they might like as a gift. 

3.  It’s organised! I love anything that brings a little bit more organisation to my life and I probably wouldn’t read as much as I have in the last year if it wasn’t for Goodreads because of the order it brings.

Sound like something you’d be into? Make sure you add me HERE. 

 

Lifestyle: 5 reasons to be glad Autumn is here

This post has been inspired by a lot of the sorrowful tweets I’ve read mourning the loss of Summer 2014.

We’re conditioned from our school years to dread autumn back to school, back to homework, back to exams.

Honestly though, this can’t be good for our mental health; we spend our winters complaining and waiting for the summer and, if you’re reading in Ireland or the UK, that can be a bit of a disappointment weather wise.

Summer is fantastic, yes; the warmer weather is good for us, we get to get the pins out, eat al fresco, enjoy longer nights. That being said, Autumn/Winter (It’s all one and the same in Ireland) gets an unjust bad rap; it has its own charms and there are plenty of reasons as to why we should be glad it has arrived.

Winter clothes!

Winter look

 

Image source frankieheartsfashion.com

Surely I am not alone in thinking that winter clothes are far superior to summer clothes? The cosy, stylish coats, the hats, scarves, oversized jumpers, boots. I spend most of my summer wishing I could wear my favourite boots without melting. As soon as the temperature starts to drop I get a fuzzy excitement for the new range of scarves and gloves to come into the shops.

 The colours are always more universally flattering, also; pastel yellows and greens and floral patterns are not for everyone.

Lack of night-in guilt

We all need a night in but there is nothing like a long, sunny, warm evening to make you feel guilty about wanting nothing more than curling up in your PJs and watching a film.

Once winter comes and it starts getting dark at around 9pm our psyche tells us that it’s ok to not want to go out, it’s ok to want to avoid other humans, and it’s ok to just want to eat and watch TV.

Cosiness!

Cosy winter nights

 

image source elvisduran.com

This summer in Ireland had been stifling. I have never lost so many nights’ sleep due to the humidity and soon we can no doubt expect the exact opposite; freezing cold nights, howling winds. The thing is, the howling winds, rain and low temperatures all lend to the charm of Autumn and Winter. It’s the perfect excuse to get some candles lit and snuggle up in your favourite PJs with a hot drink in your hand. Not to mention the hot water bottles. How could you favour Feeling like a hot water bottle in summer ahead of having a hot water bottle warm your bed up before your climb in. Lovely!

Halloween!

Taking the fools who go wild with the fireworks and bangers out of the equation, Halloween is my favourite time of year. I love it. I love dressing up as something ghoulish, I love planning my costume, I love seeing other people’s costumes , I love ritualistically watching Hocus Pocus and horror movies. I. Love. IT. I also love reflecting on the people I’ve lost over the years without having being forced to do so like at Christmas when the empty chairs and missing voices are so glaringly obvious. It is a feast for the spirits, after all.

 It’s like Christmas for people who probably could have been descended from The Addams Family had they not been fictional. The most wonderful time of year!

Christmas cheer is on the horizon.

Christmas lights

 

image source:  karlafitzpatrickfyb.blogspot.com

Christmas day, most of us could take or leave, but one of the best things about winter is the lead up to Christmas (from December only, bored of the overkill!); the lights, meeting up with people you may not have seen for months, the songs, the hot chocolates, the seasonal drinks, the jumpers, our younger relatives excitement about Santa’s visit; everything about it is automatically mood lifting; it’s like sprinkling cinnamon in your coffee, which incidentally would have been the 6th on the list if that didn’t make things uneven.

Hopefully this quick post has dashed away the immediate post-summer blues and instilled in you the warm, fuzzy feeling I get just thinking about Autumn and Winter. What’s really important is to look at the positives of the season; it’s going to happen whether you like having to wear a scarf or not!

Update: I’ve been slacking off… sort of.

Catch Up

 

Hopefully at least one person noticed that I haven’t been blogging so much these days. I suppose you could say I have been slacking off but in reality I’ve been working harder than ever.

I started a Sports Nutrition course so I have been knuckling down and studying hard as well as working all week-long. I’m nearly finished my assignments and my final exam is at the end of August but boy has it been hard.

I found it was beneficial to my health to take a little step away from blogging while getting through the toughest part of it because it is quite an intense course and something completely new to me; a blogger with a background in Journalism and Media Management taking on an intensive course in Nutrition!

As well as this regular readers will know that I am in the middle of a training programme, which I blogged about but slacked off on because of the educational commitments!

The training has been both frustrating and rewarding. I’m getting stronger but perhaps the results just aren’t coming quick enough for my liking. All the same, though, I am in love with process.

Both the nutrition course and the training programme are preparation for something coming up in the autumn that I am sure you will be bored to tears reading about (provided I get the chance to write!)

All in all things have been quite exciting and dull in equal measure – I haven’t been doing much other than working, studying, eat right and training hard as well as some winding down over the past three weeks.

Over the next couple of weeks I will only have time to update you on my fitness journey; a section of the blog that has been gaining quite a of of interest.

As well as all of this I’ve been trying to get a few personal things in order – my main priority in life right now is to learn to be more positive, look out for myself and not listen to any doubters. This new lease of life has been 100% a result of my lifestyle change.

So, that’s my little update. Not overly exciting, eh? But exciting things are certainly in motion. Once my assignments are out of the way I will be back on track and I have plenty of content planned for your reading pleasure from essential fitness buys to face mask reviews and more.

Then, in September I’ll be dwindling off the blogosphere as I start to make some big changes in my life. All for the better. As my life changes, maybe the blog will go through another overhaul or perhaps a sister blog is on the horizon, who knows? Regardless the future is looking  wonderfully tumultuous and stimulating!

Isn’t it annoying when life gets in the way of your hobbies?

Infographic: Boy Band Mania – The perfect recipe!

 

 

 

When Helen from Evoke.ie sent this along to me, I had to reblog it!

I am partial to the odd bit of pop music, in particular Take That and The Backstreet Boys, so this “Boyband Mania”infographic intrigued me immensely. Boyband Mania is rife in Ireland at the moment; we just recently said goodbye to One Direction, not a group I’m fond of to be honest, and Busted rolled into town last night.

What I found most surprising was The Backstreet Boys’ old manager’s shenanigans. Shocking, altogether.

Boyband stats

Interesting, eh? Visit Evoke.ie for more interesting tidbits and great articles. What do you think of the recipe for the perfect boyband? To the comments!

The Goodreads Tag

I love reading. I’m slow at it, but I love it.

I don’t like to write about books because, well, reading is personal. I lose myself in a book and while one book might mind blowing to me it might totally wash over someone else’s back and visa versa.

I spotted this tag Sharon on Behind Green Eyes and she left the tag open to anyone who fancied it. I thought: “Well I write about everything else, I might as well write about it just this once”.

goodreadslogo

I’ve been on Goodreads since 2012 but I only really started to use it last year. It is the ideal app for book lovers with the recommendations function being my particular favourite thing about it.  I’m here, if you want to add me.

What was the last book you marked as read?

I finished Little Women by Louisa-May Alcott after labouring through it. I wasn’t a fan of these book at all; while it didn’t fall into the typical remit of the classic novel, it was tiring to say the least; the story falls apart after a few chapters and then it reads like a guidebook for young adults filled with patronising morality tales at the end of each chapter.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading two books currently. I’m about half way through The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls; this is a memoir, something I tend to avoid but it’s actually one worth reading. Walls’ upbringing is not something most people can relate to and it is astonishing to read all she went through at the hands of two rather neglectful and careless parents; yet she came out successful and compassionate.

The second book I’m reading is Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. I’m studying sports nutrition at the moment so it’s more of a textbook to me, but if you’re interested in fitness at all, this is definitely something worth having on your shelf.

What was the last book you marked as to-read?
I added Family Ties by Hans M. Hirschi this week. I loved the cover, which is always what interests me first, but when I read the summary I became immediately intrigued. This seems like the kind of depthful story I could get lost in.

What do you plan to read next? 
I’m not really sure what I want to read next, I never think too far ahead. I usually get near the end of a book and either download, borrow or buy the next one that takes my fancy. I bought my mother I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes so she would have something to read on her holiday, so I suppose that will be the next one I pick up.

Do you use the star rating system?
I do; purely to get more recommendations based on books I like.

Are you doing a 2014 reading challenge?
I am, I always try to mentally challenge myself to read a certain amount of books a year, but with distractions and responsibilities I tend to take a few months off. This year I’m aiming for 30 books, but I’m already 6 behind. Oh dear.

Do you have a wish list?
My wishlist is my To-Read list on Goodreads and it’s never ending. I don’t cross the books off in order of when I add them too it, just take a look at what I have on it and buy the one that strikes me most at the time. Sometimes I’ll go on a bit of a Book Depositry binge and buy a few off it to keep me going.

What book do you plan to buy next?
I don’t really have a plan, like I said; I buy as the mood strikes me, however I have been edging towards purchasing something by Buckoski lately.

Who are your favourite authors?
John Green, Emma Donohue, Samuel Beckett, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Steinbeck.

Have you joined any groups?
I’m only a member of the Goodreads Ireland Group and honestly, I don’t really interact.

Thanks for leaving the tag open to everyone, Sharon. I’d like to do the same so if you are interested in reading and have a goodreads account, have a wack this tag and leave your links in the comments.