off the rack brianna randall dancing

Last Montana Dance Performance

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Dance, Yoga and Fitness

off the rack afro brazilian dance bri randallTwo weeks ago, I shook my booty in a last hoorah onstage for Missoula’s signature (and super awesome) Off the Rack fundraiser event.  The purpose: raise money for our local Blue Mountain Clinic and raise awareness about sexual choice and diversity.  The unifying theme: costumes made of condoms.  My friend Gillian calls it: “Our community’s best talent show.”  It features everything from artistic body painting (yup, that’s me in green body paint at last year’s show…and Cass in a bra made of condoms…and Rob riding a bike in socks) to costume design, comedy routines and hula-hooping.

off the rack brianna randall dancingrob and bri and cass in off the rack dancingThis was my fourth consecutive performance at Off the Rack, dancing alongside Gillian and other talented teachers from the Downtown Dance Collective.  It combines all of my favorite things: I love dancing.  I love Missoula.  I love costumes.  And I love a good cause.

Check out these videos that Rob filmed to watch a few of the dances from the 2013 Off the Rack Show.  And then go check it out in person next February.

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Off the Rack in Missoula dance bodypaint brianna randall

Exercise on a Boat

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in Dance, Yoga and Fitness, Sailing

saucony tennis shoes on avocado green tiles - i hate sitting still I’m sitting in the grungy hallway of a junior high school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The buzzing fluorescent lights highlight the 1970s avocado-green tiles, and illuminate Rob and his brother, Brent, playing volleyball in the gym a few yards ahead of me.

We’re visiting Rob’s family for a week before we head off next month. I’m quickly realizing it’s a good test case for how I’ll cope with transitioning to a boat, at least in terms of exercise. The bad news: it’s been 24 hours and I already feel antsy.

The good news: I just found the girls locker room and danced like a crazy woman to music blasting from my laptop, which made me feel much better.

One thing I’m most anxious about as we embark on our voyage is that I’ll become a bitchy and unhappy person if I can’t get enough exercise. Other people seem slightly concerned, too: for instance, my friend Heather turned to me during an Oula Dance class last week in sudden alarm, asking, “Bri! How are you going to dance on a boat?” Great question, and one that I’ve spent a lot of time pondering.

Rob playing indoor volleyball in a gym near his hometown in PA

If you know me at all, you know I don’t sit. I have a standing desk, I bike to work, I do yoga, dance, and strength training. And that’s often all in a single day (thank you, Downtown Dance Collective). Then there’s the outdoor activities that keep me sane and peaceful: hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, cross-country skiing.

Movement is a huge part of who I am and how I relate to the world. I’ve been reading Zero to Cruising and other blogs to learn how other cruisers deal. I know that sailing is active, and that I’ll use my body plenty onboard.

But I’m still anticipating that I’ll need to learn to let go of the antsy feeling that wells up when I stay put.

Off the Rack in Missoula dance bodypaint brianna randall

I’ll need to learn to breathe through the frustration of not being able to hop on my bike and ride hard uphill. Most importantly, I’ll need to be creative in the small, confined space. Pushups, lunges and sit-ups will get boring fast.

That’s why I’m planning on dancing my way across the Pacific. I might not get to make big turns or long leaps. And I won’t look nearly as cool as I did in the performance picture to the left (note: this is how I picture myself when I dance … even in grungy junior high locker rooms). But that won’t stop me from dancing on the bow — even if I have to wear a life jacket and strap myself to the mast.

Stay tuned for videos and posts on how I stay fit, sane and (hopefully) pleasant during our Pacific crossing. Meanwhile, I’m going to do a set of jumping jacks to stay pleasant here in Pennsylvania while I wait for Rob.


Dancing Adventures

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Community and Culture, Dance, Yoga and Fitness

Dancing is definitely up there with my top 3 favorite things in life.  Especially when I get to pair it with one of my other top 3 favorites: spending quality time with my best friends and family (which, luckily for me, happen to be the same people).

Check out this video of a little Wednesday night ditty with my buddy, “Karamat.”  Yup, we’re wearing random costumes.  Nope, we’re not even slightly buzzed.  Why?  Well, why the hell not?  What else would we do on a dark, cold-ish Montana weeknight?  Plus, I wanted to inaugurate the new Go Pro Hero 2 that arrived that afternoon in the mail (checked it off the list in our Little Red Bon Voyage Bible, thanks to 20% off at REI).  And I hadn’t seen “Karamut” since the last time we donned random wigs and danced around…at least 2 weeks ago.

Saturday night, my sister and dad and I left the wigs in the costume trunk, and went down to the Blacksmith Brewery in Stevensville to investigate the seasonal Pumpkin Ale and the groovy tunes of Tom Catmull.  Both rocked.  Too bad I left the Go Pro at home…the slightly blurry smartphone pics are still pretty fun, though.  Check out the father-daughter duo tearing up the brewery dance floor below.  I got in a dance with both Cassidy and Dad, and also led Ali in a sweet polka spin.  My pink cowboy boots always make me feel like leading a polka.

From Dancing to Dodging Deer – Just a Typical Tuesday

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Community and Culture, Dance, Yoga and Fitness, Reflections on Life
These photos were from a huge African drum and dance festival in Seattle a couple years ago. It’s in April each year, and well worth the trip!

As you might notice, Rob and I don’t really like routines.  We avoid them, actually.  But there’s one thing we don’t mind scheduling: our favorite athletic hobbies.  For Bob-ito, that means volleyball, basketball, and martial arts.  For me, that means dance classes of any kind, usually at the Downtown Dance Collective: Oula, Brazilian, ballet, hiphop, salsa.

Tonight I got the best of both worlds: an unscheduled dance class.  Thanks to my mom, I found out at 4pm there was a 7pm West African class taught by visiting master drummers and dancers from Guinea.  Sold.

I take a West African dance class about once a year, usually when someone from the African continent comes to Missoula to teach (thanks, Unity Dance and Drum!).  Even though I dance almost daily, my body is always wrecked after a West African class.  Somehow, nothing else physically compares to the exertion I put forth flailing, jumping, squatting, and spinning to loud, live drums.

And nothing else can make me feel so completely humble and humiliated one moment, and then exhilarated and affirmed the next.  It’s awesome.

Sidenote: I highly recommend everyone try something that makes them feel this schizophrenically bipolar at some point.  It brings us out of our comfort bubbles and makes us realize we can do interesting–even astounding–things.

Again, this was the big festival in Seattle in April. Everything is free. Thanks to my friend, Saleche (Celeste), for finding it and going with me in 2010.

In preparation for the body-wrecking class, I rode my bike downtown to try and loosen the muscles.  It’s now pitch black by 8:30pm, so the ride home through dark, forested Greenough Park along bear-infested Rattlesnake Creek was its own adventure.  Good thing I have lights on my bike.

Yelling “Hey, Bear.  HEEEYYY, BEARS,” into the dark woods, I turned a corner and literally braked about 4 inches from a huge buck.  Whew.  Better than a bear, but it still got my heart rate up higher than the dance class did.

Just another Tuesday night in Missoula…spontaneous African dance and a near-miss on T-boning a deer on a bike.   I wonder if tomorrow’s more-regularly- scheduled Oula dance class will have anything spontaneous in store!

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