Posted by terrepruitt on December 8, 2011
I was talking about Nia with my Nia students recently after our Nia Class. They were telling me what they think Nia is. They said that Nia should come up if they were doing a search on the internet using the term dance exercise. I was really happy to hear that. I always get stuck when people ask me what Nia is because to me it is a lot of things. If you have read any of my posts on this blog about Nia you know how its principles can be applied to life and how at its very basic level it is a workout. But way beyond that it is a practice. When people ask me about it my enthusiasm takes over and I want to tell them ALL about Nia, when I could just stick to the basic level – it is dance and dance is exercise.
Even though it is exercise and it is a workout it is fun. I love that “Dancing With The Stars” really helped show people what a great workout dancing is. Dancers have always known that dancing is a great workout–both aerobic and strength. I think people have always known to some extent that PROFESSIONAL dancers get a workout, but I think that show opened the door to more people understanding that dancing even if you aren’t a professional is a workout. Yes, the “stars” do end up dancing as much as professionals to learn the dances, but still for some reason it seems like it enabled people to see that dancing is exercise—but it is fun!
As with any workout the participants can put what they want into it. If you really want to get a workout you can move bigger, farther, higher, lower, faster . . . whatever works for you to get the workout you need and want. The possibility to move small, slow, and just be mellow is always there. It is very versatile. It is cardio but if you really move — especially during floorplay — it can be a great strength training workout.
I actually started teaching Nia because it was a dance exercise. I don’t know if I have mentioned that before in this blog, but I was looking for something to teach that was very dance-y yet was exercise. I knew a lot of women who said they loved to dance and they would like to dance but their partners didn’t like it, so they thought that a workout that was dance would be great. It is. It is very fun. We dance to all types of music. There is a lot of opportunity for self-expression. Even when we are doing specific steps there is a lot of room for one’s own movements.
Nia was created to be fun, to address the entire being. Debbie Rosas-Stewart and Carlos Aya-Rosas brought us this wonderful movement practice through years of hard work and research, that started in 1983. Carlos retired at the end of 2010, and Debbie is moving Nia forward in a great direction. Body-centered, spirit-filling, and mind-blowing. We are dancing up a storm and loving it. It is dance, it is exercise, it is dance exercise and if you try it you will love it.