Elastic On Your Saidi Cane

Putting some elastic near the bottom of your saidi cane (or stick) is, I think, an essential part of dancing with a stick effectively. It gives just that little bit of grip - and therefore security - as you dance (especially when twirling the stick).

I was surprised to find out recently that some teachers insist that students go from using elastic to not using elastic as a kind of a rite of passage to more advanced stick dancing.

I didn’t (and still don’t) get that. It’s like saying that once you become an experienced hiker you should take the tread off your hiking shoes because now you no longer need the grip the soles give you. That’s just not logical.

And so too is it illogical with regards to elastic on a saidi stick.

Not having elastic on one’s stick is not the mark of a better dancer at all. After all, the elastic it doesn’t give you more expertise or better technique - it just gives a tiny bit of grip on what is otherwise the stick’s slippery surface. And particularly if you’re sweating up a storm during a performance, that little bit of elastic could just save an audience member from losing an eye from your twirling stick flying out of your hand. So it’s about safety too.

Any dancer who would judge you as less than for having elastic on your stick is really missing the point. Because what’s important is not that a little bit of elastic is giving you a little bit of grip, but instead the proficiency of your dancing and your dexterity in using the stick.

My advice, therefore, is to put elastic near the bottom of your stick and keep it there.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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