Tag Archives: 10 things to do in Dubai

Health | Pure Pilate Brings LA-Based, First Generation Master Pilates Teacher, Jay Grimes, to Dubai

This year, has been about me – not in a selfish way but I realise more and more that I need to up the self-care in my schedule. I have always been a huge fan of pilates – I think it is important for us mothers to stay fit and to keep our core strong. I had a terrible back for several years because of the 4 children, and would take a voltaren a day for almost a year just after baby number 4.  I had previously done pilates and knew the benefits and would recommend it to mums.  However, for the first 8 months after delivering my fourth child, my attempts at exercise were futile. I just didn’t have time or the energy to look after myself.  Then,  I just couldn’t cope with the pain anymore and I committed to a year of physiotherapy with pilates at Up and Running, and I am feeling great again. I saw the great news that PURE Pilates, a Pilates studio in is bringing LA based, Jay Grimes, a First Generation Master Pilates teacher to Dubai.  If you are curious about pilates it is really worth a try but always make sure your teachers are properly qualified.  Although I have never been to Pure Pilates I am definitely keen to try a lesson with Jay Grimes.

Jay Grimes

This is Jay’s first visit to Dubai and bringing him to the region is part of PURE Pilates commitment to spreading the original work of Joseph Pilates. Jay is one of the few people in the world who worked with Joseph and Clara Pilates in their studio, will be coming to Dubai to host the global Vintage Pilates Teachers Spring Camp and private classes.

Jay Grimes began his studies with Joe Pilates in the mid-sixties, and after Joe’s death continued with Joe’s wife, Clara, for another 10 years until her death. Jay began teaching in the original 8th Ave studio in New York and has since taught all over the world. Jay danced professionally, ballet and Broadway for 18 years, and never had an injury. This he attributes entirely to Pilates. Jay is valued in the Pilates community for his experience, humility and integrity in maintaining the work of Joe Pilates.

Coming to Dubai with Jay is Sandy Shimoda, who has been teaching movement since the 1980’s and was introduced to Pilates in 1994. She has been a private student of Jay Grimes since 2004, and opened her renowned LA based studio, Vintage Pilates with the hope of providing a place for students to access the wealth of understanding that Jay has to offer.

Jay and Sandy will teach a combined seven workshops, and offer private lessons and VP Group classes.  Classes can be booked directly with PURE Pilates.  VP Group Classes are group lessons, done the way Joe Pilates taught them. They are small classes (up to six people) where practitioners work on their own, individualized series of exercises, under the guidance of a Vintage Pilates instructor. Focus on flowing through your movements, gain independence and take control of your workout.

PURE Pilates

PURE Pilates is owned by Susanna Foustok, who in 2013, was accepted to study under Jay Grimes at his studio, Vintage Pilates.  She completed their intensive Masters Programme – ‘The Work’, in 2014 and was one of the small group of people that Jay selected personally to continue the apprenticeship in 2015-2016.  There are only 22 people in the world who have completed the two-year mentorship and Susanna is the only person in the UAE with this training.

For full details on the timetable and group class schedule, please visit:



Visiter Dubai | Day trip to Abu Dhabi | UAE | Travel | What to do with visiting relatives & friends | By Claudia Ong

Sometime last year, my cousin, Edwina Viel, wrote a post titled “A private tour guide for your visitors”. True enough, she heeded her own advice and organised a private travel guide for me to Abu Dhabi, and I’ve got to say that the experience was truly amazing and enriching.

Being extremely psyched about my big summer trip to Dubai, I spent a lot of my time doing my research about the place. And of course, being pretty hooked on social media, I found myself spending a ton of time exploring through Instagram for gorgeous pictures taken in Dubai by fellow enthusiasts. To be frank, I didn’t know much about the UAE or Dubai for that matter. The things I associated Dubai with was firstly, it’s a desert – so it’s incredibly hot in the summer, secondly, it’s where all the cool expats go to, and lastly, it’s a place for luxurious living. Eddie told me that you could call for an Uber Chopper! #mindblown

Of the many beautiful pictures that came up on Instagram during my research, the few that caught my eye were of course the #dubaigems like the well-known Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa. But there was this one, that was as white as snow, lined with gold and so perfectly symmetrical – The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. At first I was pretty bummed that it was in Abu Dhabi and not in Dubai. I wasn’t quite sure I’d get the chance to see this magnificent structure.

I have to say I’m very blessed to have such a hospitable cousin. Knowing that I wanted to delve deeper into the culture of UAE, she introduced me to Victor Cassé. If you’re looking for a warm, friendly, knowledgeable and personable travel guide, he is the man to go to. He dropped by the house at 1.30pm and we set off for our excursion. The drive to Abu Dhabi didn’t seem long because Victor was able to share his knowledge about the UAE in a way where you don’t even feel like you’re getting an information overload.

Unlike many regular tours, this one is flexible and customised to suit your interests best. You don’t need to fight with hordes of other tourists and it makes traveling from site to site very easy. The trip around Abu Dhabi took about 7 hours, and I was able to get a much deeper understanding and appreciation for its culture and development.

Here is where we went on the tour:

1: Saadiyat Gallery

2: Fruit and Vegetable Market/ Fish Market

3: Corniche Bridge

4: Al Hosn Exhibition

5: Emirates Palace

6: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

In the galleries and exhibitions, you get to see what Abu Dhabi was and how it has made its way to what it is now and will be in the future. It’s such a fast growing state and it’s definitely worth a visit, especially with the new heritage and culture developments coming up. You’ll get to admire the unique architecture that both Abu Dhabi and Dubai is known for. At the market, I had a sneak peek into a different side of the UAE, where you see local fruit and vegetable sellers with a variety of brightly coloured crops. I even got to sample home-grown dates, which was a real treat for someone with a sweet tooth.

The trip ended off with a gorgeous sunset, which made the grand structure even more unbelievable. I was in awe of every single little detail that was so intricately designed and carved. I believe that pictures speak more than a thousand words, so I’ll let them do the talking for me.

For more information on Victor and the types of tours you can expect please go to www.visiterdubai.fr/en/

Photos by Claudia Ong.

Dubai Culture | Dubai Opera set to open this Autumn | Ticket office is now open

My husband and I are thrilled that Dubai Opera is almost ready and we think it will be a great boost to Dubai’s cultural scene.  My husband’s mother was an opera singer in Milan and he grew up listening to the most important works of opera as a child, and we are delighted this is now on our doorsteps to expose our children to all the performing arts, especially with trips to the ballet, theatre and musicals.

Dubai Opera

Dubai Opera overlooks the majestic Burj Khalifa and spell-binding Dubai Fountain designed by W.S.Atkins. It offers the ultimate flexibility of a proscenium arch theatre, an acoustic concert hall and a 2,000 sq m flat floor event space. With a built-up area of over 35,500 sq m, Dubai Opera is an integral part of The Opera District, a dedicated cultural and lifestyle hub launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Dubai Opera Performances

An impressive calendar of 49 world class performances of opera, ballet, classical and family entertainment previewing the future of Dubai’s newest international cultural offering. Accomplished artists to perform at Dubai Opera include Placido Domingo, The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia, Vienna Concert Verein, the final world tour of José Carreras, Hussain Al Jassmi, Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras and Anoushka Shankar, among others.

Dubai Opera, the city’s first purpose-built multi-format performing arts theatre situated in the heart of Downtown Dubai, will celebrate its first performance this Autumn with a concert by legendary Spanish tenor, conductor and art administrator Plácido Domingo.

Described as the ‘King of Opera,’ and the ‘greatest operatic artist of modern times,’ Domingo has sung over 4,000 performances of 147 roles in addition to conducting more than 500 performances. He is named by the Guinness Book of Records for the size of his repertoire and for having received 101 curtain calls after a performance – Verdi’s Otello at the Vienna State Opera.

The Domingo concert will be followed with Dubai Opera hosting the soul-stirring historic opera The Pearl Fishers. The three-act opera by the French composer Georges Bizet, to a libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré, serves as an ode to the rich heritage of Dubai, with its history seeped in adventurous pearl-diving expeditions by its people. It also complements the architectural splendour of Dubai Opera, which derives its inspiration from the Arabian dhow.

First performed in 1863, The Pearl Fishers narrates the story of two men’s promise of eternal friendship that is tested by their love for the same woman. The highlight of the opera, The Pearl Fishers Duet is among the best-known in Western opera. The Pearl Fishers, which has enticed opera lovers the world over for its lyrical quality, will be performed by Fondazione Teatro Lirico “Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste.”

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “With a world-class line-up of performances in the opening year itself, Dubai Opera is defining its credentials as the cultural hub of the region. The diversity of events that the multi-format venue showcases places our city on part with the cultural capitals of the world, welcoming art lovers from all over to our city. From hosting legendary names in performing arts to exceptional artists who have won rave international reviews, Dubai Opera’s calendar of events raises the bar for the cultural scene in Dubai.”

Jasper Hope, Chief Executive of Dubai Opera, said: “Dubai Opera is bringing a spectacular calendar of performances – from defining operas to exhilarating ballets and compelling classical music in our opening year. The line-up of performances will be a revelation for culture-lovers in the city. We are bringing world-class performers to Dubai who will appeal to residents and tourists alike and will help broaden even further the incredible international appeal of Dubai.”

While The Pearl Fishers will be performed in Autumn, opera lovers will be further enthralled with the masterpiece comedy by Gioachino Rossini, The Barber of Seville. Set to an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini, based on the French comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, the opera buffa in two acts marked its debut in 1816, and will be performed by Fondazione Teatro Lirico “Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste.”

Giselle performed by The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia, is considered as one of the great Romantic ballets. It was first performed in 1841 and focuses on the love of a peasant girl who dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover is betrothed to another.

Also by The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia, Coppelia is set to Leo Delibes’ beautiful score. It is a captivating and entertaining family ballet based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann about an eccentric toymaker who has built a life-sized doll, Coppélia, and daydreams of her coming to life.

Dubai Opera comes alive to the strains of the Mozart Gala performed by Vienna Concert Verein followed by Postcards from Vienna, and then will host Impossible, described as the ‘most dangerous show’ the city has ever seen. It features the world’s best illusionists live on stage in a magic spectacular that will thrill and amaze audiences of all ages.

Dubai Opera then welcomes on stage the renowned Catalan tenor, José Carreras, who celebrates ‘A Life in Music,’ his final world tour. One of the Three Tenors along with Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, Carreras is highly acclaimed for his performances in the operas of Verdi and Puccini.

Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar who has five Grammy® Award nominations and is the youngest – and first female – recipient of a British House of Commons Shield. She brings her 2016 work, Land of Gold, focusing on the refugee crisis in the world.

Audiences can also watch the acclaimed show, The Nutcracker on Ice featuring the Imperial Ice Stars. Set against a backdrop of colourful scenes and projections, opulent costumes, magic tricks and special effects, the cast of World, European and National Championship level skaters dance to Tchaikovsky’s glorious score.

Further performances including a number of high profile names and productions will be announced in due course. Tickets can be booked online at: www.dubaiopera.com