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February 17, 2011 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-02-17

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4B - Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4B - Thursday, February 17, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

:6

HEALING ARTS
From Page 3B
health rather than the more
cell-level concerns of biochem-
istry or molecular biology. For
instance, the University of
Michigan Health System is cur-
rently involved in research on
whether eating tart cherries on
a daily basis will have effects
on patients' lipid levels and how
performing acupressure might
affect fatigue. Elsewhere, inte-
grative scientists are investigat-
ing the capacity of paintings to
heal or guided imagery to relieve
pain.
On the aesthetics spectrum,
too, the University has been mak-
ing strides to incorporate holistic
healing into its curriculum. For
the past four years, Art & Design
Prof. Anne Mondro has been
teaching a studio art class called
"Retaining Identity: The Role of
Creative Work in a Healthcare
Setting" that combines imagina-
tion with a healingsurface.
"The philosophy of the class
is to look at the benefits or to
examine the role of creativity -
the potential of art to really aid
the human spirit," Mondro said.
"Creativity is so beneficial to our
life and it enables us to express
ourselves ... to give us a chance to
get into our own world."
This semester, the class is
working with the University
Geriatric Center's Silver Club
Program, a day club composed
of elderly patients with moder-
ate to advanced dementia, Over
a 10-week period, students will
facilitate a series of art workshops
for the members, eventually cre-
ating a collaborative work of art
infused with lessons they learned
from their elderly partners.
Mondro's own art stems from
her interest in portraying the
human body accurately. In her
graduate studies, she became
interested in how illness affects
a community ofpeople, while her
grandfather was struggling with
cancer.

"A lot of my work is based on
human experiences - my times
of struggles with my own body
and family illnesses," she said.
"And thathas kind of led to work-
ing with the community."
Five years ago, Mondro, along-
side her students and artist Katy
Bergman Cassell, fashioned a
brilliant triptych mural entitled
"The Dragon of Wishes, Hopes
and Dreams" for the University
Gifts of Art program. The mural
still sits in the University Hos-
pital's Taubman Center lobby
today. Across from the hallowed
faces of the University Hospi-
tal directors the dragon regally
stands, its fanned, Italian paper
scales saturated with mica-
flecked blues, golds, greens and
reds. Every one of dragon's 1,700
shining scales has been drawn,
colored and cut by the hospital's
patients, caregivers and staff -
from the head of the hospital to
the youngest bedside patient.
"My vision was that we
(would) have something that was
kind of imbued with power and
magic but not necessarily vis-
ible," Sims said.
Science initially entered this
world as something more akin
to philosophy. Bohr conceived
his quantum model of the atom
while studying cubist paintings.
Pythagoras found that the most
consonant musical intervals
were the ones with smaller math-
ematical ratios. As it has become
embedded in the University's
Medical School curriculum, Art
& Design classes and hospital
programs, the healing arts return
the scientific field back to its
original humanistic setting - an
intersection between the rational
and sensual that proves the two
aren't in conflict after all.
"I always have this mantra
when it comes to explaining art
in a hospital: Art always as a
job to do, it can't just sit on the
wall looking pretty," Sims said.
"Really, it's like a workhorse. It
has to stand the test of time; it
has to engage people; it has to
grab you."

ATHLETICS
From Page 1B
or musician, practices are fun-
damental for the skaters, since
constant repetition ensures
perfection on the ice when per-
forming.
"The more hours you practice,
the better you're going to be,"
Fiscus said. "I think it's even
more so than with other sports,
because I used to play soccer.
"You practice different plays,
but each game is different: you
can't anticipate how a team is
going to play against you. With
skating, you are in control of
what happens out there - it's
the same program, no matter
what."
Repetitive practice is essential
to synchronized skating, since
special attention is also given
to minute details the audience
might not notice. For instance, at
one point in the program, every
single one of the skaters winks at
the exact same time.
"It's not just making it look
effortless, but it's making every-
body look effortless at the same
time doing the exact same thing
in the exact same way," Fiscus
said. "It's about being so repeti-
tive that you could literally be
half asleep and be doing it won-
derfully."
Especially for synchro-
nized skating, team trust is key
because the skaters only have
one chance to shine and show
their hard work.
"You don't have control
over what happens in a perfor-
mance," Kaufman-Ross said.
"You can only control what you
do and everything else is left to
the other girls that are skating.
You have to trust them enough
to know that they are going to do
what they are there to do."
To ensure this unification, the
team also practices off the ice to
focus on the nitpicky details of
the program or routine they're
working on - the facial expres-
sions, hand directions and other

body mannerisms.
An important quality Fiscus
finds essential to succeeding is
lack of fear.
"It's a lot about being really
good at not letting things get to
you. Not being afraid to embar-
rass yourself," she said. "You
have to be able to throw your-
self into a'character and not be
embarrassed because you might
look dumb."
During one of the practices,
Fiscus and her teammates were
rehearsingshimmying and shak-
ing their skirts - a move in the
program - in the Yost arena
lobby. The hockey players could
have arrived at any moment, but
that didn't stop the skaters from
repeating that section over and
over again.
Freestyle skating has its own
technical difficulties, mostly
stemming from the jumps and
spins the skaters are permitted
to do. Physical conditioning is
even more important for free-
stylers, because the turns and
jumps need to appear flawless
from the moment they take off
to the moment they land back on
the ice.
"It's more complete freedom,"
said LSA senior Chelsea Lind-
blad, the figure skating club vice
president. "It's artistic expres-
sion, and you have your own
freedom to do whatever you
want ... you don't have to match
everyone."
Pool ofhard Knox
Hours before a competition,
synchronized swimmers spend
a good 90 minutes "Knoxing"
their hair. The process involves
each swimmer's hair being
slicked back in a tight bun and
coated and recoated with rough-
ly three packs of Knox unfla-
vored gelatin per person. After
half an hour, the Knox hardens
and the hair is as solid as a hel-
met - taking at least a few days
of shampooing to clean out.
The reason the swimmers
use Knox is because they aren't
allowed to wear swim caos -

0

Skaters practice at 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. to avoid conflicts.
caps aren't "pretty" enough in the only competing team."
this water exhibition. Similar to ice skating, a typi-
In the history of synchro- cal "synchro" routine lasts three
nized swimming, Vaseline has to four minutes. Synchronized
been used. But since that left swimming also allows for the
hair very greasy, Knox replaced possibility of duo and trio sub-
the old style. teams to perform a routine.
LSA senior and co-captain When being judged, swim,
of the synchronized swimming mers need to keep in mind their
team Ashlyn Gurley said, as she artistic expression, how much
stroked her hair, a bonus to the fun they appear to be having in
Knox use is that it also serves as the water and whether they are
a great protein treatment, leav- touching the bottom or sides of
ing the hair very soft after its the pool - a disqualifier.
removal. This year, the team has four
The team practices roughly routines: one full-team routine
four times a week for about three with seven girls to Bollywood
to four hours each time. In addi- songs, two duets - one to L adyi
tion to the time they spend in the Gagasongs and another to ska --
water, synchronized swimmers and one trio to superhero music.
also have land drills, where they Gurley, who has experience in
practice the movements on dry both dramatic and competitive
turf. swimming, said combining the
Pharmacy student Ayumi two gives her a level of nervous2
Ueda, a coach and swimmer, ness she has never felt before in
said the team could do with her life.
more practice time since many But Ueda said the trust in the
of its competitors practice five teammates and partners is what
days of the week, multiple times pulls her through the most ner- ,
each day. vous of moments.
These competitors, however, "I'm not nervous until after
are few and far between. I get out of the pool," she said.
"Synchro is a rare sport to "I'm thinking 'Oh my god,
have," Ueda said. "There are what's my score?' but we learn to
roughly eight varsity teams in deal with the nerves by trusting
the U.S., and in Michigan we are each other."
The one thing the team memo
bers are constantly thinking
throughout their performances
is to remember to smile -,just
keep smiling.
From ice boxes to deep-end
pools, the skill set to master
these activities lies in patience,
dedication and a will to succeed
not only for oneself, but for one's
teammates as well. That drive
toward success is a characteris-
tic that unites members across
all forms of athletics. But unlike
other sports, aesthetics and eye-
pleasing performances are what
give figure skaters and synchro-
nized swimmers an artistic
edge.

T t ti Seea multimedia piece about
One of the synchronized swimming routines is performed to Bollywood music. this story on MchganDaily.com

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