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Choreography merges the Afro-Cuban and Indian culture

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Growing up in India, choreographer Ranjana Warier knew little about Afro-Cuban culture.

“I knew Cuba existed. That was it,” she recalls with a laugh. “I knew there was Cuba, and I knew there was Africa, but I had no exposure whatsoever.”

Today, Warier is the artistic director of “Surya: The Eternal Rhythm,” a project that merges Afro-Cuban and Indian cultures through dance, poetry and music. The show, a 2014 winner of a Knight Arts Challenge grant by the Knight Foundation, will take place Saturday, April 2, at the Wolfson Campus Auditorium at Miami Dade College.

“We all might talk differently, and we might portray things differently, but when you look deep down, it appears to be the same human spirit shining through different kinds of lights,” she says. “That is actually very encouraging, especially in today’s world. Many of us think we’re quite different, and that’s where conflicts start. But when you start understanding diversity a little bit better, you realize how close we are.”

The project started with a poem by Miami-based poet Adrian Castro, who often writes about Afro-Caribbean culture, history and myths. Lissette Mendez, director of Miami Book Fair International, introduced Warier to Castro’s poetry, and his work immediately absorbed her.

She was so moved by one poem, titled “Clay, Chalk and Charcoal” and inspired by the African religion Yoruba, that she based a new choreography on it.

“I lost track of how many times I read it. It’s a like a Renoir, [in] that the longer you look, you start seeing the details and all the different things,” Warier says. “I read it over and over, and each time I felt I was adding one more piece of the puzzle, not knowing what I was putting together. It seemed it had many layers, and as a dancer, I could just feel the rhythm.”

Warier describes her choreography as a “visualization of Afro-Caribbean poetry through Indian dances.” She uses classical and folk Indian styles, not Bollywood. Her show also features the Miami-based Afro-Cuban dance company IFE-ILE. Castro will read the poem before the show, and a panel discussion on the creation of the project will follow the performance.

While developing “Surya,” Warier says she was surprised by how many similarities she found between the two cultures.

“I just want people not to be afraid to collaborate with people who might look very different from you,” Warier says. “Maybe you use that experience to understand their cultures, and hopefully that brings more tolerance. And if not for anything else, it’s good to know more about what else is out there.”

Credits:  Barbara Corbellini Duarte

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Dance Steps May Fix Urine Leakage!

Dancing gives women confidence, as they have to move their legs quickly to keep up with the choreography in the video game while controlling their urine, added the study

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Dance Steps May Fix Urine Leakage!
Dance Steps May Fix Urine Leakage! Pixabay

Studies have shown that dance can help you stay in shape, reduce stress, make friends and more. Now, it may also help you prevent urine leakage!

For senior women suffering from urinary incontinence, dance helps them contract their pelvic floor muscles when they perform any daily activity to prevent urine leakage, says a promising study.

For the study, the researchers at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal in Canada and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich added a series of dance exercises via a video game console to a physiotherapy programme for pelvic floor muscles.

The researchers picked 24 elderly women for the study. The results post-dance sessions were promising.

“Out team registered a greater decrease in daily urine leakage than for the usual programme, no dropouts from the programme and a higher weekly participation rate,” said Chantal Dumoulin, associate professor in the physiotherapy programme at Université de Montréal.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

According to the researchers, fun is a recipe for success.

“Compliance with the programme is a key success factor. The more you practice, the more you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles,” said Eling D de Bruin, researcher at the department of health sciences and technology at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

The challenge was to motivate women to show up each week. The dance component was the part that the women found most fun and did not want to miss. They laughed a lot as they danced, said the study published in the journal Neurourology and Urodynamics.

Dancing gives women confidence, as they have to move their legs quickly to keep up with the choreography in the video game while controlling their urine, added the study.

“They now know they can contract their pelvic floor muscles when they perform any daily activity to prevent urine leakage. These exercises are therefore more functional,” said Dumoulin.  (IANS)