In Nia we do something that is called cooking all four sides. When I first learned this I thought it to be just when we were on the ground. “Cooking” to me was the “side” of the body that was on the ground. When you “cook” all four sides you allow your belly, your back, your left side, and your side to “cook” on the ground. So basically you are lying on a different “side” at one point in the dance. In one routine, I can’t remember which one, while we are standing we turn and face one wall, then turn again, then turn again, then turn again and Debbie called it cooking all four sides. I thought, “Wow! I hadn’t thought to call THAT cooking all four sides, because (as I mentioned) I think of ‘cooking’ as being on the floor.” But it works. We are “cooking” or facing all sides, all walls. In country line dancing we call it a four-wall dance. Often times there are a few steps then a turn, a few steps, then a turn, and so on, eventually you face all four walls. There are two wall dances and maybe even three, but the point is you face a different direction. Generally the back becomes the front and the front becomes the back.
I’ve posted about Nia Routines before. I explained a bit about how the routines are created and teachers can purchase them. Nia routines used to be choreographed and performed on the training DVD by Debbie Rosas or Carlos Rosas or both. I’ve also posted about the fact that Nia morphs and changes. At the end of 2010 Carlos AyaRosas, the male co-creator of Nia retired. As with any company that wants to continue on after a founder retires Nia had to make some changes. To me it seems as if Nia had been thinking about this for a while. I know when I attended my Nia White Belt Intensive both Debbie and Carlos talked about Nia continuing on after they leave. So it seems to me that they had plans and ideas for how Nia will change. I think it is evident in the way that Nia does not seem to be a flag flapping in the wind, it has true direction. With the exit of Carlos a new era has been born. Debbie is now co-creating routines with Nia Black Belt Trainers. I love Nia and enjoy both the routines Debbie created and the ones Carlos created. There are some I like more than others. I am not saying that I like the new one I have seen more than I liked the “old” ones, I am just saying, “Yay! Nia is not disappointing me.” The new routine I have looked at is just as fabulous as the old routines I love.
As a little background: In order to teach Nia we must pay a licensing fee. When we pay the fee we are purchasing the right to teach, continued education, and four Nia routines. We are free to purchase additional routines when they are available, but four are included in the licensing fee and we are obligated to learn at least four a year. I just recently renewed my license and ordered my routines. I ordered two that are older (from 2007 and 2008) and two that are considered our new ones, dated 2011. Usually I skim through all four before deciding which one to learn next. One of them I ordered I have done once before in a class so I know that I like it and I was planning on learning that next, but my curiosity about one of the new ones got to me. I decided to learn it next after having watched it.
I am very excited about this routine because it has the “four-wall” or cooking all four sides technique in it. The routine I am currently teaching has it too but only briefly, this new routine has this technique in more than one song. Since a Nia class is not a dance lesson we just lead follow like other cardio workout classes the cooking all four sides is to not a series of complicated steps, but it does allow us to face other directions. In FreeDance there is always opportunities to face many directions and sometimes in the Nia movements alone one can be turning far enough to achieve facing another wall, but this is choreographed to have the entire class turn. It allows the class to see a different perspective. I think it is fabulous.
It could be making me nostalgic and thinking of country dancing days . . . but more so, I am excited to have this technique used in a Nia routine so my students can see things from the front if they are always in the back or the back, if they are always in the front. It will help move the class in new directions and Beyond!
Have you ever thought about the fact that a cardio dance class is pretty much like a line dance?