A few years ago I was working in my home recording studio when I had a call from an All Black. Josh Kronfeld was on the phone. He was calling from Raglan where he had just come in from surfing Indicators.

Josh had been known to jump up on stage to play blues harp with Midge Marsden’s Legendary Mudsharks. The band often played unannounced commando raid shows at the local Raglan pub – the Harbour View Hotel - on Mudshark Mondays.

“I’ve been asked to play some Gershwin with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra” the Highlander’s  Number 7 and one of the world’s finest loose forwards informed me. “They want me to play Summertime. Can you give me a hand to learn it mate”.

Two hours later Josh was in the studio in training gear and jandals lunging and stretching, with a Hohner Harmonica cupped in his hands. A famous major All Black struggling over a famous minor key melody. The fish was jumpin’ and the cotton was high.

For the record Josh approached learning the piece the way he did rugby training: repetition, discipline and responding to coaching. His cameo performance leading his hometown orchestra later that week was a triumph.

I have often reflected since about how Josh that day modelled the essence of the Renaissance man: a man in the peak of physical condition who had a passion for music and the arts. An All Black who could discuss Picasso at the bottom of a scrum.

The links between mind and body were well known to ancient cultures and are still valued by indigenous cultures. Kapa haka is a perfect example of all of the arts combining in a holistic mix.

It wasn’t until Cartesian thinking that somehow the Western arts and the body were separated.

When I went to school in the middle of last century you were either in the first fifteen or played first violin. It was decidedly un-hip for an athlete to demonstrate an interest in music and musicians in the school orchestra typically avoided  physical education classes and had an almost professional disdain for sport in general..

Things have changed. The modern musician now often displays a reuniting of the two elements. Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, both of whom are also known as lovers of Raglan surf, are but two examples.

Among local musicians who model the new aesthetic is local musician, artist and advanced Pilates instructor Nataalia Lunson. One of her inspirations was Madonna.

Nataalia grew up exposed to music and took up gymnastics aged five and later jazz ballet as a secondary student. She found she had a talent for singing and an empathy for things creative. She turned her hand to painting and appeared in musicals in the Waikato as a singer and dancer.

Following her interest in piano and singing she graduated in 2003 with a Media Arts degree from WINTEC majoring in song writing. She became well known for her stunning live vocal performances - and her modesty about her talents.

Now  a BOP resident, Nataalia’s interests in movement and dance have matured and focused into a passion for Pilates as she peruses a balance of music and physical fitness in her life. The mother of one was recently certified as one of the country’s most highly qualified Pilates instructors and has set up Pilates People to increase public awareness of the enhancment Pilates can make in one’s life.

Her accomplishments as a Pilates specialist are still balanced day to day by her passion for music. She has recorded vocals on an album with Melbourne based trance musician Moonburnt and is perhaps best known in the BOP for her appearances as one of the vocal frontline with the Tauranga Big Band with whom she also recently recorded.

Days are filled with music in between Pilate’s classes where she explores the breath and the rhythms of the body as well as  concentration, centering, control and flowing movement and how the body moves. At present Nataalia can be found at home on her upright piano from time to time writing a musical.

There is much to celebrate in Nataalia’s story. Her lifestyle represents a modern portrait The Twenty First Century Woman as an Artist. Her love of art and her parallel attention to physical health and fitness provide a great model for an artistic life with a healthy understanding of the body as a temple – the vehicle through which Nataalia projects her passion as a composer, dancer and exceptional singer.

 “I had an aspiration to work and perform in the music industry. Music, movement and education have always been at the core of who I am as a person. Although there is freedom in music,movement and dance, I have always wanted to know why it makes us feel free.”