Category Archives: Dance

surprisingly, i am missing…


Yes, you heard me right. I  miss Zumba. Teaching and dancing Salsa, Bachata, Mambo, Samba and Cha cha were just amazing, but after four weeks of bed rest, it is Zumba I miss.


1. Fitness

Well. I am currently looking at my once lithe body and realising that for the first time in my life, I am flabby. There is no muscle tone anywhere, because there has been no exercise, and it troubles me. Zumba was the one thing kind of exercise-y I could bear (no icky gyms, yay!), and its impact on my body tone was incredible. Two Zumba sessions a week, and my abs, butt and legs toned up super quick! I miss having that fitness reflected in my body. Plus, I’m vain!

2. Fun

Zumba was electrifyingly fun. Dance is my oxygen and will never be replaced, but Zumba was becoming my let-my-hair-down Friday night activity. Sometimes you just want to let your hair down and REALLY let your body move and pump to music. Zumba was fantastic for this, plus getting a workout bonus!

3. Teaching

Teaching Zumba fitness was so different to teaching dance, because it was so different, and attracted different people. For one thing, music is playing the whole time, meaning you don’t need to talk a lot. For another, there’s something very special about seeing people who want a jolt of fitness in their mundane evening, walk out feeling energized, and sweaty but smiling!

At this stage I have no idea if I will be resuming teaching Zumba anytime soon. Getting back to dance is my number one priority, but I’ll be realllly happy when I can do it all. Sigh.

Do you love Zumba? Perhaps all of you can do a Zumba class this week on my behalf? 🙂


the saga of my spine, le update

Most of you know by now that I’ve been injured for the last couple of weeks. A slipped disc, how utterly glorious for a dancer! This has meant that I’ve been pretty quiet on several fronts – social, professional and more, and I figured it was time for le update on le situation. Today I’m having a good day (pain has been managed well) so in a good frame of mind to discuss this. I cannot however promise that I won’t burst into internet-tears halfway so it would be nice if you could ensure some tissues and rage management meds are handy! Hello insanity!

So. What’s been happening in my life? Well to tell the truth, not much at all. I’ve been pretty much lying in bed for 2 weeks. Yes, I can get up and move around. Yes, I can look after myself. Yes, I can do things. But. And this is a huge but – I can’t do much for more than 30 minutes at a time whilst upright. At this stage, sitting up hurts after 30 minutes, as does standing and walking and moving around. Most things are still too heavy, like the kettle when filled, the frying pan, the 2litre bottle of milk. You get the idea.

When I do move around, I’m so far up to about 2 hours of mild, very mild activity, before collapsing in a heap, disoriented, in relentless pain, and so exhausted I can (and usually do) sleep for a long long time. Sometimes I pick up the phone and dial S or one of my friends and babble tearily. Needless to say, it’s not ideal for daily living, or indeed much fun or fabulousness at all. 2 weeks of this and I am officially over it – everything taking much longer, simple things like taking a shower or making a simple meal exhausting me, and the reality that my days are half spent lolling about feeling mentally alert but physically dead.

I AM getting better though, and can feel it. I can increasingly (by a few minutes each time) do a bit more, stay standing/sitting a bit longer, feeling brave enough to try something new. Most times I’m punished by the pain that creeps up, feeling like a 100kg man is determinedly climbing up onto my back and bouncing up and down, demanding attention. Hi Mr Climber! I’m begging you – please stop bothering me!

Mentally and emotionally, it has been exhausting not just for me, but I’m hyper aware that it’s been a burden for all those around me. It has been immensely difficult realising that daily life is no longer an option, that I can’t plan my future weeks, that no one can give me a time frame for recovery because it varies so much from person to person. The frustration from not being able to do basic things has been overwhelming. Having to reach out to my friends and ask so much of them has been embarrassing – I know it’s what they’re my friends for but it’s still heart wrenching being this needy. Having to be so unsure about my dancing future has been the hardest – this is something I’m absolutely not ready to talk about.

A setback this week didn’t help. Everything was feeling so much better – I was more mobile, had my pain under great management, and could sit up for up to 45 minutes, so on Monday decided to try going into work for a couple of hours. This was a huge mistake – the sharp pains going down my hip and leg all night told me so. The doctor told me so. A relapse is not what I needed, but it happened. If not better by next week my doctor is considering an epidureal injection, the thought of which puts me in such conniptions that I swear it’s spasming up my back even more just thinking about it.

I am incredibly lucky. I have a team keeping my dance school going, an amazingly capable team whom I can entrust all students to. I have the best posse of girlfriends who come over, bustle, never let me get too morose, help me clean my apartment and ensure I have food and emotional well being.

Girlfriends who know I’m missing them whilst on a lunch date so all simultaneously SMS-ed with “MISS YOU” msgs! Glorious!
Get well soon flowers

House filled with gorgeous well wishes

The Sock Bun - on Sharon Pakir

Anita came and cheered me up by practicing new hair styles on captive me!

Ps, that last photo? That is what it looks like in Casa de Sharon, everyday at the moment. Charming.

I have well meaning friends and students and colleagues from around Australia who have bolstered me with their messages of support and encouragement. I have the best partner anyone could ask for, who juggles his own hectic life and mine too whilst being loving and caring and frankly, still surprisingly attracted to this lolling, skinny, birds-nest-haired mess that resides perpetually on the living room floor and makes squawking whinger noises.

Also, strictly for your entertainment, on Sunday I decided to cut my own hair in an effort to feel a BIT more feminine and pretty than I have been. When I went into work on Monday I took a photo (since I, shock & horror, wasn’t wearing pyjamas and was actually semi-presentable, the effort of which by the way, was debilitating). Self hair cut didn’t turn out so bad, methinks.

Self hair cut - Sharon pakir

The Good Drugs make me a talented Fringe Cutter!

Please ignore the fact that almost straight after this, Mr Pain came back and I had to go home whimpering.

So it could all be worse. And lots of people have been through much worse. And I’m lucky. And I hope anyone else with a bad back reads this and has some understanding from it – I know I keep badgering my doctor and physio with the “is this normal? can this possibly take this long? how can this be normal?” questions. Yes. They tell me this is normal. But guys, keep rooting for it to get better ok?

Hope you liked the update! Happy happy posts with our trip photos coming soon I promise!

we did it!

So Zee and I decided sometime earlier this year that perhaps it was time to do a performance again (our last one was in 2007!). It’s a little bit hard though – Zee lives in Singapore and me in sunny Melbourne, which makes rehearsing commute a tiny bit difficult.

So he decided to fly up here for a week. And then I tore my ankle ligament the week before he arrived! Yayy!

So with a total of just 16 hours choreography and rehearsal time, Zee and I met up in Bangalore for the 5th International India Salsa Congress a couple of weekends ago and performed it! We were pretty nervous – what with my ankle not being entirely stable and not having had much time to train, and we’re pretty happy with the result!

We’ll also be performing this routine at the Sydney Salsa Congress in 2011! We are sure by then it’ll be fantastic, with stable ankle, GREAT spine (positive thinking), high heels and a bit more practice! Click the link below to watch the video and tell us what you think!

don’t hold me back.

Yes ok, that was a pun, and a very poor one at that. I guess cryptic tweets and facebook status updates are really not the way to do this anymore. After a glorious 2 week trip, this is the last thing I want to blog about but it’s important for my own catharsis and to get everyone understanding why it is I’ve been a hermit upon my return to sunny Melbourne. Yes, that was another joke, the coldness of this damn city is killing me. What I would do for the tropics right now.

I’m highly emotionally volatile this week, and it’s because 2010, you have just about slain me with infliction of injuries. At the start of the year it was a pinched nerve in my neck that took weeks to treat to wellness. Just 2 months ago, I tore my ankle ligament, putting grave fears that I wouldn’t be able to dance for a long time in my heart (and my dance partner’s!). Luckily with solid treatment and the mother of all braces, I was able to perform, perhaps not to perfection, but to satisfaction, on my overseas trips. In ugly flat shoes. Uh huh. But still, everything till now has seemed a mere trip up in the journey of my dancing. And now? Probably the most dreaded injury of all. You see, you can operate on knees, heal ligaments and broken bones eventually, even strengthen dislocated limbs. I’ve done all of those at various stages and always bounced back. This is the first time I literally feel like I can’t, and may not.

So when I got back from the airport on Wednesday, I had a bit of a cough. I’m not talking a hacking, thumping on the back requiring cough, I’m talking a very ladylike KOFFKOFF. And all of a sudden my back seized up. I’d been feeling its soreness for a few days in India already, but this was nothing like soreness, it was acute pain. I called out for Steve and said “Honey, this doesn’t feel so good.”

I spent the next 24 hours in a state of flux and pain – but knowing that sometimes backs do get thrown out, they just need rest, I just needed to give it time. However I’d never been in this much pain before – not through fractured bones, knee operations or ligament issues in my ankle. Movement was highly restricted, as almost anything caused searing pain right in my lower spine. I couldn’t sit, move forward or well, do anything.

On Friday I got an appointment with yet another of the wonderful doctors at the Olympic Park Medical Centre – these guys are not only awesome, they are also starting to get to know me, ALL of them, through all my various injuries! Bonus! The only thing bad is that these guys treat all manner of athletes and truly know their injuries.

As soon as my doctor pronounced the words “slipped disc“, the tears started streaming down my cheeks. I’ve never been so glad to have Steve sitting in a doctor’s office with me as then. He explained to me all the implications, the treatments possible, the risk factors, all the while handing me tissues and watching me silently weep. All that was going through my head was “this is it“. I was soooo mortified but couldn’t help it – I’d just had it with waiting rooms, doctors, and pronouncements of me not dancing anymore. He was delightful about it and pretended like there wasn’t a loony bin sitting in front of him collapsing into a whirlwind of emotions, but gosh it was awful.

Imagine feeling like you’re finally, after many years, becoming the dancer you have wanted to be, and have made the difficult and seemingly insane decision to quit your job, focus on your 2 passions in life, and LIVE your dream instead of trying to do it half heartedly whilst having a full time job. And life, instead of saying “YES, Go Forth! Pursue with Passion!”,  instead rubs its hands together in glee and keeps sticking its foot out in the aisle to trip you over. And over. Oh, and over.

I know no one with a fully slipped disc (not spine PROBLEMS, but a disc that has prolapsed entirely) who has been able to resume to 100% of their ability. And certainly not quickly. And definitely not in dance, a sport that requires full use of your body. Plus, I don’t really have a year or two to recuperate – I’m almost 30. It’s time for me to do this NOW. As you might imagine, this has been a huge blow. My brother had a slipped disc. It made his life a misery.

To explain the crazy emotions I’ve been through in the last 2 days, exacerbated of course by the WOOSA inducing painkillers they’ve put me on, and the need to stay bed-bound for 3 days (because lying still is SO in my nature!), would give you an insight into the insanity that I’m not sure I want publicly displayed. But as ever, I am willing to be adventurous in my descriptions, so here goes.

I’m weepy. Leaking like a badly installed roof in a storm. Angry. Moping. Feeling like it’s hopelessly unfair. I’m discouraged. At times of real sinking, I think that there are sadly enough, people in the Melbourne salsa scene that may be happy this has happened to me. I’m also relieved sometimes, that it hasn’t hit the nerves in my legs, graced with blessings that mean I could potentially heal. Maybe. I’m frustrated. Sad. In a rage. I see colours and lights and happiness when the drugs are peaking and smile drunkenly and blabber lots and entertain anyone who’s online and up for a seemingly drunken chat. I’m sore from lying down. Standing up hurts. My body feels like it has snapped in half. Eyes hurt from crying. I’m alone. Living in a different country to my family and home has never felt so difficult.

I know logically that the only way is up. And my team has rallied together incredibly to ensure my two events this weekend go off without a hitch in my absence, as well as to make sure the school keeps running smoothly. My friends have been amazingly loving, supportive and all of it. My business partners have been so understanding. Steve, love of my life, has been a strength and pillar of support, and my family has been superb at long distance love. I realistically have a very good support system to get through this.

And I know it’s not entirely dire – I COULD bounce. If this first few days goes well and I lie and don’t move, it may heal. I am lucky. I have so much around me to be thankful for. I’m going to focus on allowing my loved ones into my life to help look after me instead of reclusing like a hermit (my first instinct when I’m injured). I’m going to blog. Lots. I’m going to do all the computer/accounting/admin type things for the studio I can whilst lying down. I’m going to plan my recovery. All the while, I’m going to allow the emotions and rage because it’s healthy (sorry in advance, my friends!). And try to ignore the pain, the pain, the pain that is all consuming.

If I am a recluse, if I don’t want to talk, forgive me. I have some very tough decision making to do in the next couple of days about my upcoming travel and events, about allowing my mum to come to Melbourne to tend to me, about how I’m not going to make Steve crazy as I’m a difficult patient. At this stage I’ve been told not to leave the house, to just lie flat, to not MOVE. And moving is painful – it literally feels like my body has been cut in half at the spine. Basic things like going to the bathroom, making a cup of tea, sitting up to eat, they hurt. And ashamed as I am to admit this, I’m not in a space (given it’s only been 24 hours since diagnosis) to hear about anyone else’s experiences, good or bad. I’m struggling, even if I’m having a moment of lucidity as I type this. I’m crying a lot. I’m sorry. It’s immature. But I need time with it all.

So I guess this is the end of the story. I haven’t not been able to type it all out in a coherent way, just an honest way. I promise to update again soon – I am aware of all the people friends, family out there who love me dearly and to whom I owe it to to keep updated. I am such a lucky girl who just feels momentarily kicked in the guts by life.

holiday or work trip?

The lack of posting hasn’t because I’ve fallen off the face of the planet – it’s because we’ve been full swing ahead on planning for our absence, given that we depart on Tuesday for our trip.

Trip? Yes! Myself, S, and my dance team are off to the Malaysia Salsa Festival in KL, and the India Salsa Congress in Bangalore. Teaching, performing and generally living a very TOUGH lifestyle exploring foreign lands, attending awesome dancing parties, and well, dancing our heads off.

it’s always hard for me to describe these travels – it’s work, but only sometimes and at points feels like work because of the love for dance. It’s pleasure, but definitely is work too, but oh, so much FUN. Plus, the bonding of our teams on this trip is just incredible – everyone comes back raving about their new experiences, the thrill of performing on an international stage, and the friendships made are usually extremely strong! So work? Holiday? WHO KNOWS.

Either way, I’ve been rushing around at final rehearsals, sourcing costume bits and pieces, beading my costume, OH and beading, trying to make sure the studio will be *gasp* ok without me for 2 weeks (I should really stop being anxious, I have such amazingly capable staff who always hold the fort well when I’m absent), doing all the last minute things, final purchases, squeezing in last moment meetings and trying to tee up meetings and work for when I return. Madness.

i CAN’T WAIT to be gone. And feeling like this.