As you might now be aware Nia includes elements from three different movement forms from three different arts. One of the arts is the dance arts and one movement form is Modern Dance. With Modern Dance concepts added to Nia it allows us to play with balance, play with shapes, and play with space. We can form any shape we want. We can use arms and legs, fingers and toes, torso and head to make the shapes we envision. We can allow gravity to pull us to the ground, or gravity to pull us heavenward. With all that Modern Dance inspires us to do we can gain strength and flexibility. Agility plays a part also as we shift our weight and change our speed.
Jazz Dance allows us to play and be showmen, and Duncan Dance allows us to play and use our imagination, and Modern Dance allows us to play and in addition really use our bodies. Muscles get a great workout as we expand and contract, shifting our weight, and making shapes. An invitation to experiment with all planes, directions, and levels only helps to confirm that our muscles will be used as we dance and play. Bringing Modern Dance into your workout can also be an exercise in timing and speed. Modern Dance can be the encouragement to make different combinations. For example, walk across the floor, walk high, walk low, walk fast, walk slow, stumble and recover.
This movement form is a great way to explore the floor, you could fall gently to the earth, then rise up slowly, fall gently and spring up. Again, multiple combinations can be a result of letting Modern Dance into the workout. This form also suggest moving one body part and allowing others to follow, so maybe as you are on the ground your hand rises into the air and your body follows and your hand takes you around the space you are in.
Modern Dance really allows for freedom in Nia. It gives you permission to mix things up and make the steps of a routine your own. It is another form that gives us permission to play and make the workout fun.
The Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual have additional information regarding the movement forms that were blended to create Nia. The books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.