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January 09, 2013 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-01-09

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letter from the editor byhaleygoldberg the science of it all: resolution reality by jenniferxu

eW Tlcome to your new opening section: "The Tangent." Inspiredhby
the name of The Statement blog, we hope it can lead you astray.
Go ahead. Browse around from section to section, skimming through
pop culture, University news and interesting columns, all within the
brief 10 minutes of Michigan time before class. Want more informa-
tion about items in "Trending" and "On the Record" sections? Click to
our blog for links from Daily articles and other news sources to fur-
ther your knowledge. You can dive into the Tangent or skim the sur=
face -you pick your path. But while you're here, make sure you leave
your mark. Use your meme skills to help us think of captions for "Out-
takes," and tweet at @thestatementmag what you think is trending for
the week. And we want you to make a statement as well. The "Personal
Statement" section in the back of the magazine is your platform to
write a first-person essay about an experience, revelation, embarrass-
ing moment or anything that has shaped your life. The feature stories
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world of magazines, but it's your chance too. Make your statement on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.- and make your statement
right here, each Wednesday, on these pages.

If you're like me, you never
keep up your New Year's resolu-
tion. My willpower often only
lasts until the middle of the
month - around the-time my
credit card statement rolls in
and a dismal slush covers the
sidewalks. That's because many
resolutions - whether it's losing
weight or weaning ourselves off
Facebook - try to dislodge rock-
solid habits.

in consolidating memories - after
the appropriate stimulus is given.
Habits aren't necessarily
bad for you. Looking both ways
before you cross the street or
buckling your seat belt when
you start the car are both habits
that could potentially save your
life. When these processes have
hardwired themselves into your
synaptic network, it allows the
brain to operate at a greater effi-
ciency, freeing up the space for
us to do things like strategize and
socialize.
But with great efficiency
comes great responsibility. When

a
accurately: No 66 days of pain,
no gain.
Bear in mind this is only if you
never, ever stray from the regi-
men. You'd have to go to the gym
for 66 days in a row in order for
the behavior to become a habit. If
you slack off once, then it's over.

Trials of a lesser-known Gaga
by Julia Smith-Eppsteiner
-ow
101. v .

"It took
subjects a
median of 66
continuous,
days to form
new habits that
replaced the '
T~c b a u

Think of habits as your brain
on autopilot. We reach for habits
subconsciously and automatical-
ly, using repetitive mental short-
cuts - called heuristics - to get us
through the day with the smallest
exertion of brainpower necessary.
Once a habit is solidified, it occu-
pies a permanent space in your
brain, triggering automatic loops
in the hippocampus - a seahorse-
shaped structure that plays a role

ILLUSTRATION BY MEGAN MULHOLLAND

old ones."

we try to alter these habits, it
takes an enormous amount of
energy; much more than a few
half-hearted attempts to go to the
gym or cut back on Internet time.
So how much energy, exactly?
Well, according to a recent study,
it took subjects a median of 66
continuous days to form new
habits that replaced the old ones.
That means if your New Year's
resolution is to become a gym
person, working out won't start
feeling like a part of your normal
routine for another ten weeks. No
pain, no gain is right. Or, more

Lets say you nomn an exam
and opt to hit up Charley's rather
than go to the CCRB. Does that
mean you can pick up the habit
formation where you left off?
Nope, you'd have to start the pro-
cess all over again.
With all the mental heavy-
lifting it involves, it's a miracle
anybody sticks with a New Year's
resolution at all.
g B

R emember you are a skeleton.
Let your bones float inside your
flesh, or in a pool of water. Pull your
bones. Soften yourflesh so you can pull more.
When you thinkyou can't pull anymore, soften
and pull more. Allow curves to enter and move
in your body; imagine little circles in between
your bones and yourflesh. Let the curves trav-
el. Shatter the bones inyourfeet.
Melt your bones into the floor. Allow a
quake to happen in your pelvis. Switch posi-
tions; keep switching. Build up the quake. Let
it echo throughyour head andfingers. Connect
toyourpleasure.10. nine. eight. seven. (More!)
six.five.four. three. two. one.
Still. Feel the memory of it. Do less.
Twenty-six young adults allow Bobbi
Jene Smith's voice into their ears on a mild-
ly windy Thursday. Top fox at Batsheva and
freelance choreographer, Bobbi quakes and
floats with us: black chiffon, flannel and red
lipstick to boot. The queen is only in town
for a New Year minute.
Surrounding her, long-sleeve shirts
(knotted and falling from swaying hips)
appear to be the favorite clothing item in
the room, second only to black socks. We
take her commands into our muscles, bones
and skin - instruction my life lacked in the
past three-and-a-half years.
When you go back to a place, a person or
a thing years later, a looming fear arrives
that that person, place or thing won't bethe
same. In case you don't recall, it was g-o-o-

d. This fear comes in varying shapes and
sizes but now you are different, and "it" is
inherently different, also. Scary prospect,
no? Yes.
In my lifetime I have experienced this
fear with Ortega's bean-and-cheese burrito
of La Jolla, Calif., with Tia, who became my
best friend at age three, with driving, with
"Friends" episodes, with orgasm - and the
list blurs ahead. The return to these people,
places and things has ranged from painfully
disappointing to sensational in its parallel
of past joy. And, on rare occasion, the pres-
ent form trumps its predecessor.
January 3, 2013, I stepped back into
Gaga.
Let's take a quick pause for the 99-per-
cent that think I am talking about partici-
pating in a how-to-be-a-stunner class from
the singing, dancing Lady of all ladies. Not
true. My 'Gaga' is from Tele Viv, Israel.
This dance technique that has you melt
your bones with your brain is referred to as
"Gaga," created by the artistic director of
Batsheva Dance Company, Ohad Naharin.
In Israel, many non-dancers as well as pro-
fessional and pre-professional dancers take
this class, but it seems to be mostly "Gaga
for dancers" in the U.S.
From the outside, Gaga might look like
some fusion of modern dance, improvisa-
tion or interpretive dance. And what it
looks like typically equates to what it is,
but a key facet of Gaga is that Naharin cre-

ated this technique to be practiced and
experienced with the intention of find-
ing pleasure through effort and fluidity in
your spine. Every single body in class is in
motion for the entire sixty minutes, no one
is allowed out or in of the mirror-less room,
no one is allowed to sit and watch. And it's
not performed, but rather, influences the
movement the Batsheva Dance Company
performs. We are reminded to have a "sense
of plenty of time" throughout the hour. We
could do this all day. All year.
"We," almost four years ago, meant a
bunch of eighteen year olds at a summer
intensive program - mostly female- try-
ing to act, and dress, less ballet. My body
became a foreign, beautied body. The
month concluded and I emerged an addict
of the quake, the little circles and that pool
of water.
Fast forward a few earth rotations
around that big ol' sun and I am on winter
break of my senior year as a Dance major
at University of Michigan, walking into
the same upstairs studio space in SoMa,
San Francisco. A young lady who belongs
to their year-round program buzzes herself
in; I follow behind, make elevator small talk
and mosey into the studio after her.
... Deep inhale.
Never have I ever entered a room with so
manyvibes.
Seriously. Do you know what I mean?
Everybody and their mother were expel-

ling vibes. And these were the vibey type of
vibes. The following words come to mind:
pretentious, intimidating, Sun Salutation
buffs, expertly cut t-shirts, trendy hair,
even trendy spinal curvature. This world
was their home, and they knew it.
Let's get real: here were twenty-five
beautiful humans with clean faces and
hearts beneath their expertly cut t-shirts
... and they were welcoming me into their
tightly woven community. Important fact: I
did pay the people $15. No tax, though. "m
For those sixty minutes I burned some
calories, found a slightly new movement
dynamic (FYI, this is a big deal), felt my
omelet and coffee go for a rough ride, and
closed my eyes to the physical curiosity
abounding within the four walls of the stu-
dio.
Amidst my reflection of a fleeting return-
to-Gaga, Mike Birbigilia's quote in the
recent comedy "Sleepwalk With Me" came
to mind: "The first time you fall in love, it's
such a transcendental feeling, you know?
It's like eating pizza-flavored ice cream."
I wouldn't call my experience transcen-
dental, nor did it much resemble the Gaga of
my nostalgic mind. But it is quite the feeling
to be pleasantly surprised by people, and
by a Tour de Mind & Body at the price of a
Zingerman's sandy.
Julia Smith-Eppsteiner is a School of -
Music, Theatre & Dance senior and a Daily
arts writer.

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