African Dance "FUSION FITNESS" :)

Submitted by: Kimberly Richardson

Valerie's Success Story

Dance, exercise, movement have been key ingredients of my adult life. I signed on for Kimberly Richardson's "Fusion Fitness" class at the Penobscot Bay YMCA not knowing what to expect and hoping at the very least for a cardiovascular workout. Kimberly has proceeded to BLOW MY MIND. What she leads is beyond my frame of reference and thus, cannot be defined in merely a word.

For one thing, our feet do not miss one beat of rhythm for one solid hour. Our feet move in a pattern that goes from simple to complex. But that's only one aspect. Following the feet are our arms, torso, heads, shoulders, hands - oftentimes in illogical opposite seeming directions (like rubbing your belly and touching your nose) - but in the end, it's all in harmony and balance. I laugh and say that with this practice, I am sure to be defying the likes of Alzheimer's disease as I'm fully engaged on a cellular level mind and body.

Kimberly may offer a set of movements and see from the reflection in the mirror that the students are tangled up with their bodies. She'll bring it to a simple foot pattern, enlarge that pattern, bring emphasis to it and THEN add arm movement in the same progressive manner - from a simple whisper to dynamic expression. Layered on that is what the head is doing. Put it all together and the movement has complexity defying what the mind would insist as incapable of achieving. It is movement usually reserved for the professional dancer.

In the end, I can see the likes of African rhythmic dance but what's of supreme importance is that we are engaged in a metamorphosis of movements that build upon themselves, calling forth coordination I haven't needed in any aspect of all my years of life and living. Kimberly brings a profoundly unique dimension of body work to Maine that simply isn't in our community. What she has to offer is a gift and THAT she is willing to contribute her highly professional talents and years of expertise to the Camden YMCA is none other than community service. The caliper of what Kimberly has to offer would otherwise be out of financial reach for many of us. I am grateful to have chanced upon the opportunity to experience this art through Kimberly's direction.

I write this testimonial after having given Kimberly feedback and learning of her presentation at the Chamber of Commerce tonight wanted to do my best to put some of what I told Kimberly into writing. Kimberly graces our community with a dimension of movement not replicated in any other art in our community. We are fortunate indeed!

All the best,