“Carry Out,” Timbaland Afro-Caribe Warm-up

Tonight was a sad night, my last to teach in the studio formerly known as Melonlight Dance Studio.  I get it–Dance studios are hard to keep alive, especially when they have to compete with big chain-gyms that offer fitness and fitness dance classes…  the privately owned dance studio sometimes just can’t keep up!

melonlightstudioBut we’ve had a good run in this beautiful space!  It was the first class I felt was truly “Mine” – not something I took over from anyone else and not a space I’m simply using under another company.  After Melonlight left, we had the space–US.  Afro-Caribe….  and we were making it ours.

I’m not sure exactly where we’ll end up but this dance form is something that is alive and growing!  And people are asking for it to be brought into other cities…  so please, spread the word, come to a class, stay connected and join in the booty-shaking, undulating, hip-grinding, sexy, fun dance form, Afro-Caribe whenever you can!  I’ll be sure to keep you all informed as far as where I’m teaching.  As for now, you can join me at Belliston Dance Academy at the Littleton location on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 and Saturday mornings at 9:00 (all except the 2nd Saturday of each month).

As for now, this is a warm-up we’ve been practicing, that my student and friend Jennifer was kind enough to record tonight on my iPhone for those of you who want to give it a try at home!

I’d love to know what some of you think and if you’re able to follow it all and practice at home.

Beyond that, keep shaking it and stay connected to the growing world of Afro-Caribe!  I’ll be sure to keep sharing here so stay tuned!

For the Love of Your Life!


Women, Muscle & Sex

Some of you are reading this title thinking….  Really?  Do those go together?  And I say, “Absolutely!”  Care to explore with me?

How constantly are we bombarded with the over-sexualized, skinny-fat 4waif’ish, sized 0-2 masquerading as sexually superior?  The fronts of magazines are plastered with what I like to call “skinny fat chicks” (who often weigh less than 100 lbs. but have about 25+% bodyfat) claiming that they can show us the way to a fit, lean body in less than five weeks.             …Something seems off here.

And how many of us—male or female—look at those tiny little girls and actually FEEL our blood pumping and our sexual appetites inspired?  Okay, there are those of you who do….  But most of us, from what I’ve found, don’t feel a lot–except for the women who compare themselves and simply feel BIG in comparison. (Just a little look at the picture above:  Average height & weight of a VC Model – 5’10” and 110 lbs.  Average age – 21.  Just sayin’)

Women very often look at the images constantly taunting us from magazine covers and digital screens–sometimes more than men –and compare ourselves to these bodies that current Northern-American culture claims are the “hottest” but look as if they might collapse under the weight of… life.

Maybe that’s part of the problem.  We’re granting too much influential power to folks who just can’t handle the weight.

Here is one thing I know about the human body:

If you do not purposefully engage it, intensely; you will not know how to engage others with it, powerfully.

So what does this mean for a woman or girl who has little-to-no muscle?  And what in the world does it mean for her—and her partner’s—sex life?

Let’s think about it for a moment.  No muscle usually means no strength training (and strength training can fall under all sorts models used to purposely strengthen the body’s musculoskeletal system)—often a sign of those folks who are caught in the world of cardio and… um, “toning”—who would become faint if handed a 12 lb. dumbbell and would justify not training with, “Eewww….  I don’t want to get all big and muscle-y.”  NEWSFLASH ladies:  If you’re built like a stick with very little natural muscle, there’s as much chance for you to bulk up as there is the Hulk turning pink!  And believe me, Skinny doesn’t age well.  So take a deep breath and pick up some weights, do some push-ups,

Make friends with your muscles.

skinny-fat2Sometimes skinny is a sign of someone who is “watching her figure” by essentially starving herself.  ….Of course, if she’s not inclined to indulge the sensory pleasure center of her mouth, tongue, and taste buds; will she be any more inclined to indulge sensation in other areas of her body?  (…Something to think about)

Now, clearly I’m putting some bold generalizations out there and exaggerating for effect, though hopefully not pissing anyone off too horribly.  And I struggle with my own desire sometimes to be “thinner.”  Uugghh, I hate even naming that, as it feeds the epidemic.  I also know women who purposely try their damnedest to PUT ON WEIGHT in the form of muscle, and struggle to do so, and I don’t want to add to a story that all skinny women are frail or less-than-sexual-less-than-powerful-beings.  Not the case!

Realistically however, there are far too many people caught in the idea that “skinny” is “sexy” – that smaller is better, that …..ultimately, that “less” is “more.”  And this is simply untrue.

And we need to stop wishing ourselves away. 

I’m clearly not speaking to the woman who trains her ass off, nourishes her body with healthy food and engaging activity.  I’m talking to the women—and men who worship them—who think of a gym as a place to chat with their friends while they do 30-45 minutes on a Stairmaster or in a “Step class,” never really engaging their bodies or muscles, and live on 600 calories a day.  That’s not healthy or sexy!!

Let’s talk about why.  When you think about sex—really think about it—(and I know you do on your own, so I’ll just boldly invite you to fully engage here while you’re reading) …when you think about what it feels like, what your ideal vision or sensory experience is, with legs and arms intertwined; bodies fully engaged and exploring, positions, changing positions, moving in all sorts of wild ways that put your genitals in just that perfect place in relation to your partners genitals …And how they work, and the movements that most stimulate them—and moving your partner, being moved by your partner, holding on, holding down, holding tight, the aliveness that can overtake you at times….  Consider the difference of doing all that WITH muscle (equaling stamina, strength, endurance, flexibility, engagement, and a vast movement repertoire) vs. WITHOUT muscle (equaling… well, someone who looks good draped over a hot car in a bikini).

What do you want to FEEL?  How do you want your partner to engage with you and how do you want to engage with your own body and with your partner?  Or partners??  (Just considering my potential audience).  So….  can we STOP giving the message to women, and particularly to young women and girls, that SKINNY is SEXY?

Let’s just stop!

People sometimes chuckle when I say I’m going to “train” rather than exercise or workout.  And they’ll ask, grin on their faces, “What are you training for?”  I usually simply respond with, “Life!”  Maybe I need to say, “A rockin’ sex life!”

We learn to live through our body’s interaction with others, with our environments, through movement and sensation and touch.  And right now, far too many of us are growing our brain-based-knowledge and losing our body-based-wisdom.

When we know how to tolerate intensity in our bodies, we know how to tolerate intensity in life, in love, and with one another.  And let’s face it, life’s just intense sometimes.  How about we figure out how to move through it rather than shrink away and avoid it?

If you’ve not taught yourself how to train with intensity, your body will have no capacity to engage intensely with another person.

I’d love to hear what some of you find most sexy about your partner’s—real or imagined—bodies and ways of engaging yours.  I think we all might be pleasantly surprised that most often, it’s not the “perfect” whatever…  it’s the way it’s used!

For the Love of Your Life!




Love is Wicked

….I don’t really believe that love is wicked!  It’s the name of a song that is actually one of my favorite choreographed pieces that we use for Afro-Caribe.  This particular piece was choreographed by Lysiane Ayita and is used as a “moderate” level dance, just after a warm-up or just prior to a cool-down.

When I was in La Grande, Oregon last month, this was one of the pieces that I shared and I’ve had multiple requests to post it on-line so that participants could practice it at home.  While this is far from anything professional, I was grateful to have one of the other instructors offer to record it on my iPhone last night, and one of our dancers, Kelly, was gracious enough to allow herself to be filmed as well!

For those of you who are interested in more postings of dances you’d like to try or practice, just let me know!  At some point, we will have a more professional instructional DVD to offer but, for now, we can at least play around with this type of sharing!


Love is Wicked” by Brick & Lace

For the Love of Your Life!







You’ve all been hearing and reading about Afro-Caribe on my Facebook page, my blog posts, etc, enough to either be thoroughly annoyed or fairly intrigued—at least from the responses I’ve seen!  And while we haven’t yet had the capacity to bring this powerful, sexy, sultry dance form to many parts of the country, I believe it will most certainly find it’s way….

I’ve put together a short, very “low-tech” warm-up—a simple introduction to a very basic series of movements that I would usually lead at the beginning of an Afro-Caribe class—whether beginner, intermediate or advanced.  This style of warm-up is used to activate the muscles we utilize in the style of dance from which our choreography pulls—foundations such as Latin & Carribean, West African, Reggaeton, Middle Eastern, Dancehall, and R&B.

While this piece is nothing outrageous or very difficult, it can provide a sense of the type of movement that is both required and utilized—meaning practiced to the point where it becomes foundational—for building the more advanced level aspects of the choreography.

Afro-Caribe is founded in traditional dance forms and integrates a variety of movements from around the world.  We speak to the meaning of the music—a dialogue that takes place primarily in our bodies as we explore how the music moves us.

If pieces such as this one become helpful for those considering either coming to class or a “Break-It-Down” workshop, which happen about once a quarter—or possibly even becoming certified and bringing Afro-Caribe to your home town! …Please share your responses and spread the word!

There are other videos and images that will provide more of a feel for the overall style and techniques that are utilized in classes.  And please come to our  Afro-Caribe Facebook page and “like” us!   Check out the schedule of classes and come and join us sometime!

And I’ll say one more time, as I step into my vulnerable and transparent offering here, this is just ME.  In my basement.  With my iPhone on a bench.  Sharing a very small bit of something I deeply love <3

I hope you enjoy!