Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain – medicalxpress.com

“As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness, which can be made worse by conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect.

“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting  in mental and physical capacity,” says Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany. “In this study, we show that two different types of physical  (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that led to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.”

Elderly volunteers, with an average age of 68, were recruited to the study and assigned either an eighteen-month weekly course of learning dance routines, or endurance and flexibility training. Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain. This is important because this area can be prone to age-related  and is affected by diseases like Alzheimer’s. It also plays a key role in memory and learning, as well as keeping one’s balance.

While previous research has shown that  can combat age-related brain decline, it is not known if one type of exercise can be better than another. To assess this, the exercise routines given to the volunteers differed. The traditional fitness training program conducted mainly repetitive exercises, such as cycling or Nordic walking, but the dance group were challenged with something new each week.”

Source: Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain

Discovering My Hips in Hula Dancing – The New York Times

By 

On our 10th-anniversary trip to Hawaii, my wife and I had watched some Polynesian dances at a luauWe enjoyed the Samoan dance, which was terrifying, and the poi ball dance, which was quite acrobatic. By comparison, hula looked easy. I thought, “I could do that.”

I had been a folk dancer ever since college, and at the time I was very committed to Morris dancing, a flamboyant, extroverted English dance. But a few years later I felt the need to try something new, and I signed up for an introductory hula class at a recreation center in Santa Cruz. When I showed up for the first lesson, the instructor took me aside. “I don’t think some of the other students would be comfortable with you in the class,” she told me. Oh, I thought. Perhaps men aren’t supposed to do hula. I apologized and departed.

About this, too, I was mistaken. Go to any hula competition and you will see breathtaking, athletic and expressive male dancers. Men have done hula since the beginning. Hula was simply a way of telling a story, and there’s no reason that men can’t do that. As a true folk tradition, hula embraces all ages and genders.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | nyt comment:
What a beautiful story and video. Thank you. I’ve been performing and teaching morris dancing (and contra dancing) in New Haven since 1976, 44 years, and soon, I will be too old and worn out to do the leaps and capers of morris, or even the rigorous double step. We call it pagan aerobics. I’ve also been a serious student of Uechi Ryu Karate and Japanese Aikido. The karate was the first discipline I had to stop, partly because of age. As I soon transition to hiking, tai chi and bicycle, I will remember this wonderful article and dance performance, I will be forced to consider hula, and start moving my hips more regularly when I free dance in the kitchen.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment and the world at InconvenientNews.net.

They Started a Karaoke Club in Their House Because the Internet Wanted It – By Lauren Vespoli -The New York Times

By 

“It was another typical Friday night in Brooklyn, as a middle-aged husband and wife, tired from the workweek, settled into their domestic routine.

“Mic check, one, two,” Roberto Williams said from his office, while Zaida Soler-Williams cleared a refrigerator shelf in the kitchen and arranged microphones on a coffee table in the living room. A fireplace with lapping flames played on an oversize screen while two disco balls slowly rotated.

Soon, their home would be full of strangers belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Drops of Jupiter.”

As the proprietors and residents of Lion’s Roar Karaoke House, Mr. Williams, 52, and Mrs. Soler-Williams, 47, have hosted up to 30 singers and carousers at a time in their living room almost every weekend for four years.”

Billy Elliot at the Goodspeed Opera house last night – by David Lindsay

David Lindsay

We saw Billy Elliot at the Goodspeed Opera house last night, and it is good news and bad news. The good news, is it a great production with amazing music and dance. An 8 out of 10, with a complicated dark story full of huge laughs. I laughed harder than at The Book of Mormon. The bad news, it closes after this Sunday, and there are limited seats left. I learned today at the Trinity Christmas Market that there is a movie version I was unaware of! The music is by Elton John, and story, is about a young boy’s courage to pursue ballet, wich is seen as totally gay, in a coal mining town of northern England as the town goes through the hell of the only mine closing.
YOUTUBE.COM
Sept 12 – Nov 24, 2019 at The Goodspeed, East Haddam, CT Young Billy Elliot is pulled between his family’s coal-mining roots and his newly discovered passion…

The Weight Meaning, Take a Load off Fanny!? Shmoop.com

The Weight
I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin’ about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
“Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?”
He just grinned and shook my hand, “No” was all he said
Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
I picked up my bag, I went lookin’ for a place to hide
When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin’ side by side
I said, “Hey, Carmen, come on let’s go downtown”
She said, “I gotta go but my friend can stick around”
Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
Go down, Miss Moses, there’s nothin’ you can say
It’s just ol’ Luke and Luke’s waitin’ on the Judgment Day
“Well,

“Robertson was intrigued, in particular, by films like Nazarín (1959) and Viridiana (1961), which deal with people who try, but find it impossible, to do good. “The Weight,” Robertson says, explores the same theme. “Someone says, ‘Listen, would you do me this favour? When you get there will you say “hello” to somebody or will you give somebody this or will you pick up one of these for me?’ . . . So the guy goes and one thing leads to another and it’s like ‘Holy s–t, what’s this turned into? I’ve only come here to say “hello” for somebody and I’ve got myself in this incredible predicament.'”

From its very conception, then, “The Weight” taps into both the spiritual and the real. It chronicles the increasingly complex trip of a sainthood-seeking errand boy—a do-gooder pilgrim who finds his progress hindered by a cast of curious characters. But these characters were pulled from the streets of Fayetteville and Turkey Scratch, not from the New Testament. The temptations, complications, and growing burdens of the narrator’s errand were proffered not by visitors from the other side, but from the common-yet-fantastic characters who walk life’s very real streets.

Inspired by Buñuel but populated by Arkansans, the song is most simply about the burdens we all carry. The “weight” is the load that we shoulder when we take on responsibility or when we try to do good. But it’s also the heaviness that presses down on us when we fall into “sin” or wrestle with “temptation.” It’s a song about a universally human dilemma. But, just as the writers drew from their own pasts in fleshing out their cast, it’s conceivable that they also drew from their own experiences in conceptualizing the “weight.” Perhaps the song refers to the very real loads shouldered by Band members, the very real burdens that resulted from the good and the bad in their own lives.”

https://www.shmoop.com/the-band-the-weight/meaning.html

A Star Ascends To Bluegrass Heaven | New Haven Independent

“Dobro master Stacy Phillips, who died Tuesday at the age of 73.Watching Stacy Phillips contemplatively smoke his cigars in baggy pants and a T-shirt outside his Alden Avenue apartment or pass the hat between sets with his “bluegrass characters” at the Outer Space, you might not guess he won a Grammy.You might not know that he played with some of the leading lights of the acoustic music revival of the 1960s and 1970s. You might not guess that he wrote books on music or that he had spent decades studying the intricacies of musical genres ranging from Hawaiian to hillbilly, from klezmer to gospel, from Ukrainian to Middle Eastern. You might not know that he was considered a master of the Dobro guitar on top of playing a mean fiddle.

Stacy Phillips didn’t consider himself a big shot. He scraped together a living here, gigging with multiple New Haven-area ensembles, teaching students, and writing books for more than three decades. With an easygoing demeanor that masked an intense commitment to the highest standards, he kept old-time music alive, imbuing it with new meaning. And he inspired fellow musicians and roots-loving audiences alike.

That all came to an end Tuesday when Phillips died in St. Francis Hospital in Hartford after lying in a coma for three days, according to bassist David Chevan, whom the family designated to speak publicly about the death. Phillips was 73 years old.

Source: A Star Ascends To Bluegrass Heaven | New Haven Independent

 

My casual friend and talented associate in contra dance music Stacy Phillips passed away yesterday. He was an extraordinary bluegrass fiddler and dobro player and author of music books. It was a privilege to hear him perform. We will miss his music and mirth. My condolences and love to his close friends and family.

Caring for your Piano – from Steinway South Africa

AMBIENT CONDITIONS
Wood and felt are highly sensitive to extreme changes in temperature and humidity. During the heating period a standard good-quality humidifier should be used to control and regulate humidity. The most favorable environment for your piano is a relative humidity ranging between 45% and 70% and a constant temperature of approximately 20˚C. Sudden fluctuations in temperature must be avoided as the tuning and regulation might be influenced negatively.

via Caring for your Piano

The Diva Departs: Renée Fleming’s Farewell to Opera – The New York Times

“Robert Carsen’s new staging of “Rosenkavalier,” which had its debut in London this winter and opens at the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday, April 13, emphasizes the theme of change and upheaval by moving the setting from 18th-century Vienna to the moment when the piece was written, at the twilight of the Hapsburg Empire and the eve of World War I. It becomes an opera about the end of an era, or even the end of the world.

For Renée Fleming, the superstar soprano who will sing the Marschallin at the Met, and for music, this really is the end of an era: This “Rosenkavalier” may well be her farewell to staged opera. She will sing her final performance on the afternoon of Saturday, May 13.”

My goodness, being a folk music and dance fanatic in Connecticut, look and listen to these videos. See and hear what I have missed.

The Smothers Brothers: Laughing at Hard Truths – The New York Times

“Two weeks later, the “Comedy Hour” beat “Bonanza” in the ratings. After a few weeks more, the brothers who had seemed so nonthreatening became more daring, making political and topical references and booking musical acts with new, often anthemic songs to sing. Censors in the network’s standards and practices office began cutting jokes, comments, even entire skits. The brothers’ challenges to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration and comments on other political issues became sharper. Battles with the network censors became more frequent. The brothers took their dispute to the press and became national symbols of countercultural resistance. A little more than two years after the show’s debut, CBS fired Tom and Dick Smothers and canceled their still-successful show.”

For Confucius and His Descendants- a Cultural Comeback – by Amy Qin – The New York Times

 

“XI’AN, China — Among the qualifications Kong Dexin had to direct and choreograph a flashy new dance-drama about the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, one in particular stood out.According to Ms. Kong, 34, she is a 77th-generation descendant of that revered sage, known in Chinese as Kongzi, or Master Kong.“

Growing up, it was something we talked about casually in my family,” Ms. Kong said in an interview before a recent performance of “Confucius” in this former dynastic capital. (The production will make its American debut in January at the David H. Koch Theater in New York.) “The way my grandfather talked about him, Confucius felt more like a great-grandfather than a very distant relative.”“Very distant” is an understatement. More than 2,500 years separate Ms. Kong, a soft-spoken woman who wears pearl earrings and carries a Louis Vuitton bag, from her ancestor, who was born around 551 B.C.”

Source: For Confucius and His Descendants, a Cultural Comeback – The New York Times