Posts Tagged ‘dance class’
Posted by terrepruitt on February 7, 2013
I found Nia back in 2008. I was looking for an exercise that was more like dance. I had several people in my life at that time that loved to dance, but their partners wouldn’t dance with them. They claimed they would love to do exercise if it was more like dance. I also had people in my life at that time that were younger than me, my age, and just slightly older and they couldn’t move very well. They moved with pain and/or it was an extreme challenge for them to balance and just a mixed bag of things. I believed that movement could help some of the issues facing them and many others. I also loved to dance and thought it would be great to have an exercise class that was dance. I looked at doing Jazzercise, but I think at the time the franchise thing (or however they did it/do it) was not something I wanted to do. And back then Zumba was not yet the rage and I had thought it was ALL Latin music (I know better now). I remember I came across a website that was talking about Trance Dance. So I researched that a bit. That sounded interesting, moving your body in your own way to music. But the information I found said that you kept your eyes closed and/or were blindfolded while dancing and someone would watch to make certain people didn’t injure themselves. That part and the fact that some sites stated there actually was a form of “Trance” that people entered into kept me from wanting to do that. But somewhere there was a mention of Nia. So I tried to find all the information I could on this Nia. Back then it might have even been NIA. I don’t remember when it changed and even now some places still call it Neuromuscular Integrative Action. It has gone through a few name changes, but at present it is just The Nia Technique or Nia.
It IS non-impact aerobics and it IS Neuromuscular Integrative Action, but the name is Nia and it no longer “stands” for anything. And in the four years that I have been doing it and learning about it, it has changed. It was originally created by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas in the early 1980s from a desire to help people exercise in a different way, a way that addressed more than just the physical body.
When I joined Nia there were really starting to talk a lot about the next phase of Nia. You see, even though Nia remains true to the original concept of a Joyful workout, it does change and it does grow. Anything that wants to survive has to change or at least be flexible enough to endure the change that happens around it. Nia changes, they change the way they deliver training from the routines to the intensive — so the continued education changes. Nia’s training material is phenomenal. When you read through a newsletter or a manual or listen to a conference call you can sense the care taken in creating the material. It is nice to be a part of Nia.
It is interesting. It is amazing to see how far Nia has come and how much is has changed in the short time that I have been a teacher. The roots of Nia are still there they are just always finding new ways to share it.
As with any an all certifications I have earned I did my research beforehand. It is important to know how much the initial training cost and how the licensing and/or certifications works. It is important to know about continued education and re-licensing or re-certifiying. I liked everything I saw about Nia. It took me four classes before I decided to invest the time and money needed to teach.
I took the training in December of 2008. I started teaching in February 2009. I have been teaching Nia ever since. I have had the same Monday and Wednesday class since February 2009. I have had other classes at other studios and gyms on different days and different times. At this writing I am teaching Nia five times a week in San Jose – not including subbing dates. I have three classes for the City of San Jose; a Tuesday morning and a Tuesday evening class. I also have a Thursday evening class. My schedule is update regularly on www.HelpYouWell.
I took a second Nia training in November 2012. I just finished posting my way through the #13 principles of that belt (Blue Belt).
I am excited to have so many opportunities to share Nia with people each week. As I said, I have five classes and as I said things change. So when you are ready to join me in one check my site to confirm time and place and all those details. I would like for the number to grow. Just as Nia is growing, in leaps and bounds and for the better.
Posted in Nia | Tagged: City of San Jose Nia, Community Center Nia classes, dance class, dance exercise, dance partners, Dance Workout, Jazzercise, Neuromuscular Integrative Action, Nia, Nia Blue Belt, Nia Classes, Nia San Jose, San Jose dance exercise, San Jose Nia, trance dance, www.HelpYouWell.com, Zumba | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on January 26, 2013
I know I have mentioned before that I teach Nia as a substitute Group Exercise teacher for the City of San Jose. What that means is when a teacher can’t teach a class s/he will send out a message saying that a substitute is needed. In order to give our clients/students what they want we work to keep the substituted class close to what the original class is. If a Boot Camp teacher needs a substitute the first choice to have instead would not be yoga. Or vice versa. As you can imagine, when someone plans on going to a class and shows up and it is not what was expected it can take a little wind out of someones sails. Sometimes in order to keep the class from being cancelled a different format will be allowed, but that is rare. Usually someone is able to step in with a similar format. It is a real challenge when people have not even heard of the type of dance exercise that you are going to do in substitution for their normal class.
It seems like with many people the first time they hear of something they are a little resistant. To me this is understandable. It seems like a natural thing to shy away from something that is unfamiliar. And as I said, it really can be disheartening when you are looking forward to a specific thing/type of workout and you walk in and find it to be a class of something you have never heard of. I don’t take it personal when people decide not to stay or leave in the middle of class. I’ve learned a long time ago that Nia is for everyBODY it is just not for everyone. It can be a HUGE step for some people. It can be a huge switch in thinking and moving and a lot of things, I understand. So when someone comes in not knowing what they are in for and completely embraces it — I love it. I find myself thinking, “YES!” I admire the person and their openness.
I have been teaching a class where I am listening to the music, dancing, cueing, sensing, and looking out into the room and as my eyes survey the students I will see someone who is completely new to Nia and utterly unfamiliar with it, dancing with all of their body, mind, and spirit. It is so amazing. For someone to come in and not having even heard of Nia before the class to just embrace something so fully–it is so wonderful. That is one of the best moments ever. The challenge for me is to keep going myself. There are times when I just want to stop and watch because it is such a beautiful thing to see someone dance with all of their heart. It is as if they are glowing and all of a sudden they are all I can see. It is so incredible.
I appreciate the people who say, “I’m open to anything.” Or even, “What the heck? I am here. I might as well try it.” But it is really amazing to look out and see the ones that are just INTO it. In a Nia class where people come to DO Nia, it is typical to see people dancing with everything they have, but to see it in a class that is usually not Nia . . . . ahhhhhhh!
I felt like sharing this today. Thank you for letting me share a bit of joy with you. Today has been a GREAT day. Nothing spectacular or even note worthy has happen but there has been a lot of laughing and any day with a lot of laughing is a great day. Don’t you think?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: Boot Camp, City of San Jose, dance class, dance exercise, exercise class, Group Exercise classes, Group Exercise teacher, Nia, Nia class, Nia exercise, Nia in San Francisco Bay Area, Nia student, Nia Teacher, Nia workout, San Jose exercise classes, San Jose Group Exercise, substitute teacher, teach Nia, workout class, Yoga | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on December 18, 2012
The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6 is hilarious. Ok, the principle itself is not hilarious it is just funny – to me – that it identifies something and names it. But that is what some of the principles do for me. The principles identify something that we do in everyday life. Or they connect dance, Nia, teaching to something that is commonly known or done. This is one of the principles that we – you, me, everyone – do all the time. We – you, me, everyone – probably didn’t call it “Split, Ellipt, Blend” with a tagline of “Crafting With Attention”. Basically the principle itself (Split, Ellipt, Blend) refers to attention. As I was writing this post, I typed that the tagline in this case refers to teaching Nia, but then I realized that, while yes, the whole principle is designed to enhance our Nia practice and teaching, – as do many of the Nia principles – it can apply to everyday life. So what is Split, Ellipt, Blend?
Well, as I said it has to do with attention, so in an everyday situation you split off your attention from others and focus on yourself, you focus 100% on another, and you blend it so your attention is on both. So sometimes you might be doing something and completely focused on yourself and what you are doing. You might not even notice other people or other things around you. You are 100% concentrating. Then you hear a loud voice and it is someone, your boss, your spouse, your child, coming towards you. They have something to tell you. So you stop what you are doing and you are 100% focused on them. You are listening. Once you understand the situation and realize that it is not an emergency requiring you to stop what you are doing you go back to what you were doing yet you carry on a conversation with the person talking to you.
Split into self. Ellipt into others. Blend with.
This is something we do in class as Nia teachers. We might completely concentrate on ourselves. Waiting to receive a pearl. Thinking about the moves. Sensing our body. Then we might focus on the class. Giving all our attention to what they are doing and how they are doing it. Doing a Joy check. Asking for sounds. Then our attention could be on both. We could be receiving information from the class as well as ourselves. The “Crafting With Attention” is us being aware of the split, ellipt, and blend. And how we use it.
A few things I have mentioned before, but will repeat again, “other” does not necessarily have to be another person. You could be splitting, ellipting, and blending with your own body, with the music, with the movements, with many things. And . . . this is just barely a scratch on the surface of the principle. This is just the broad overview and it is what I understood it to be about. There is ALWAYS deeper to go in Nia and the Nia principles. And sometimes the more I do, the more I see it differently. Sometimes, not always. So keep that in mind when I post again about The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6: Split, Ellipt, Blend, Crafting With Attention. (For a list of Nia Blue Belt Principles see Terre’s post The Joy of Being In Relationship With The Nia Blue Belt Principles .
With that quick explanation, can you see how split, ellipt, blend applies to more than just a Nia Teacher teaching a class? With an awareness of it, can you see how you can use it in different ways?
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: attention, Blend, dance, dance class, Ellipt, Nia Blue Belt, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia pearls, Nia principles, Nia Teacher, SEB, Split, teaching Nia, The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6 | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on November 22, 2012
I have so much to be thankful for I work on giving thanks all year long. I tell the people who I am thankful for that I appreciate them. I do feel so much gratitude that I don’t feel bad taking one of my posts for sharing some things and people who I am thankful for. Why not, right? It is my blog and Thursday happens to be one of the days I post. And since Thanksgiving is set up to occur on Thursdays it just happens that I will be posting on that day.
I did have a conversation recently with my Nia students and we agreed that it would be nice if the United States celebrated Thanksgiving in October as our Canadian neighbors do. We were talking about how it would be beneficial to have the Holidays spread out a bit. Having more time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas could ease some stress. It wouldn’t be one big rush. Plus the fact that not all of the days off from work would be so close together. Sounds like a good idea.
As I type this (a bit before Thanksgiving) what is really in the front of my mind to be thankful for is my Nia Students. I am very grateful to them for holding space for me while I took the Nia Blue Belt Training, the next level of Nia. As a dance exercise teacher there is a fear that students won’t come back if a class is cancelled. It takes commitment to come to a class day after day and week after week and sometimes once that habit is broken it is easy to let it go. So knowing that my students are committed to Nia and to supporting me really helped me let go of the fact that I had to cancel my classes and it allowed me to really BE where I needed to be.
I am also very thankful for the people involved with my Nia Blue Belt. I am thankful for the organizer. She kindly kept in communication with me when I didn’t know if I should sign up for the intensive because my mom had been having health issues and at one point she was going to be scheduled for a major (MAJOR, MAJOR) surgery the very week of the intensive. She let me know that I could register as close as 30 days prior. I have huge gratitude towards the Nia Trainers who each have their own story, one flying from Hurricane Sandy to come teach us, and the other having had a bee sting, a car accident, and surgery. And the class, my fellow Blue Belts. Some of the trainees are actually other belts retaking the blue, but they will be fellow blues to me. I appreciate the warm and welcoming space that was created and held. There were many people going through personal situations and they were able to step into the space strong and ready to learn. They put the issues aside and focused and made it through. Thank you so much, Blues!
My husband was so great during the entire week of training. I am a firm believer that the body and brain needs nutrients throughout the day so I make sure that I make him lunch every night. He is one of those worker-people that will just power through his day not giving a thought to food. So it is really important that he have lunch right there to eat. During the intense week he made sure to make his own lunch (AND DINNER) because he knew that if he didn’t I would. He helped it feel as if I were on vacation from my home duties. This helped tremendously.
I am very thankful for my mom’s health. She has been going through some issues this past year and true to my mom she has stumped her doctors. At first they didn’t know what exactly was going on, then every time they had a treatment plan it would change because my mom does not follow text books or protocols. She had a stricture in her throat which led to the discovery of lung cancer. And over the past year has had surgery three times none of which were the one that was planned to fix her throat. That surgery was to be a major surgery. And by some miracle (the doctors are amazed) that surgery is no longer needed and her cancer was removed along with a lobe of her lung. She is almost back to normal. She just needs to work on getting used to have less lung. I am very thankful for her health. It was a very long, stressful year.
My friends are always on the top of the list of blessings I am thankful for. I am always amazed at the wonderful people who I have that love and support me. And I am eternally grateful. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for Nia. It is an amazing practice and through it I have met even more amazing people.
I hope that those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving have a very Happy One. And I invite everyone to take a moment to think of something they are thankful for. Anything you care to share that you are thankful for?
Posted in Misc | Tagged: Blue Belt Intensive, Blue Belt Training, Canadian Thanksgiving, cancer, Christmas, dance class, dance exercise, gratitude, lung cancer, Nia, Nia Blue Belt, Nia class, Nia students, Nia trainers, Practice, Thanksgiving 2012 | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on July 14, 2012
I have a huge favor or request. I know I have mentioned it before, but I don’t think I have done a single post on it, but recently I, myself, was confronted with this situation so I really want to make a serious plea. I am going to go out on a limb and say this is a plea for many fitness instructors/dance exercise teachers. If you go to a class and you don’t like it, please, please, please try it at least two more times. If you are ok with the instructor, but the class is just not that good in your opinion, give it another chance. There are a million reasons why you might not like that particular class on that particular day. It could be the routine or exercises you were doing that day so ask the instructor when s/he will be changing to a new one. Or it could be the music, so, again talk to the instructor. Maybe ask if the class you just experienced was the norm or the typical class. Sometimes instructors decide to change it up and try something new but after taking it to the class they might decide they didn’t like it either. So ask. Also ask the other students. Don’t give up on something after just one class.
If taking three classes from the same instructor sounds like a waste of time and money to you, try a different instructor. We are all different and we strive to represent the brand/technique/practice to the best of our ability, but we also add out own style and it could be that the style is not something that you connect with. It could also be — if you don’t like the class — that the instructor is not necessarily sticking to the program. You might enjoy the class with an instructor that is more closely following the idea of the fitness brand/technique/practice.
I had been to a few fitness classes recently and I felt some elements that I believe should be included in this type of class were missing. Plus in a couple of classes I felt as if it was not all that the brand promised. But I attended a few more classes with different instructors and I began to see a big difference. I also took it upon myself to become educated a bit in the type of class and now I understand why I like one class over the other. One instructor was following the program more closely than the other one and it actually is more enjoyable. I actually went to four or five classes with three different instructors. I walked out of one class saying, “Dang, I really hate that.” Whereas the other two I thought, “Now that is what it is all about!”
So if you walk out of a class thinking you really don’t like it, that is ok, you obviously didn’t like THAT particular class, but it could be the brand/technique/practice wasn’t represented correctly. So try again. Maybe the instructor was having a bad day. Yes, it is our job to instruct and hold a good class, no matter what, but . . . c’mon we are only human. Sometimes we just have “off days”. There are all types of reasons to give an instructor another chance.
I know I have mentioned this before, but if I HAVE done an entire post on it before and I am repeating myself I apologize, but I really feel strongly about this. Because, as I said, twice I walked out of a class saying, “No way!”, but then the two other instructors showed me a “Yes way!”
Now keep in mind that I am not just talking about Nia, I am talking about ANY class you try; Zumba, Jazzercise, Barre Fitness, Turbo Kick, whatever.
If you end up giving it a good try and still end up not liking it at least you will have burned some calories in the process. But I bet if you were drawn to the class in the first place you will end up finding a class and an instructor that you like. Just don’t give up after the first class, do yourself a favor and keep at it and you’ll end up finding something to allow you to gain all the benefit of an exercise workout.
Have you ever gone to a class and not gone back because you didn’t like it after only one class?
Posted in Misc | Tagged: Barre Fitness, brand representation, dance class, dance exercise, dance exercise teachers, dance program, do yourself a favor, exercise class, exercise program, fitness instructors, fitness program, Jazzercise, Nia class, Nia Technique, Turbo Kick, workout class, Zumba | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on July 10, 2012
I wrote a post about a four-point turn, that is what I call one of the turns we do while we are doing Nia. In Nia it is sometimes called an Aikido turn. But it is a turn that is done in many dance exercise classes, including Zumba. I realize that even if you are reading the post while trying to do it, it could be a bit confusing so . . . . . voila! A video.
The first clip is of me facing away and I start with a RIGHT turn, then alternate. Then the second clip is of me facing the camera.
As with my Aikido turn post maybe right and left indications will work better for you. In my other post I decribed the left turn, so here I will write out the right turn. And as stated, the right turn is the first turn I demonstrate. Turn your head/eyes to the right, allow your hand/arm to follow. Move your right foot to “toes out” turning your right thigh bone to the right. Then step on your RIGHT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%. As you are stepping all your weight on your RIGHT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the right, in the direction you want to go. Swing your LEFT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your RIGHT FOOT. Step onto your LEFT FOOT, toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the RIGHT FOOT (“toes out” foot). Swing your RIGHT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your LEFT FOOT (weighted foot). You will land standing on the RIGHT FOOT, and turn the LEFT FOOT to be parallel with the right foot. . . making that the fourth point or step.
Even though in the first clip on the right turn you can’t see my right foot “toes out”, I do the turn enough times in the video for you to see how the first step is a “toes out” move. Starting the turn with the “toes out” and already turning the direction you want to go will go a long way in enabling you to get all the way around. Even if it takes a lot of practice to get all the way around, starting that first step with the leg in outward rotation will help a lot. I also said in my last post that I think it is easier to do this move fast as opposed to slow. So it might be a good idea to not try it really slow at first because it is not easy slow. Just go. Right toes out, left, right, left. Or left toes out, right left right. Remember we do not spin on our feet. We need to pick the feet up off the ground to avoid blisters and strengthen the leg. Also you might notice that this turn is done on the balls of the feet. You put all your weight on the ball of the foot.
While my fourth “point” or step I am exaggerating and pointing my toe in that might not always be the case. When we are moving to the music the fourth “point” could end up being any number of things depending upon many number of things. The choreography sometimes calls for different things. Plus there is the individual body that is doing it to consider. Sometimes people can’t get all the way around, it could be that the music is really moving and there isn’t enough time to get around and settle into that fourth step or it could be that this is one of those moves that will take practice.
It’s a great move that allows us to use ALL five Nia Sensations. Flexibility on the “toes out” and as we place our feet, mobility in our joints, strength to get us around and stop, agility to stop, and stability to stay stopped. Cool, huh?
So how are you doing with your turn?
Posted in Helpful Hints, Nia | Tagged: Aikido, Aikido turn, dance choreography, dance class, dance exercise, dance exercise classes, demonstration video, exercise class, how to instructions, Nia, Nia choreography, Nia's Five Sensations, Toes Out, video clip, Youtube video, Zumba | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on April 28, 2012
When I first discovered Nia I bought The Nia Technique Book to see if I would be able to do it. I don’t mean do it as in do the moves and participate in a class, I mean do it as in “get into it”, as in understand it. It sounded a bit “woo-woo” to me. Listening to your body, voices of the body, energy this, moving energy that. I wasn’t sure I could sync it up with my beliefs. But as I studied it more I realized that it is based on science. It involves human kinetics. Most of the moves, although called the 52 Nia moves are quite common and are seen in many other types of exercises and workouts. The ones that I consider unique are probably part of some other dance I am not familiar with. And the “woo-woo” part, well, I realized that it is woo-woo – at least that is how many people think of certain things like energy, chakras, mind-body, and body-mind practices. I mean look at yoga, when I was young that was one of the “woo-wooest” things around and now people have embraced it. There are so many types of yoga it is difficult to keep track. For some they just ignore the woo-woo while others embrace it because they realize it makes sense. I mean cultures have been using “woo-woo” stuff for centuries. There is meditation, herbs, chanting, drumming — all types of other things that some people think of woo-woo. The woo-woo must not be too far off base though because it seems to work. Recently my posts have been about healing sounds and making sounds, this post is about the vowel sounds related to the chakras and I am sure to some people it sounds a little, or maybe even a lot, “woo-woo”. But I like to imagine that if you are reading this you are somewhat open to new things — even woo-woo things. So you might be willing to try the healing sounds or even the vowel sounds of the chakras.
The vowel sounds related to the chakras are as follows:
CROWN CHAKRA: EEE as in “me”
BROW/THIRD EYE CHAKRA: AAA* as in “say”
THROAT CHAKRA: EYE as in “my”
HEART CHAKRA: AH as in “ma”
SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA: OH as in “go”
PELVIC CHAKRA: OOO as in “you”
ROOT CHAKRA: UH as in “cup”
The idea is to say these sounds in a specific note. If you have a keyboard or a phone with an app that has a keyboard or an app that can give you examples of the notes it might help you. Or you might be musical and know what the notes sound like.
EEE is to be made in the B note
AAA is to be made in the A note
EYE is to be made in the G note
AH is to be made in the F note
OH is to be made in the E note
OOO is to be made in the D note
And UH is to be made in the C note
These sounds are to help open and heal the chakras. Or to keep them balanced, all depends on your needs and your practice.
As with everything there is a wealth of information out there on how to “do” the vowels. The commonalities I am seeing is to sit comfortable with a lengthened spine. Be relaxed. Use a normal breath. Repeat each sound seven times.
I have used these sounds in my Nia classes when we are using a chakra as a focus. I am going to take this list and use the vowels sounds just as I did the healing sounds. The focus can be the chakra vowel sounds and we can create an intent from there. Yay! I love thinking of things to use as focuses in my classes. I also think that sitting down to make these sounds as a specific exercise is a good idea. What do you think about chakra vowels? Might you try the exercise?
*Many places note this as “AYE” but to me that is AYE, as in what a pirate says. So I noted it as AAA, like Fonzie would say.
Posted in Nia, Chakras, Sounding | Tagged: Nia, Nia class, Yoga, exercise class, workout class, The Nia Technique book, dance exercise, Dance Workout, dance class, mind-body workout, heart chakra, crown chakra, throat chakra, solar plexus chakra, pelvic chakra, root chakra, Nia Moves, chakra energy, Healing Sounds, Chakra, chakra vowel sounds, unique workout, chanting, third eye chakra, Fonzie | 9 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on April 7, 2012
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?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: cardio class, cardio dance, cardio workout, Carlos Aya Rosas, Carlos retired, Carlos Rosas, CEU, continued education, cooking all four sides, country line dancing, dance class, dance technique, Debbie Rosas, four wall dance, freedance, Nia, Nia Black Belt, Nia class, Nia DVD, Nia education, Nia license, Nia routine, Nia students, Nia teachers, Nia Technique, Nia White Belt | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 2, 2012
In a post in which I spoke about learning a Nia Routine I said we need to know it perfectly. I would like to explain. First of all I have written before about how when I am learning a Nia routine there comes a point where I just can’t learn any more by myself and I have to take it to class. Always fascinates me how I can spend weeks working on learning it then in one hour in class I learn more than all the time I had spent on it previously. Dance exercise is like that. Teaching something is always different learning, it is a different level. Anyway I had recently said we have to know a routine perfect and what I mean by that is the better we know the music and the choreography, the closer to perfect we can get it, the better. I can do a routine without flaw in my living room then when faced with trucks driving by, kids screaming at the school, people laughing in the lobby I can get distracted. If I don’t know my music perfectly, if I don’t know the choreography perfectly then I will obviously mess up. But when I know it “perfectly” then I can not do it right, but still dance and lead the routine fine. I can mess up without saying, “Oops!” If I know where I am and what is coming I can keep going. Maybe I missed my cue to change movement, but when I know the music I can decide if I just want to stay with the move we are on or go to the next one. If I decide to go, do I want to cut the amount of times short because I was late or do the correct amount because it too fits perfectly with the music? When I KNOW it perfectly, I am free to play and really let the dance of Nia show. I can be perfect in my imperfection.
I might not teach the routine exactly as it is taught on the DVD, but I know what I am doing different and I know where I am going with the music. We teach tight, but loose. I know the moves, I execute them correctly, I do the choreography exactly as the DVD — when I can , but, when I mess up I am loose enough to keep going. I am loose enough to see my students enjoying one particular combination of steps, so I can elect to stay and let them enjoy their movements. I know my routine tight enough that when my earring falls off and I get a bit distracted, I can keep going AND expertly step over and around it as it lays on the dance floor. I am loose enough to be able to change the choreography by having to HOP over the fallen jewelry instead of exectuing the normal step. I am loose enough to have fun but tight enough that even when I mess up, I might be the only one that knows. It could be that there are students in class who know the routine well enough that they recognize I am not doing the choreographed move, but they can keep following and dancing because I am tight enough to be able to lead and dance in the now.
Because Nia is about dancing in the moment and having fun we are allowed a lot of freedom. I say this often because Nia allows for people to move in their own body’s way and that is an important part of Nia. But I also like to remind people that Nia IS choreographed. The moves fit the music well and there are proper and safe ways to do them. I like to express the fact that Nia is not just a room full of bodies flaling about. We are all encouraged to be perfect in our imperfection. Our bodies might not move exaclty as they are designed, but we can move with awareness. We can move with purpose. That is how I teach. I like it best when I know the routine so well that I can play and be perfect in my imperfection.
Posted in Nia | Tagged: dance awareness, dance class, dance exercise, dance floor, dance routine, exercise class, Nia choerography, Nia Dance, Nia DVD, Nia Music, Nia routine, Nia Teacher, perfect in imperfection, tight but loose | 6 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2012
Nia, the dance exercise that I teach, is a great cardio workout. Classes are fun and full of energy. To become a Nia teacher one must take the White Belt Intensive. It is 40+ hours of intense learning, discovery, play, dance, reading, listening, moving, sitting, and so much more. A person that is just interesting in learning more about Nia as a practice may also take the intensive. One does not have to have the intention of teaching to participate in an intensive. In the Nia White Belt there are 13 Principles. These principles are what teachers and practitioner use to expand their Nia practice. Working and playing with the principles actually help bodies to move “better”. Nia is a body centered exercise so these principles actually help us move our bodies. The fourth Nia White Belt principle is FreeDance, this principle has eight stages. The list of the eight stages is in my post Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3 – FreeDance Stage 8. The fifth stage is Authentic Movement – Change.
Nia is “about” many things. One thing Nia is about is Authentic movement. Our dance is not a performance. It is not meant to be pretty. It is meant to allow us to move in our own body’s way. The idea is that we will move in our own body’s’ way and we will move as we need to move. With freedom and authenticity we will be working our bodies as they each individually need to be worked. Yes, we do have specific steps in a kata or song. But everyone’s body does the steps maybe a little differently — to their own body’s ability. With practice the body will be able to do the steps and the moves in the Body’s Way, moving the way the body was actually designed to move.
With authentic movement we are letting the body move to the music in its own way. We don’t think of how to move it, we just let it sense the music and it moves. If one is practicing the Nia White Belt Principle #4, stage 5, then the authentic movement is done for two bars, two measures of how we count our music. After two bars change the movement. Do this for each song. The idea is that after a few songs the body will have gone through all of its “normal” movements. You will have danced out all of your movement tendencies. You will have danced all of your bodies patterns and your body will seek new moves. Your body will do things it does not usually do. You might be one that often moves your hips a lot, but after a few songs and continually changing the way you move your hips you might realize that you are out of hip moves, so your body plants your feet and you end up kicking up one leg at a time. Maybe kicking is not part of your typical dance move repertoire. Maybe once your legs start kicking your arms start punching. And this was not thought out or planned it just seemed natural. Leg kick, arm punch.
So the idea is to exhaust the normal and journey into new territory. If you have never done anything like this I want to warn you, you might be a little sore the next day. If you are a booty shaker and you change to a “how-low-can-you-go-er” you will feel it the next morning. If you always keep both feet on the ground and you start kicking or even just doing knee lifts to be different, your body will remind you the next day that you did something different.
If you let your body just dance to the music and switch it up, your body will give you great feed back on how you have never moved your foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new the next day. You will go to move foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new and probably sense it. This information will help you learn your movement tendencies and you can learn what new moves might help you improve your body’s movements.
Try it! Put on some music and dance with Authentic Movement, then change. Keep doing this through at least five songs and see where you end up. See what new moves your body comes up with. Ready? Go!
Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: 13 White Belt Principles, Authentic Movement, cardio workout, dance class, dance exercise, dance performance, dance practice, freedance, FreeDance Stage 8, kata, Nia, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia energy, Nia Practice, Nia student, Nia Teacher, Nia White Belt Principle #4, White Belt Intensive | Leave a Comment »