● By Sandie Tillery
story: Sandie Tillery PANGIA PERFORMS AT EVERYDAY FITNESS
Dramatic contrasts of color and function greet visitors and members to EveryDay Fitness, one of 2nd Saturday ArtHop’s regular venues. The work of local artists graces the walls and reflects the owners’ efforts to “expand things that bring us joy in life.” This month, EveryDay Fitness will host dancers Denise Mannion and Annie Dean, who will perform to the world and Middle Eastern music of Pangia. The gym and training facility was opened in February by visionary owner Ed White and his partner, Larry Fuqua. White’s office in the loft area overlooks the spacious 21,000 square feet of carefully renovated and creatively designed workout space. He credits Aztec Construction owner and his wife, Kelly and Alexis Asbe, “for making my dream come true.” It was a whirlwind adventure from the time he left his old location and opened the doors of the new facility on Athens Avenue.
Characteristically upbeat and enthusiastic, White describes EveryDay Fitness as much more than a gym. The loft lounge is regularly filled with stretched and relaxed patrons visiting after serious workouts in the fully outfitted training gym below. Often, members bring goodies to share, while others occasionally come in just to socialize. White has created a “club” that invites more than a quick in-and-out workout. He and Fuqua spend every day at the club. They know everyone who comes in. Hospitality is a hallmark of the “way I do business,” White says.
Even in this difficult economy, the business is flourishing. The club now is home to the chiropractic services of Dr. Maria Salas, and The Day Spa, offering massage and skin care. White credits some of the continual growth in business to referrals from local physicians, as well as the free monthly nutrition seminars he offers to the public the last Saturday of each month. He brings to the business his long career in fitness training and management experience beginning in San Diego, where he trained athletes at San Diego State University and several professional bodybuilders. He worked in local gyms and eventually managed one of Jack LaLanne’s Health Spas. When White moved to Redding, his career took an interesting turn with specialized training to work with spine injury patients. Now, with a following of faithful private clients, White enjoys sharing his vision and his talents as a trainer with a growing community who are seeking health and wellness, along with a good workout.
White reflects warmly about his Greek heritage and the single mother who raised him. The gifts of hospitality and generosity that she instilled then are now very much a part of his efforts to invite others to share not only his space and his talents, but his sense of embracing the hopes and dreams of others. It is no surprise then that recent fundraising events held at the club have been such a great success. The High Contrast Benefit, a black-tie event held in May and co-sponsored with Hanna Gallery, raised funds for the ASPCA. A flipside event, “Jimmy Buffett, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” offered an opportunity to attend a dress-down party in September that garnered monies for another worthy cause.
2nd Saturday ArtHop and EveryDay Fitness make a good match. White supports artists as an integral part of his business. “It dresses up the club,” he says, while giving the artists a perfect gallery where many have found buyers for their work. White early on dedicated space for a small permanent gallery where a friend displays her work, and he has invited others to hang their art on the massive club walls. ArtHop opens just one more opportunity for White to support his community.
Belly dancer Denise Mannion has trained through the years with many of the legends of belly dancing in the Bay Area. She performed in Troupe Mandala along with friend Jinjer Rader and others for more than 20 years, competing and winning troupe, duet and soloist competitions. Today, Mannion pursues her craft with passion and skill as she presents a “visual expression of the music.” “When you are dancing, it’s not about you, it’s about the music and how you respect and interpret it to your audience,” says Rader. Mannion performs and teaches in Mt. Shasta and as an adjunct instructor at College of the Siskiyous in Weed. Dancer Annie Dean will join Mannion in the dance during October’s ArtHop performance.
Pat Olson, Mannion’s husband, is the centerpiece of the musical group Pangia, well-known throughout belly dancing and world music circles. Olson plays the oud, a stringed instrument of ancient origin that he says is considered the “prince of instruments.” With Mannion on the keyboard and guest drummers, Pangia performs up and down both the West and East Coasts. They are regular features at Rakkasah, the world’s largest belly dancing festival, held annually in the Bay area. Drawing on influences from around the world, especially Middle Eastern countries, Pangia plays traditional as well as original music written and arranged by Olson. Olson will perform solo during the ArtHop while Mannion dances. They have recorded six CDs. More information about Pangia can be found at www.pangiaraks.com .
Enjoy the performances of Annie Dean, Denise Mannion and Pangia during October’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop at EveryDay Fitness, 2345 Athens Avenue. Information about EveryDay Fitness is available at www.edfitness.com or by calling (530) 246-1902.