Are there any dance exercise classes that you know of where you are encouraged to quack like a duck? Well in all Nia classes we like to have fun, plus Nia understands the benefits of sounding, so there is a move where we quack while we are doing it. Of course, quacking is not limited to being done only when we do this move, but this move is actually called Duck Walk. It is very fitting to quack while doing this move. I know to many quacking seems silly. Sitting and reading about it has to make it sound really silly, but in class with your feet gently slapping the floor, it seems perfectly natural. Making noise is natural and it tends to make working out much more fun. It is also very amazing when moves have their own sound. The Duck Walk, of the Nia 52 Moves is one that has its own sound, “Quack! Quack! Quack!”
All of the 52 Moves are listed with pictures in The Nia Technique Book. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful this book is. If you are interested in movement in the slightest or if you are interested in the body mind connection you would enjoy this book. The Duck Walk is described on page 114 as:
“Standing with your feet slightly apart and no wider than hip width, alternately lift and then lower the toes and balls of each foot, as if you are slapping the ground to splash water in a puddle.”
So your feet can be slightly apart or as far as hip width. Remember “hip width” means hip JOINT width. Thigh bones straight down from your hip joints. Then the toes and ball of foot lift. Then you splash. Splish splash in puddles. As with the Squish Walk I have a different way to do this with different imagery. When I am doing it as stated in the book, I DO think of my toes splashing in the puddles. But when I think of a duck and its walk, I tend to put my toes out. I think of toes out as duck walk. That’s when the move lends to quacking for me.
Just as the same as with the Squish Walk The Nia Technique Book does not give instructions to walk while “duck walking”, but we do it all the time in my Nia classes. This duck walk move really allows for ankle movement and helps condition the muscles on the front of the lower legs so I like to use it. High heeled shoes — especially the ones now-a-days — have feet stuck in the opposite direction with hardly any ankle flexion so the Duck Walk is great to get those muscles moving and stretched.
While progressing forward with the duck walk it is not the same as heel lead walk even though you lead with the heel. With the duck walk we don’t roll through the entire foot, we gently splat the foot down. It is a heel lead then splat with the rest of the foot. That is why the imagery of splashing your toes in the puddle works so well, I bet as a child most of us have done that.
Between the quacking and the splashing it is no wonder Nia is so fun. Adults as play! Splish splash quack!
Did you get up out of your chair to try it? C’mon, try it!