With hope on the horizon for a return of activities after the yearlong coronavirus lull, Ramona is joining the rejuvenation trend with dance and yoga classes.
Jill Bacorn is leading an eight-week Aging Creatively in-person dance workshop designed for people ages 50 and up starting Thursday, April 15, and Tracy Aleksic will be offering a series of Wine & Unwind yoga classes at Ramona wineries starting Saturday, April 24.
Aging Creatively is designed to move bodies over 50, but anyone is welcome to take part, Bacorn said. All they need to do is show up for the Thursday classes from 5 to 6 p.m. at Ramona Town Hall, 729 Main St.
San Diego Dance Theater, based in Liberty Station, is offering the classes as a satellite program. Students can expect to learn dance patterns, techniques and routines. In addition to the physical activity, students will get the benefit of exercising their brain — a part of healthy aging, Bacorn said.
“When you’re learning a new skill you’re using parts of your brain,” she said. “You don’t think of movement as being important to your brain but it is. Seniors need to engage in new and challenging activities.”
Bacorn, 69, moved to Ramona from Missouri in 1978. She was involved in dancing in Missouri but became active in teaching dance for the Ramona Council of Arts Unlimited in 1982. The group is still providing scholarships to students, but none of the instructors are currently teaching dance, she said.
The Council of Arts was formed in the late 1960s by moms in Ramona who wanted to see extracurricular activities such as lessons in dancing, music and martial arts in the community so they wouldn’t have to travel to Escondido, El Cajon or other locales.
When Bacorn began taking dance lessons from San Diego Dance Theater in her early 30s, she was instrumental in having the Council of Arts create their own workshop patterned after the San Diego Dance Theater workshops. They were able to offer a three-week workshop in Ramona taught by instructors from a dance company for students ages 10 years and older. As many as 100 youths would enroll in the summer workshops, she said.
Although the Council of Arts and San Diego Dance Theater are separate nonprofits, Bacorn said they have worked together on joint dance projects for two decades. So when grant funding became available for San Diego Dance Theater to offer Aging Creatively classes, Ramona was one of the communities, along with the South Bay region and Oceanside, to be selected to participate.
Grant funding is available from the California Arts Council, but donations will be accepted.
“The other ingredient is we’re using Ramona Town Hall, which was a place people came to 100 years ago to dance,” said Bacorn, who has a long history of teaching dance at her former studio and offering fitness classes at Ramona Library and at Ramona United Methodist Church.
For more information about the Ramona Aging Creatively classes or to sign up, call Bacorn at 760-522-8098.
Wine & Unwind
Ramona resident Tracy Aleksic will soon be offering a series of Wine & Unwind events at two local wineries.
The yoga classes will be held Saturday, April 24, at Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard Winery, 18351 Woods Hill Lane in Ramona; and Sunday, April 25, and Sunday, May 16, both at Crystal Hill Vineyard, 24067 E. Old Julian Highway in Ramona.
Classes start at 10 a.m. and the $25 cost per person includes the yoga lessons and a glass of wine or Sangria. All of the classes are outdoors with social distancing in place.
Aleksic, 41, has been teaching yoga since 2004. She acquired her master level of training in Phoenix, and then traveled the world teaching and studying spiritual traditions and healing modalities. In 2010 she settled in San Diego, where she met her husband, Dominic Aleksic. The couple decided to move to Ramona a year later.
“We moved here to have some peace and quiet,” Tracy Aleksic said, adding that they wanted to raise their daughter, Wren Aleksic, now 9, in a community oriented town. “If you’re a nature lover it’s so easy to fall in love with the area.”
Her experiences with yoga date back to 1998 when she was looking for stress relief while studying anthropology in college. Aleksic said she found an “amazing” yoga teacher, so she rearranged her schedule to keep taking yoga classes from her.
“The path led me to step into the role of a teacher and now I’m a teacher and studying to be a yoga therapist,” she said.
Aleksic plans to graduate from the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas in a couple months and will be able to work with students and first responders on yoga therapy.
With the onset of COVID-19, Aleksic said she had to reinvent herself and offer more instruction online. So she created her Radiant Centre business in 2020. One of her goals during the past year has been to serve students everywhere who are struggling with anxiety and stress related to the coronavirus.
“Radiant Centre is not just about me and my yoga, but also about bringing in other practitioners who are amazing healers,” Aleksic said. “They can offer their expertise in the online platform of Radiant Centre.
“I do teach in person as well. I can film those classes and upload it so anyone, anywhere in the world can be a part of that experience.”
Aleksic will be unveiling her website, radiantcentre.com, on Friday, April 30. The site will include online classes.
Radiant Centre has developed in three areas: membership subscription that makes online classes available; yoga therapy consultations or private yoga lessons; and food, wine and wellness retreats. Next summer, in 2022, Aleksic is planning to take clients on destination retreats to the island of Syros in Greece and to Tuscany in Italy.
The Wine & Unwind events will provide a taste of the retreat experience, where students can enjoy the mountains, sunshine and fresh air, then relax with a glass of wine, all without a passport, she said.
Aleksic said participants will learn about yoga postures, breathing techniques, how to relax the body and meditation techniques. She recommends wearing comfortable clothing and bringing a yoga mat, bottle of water, hat and applying sunscreen.
She also asks participants to email her in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign a student waiver and make a payment to streamline the check-in process.
“I think people are ready to get together in person,” Aleksic said. “We’ve been so isolated. People are craving human connection and contact.”