Intro to Billie

Our newest ambassador, Billie, is a competitive twirler who has Nationals this weekend.  Billie took a break from practice to tell us more about the sport of Twirl and how she got started.

How did you get involved in twirl?

I started twirling at the age of 3. I lived in New Hampshire, where baton twirling is well-known. and my neighbor twirled. I really looked up to her like an older sister, so I decided to start twirling so I could be just like her. After just a few lessons, I took off with it and have continued to love it ever since

How much do you practice and what kind of practice is that?

 I practice every day for about 3-4 hours (more during the summer and before big competitions). Practices are continuously doing the same tricks over and over to catch them consistently. I have multiple routines of which I must practice, so when I am training I run through them repeatedly to get better and better at them.

What kind of skills does twirl require? 

Twirling requires a lot of skills. To twirl baton you must have stamina, balance, general coordination, Hand-eye coordination, strength, flexibility, and agility.  They all play their own parts in making an amazing twirler. Baton twirling is basically a combination of Dance, Gymnastics, Cheer leading, Color guard, and Running.

Do you think twirlers get enough credit as athletes?

Twirlers definitely do not get the credit or respect they deserve as athletes. More often than not, people either don’t know what twirling is or don’t think it is a sport. I believe that any physical activity in which you compete or perform should be considered a sport.

How competitive is the sport and how are you feeling about Nationals coming up?

The sport is VERY competitive. If you have ever seen the TV show “Dance Moms”…. It is definitely that competitive, if not more. Although being competitive can sometimes affect people negatively, baton twirling is competitive in a positive way, and makes everyone involved want to be the best she can be, which then carries over to real-world situations such as school. I am super excited for Nationals coming up! I get to see all of my baton friends from around the country and perform for a week long!

Thanks for the interview Billie.  Good luck at Nationals!

If you want to follow Billie on Twitter, use @billiekathrine.

5 Running Tips for Non-Runners

Since my mother is such a powerful and voracious runner, I’m often asked “do you run?” The inquiry always puzzles me. Am I talented at running? No. Do I have what is traditionally considered a runner’s body type? Probably not.

Recently, though, I’ve been really inspired by body-positive campaigns that work to divorce physical activities from certain body types. For example, if you have a body and you’re wearing a swim suit, you’ve got a swim suit body! Likewise, if you have a body and you’re practicing yoga with it, that’s a yoga body. With those messages in mind, I’m challenging myself to answer “do you run?” with an enthusiastic “I try my best!”

 

dragonwing-girlgear-ambassador-celia-after-race-in-girls-sports-bra

Until high school, I was haunted by a memory of (barely) completing the mile during my first week of 6th grade PE class. (For anyone who was lucky enough not to be there, I threw up in the bathroom sink in front of half the girls in my grade after practically walking four dreadful laps on the track.)

With love and encouragement, I share 5 things that have helped me not only conquer my fears but also begin to enjoy running short distances:

  1. LISTEN TO GREAT MUSIC: Try songs with a beat similar to your pace (Spotify even has a really cool app that matches songs to your running rhythm.) Some of my favorites are classic wedding after-party songs like “September” and “Dancing in the Moonlight.”
  2. EMBRACE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR BREATH AND MOVEMENT: During Ashtanga yoga practice, yogis breathe with Ujjayi pranayama or “victorious breath,” a method which facilitates effortless body movement. I recommend experimenting with different breathing patterns until you find one that works for you! In contrast to #1: try running silently sometimes. There is nothing more grounding than hearing your own exhales.
  3. WALK WHEN YOU NEED TO: Challenge yourself, but listening to your body is important for your safety. Better to protect yourself for a future run than to over-exert!
  4. SET GOALS AND CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS, EVEN LITTLE ONES: Whenever I’ve had to do something difficult in my life, from studying for the SAT to puffing through another mile, I’ve made a habit of promising myself a sushi dinner alone. Treat yourself.
  5. RUN FOR YOU: This last tip is a big one. Don’t compare yourself to your friend who is a UNC field hockey recruit, to your Super-Mom, or to famous athlete Shalane Flanagan. It’s great to set an intention for your work out or to dedicate a run to someone who needs it or to a great cause. Ultimately, though, the most rewarding thing about running is that, unlike most other sports, the only thing you need to run is you.

By putting one foot in front of the other and working up a sweat, you’re honoring your body and all the wonderful things it’s capable of doing, so run for yourself.

Meet Celia, Dragonwing intern extraordinaire

Dragonwing Ladies,

I’m Celia and am happily running the Dragonwing Instagram account, hosting some Trunk Shows, and working with the other ambassadors to this fantastic, girl-centered company this summer.

Meet Celia, Dragonwing summer intern

A little bit about myself: I’m excited to begin a new adventure as a Cameron Crazie at Duke University this fall. Right now, I live in North Carolina with my wonderfully complex family, which includes my mom, sister, grandparents (Nanny and Fody), and two doggies.

Though I was always picked last in gym class and have never played any sports, I do love to move. I practice modern dance (as well as silly dancing in my room) and Ashtanga yoga, and I find joy in doing all things outdoors from hammocking to swimming and hiking.

Celia performing modern dance
Two of my favorite things in the world are live music and great views. Some of my favorite spots in NC are the peak of Hanging Rock, Eno River, and Jordan Lake, especially at sunset.

 

Celia in hammock suspended between trees

In my free time, I write for my own blog, eat at least one avocado per day, take board and card games with my family way too seriously, and read anything I can get my hands on. My favorite book right now is Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. I follow several newspapers and creative projects, particularly Humans of New York by photojournalist Brandon Stanton, with devotion.

I’m an Orange is the New Black, Modern Family, and everything-by-Shonda-Rhimes addict, a lover of baby animal videos, and the #1 fan girl of my friends at their sporting events and musicals.

Finally, I’m proud of my roles as a camp counselor, dance teacher, nanny, and pal to the awesome kids I’m lucky to hang out with all the time.

Up next from me is a post about running for non-runners, as I (sort of) prepare to run (or jog or walk) the Komen NC Triangle Race for the Cure 5K this Saturday (6/13).

Follow @dragonwinggirl and tag us in your beautiful photographs, because I will be delighted to share them.
Warmly,
Celia