Moving with modern dance

Pamela Huggins has turned her 25-plus years of experience in dance into a series of classes to exercise and sculpt the body and build awareness to the mind.

She calls her classes and techniques “Movement as Medicine” (the business is Essential Inner Chi), and the idea is something Huggins has been building since she was injured in an accident nine years ago.

She’s gathered everything she’s experienced—from the Alexander technique for body alignment to yoga and tai chi—and put it all together in her low-impact classes, which take place Tuesday through Friday mornings from 7 to 8 at the new Xtreme Training Center at 360 East Sixth St., where Women In Motion used to be. Her number is 343-6613; XTC’s is 879-9697.

As far as she knows, Huggins is the only instructor teaching modern dance in Chico today. Huggins, whose college degree is in organizational communications, has always loved dance but initially came to Chico to be a director in Chico State University’s residence halls. For a year and one-half, she worked for Odyssey, the local ropes course, team-building business.

Huggins said she decided to offer her classes more frequently and formally after repeatedly being approached by people who fondly remembered her “Alive and Dancing” class she used to teach at Chico Sports Club.

Her approach, Huggins said, is, “not ‘Just do it,’ but, ‘Tell me what it is that’s in your way.'” She said it’s somewhat like meditation, but rather than leaving one’s body, she’s interested in “getting people in their bodies—doing a lot of sensing.” That way, the body can offer clues about what needs to happen physically and emotionally. If that sounds too trippy for you, don’t worry: Huggins says, “You can be a part of these classes at whatever level you’re ready for.”

She’s mostly working with individuals now but may take on more groups and even businesses. Lately, she said, her clientele has grown to include “the person who’s just feeling freaked out about the world.”

Rice dream

First the harvest, then the straw burning, next the waterfowl. But wait: Rice is a big moneymaker in Butte County, so I thought I’d let you know how it shook down this year. The rice crop forecast, released Nov. 14 by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, predicts that the 2001 harvest will see 38.62 million hundredweight of the grain, down 11 percent from last year. The yield is expected to be 8,200 pounds per acre. Now you know.

Break open those piggy banks

Here’s a fun idea for the folks on your holiday gift list. Notre Dame School is having a Christmas Boutique—featuring crafts handmade by the grade schoolers—on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be tasty holiday treats for sale, too.

The annual fund-raising event will take place in the school’s gym and cafeteria at 435 Hazel St., and babysitting is provided.

Furthermore (and here’s the coolest part), there will be an “Children’s Christmas Corner” where kids under age 10 can buy gifts for $1 and even have them gift-wrapped.

But wait! This just in! Chico Nursery School is sponsoring its own "Children’s Shopping Days," where on Dec. 7 and 8 (from 2 to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., respectively), kids can buy handmade, wrapped gifts for only $1.75. There will also be a silent auction, a raffle and, on Friday, photos with Santa. The school is located at 1190 East First Ave.