A Curve Experience: {Summer Intensives with Contemporary Dance Dubai}

After a quiet summer, we are so excited that many new classes and courses are kicking off again! However while many other companies halted activity over the summer, Contemporary Dance Dubai instead chose keep up its momentum and run a series of intensive summer workshops. We sent our dance loving intern Farah to check them out. Could she keep up with this high energy workshop? Read on to find out!

I love trying new things in life, especially new forms of dance, so I was very excited to be invited to attend an intensive contemporary dance workshop with Contemporary Dance Dubai in Habtoor Grand Hotel in Jumeirah Beach Residence.

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The instructor Krista Degaetano is the founder of Contemporary Dance Dubai and is one of the pioneers of this dance style in our city. All the choreography she teaches in her workshops is her own and while it is not easy, it is truly beautiful. Her obvious passion for contemporary dance fuelled  the workshop and inspired and excited all the attendees.

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The class started off with some stretching and slow music. Following that, we began the tough part: the choreography. Due to the large number of students, the class had to be split the class into 2 groups and each group had to perform separately. The pace was quick as it was an intensive workshop, but Krista took great care to make sure she helped the students pick up the choreography and stay together. The energy in the room was fantastic throughout the entire session, and I enjoyed watching all the other students really put in their best effort.

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The class was a challenge for me because it was my first time to try contemporary dance but Krista’s style of teaching encouraged me to give it my all! The intensive workshops are open to multiple levels on different days until September 7. Don’t fret if you can’t make it to one of the last few sessions though – the new term begins on September 7 and you will be able to take a full 6 week course with CDD to suit your level!

{The facts}
Activity: Contemporary Dance
Provider: Contemporary Dance Dubai
Location: Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa
Timing: Classes run all week, the term lasts 6 weeks, and timings vary by level
Price: Varies by level
Book it

A Curve Experience: {Zumba with BNF}

Our intern Farah is an avid (and very talented!) dancer, so when we signed BNF Dance Company as one of our newest providers, we knew that she HAD to be the one to try their classes. A few weeks ago we sent her to check out their weekly Zumba sessions, and here’s what she had to say about it!

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As I am a huge lover of dance and music, I was pretty excited to attend a Zumba class with our new provider and partner BNF Dance Company at Knowledge Village. BNF specializes in providing quality choreography and routines for shows and events in addition to offering dance and dance fitness classes. Most of their team originates from Latin America, and you can really feel the Latin vibe in everything they do!

BNF Dance Company The CurveZumba is a Latin inspired dance class that uses high-energy music and is designed to teach you dance moves while sweating off the calories. When I first entered, I could instantly sense how excited everyone was and that rubbed off on me. We started with some stretching and then the music picked up and the dancing began. The class was so energetic and fun that I did not really feel like I was exercising, but at the same time I was sweating so much.

The instructor Laura Arboleda is a phenomenal dancer and was really energetic throughout, which was great as instructors always have a huge influence on the quality of the class. My friends had told me that Zumba is easy and may become repetitive, but I did not get that sense from this class at all! Warning: If it’s your first time to take this type of class, it may not be very easy for you to pick up choreography quickly but you definitely will by the end of the class.

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Zumba is perfect for people who want to work out, but need something a little more engaging than a regular fitness class. In my opinion what’s great about Zumba is that there is no thinking needed-just feel the music and dance!

{The facts}
Activity: Zumba
Provider: BNF
Location: Office G04, Building 12, Dubai Knowledge Village, Al Sufouh
Timing: Monday & Wednesday at 18:00
Duration: 1 hour
Price: 50 AED
Book it

{Urban Energy’s Pre/Post Natal Fitness Classes}

pre natal

Photos courtesy of Urban Energy Fitness

As a newly pregnant woman, I have found that the most common advice is “don’t move too much, sleep a lot, and remember you’re eating for two.” While I’m sure most advice given to pregnant women is dispensed with good intentions, that specific combination sounds like a recipe for a health disaster, and it well and truly is!

Many people are under the impression that pregnant women shouldn’t exercise in order to protect their unborn child. However, the truth is that exercise during pregnancy actually helps you better manage labor and get back into shape more quickly afterwards. Studies have also shows that exercise during pregnancy may actually help in fetal development.

Laurence Arca-Bathe faced the same misconceptions about exercise during pregnancy when she was pregnant and found that trainers were too afraid to work with her for liability issues. Frustrated, she decided to take matters into her own hands and set up Urban Energy Fitness in 2009 to help expectant mums and women who have just delivered stay in shape. Today, the fitness company focuses on both pre & post natal fitness along with marathon training.

Photos courtesy of Urban Energy Fitness

Photos courtesy of Urban Energy Fitness

I booked my first prenatal fitness session today through The Curve, and as I exercised regularly before pregnancy and have stayed active throughout my first few months, I expected a prenatal class to be a breeze. What my mind hadn’t come to terms with yet is that my body is not capable of the same energy exertion now as pre-pregnancy! I was in for a shock.

The session that I attended took place in Safa Park, but classes are also available at The Palm Jumeirah. The instructor Zoe separated the women into pre & post natal groups as the exercises were different. She then guided us through several sets of circuits for the duration of an hour, which included squats, planks, lunges, deadlifts, and even kettleball swings! While she was extremely careful and aware of everyone’s personal situation, she definitely wasn’t lenient! I appreciated her attentiveness and the small class size, as it meant she was always double checking my form to ensure I don’t injure myself.

By the end of the class my legs were on fire and sweat was dripping down my face. I was really tired, but it felt SO good to do a full hour workout again, and I felt safe with Zoe’s supervision. What’s lovely about the class is the mix of women, as having new mums in the group also helps expectant ones have a goal in mind for post-pregnancy. If you’re a new mum, you don’t even have to worry about getting a baby sitter for the duration of the class. Bring your baby along and a member of the Urban Energy team will look after her along with the other children. That’s what I call amazing service!

{The facts}
Activity: Pre & Post Natal Fitness 
Provider: Urban Energy Fitness 
Location: Safa Park or Palm Jumeirah Park
Timing: Safa Park: Sun & Tues at 10:00. Palm Jumeirah: Sun 18:30, Tues 18:30, Fri 09:00
Duration: 1 hours
Price: 85 AED
Book it: Safa Park or Palm Jumeirah Park. A 10 session package is also available for a 100 AED discount. 

A Curve Experience: {Yoga under the Stars}

With a busy job in PR and an active social life, it’s rare for Amy Walker to find herself with an evening to enjoy alone. But when she did this week, she immediately sought a way to unwind and invest in herself with thecurve-me.com instead of the TV. Find out what class she tried and what she thought of it!

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I’ve gone in and out of yoga, always enjoying it but never really taking the time to commit to practicing on a regular basis. When I saw Yoga under the Stars pop up on The Curve on Sunday morning I realized I had no more excuses – my other half was occupied, I had no deadlines to distract myself with and it was the start of the week. Not to mention it was a 5 minute walk from my apartment in what is becoming a lovely community in JLT. So I booked a class for that very evening!

Amy Walker, Dubai, Yoga Retreats, JLT

I have to admit, had I not had the ‘Book Now’ button staring right at me I am sure I would have found a way to get out of it by the time 7pm came around. I will say that I believe in the power of online booking for giving yourself that commitment, and handy if you forget to carry cash around so everything is already taken care of when you get there. I found the process super easy and instantly had a confirmation e-mail to tell me where I needed to be and when along with what I would need.

The beginning of the class was very inviting – I walked up to the grass where we would be yoga-ing and I was met with ambient spiritual music as well as the sweet smell of incense. I’ll stop here and say that one of the main reasons I have started to love yoga is that I am a huge fan of all things spiritual so this appealed instantly to me. I am a big advocate for JLT and it was really nice to use the space like that (honestly the traffic is no problem at all on that side – just make sure you take the right road!).

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Livia, our instructor and founder of Yoga Retreats, was great – we had a nice little chat before we started which made me feel very comfortable. As a beginner I really appreciated feeling welcomed and free to go at my own pace (but also being pushed to stretch that little bit further when she knew I could!). We went through salute to the sun which is familiar to me even as a beginner but my favourite part about this was that we really took our time going through the poses with Livia observing and adjusting us where we needed. I could really feel the difference in places, for example I learned not to lock my arms straight when doing the cobra and bend my elbows – which funnily enough left me with some very sore arms the next day so I must have been doing something right!

I found the balance poses quite hard – it was a little distracting outside with people walking their dogs and running past while I was trying to focus on my spot and it was a little tricky to get even footing on the grass. Then again I am no expert and have a very busy mind so it’s probably more me needing to find my own balance.

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I would definitely go again and would be keen on trying one of the day classes once the weather gets cooler. I really enjoyed how I felt after (very Zen and all stretched out!)  – I would like to push myself a bit harder to get a fuller workout but the beauty of yoga is that it all gets better with practice!

The best part about it was that I took the time in the evening to invest in myself, try something that I normally wouldn’t have done and meet some like-minded people. Thank you to Livia and The Curve for making the experience so enjoyable.

#keepgrowing

{The facts}
Activity: Yoga under the Stars
Provider: Yoga Retreats
Location: Jumeirah Lake Towers, Safa Park, The Springs, and The Lakes
Timing: Timings vary, please check each individual class
Duration: 1 hour
Price: 70 AED
Book it

A Curve Experience: {One on One Guided Meditation}

Dubai is quite a hectic city, and it is easy to get sucked into the hamster wheel. While we all like to decompress in different ways, meditation is by far one of the best ways to relieve daily stress and keep yourself centered.

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Last week Salma El-Shurafa, a career and leadership development coach & entrepreneur, decided she needed a little zen and booked a One on One Guided Meditation session with The Third Eye center through thecurve-me.com. Here’s what she had to say about her experience!

Q: Why did you choose to try meditation?
A: I always wanted to try meditation classes. I was curious for the longest time “How beneficial is it really?”. I experienced it through some self-development programs I signed up for and it got me intrigued. Meditation is a great way of life and is an amazing way to get you focused, grounded and clear the clutter in your mind/body. It connects you to your being. I started to research one-on-one guided meditation class to get the most out of my session and to provide me the best techniques. I was happy to find it on your website and I couldn’t wait to try it.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you started the class?
A: I didn’t expect to find a center like that in the middle of bustling Sheikh Zayed Road! The center had a very friendly environment and I felt at ease.

Q: How was the instructor?
A: The instructor was really good and professional. He knew what he was talking about. He helped me understand what mediation is all about and the different types. He was very patient and went through everything step by step.

Q: Did you feel you benefitted from this class?
A: Yes I did. I loved it. I will start practicing more often and get the basics so I can sign up for the other types of meditation techniques.

Q: Would you go again?
A: Yes I would.

Q: How was your booking experience with The Curve?
A: It was straight forward and easy!

If you think you could benefit from meditation, check out the different meditation experiences on offer!

{The facts}
Activity: One on One Guided Meditation
Provider: The Third Eye
Location: Saeed Tower II, Sheikh Zayed Road
Timing: At your discretion. The center manager will call you with 24 hours of when you book to set up a session for you.
Duration: 1 hour
Price: 100 AED
Book it

Learning {to sew}

Growing up, I always took for granted that my mom could sew anything. From hemming our pants to elaborate fairy princess Halloween costumes, my mother was unstoppable with a sewing machine.

Aside from a few home economics classes in school and a few buttons I’ve had to sew on here and there, I’ve never really been much of a seamstress. After moving to Dubai, the ease and low cost of having a tailor make all my clothes alternations made it even less interesting for me to learn to sew, which was considered an essential skill by my mom’s generation.

This all changed when I met Theresa and Paula from reMADE DXB a few months ago to discuss listing their classes on The Curve. Stepping into their Sewing Parlor was like joining a vintage tea party in a crafter’s heaven. Buttons, bobbins, and biscuits were in abundance, and just being in the room made me itch to make something with my hands.

So when the ladies decided to offer an Intro to Hand Sewing class as part of our mamacademy series, I immediately booked the class. The 2.5 hour workshop is suitable for absolute beginners and includes all materials and light refreshments.  The objective was to sew a lavender filled hanging heart or bird.

Getting ready to start!

reMADE’s classes are intimate to ensure the quality of the tuition. This class was no exception, and with its small size the focus from instructor Paula was undivided. She started us off with stacks of pre-cut material that we could choose from and asked us to select two pieces for our work, which we cut into heart shapes.

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Afterwards, she showed us how to use a straight stitch to sew the two pieces together. While this seems like a simple task, it was actually a meticulous one to keep the stitches the same size and wrap around the edges of the curved heart.

When we had nearly finished stitching around the edges, we stuffed the heart with cotton and lavender before sealing it off. Embellishments came next, and I chose buttons to add a little shabby chic to my heart. The final touch was a ribbon to hang our creations with.

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The final result gave me a twinge of pride, as it had been so long since I had created something with my own hands. I realized that no matter how easy it is for us to find people to help us with things in the UAE, it still is important to remember how good it feels to make something yourself. Don’t believe me? Take one of reMADE DXB’s classes and see for yourself!

{The facts}
Activity: Crafting
Provider: reMADE DXB
Location: Objects & Elements Gallery, Al Quoz
Timing: Varies
Duration: Varies (on average 2.5 hours)
Price: Varies (on average 145 AED- 225 AED)
Book upcoming classes

Learning {Boxing}

The Champion Club ain’t no country club. If you’re expecting pristine white towels and water bottles handed to you as soon as you step off the treadmill, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Enter the club, and you can immediately smell it in the air – competition, intensity, and sweat. I walked in not knowing what to expect of my upcoming boxing class, but was greeted with a lovely taster, as I was able to watch the class that was just wrapping up before mine. The first thing I noticed? There was only one girl. Gulp.

I watched as punches were thrown and sweat went flying and asked myself if I was prepared to get a fist flung at me. Thankfully, the two girlfriends who were joining me arrived so I was not able to answer my own question before entering the ring.

Our class began with a half hour warm up on the mat. Classes are done barefoot so I highly recommend bringing socks for hygiene purposes. After the warm up was done, the class was led by one of the senior coaches Atan Canlubo who took us through the basic moves. When we were comfortable with them, we put on our gloves and paired up on the punching bags to practice what we had learned. This part of the class was an amazing stress buster, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t imagine a few faces on that bag.

For the remainder of the class we applied the basic punches and jabs on both the bag and pads. The coaches assess the level of each group, and when the group is more advanced they also add partner sparring into the training. Thankfully, our group was mostly composed of beginners.

The Champion Club is the perfect place to go if you are looking for an intense workout and no frills. Highly skilled coaches lead the classes and focus on giving you proper training and an unbelievable workout. My favorite thing is that they pushed us women just as hard as the men so we all could be at the same level.

Today I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus and I cannot lift my arms above my head, and that’s exactly why I know for sure that I will be back for more. In my book, a workout isn’t a workout if you don’t feel the need to collapse after it and continue to feel its effects for days!

{The facts}
Activity: Boxing
Provider: The Champion Club
Location: Icon Tower II, Cluster L, Jumeirah Lake Towers
Timing: Sunday & Wednesday. 18:45 & 20:00 on both days
Duration: 1h30min
Price: 60 AED
Book it