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CounterPULSE is building a movement of risk-taking art that shatters assumptions and builds community. We provide space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators, serving as an incubator for the creation of socially relevant, community-based art and culture.

Interview with Sebastian Grubb on Dance and Fitness

by sebastiangrubb / November 21st, 2012 / Posted in: CounterPULSE.

July 09, 2012

by James Koroni

Enforced Arch ‘Mover’ and contributor, Sebastian Grubb takes life one step at a time but carries the world in his arms. Tackling fitness, nutrition and dance in one lifetime may seem overwhelming but for him, it’s done with grace. He is thrilled to share his expertise with the world and has recently launched a website where you can get the best of all three worlds in one place. I had the opportunity to briefly interview him and here’s what he had to say:

You have a very diverse background of expertise. Why did you choose to bring them together into one website?
My life is organized around bridging my different interests. Movement, food, creativity: balancing these make up what I consider the foundation of a good life. In the end, my primary pursuits are health and happiness, and professionally that means working as an artist and trainer. I also don’t see such a big divide between the categories; you need to eat well to move well (over the long-term), and dance certainly fits into the pursuit of fitness also.

What do you expect someone to get when they stumble upon SebastianGrubb.com (supposing they came for nutrition and they peruse the dance section)?
I hope they might see the connection, see how different pursuits aid each other. Dance is an ancient, ancient human tradition; every culture has their own dance. That’s strong evidence for the importance of everyone dancing. So someone can come to my site and think, “Hmmm, maybe I’ll go out dancing this week or take a dance class.” On another track, I notice that people who do pursue dance and/or fitness do not necessarily also pursue healthy eating, or have misinformation about what is actually healthy. That’s why I have written and posted nutrition articles on the site.

Sebastian Grubb

Please tell me about Sebastian Grubb’s philosophy of movement and lifestyle:
My philosophy around healthy living is: to make time to move creatively and vigorously most days of the week, to eat almost exclusively whole plant foods, to sleep well and foster healthy social relationships. In more specific terms, exercise for at least 1 hour on 6-7 days per week; eat as many vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains as possible; sleep 7-10 hours a night, depending on need; practice sensitive, mature communication and healing psychological wounds.

What is a typical day in the life of Sebastian Grubb, what do you eat, what companies do you spend your time with?
I have an unfortunately chaotic schedule, owing to shifting dance rehearsals, performances, and touring. That said, I generally dance 20-30 hours per week and train fitness clients 12-15 hours per week, in small groups and 1-on-1. I often train clients in the morning and evening, with a rehearsal in between. I work like this 6 days a week. And I perform about 20 weekends per year, with about 12 of those being outside California.

As you might have guessed, I eat a lot. Here’s my basic structure: Breakfast based on fruit, lunch based on salad, dinner based on steamed vegetables. Add to that a lot of whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. And add a snack mid-afternoon, and an additional meal, usually a second dinner. This past year I have been learning a lot about training less to avoid injury and burnout, and about eating denser calorie sources, like nuts and seeds. It’s funny that part of my challenge has been moving less and eating more, but that’s just how it is.

I also do fitness-specific training for myself, like circuit strength-training, running, etc. This totally depends on the intensity of my rehearsals, if I am doing a lot of lifting of other dancers, learning a new style, or getting ready for a performance weekend. In general I fit in 2 strength training sessions per week, usually right before a rest (or low-intensity) day. Again, it’s about the whole picture and a long-term perspective of sustainability.

Here’s who I’m currently working with in the dance world: AXIS Dance Company hired me in 2009 and it has been a phenomenal learning and growth opportunity for me. We work 12-20 hours per week, on average, and I do almost all my touring with AXIS. I have been performing with Scott Wells & Dancers since 2008, which is a project-based gig. And then I freelance and make my own work. Currently I’m rehearsing with Christine Bonansea on a dancetheatre piece inspired by Sartre’s play, “No EXIT”. I’m also choreographing “WORKOUT”, a dancetheatre piece based on fitness training and fitness-specific subcultures. It’s very entertaining, vigorous, and interesting for me. WORKOUT will premiere this December in San Francisco.

Sebastian Grubb

What legends in the dance community, or perhaps not in the dance community, inspire you?
I have always been inspired by older dancers. This started when I was in college and looked to young professionals in their twenties. Now I am inspired by dancers in their thirties and beyond. I love watching someone dance who is in their fifties or sixties and has this whole body of experience and movement history. It really shows. I’m looking to cultivate that in myself, as an aesthetic choice and even as a subtle spiritual practice. In the Bay Area I’ve been most inspired by Joe Goode and Scott Wells, both of whom are remarkable dancers, but who’ve also attracted communities of dancers and audiences around their work, which continues to evolve.

Growing up I performed in musicals and also saw a lot of them performed, some live and some on video. I remember being particularly inspired by Gene Kelly. I also watched most of Charlie Chaplin’s films and draw from them to this day.

I should add that I am inspired by watching athletes; I love the pure effort, and the grace that comes from finding efficient ways to move. In college I was really inspired by bodybuilders and strongmen, both of whom have taken this process of molding and changing their bodies to an extreme. It takes such diligence and belief in their own ability to shape their world. I really admire that, though I would say my own fitness practice is much more balanced today than it was when I first pursued fitness via bodybuilding.

What’s coming up for you and how do we follow your inspirational work?
Thanks for asking! I have a lot of upcoming projects. Earlier I mentioned “WORKOUT”, which premieres in December. I am also about to begin making a commissioned work for AXIS Dance Company. And AXIS has two big projects this Fall, making long works with outside choreographers Amy Seiwert and Victoria Marks. We will basically have two rehearsal intensives back-to-back over three months. Those will all be more like 30-hour dance weeks. You can catch all this in video and social media on-line via facebook, twitter and youtube. Here are some specific websites to check:

http://www.axisdance.org
http://www.sebastiangrubb.com/gallery
http://www.youtube.com/sebastiangrubb
http://www.youtube.com/user/axisdancecomp

Images of Sebastian Grubb from “The Narrowing” for AXIS Dance Company.
Photography by David Papas

Thank you Sebastian Grubb for taking time to share this information with the Enforced Arch community. We are looking forward to all your upcoming creative projects and celebrate your achievements thus far!

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