Four List readers share their New Year's resolutions
An insight into getting started in trapeze, cookery, ballet or capoeira
Whether hanging from ropes, channelling Nigella or getting in touch with your Afro-Brazilian spirit, 2012 could open up a wealth of untapped doors for you. We meet four go-getters who made last year work for them
'The feeling of achievement is amazing'
Name Denise Deutsch
Profession Fabric buyer, Mandors
Skill Trapeze and Aerial Arts
I fell into the idea of aerial arts as a hobby after unexpectedly getting a ticket to see Leona Lewis perform in Glasgow. She had backing dancers doing it, and I just thought it looked really amazing – something clicked with me. I went online and found a class at the Firhill Sports Complex in Maryhill, with the incredible Glasgow-based performance art company, Spinal Chord; I’ve never looked back.
I’m not especially active, although I have done pole fitness. And truthfully, I was pretty petrified the first time I went on my own, but I had a great time and have met some really amazing people. I do a class once a week for around two hours. It feels good to do something unrelated to work, although sometimes they’ll ask advice about fabrics for costumes for their shows.
I’m still as excited by it as when I first started. Really, I can’t believe I’ve learnt to trapeze, climb and hold positions, work ropes and hoops and a whole range of other skills: I still get quite scared but the feeling of achievement is amazing. I recently did the ‘360 degree suicide drop’ – essentially controlled falling; I was shaking at first but it was absolutely fantastic. I’d recommend it to anyone.
'I was keen to try something different and get to know some new people, in a fresh environment'
Name Kirsty Moreland
I always enjoyed cooking as a child and used to dabble a bit at home, and so when I both gave up my job in a hospital to become a GP and split up with my long-term boyfriend within the space of a week, I was keen to try something different and get to know some new people, in a fresh environment.
I noticed the local community centre was running cookery classes for beginners, just teaching basic techniques. I had a bit of extra time on my hands and wanted something interesting to do with it, besides which, as a doctor, I was interested in eating healthy and nutritious food. Before long, I had picked up enough techniques to brave an Italian cookery class, which I recently finished up.
My new boyfriend has no complaints when I try out new recipes on him – his favourites being Thai chilli salmon and tarte au citron. I should add that I was by no means a great cook to start off with, but after a few disasters I really feel I have a new skill set. I’d recommend it for anyone, whether it’s just browsing the classes in your local community centre or checking out some of your neighbourhood’s cookery schools. I’ve already signed up for a cake-making class next.
'It’s improved my core strength, posture and balance'
Name Peter Shand
I eventually took up ballet classes having wished I’d done it years ago. I think everyone’s got a bit of Billy Elliot in them and, for me, watching Black Swan was the catalyst for signing up. I go to both Dance Base (in Grassmarket and Leith) and Dance for All (in Stockbridge) where they offer very accessible beginners’ classes for adults and you can easily graduate to more challenging classes each term. The teachers there are all amazingly well qualified, encouraging and adult-friendly. Ballet ticks a lot of boxes for me. Sitting at a desk for most of the day, it’s improved my core strength, posture and balance. Some of the sessions have been more beneficial (and exhausting) than doing a gym routine – have you actually ever tried doing pirouettes?!
My career as a lawyer is rewarding but pretty intense and mainly office-based. A ballet class doubles as a great therapy and antidote to the working week. It’s like a combination of yoga, stretching, and listening to classical music, with some creative expression thrown in. I know it's quirky, but I think it’s an interesting hobby to have up your sleeve.
I have really put my heart into it and am now performing with the Edinburgh Ballet Circle in a performance of Les Sylphides at St Bride’s in Edinburgh in February. So in the space of a year, I’ve gone from pretty much absolute beginner to one of the male lead parts in an amateur dance production!
'The combination of live music and engaging movements distracted me from the serious hardcore exercise I was getting'
Name Tammy Le Vasan
Profession Advertising Account Executive, The Leith Agency
My sister introduced me to Capoeira because I was looking for something new and different to the ballroom and Latin dance background I already had. I went along to one class and found that the combination of live music and engaging movements distracted me from the serious hardcore exercise I was getting. Capoeira is entirely unique: it incorporates music, singing, dance, balance and martial arts in one exciting and beautiful art form. In short, it looks very cool.
The Capoeira community is very welcoming and family-like, I practise it with Grupo Malungos Scotland, three times a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays at Edinburgh’s Nelson House Community Centre, and Fridays at Tollcross Community Centre. It’s become a very important part of my life. I took control of what I wanted to do in my evenings and it’s made me much more organised at getting work done in the office and chores done at home, so I have time to train. The knock-on effect is that I’ve also become very fit and healthy. Capoeira gives you a wealth of skills including cardio fitness, muscle tone, rhythm, singing, playing instruments and balance. I also really enjoy the fact that it’s not just about the art form, but also about Afro-Brazilian culture – I’ve now experienced Brazilian food and drink, have travelled and performed, am learning Portuguese and different instruments, and have taken part in Samba performances as well – even down to making my own Rio Samba costume!