Articles & news items

2018 Articles

How Whole Body Well-Being Can Fight Obesity - article submitted by Dana Brown of Health Conditions | dana@healthconditions.info

Adult obesity is a growing problem in the United States. It affects much more than appearances, with obese people having reduced lifespans and increased risk for numerous diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Obesity is also costly. It overburdens our healthcare system and adds thousands of dollars in living expenses through the need for medication resulting from disease. Although overcoming obesity can be difficult, simple planning and focus on healthy well-being can make it easier.

 The history of obesity

 Although more prevalent now, obesity did not appear overnight. Increased personal wealth bloomed in the post-World War II era in the United States, which grew demand for convenience foods. Industrialization in the food industry boomed, with lots of cheap, empty calories lining supermarket shelves. In the late 1950’s, insurance companies noticed a spike in illness and death related to cardiovascular disease and identified obesity as the culprit. In the 1970’s, the Body Mass Index (BMI) standard was implemented as a method of calculating healthy weight.

 Today, even with considerable research pinpointing the risks of obesity and a multi-billion dollar weight-loss industry of products and tools, obesity rates are higher than ever. A stunning 36.5 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese.

 Why are so many people struggling with their weight?

 The answer to this question is patently obvious: People are eating too much and not exercising enough. In the U.S. and many other industrialized modern countries, food is viewed less as sustenance and more as a vehicle for pleasure. Sugar and fat taste great and can make us temporarily feel wonderful. And with more people working from behind a desk, as much as 80 percent of the adult population isn’t getting the recommended amount of exercise. The distancing of food from nutrition results in the need for a new relationship with food, and our profoundly changed lifestyles require a new attitude toward exercise.

 Adopting a balanced diet

 From a dieting perspective, obesity is the result of a calorie surplus. Changing your relationship with food is the first step in reducing these calories. A balanced diet helps the body self-regulate its calorie intake. Eating when you are hungry plays an important role in this balance. The converse is also true -- to fight obesity, snacking and overindulging in meals must be avoided. One simple method of regulating overeating is to increase the amount of vegetables and high-quality fats in your meals. The fiber in vegetables fills us up, while the fats in food such as a piece of salmon or a poached egg satisfy.

 Experts suggest dividing your dinner and lunch plates into sections, with vegetables taking up half of the plate, high-quality protein and fat taking up a quarter and complex carbohydrates occupying the rest. This method avoids the temptation to eat a bowl of pasta or plate of French fries, while still providing a taste of carbohydrates through brown rice or other whole grains. After your meal, take a walk.

 Adding exercise to daily life

 Solving our disconnection from exercise does not require a gym membership. For many all it means is going for a walk. There are little steps you can add to your daily routine that burn calories. Park a little farther from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk around the block more often. Moderate to intense physical exercise will provide the greatest results in avoiding obesity and reversing it, but taking small steps toward an overall active lifestyle help in sustaining the activity.

 A home gym is another way to make physical activity a part of your routine. Kettlebells, resistance bands and Swiss balls are all inexpensive tools that develop strength and coordination while burning fat.

 Other factors support healthy weight

 Although diet and exercise combine to defeat obesity, rest and emotional wellness help, too. Those who do not get sufficient sleep are more likely to be obese, and those who exercise without taking necessary breaks from their routine are more likely to get burned out. Adding a good night’s sleep, rest days from high-intensity workouts and attention to emotional well-being can help bolster diet and exercise.

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Why Zumba?

If you are wondering what Zumba has to offer, read on!

  1. Start with most important element - the music. The best! Zumba covers every type of music from around the world, with Latin American producing the most uplifting sounds around.
  2. The company. Both my Bishops Sutton (Wednesdays 7.45pm at Village Hall) and Itchen Abbas (Mondays 6.30pm at Millennium Hall) classes are friendly and welcoming to newcomers. Young and ‘old’ alike can participate (I include myself in the latter category – I am probably the ‘oldest’ instructor in Hampshire though I still feel 21!)
  3. It’s fun! Dance is not about ‘pumping iron’ – it is, in my opinion, the best form of exercise as you are moving every part of your body, all the time. We run through between 10 – 15 routines a class, pretty much non-stop (I keep chat to before and after class!) and I can vouch for the physical benefits of Zumba - having stayed at size 8/10 since I started 10 years ago! 
  4. It’s perfect for mental and physical health – both equally important in today’s world. When you ‘go into the zone’ there’s no better place to be.
  5. You can genuinely ‘dance like there’s nobody watching’ – there isn’t! No competitive atmosphere. No divas … with possible exception of brightly coloured one at the front!

So, if you dance in the kitchen, come to my classes! Any questions – contact me on sue@plays-r-ussell.com or go to my website www.zumba-around-winchester.com

See you in class!

Sue

This one was year before, Sept 2016 - interesting to see changes!

Try something new!

As an avid Zumba instructor of many years (dancing, not my age!) I guess this article – taken from my www.zumba-around-winchester.com blog dated July 17 – was originally written as an attempt to justify my 'fling' with Ceroc!

I have faithfully and loyally returned to Zumba since – I have to confess to a preference for leading from the front! But I am so glad I forced myself out of my comfort zone to try something different.

The event I am referring to was the July Fireball at Winchester Guildhall.  I was there really by mistake - in my usual slightly less than thorough way, I managed to miss bit about 'type of dancing' - just reading 80s/90s music and of course, dance.

I had been forewarned by someone from one of my classes who'd said 'You realise it’s an evening of 'jive' dancing, right?' To which I really had no answer ... as I hadn't! But having 'sold' it to a fellow dance enthusiast, I couldn't let her down so I duly turned up at the Guildhall, wondering what on earth I was doing there!

This feeling of bemusement was in no way lessened by the arrival of very glam ladies in equally glam 'ball' dresses - my floral ‘number’ feeling decidedly frumpy and rustic in comparison to the glitz around me! And when I saw everyone was in couples - oh lord, that nearly sent me on my way! When the first guy came up and asked me to dance I'm ashamed to say I declined on the grounds that I really didn't have the first clue as to what to do - and watching the experts ‘doing their thing’ did nothing but confirm my initial ‘what on earth am I doing here?’ feeling. (I later redeemed myself by finding this first bloke and saying 'I'm up for it now if you are' - which fortunately he didn't take the wrong way!)

Anyway, I don't know what decided me to 'have a go' but the next bloke that came up got a rather wary 'OK but please be aware I have never done this before in my life' - I may or may not have added I have actually never even danced with a partner before in my entire life!!

And you know what? It was a piece of cake! Wonderful fun - once I'd got my head around fact that it was bloke who was leading!!

I had various comments made to me during the night - 'You're a bit of a challenge' being one I seem to remember hearing more than once! And another from an absolute gentleman who told me that 'after I'd had one lesson I could be a first class dancer'! (I at no point let on to anyone I was a zumba instructor – well, maybe just once! Though I did rather show my true colours during Pitbull's Fireball - when I actually suggested to my partner that he follow my lead .... a suggestion I swiftly retracted with a ‘Joking!’ and thus saved the day i.e. his walking off (He did say rather firmly ‘No way!’ when I demonstrated wiggly hip bit that I do in Zumba!)

All told it was wonderful to just go for it which is what I did much to the bemusement no doubt of my fellow dancers (I did have one or two near fatal collisions!) And I will try it again - though maybe after I've had one or two lessons - for the sake of those poor partners (who are probably still recovering in local psychiatric ward from their Friday night ordeal!)

I did love dancing with so many different partners - all with differing levels of bemusement at my approach to the dance! Oh and the fact that I laughed all the way through. ‘Fraid not for me a poker face - I might have been focusing but on the music not what I was doing which just had to 'come' as I was flung from one spin into the next ... and next ... and next (I lost count of how many there were ... but I was glad I'd worn a swirly dress and not some little black number!)

Maybe I shouldn't have 'exclaimed' when the first guy I danced with (an instructor) said 'The first thing you have to take on board is the fact that it is the man that leads'! ‘What? Always?’ was my response. ‘Yes, always!’ was his!

I think this experience showed me it really is a good thing to go out of your comfort zone - try new things. And it was lovely being in such a friendly social situation - though no doubt the Ceroc class locally will be talking about 'that crazy intruder' for weeks, months to come!

Oh and it goes without saying, anyone wishing to try something new in the form of Zumba is more than welcome to come to any of my classes! But please note - I do lead from the front! (Guys welcome to follow!)

Sue Russell

Zumba Class at Hursley! - Oct 2017 Hursley Living

Yes, just 6 months after moving to Hursley and I’m ready to offer a class – right here on my doorstep!

A huge thank you to John Keble School for allowing me to use their hall – first class: Thursday 5th October at 6.30pm. It’s always massively exciting for me, starting a new class and of course a wonderful way to get to know my neighbours a bit better!

My message is simple. If you dance in the kitchen, you should be dancing Thursday nights with me – and hopefully a few others! My classes are fun – no divas (possible exception, brightly coloured one at the front!) and no worries re: getting it right or wrong. Dance is all about losing yourself, going into the zone, forgetting about everything else that is going on in your life. It really is the best form of escapism – and not a bad form of physical exercise either! Everybody feels the music differently which is why I stress ‘there are no rights or wrongs’ with nobody but nobody looking at anybody else – there isn’t time! I know we can all feel a bit self-conscious – but the good news is, Zumba is a great liberator of inhibition! Music is a truly universal language – it speaks to us all; and of all the dance classes out there I really believe that Zumba offers the best range of music – including Latin American and just about every dance genre -  cumbia, reggaetón, bachata, salsa, tango, flamenco, Bollywood, charts – you name it, we do it!

Music lifts you in a way few other things can. It is the perfect tonic for the coming ‘dark’ months and I firmly believe it’s as beneficial mentally as it is physically.

The only way to find out is to come and join me! But do feel free to ring/email me beforehand if you have any questions on 07947410394 or sue@plays-r-ussell.com

Always happy to talk Zumba! See you in class!

Sue Russell

www.zumba-around-winchester.com

1. 

A summary of why I think everyone should zumba! 

Why dance?

Exercise is a ‘must’ in order to maintain our bodies and minds, especially as we get older. That’s a given – few people would argue with that.

But actually converting good intentions into actions – and more importantly, sustaining those actions over a period of time, indeed indefinitely – that is harder if you ‘do not like exercise’. I can speak from experience – as someone who has tried to get enthused about going to the gym … and failed every time. I just don’t want to.

So what is the answer? Simple - find something you do want to do! Obvious really – but to be successful you do have to tap into something a bit more than what you just want to do. If you can find something you positively love, then you’re home and dry.

My background is rock music. In my youth I saw bands up in London every week and was a regular festival goer. At that time I was happy to be a passive participant – listening to albums at home and watching bands live. These days I don’t find that enough – I want to dance to that music and lead from the front!

Why Zumba?

I’ve always loved dancing but never been to classes other than aerobics! When I went to live in the States around 2007 I came across this dance/exercise called Zumba and have never looked back. I was lucky in that my ‘mentor’ in the States shared my taste in music and seemed to feel the music the same way as I did. When I returned to the UK and found Zumba back here, I failed to find a class which worked for me – so I started up my own and am still absolutely loving it, nearly eight years on!

From which you’ll gather – I’m no spring chicken. But is this significant? No! I can still dance my kids off the dance floor!

And how does dance fit around the rest of my life? I am lucky enough to be able to pursue another great passion which is writing. I sell school plays to teachers around the world and am always working on some project or other  - currently torn between Life in Ancient Baghdad, The Nutcracker and an assembly on Islam! But it is dancing that keeps me sane – that keeps me happy and healthy. Yes, I love the creative process in writing but, although I get wonderful feedback from my play customers via email, it’s not the same thing as sharing an experience live. And that is of course what you are doing when you’re in a dance class. You live the moment – you feel that music.

The wonderful thing about Zumba is its versatility. It covers pretty much all kinds of dance – and you don’t need a partner! There is something for everyone – Latin American (cumbia, reggaeton, merengue, salsa), African, Charts music, Bollywood – you name it, we do it! And does it matter if we have 2, 20 or 200 left feet? Not for a minute – you dance like there is nobody looking … and there isn’t, all eyes trained on the ‘odd brightly coloured one’ at the front!

I so wish us Brits could get over our self-consciousness and fear of looking daft – it’s never stopped me! And I’m sure there are so many people who, seriously, would really benefit from this fun form of exercise. The music alone is just so uplifting – you can’t help but smile when you hear it!

I currently do classes in Weeke, Winchester; and villages such as Itchen Abbas, South Wonston and Bishops Sutton. I also go into care homes where I do Seated Zumba which is great fun (my oldest client is 102 and sits beaming from ear to ear throughout the hour!) and I do Zumbatomic classes for Nursery/Primary School children – a recent Comic Relief Assembly raising the roof with over 90 kids doing a real mean Uptown Funk among other numbers!

Zumba appeals to all ages. Zumba can be danced by all ages. It is for everyone - whatever your perceived level of fitness or coordination.

If you would like to give Zumba a go, please come along to one of my classes. All information is on my website www.zumba-around-winchester.com and I’d love to hear from you – always happy to talk Zumba!

See you in class!

Keep dancin’!

Sue 


2. 

Dance Away the Blues

I’ll start with an apology! Namely, for my use of the word ‘Blues’ when I actually mean ‘Depression’ – the latter still a taboo word – crazy really when so many of us suffer or have suffered from it.

Depression comes in so many different forms – the way if affects one person may be totally different from the way it affects another. That’s because we are all individuals and illness targets all of us differently.

One of the trickiest things about depression is acceptance of the fact we have it. This isn’t of course that easy to do. Nobody wants to think of themselves as flawed. But an acceptance does mean that you can live with it. And you can actually make it work for you as opposed to constantly fighting it.

Good to know depression has an upside! It can spur you on and make you appreciate ‘the good times’. If you are of a creative disposition it is almost part of who you are. This may be a bit of a sweeping statement and I am not one for statistics – there are undoubtedly those who are the exception to the rule and who are creative but merry! But all too often high levels of creativity and feelings of great positivity are accompanied or followed by extreme lows.

In my own case depression has been a constant companion for as long as I can remember. I rarely feel free of it and inactivity makes me most vulnerable. Most of the time I can tell depression to ‘take a running jump’ but at other times it can sink in its talons and that’s why dance is so crucial to me. More of that in a minute.

Depression can also make me totally over-react - I believe this is called ‘catastrophizing’.  Quick example. The other day a friend ‘let me down’. Now, in the overall scheme of things this was no biggie. But to me it was huge. I felt gutted. And my brain immediately went into overdrive. ‘OK. So you have no friends. That’s life. Get over it.’

It was a particularly perplexing state to be in given that I had to write a lecture (forthcoming) on Friendship! What could I write? That friends weren’t worth the paper their names were written on? That every man is an island?

I compromised in the end by stressing the importance of having a best friend – in yourself i.e. to be your own best friend. I do think there is a large kernel of truth in this – it’s better not to rely too much on others – but I managed to convey this without sounding too down on the human race! And there certainly wasn’t any suggestion that you should immediately write off all your friends!

So, the connection with dance, starting with some questions.

  • Is depression ‘visible’?  I think it is fair to say, if you were to meet me you would never put me into the ‘depressed persons’ category. I smile a lot more than most and I generally exude ‘positive vibes’. I laugh a lot and I wear extremely bright clothes – anyone who has ever been to one of my Zumba classes will vouch for that! So, no – it is not visible.
  • Is it something you would wish on others? No. It can take you to dark places and actually physically hurt. It can feel like something digging away at your insides – opening up a deep chasm. And it can drain you of energy and any desire to carry on.
  • Is it a taboo subject? Yes, it’s not something you shout about from the roof tops! It’s still seen as a weakness; worse, as an indulgence. As opposed to something that you can actually ‘embrace’ and use to drive you to creative heights you could only otherwise dream of.
  • Is it ‘treatable’? Obviously depending on the severity of the condition, medicine is often essential. I personally don’t take this course as drugs blunt my creativity and my particular medicine is dance - I do find it possible to ‘dance away my blues’. Mindfulness is the new buzz word and I employ this ‘living in the moment’ by ‘going into the zone’ via my dancing.

Music is a massive tonic. It has an immediate effect and gives an instant high.

Music has always been a huge part of my life; and in latter years, I have been lucky enough to combine this passion with that of dance which I now share with others, via Zumba classes.

To conclude. Depression accompanies me daily – both as friend and foe. On the negative side, it makes it hard to relax as it is during inactivity that I go into ‘relapse’ and my ‘companion’ takes over. But on the positive side, it aids my creative side by pushing me to achieve more and so, in a strange way, I wouldn’t be without it.

I hope this is helpful to anyone who suffers from depression. As the nights draw in, I have to brace myself for the ‘dark’ ahead. But music and dance are always there to lift your spirits. If you feel in need of such a tonic, join me – all my class details are on www.zumba-around-winchester.com or do drop me a line on sue@plays-r-ussell.com

Take care and keep smiling!

Sue

Tango for Parkinsons - article in Telegraph

Learning to dance the tango could help Britain's 127,000 sufferers of Parkinson's disease, medical researach suggests..... appeared to improve some physical symptoms such as coordination and balance. The social side of the dance lessons also reduced general fatigue, depression and overall cognitive functions.

New Year Resolutions – Zumba Style!
  1. Eat lots – you will burn it off in class!
  2. Drink lots - maybe keep that glass of wine til after class, alcohol doesn’t always aid coordination!
  3. Attend lots of classes  – the better you know the music, the more you’ll enjoy the routines!
  4. Smile and laugh lots – laughter is the best medicine especially at this time of the year!
  5. Forget your inhibitions – make 2015 the year you ‘just do it’ (..still talking zumba here!)
  6. Forget the gym – music can lift you without any equipment!
  7. Forget the ‘no pain no gain’ jargon. Exercise at your own level – injury is no fun.
  8. Travel the world – zumba music is from all continents.
  9. Make new friends – all classes friendly!
  10. STOP making excuses – come to Zumba! What are you waiting for?!

Still not convinced? Ring me Sue Russell on 07947410394 or email me sue@plays-r-ussell.com 

Happy New Zumba Year!

Sue 

Don't forget: exercise keeps the memory fit 

Unfit adults are more forgetful than those who work out regularly, research suggests.

A study of young, "healthy" adults has shown that people who are out of shape have poorer long-term memories.

Taken from study published online in the journal Cognitive, Affective and Behavioural Neuroscience.

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28.2.14

There was an article in Wednesday's Telegraph which I kept for my daughters - had some pretty sound advice - read it today for me!

Ten ways to build your emotional resilience:

1. See crises as challenges to overcome; not insurmountable problems.

2. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family (hmmm... sympathy a bit thin off the ground at home!)

3. Accept that change is part of life, not a disaster.

4. Take control and be decisive in difficult situations (never any question that I'd keep doing classes)

5. Nurture a positve view of yourself - don't talk yourself down or focus on flaws

6. Look for opportunities to improve yourself: a new challenge, social situation or interest outside work. Set goals and plan ways to reach them.

7. Keep things in perspective: learn from your mistakes and think long-term

8. Practise optimism and actively seek the good side of a bad situation (whilst sitting in doctors, getting stronger pain relief, I did pick up loads of tips on how to help others with back problems!)

9. Practise emotional awareness: can you identify what you are feeling and why? (I think I'd substitute this one with Mindfulness - living in the present moment and not fretting about past or future)

10. Look after yourself through healthy eating, exercise, sleep and relaxation.


Valentines Top 50!

Best Love Songs (scribbled these down, off top of head … so many more, I know)

  1. Baby can I hold you – Tracey Chapman
  2. Need you now – Lady Antebellum
  3. More than Words - Extreme
  4. Broken Strings – Nelly Furtado
  5. If you go your own way – Fleetwood Mac
  6. You make lovin fun – Fleetwood Mac
  7. Don’t stop – Fleetwood Mac
  8. Stay – Pink Floyd
  9. Everybody Needs to Have a Friend - Wishbone Ash
  10. You’re so vain – Carly Simon
  11. You’ve got a friend – James Taylor
  12. Your song – Elton John
  13. We’ve got tonight – Bob Seger
  14. Could this be love – Bob Marley
  15. Maggie May – Rod Stewart
  16. Can’t Get Enough of Your Love – Bad Company
  17. Because the Night – Patti Smith
  18. It must be love – Madness
  19. Come up and see me – Steve Harley
  20. Don’t you want me baby – Human League
  21. Ben – Michael Jackson
  22. I believe in a thing called love – The Darkness
  23. Radar Love – Silver Earring
  24. You can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins
  25. Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer
  26. Hey Jude – Beatles
  27. Beautiful Tonight – Eric Clapton
  28. It’s different for Girls – Joe Jackson
  29. Just the Way you are
  30. In the Deep – Adele
  31. Killing me softly – Roberta Flack
  32. Lady in Red - Chris Rea
  33. Everybody Hurts – REM
  34. Nothing Compares – Sinead O’Connor
  35. I'm not in Love - 10 CC
  36. If you leave me now – Chicago
  37. Without you – Nillsen
  38. Beautiful Monster – NeYo
  39. Hearing Angels – Robbie Williams
  40. Close to you - Carpenters
  41. Imagine – John Lennon
  42. Romeo & Juliet – Dire Straits
  43. Can you feel the love tonight? – Elton John
  44. You’re the one that I want – Olivia Newton John and John Travolta
  45. Don’t go breaking my heart –Kiki Dee and Elton John
  46. If you leave me now – Chicago
  47. I’ll Always Love You – Whitney Houston
  48. Love hurts – Nazareth
  49. Stop in the name of love – Diana Ross
  50. Stop Look Listen to your heart and what it’s saying – Stylistics
Sue's Top Ten Tips - Tried and Tested!

1. Pre-class snack: I always have a banana - seems to provide me with enough energy to get through class!
2. Post-class drink: I always make sure I finish bottle of water. I generally only have time to take a few quick swigs during class but discipline myself to drink what's left at the end. On the few occasions I have neglected to do this I have woken up following day with stomping headache. So, lesson learnt! Keeping up hydration is really important (even if, like me, you don't actually sweat!)
3. 'Diet' - I will do a separate section on this. My favs are olives (oil for joints), natural yoghurt (calcium for bones and pro activa variety aiding digestion), tomatoes microwaved or tomato ketchup!(my body craved tomatoes during pregnancy and I've never looked back!) and fish.
4. Working through 'discomfort' barrier. By this I refer to two things - (1) Aches you will probably experience Day 2 post-class. When I started I ached all the time, due to fact I was doing classes every day - but once my muscles had adapted, I felt no further discomfort (2) Mental discomfort - the dreaded self- consciousness! Forget it - we all 'go into the zone' (hopefully reappearing at the end of class!) but nobody but nobody looks at anybody else - promise! That includes me - though I do occasionally just check there are still people in the room with me!
5. Attend classes regularly - once you get to know the music it’s SO much easier and more enjoyable.
6. Focus on legs - arms etc will follow!
7. Dance/exercise at your level - lower or higher impact - there are always two options e.g. step touch to side plus or minus jump, inclusion or not of jumping jacks.
8. Each week increase intensity. Once you know the music/accompanying choreo, you can get 'stuck in' - you get out of the class what you put into it, I just give you the framework.
9. SMILE! Everyone always consoles me, when I say 'you all looked sad', by saying 'But I was concentrating!' and of course most of us don't grin from ear to ear when we are focusing on something. However, the occasional grin (when I go wrong - very occasionally!) doesn't go amiss. I used to take myself way too seriously. I now know how much others enjoy it when I 'slip up' - I remember feeling the same when watching Beto live at the Florida Convention 2 years ago. He's the maestro - and he goes wrong all the time!
10. Feel free to feed back to me. My playlist is based purely on music that I love - sometimes immediate catchy tunes, sometimes ones I've had to listen to a dozen times before they're grabbed me. But music is the driving force behind zumba. It's not about just dancing to any old tune. So if you know of any great songs, with strong beat, let me know - I regularly take on people's suggestions from class - two favs from last year, Maroon Five Moves Like Jagger and Train's Drive by - both requested before I'd even heard these songs!

ZUMBA PARTY NIGHTS

I am also going to be 'offering my services' for anyone wanting zumba at their party. This is still in the 'thinking out stage' but rough plan is as follows:
Pary holder hires hall and dj. 
I provide evening's playlist - lots of great dancing music - plus an hour's zumba, split into two half hour sessions.
So evening will go something like this.
7.30 - 8pm Disco
8 - 8.30 pm ZUMBA
8.30 - 9pm Disco
9 - 9.30 ZUMBA
9.30 to rest of night DISCO
ZUMBATOMIC PARTIES - for kids - these still available. 

 

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