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 December 11, 2012
Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity – Pearls and the Realms, is an exciting principle. I found it really exciting because there are things that Nia teachers are supposed to do in Nia class that I really wanted to learn to do better. There is a particular way we are supposed to teach or more accurately there is a tool that we have available to us to use while we teach. The “tool” is called a pearl. When I go to other Nia classes I often find myself wanting to stop moving and just write down what the other teachers are saying. I often find their verbiage, their wording for something to be just what the move is about and so I want to use that in my class. Since I don’t REALLY want to stop dancing I repeat it in my head while I am dancing and sometimes I can even convince myself that I will remember what they said. Sometimes I do remember and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I have a vague recollection that leads to a pearl of my own that works out fine. These pearls are what we use to enhance the class. They are words that allow the participant to connect to a move, the music, a feeling, a sensation, almost anything . . . . and this in turn allows for a better experience. Part of the Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity, was a lesson on how to come up with pearls. It was insight into where they can come from.
As a reminder, in these first posts about the Nia Blue Belt Principles I am just writing quick about what I initially got out of it. I am just sharing and getting it down in print as a tool to help processes it. This principle has a lot more to it than just assist with what to say and how to describe things in a Nia class. As I said the principle is Awareness, Insight, Clarity, with a tag line of Pearls and the Realms. And it is the pearls that I have been longing to learn more about. So that is what I gleaned most about this principle. As I go back and read the manual I am sure I will even get more. As I continue to teach even more will be revealed.
Have I mentioned before that the manual is 276 pages? Yeah. It is intense. It is a lot of information. It is amazing.
Anyway . . . this principle gives us the place that the pearls come from. It helps categorize them. In knowing where they come from it is easier to allow them to come. In the categories or realms a Nia teacher can decide to utilize pears from all realms. To me this can help balance a class.An example of pearls we could use for each realm in a class would be:
Everybody sense your ankle. This would be from the physical realm.
Everybody feel lonely. This would be from the emotional realm.
Everybody imagine you are a dog. This would be from the mental realm.
Everybody wiggle and jiggle. This would be from the spirit realm.
I was so excited to learn the different type of pearls. Part of my excitement came from confirming pearls don’t have to be physical and part of it came from realizing I did use pearls more than I thought. I thought I used them a lot less, so it was nice to learn I use them, I just didn’t know it.
So the pearl portion of Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity was a great eye-opening. And, of course, you really can’t have the pearls without awareness, insight, and clarity, right? I didn’t explain that here, but it’s true. This post jumped right to the middle. I may or may not do a post explaining about the first part. I really think I should leave somethings for you to learn when you do your Blue Belt Intensive.
Do you get excited when you think you are not doing something you are supposed to be doing but you find out you are doing it?
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: emotional realm, mental realm, Nia Blue Belt Principle #3, Nia class, Nia Intensive, Nia manual, Nia participants, Nia pearls, Nia teachers, physical realm, realms, spirit realm | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on June 26, 2012
I have posted before about the 13 Principles in the Nia White Belt. The fourth principle, FreeDance, has eight stages. I am working my way backwards posting about each stage. This post is about second stage: Being Seduced by the Music – The Art of Listening. In the second stage of Nia FreeDance the exercise we perform is stillness. We keep our bodies still while we listen to the music. We allow ourselves to be seduced by the music and practice the art of listening. When listening to a song that is not familiar or doesn’t have that “get-up-and-dance” beat it is not so difficult, but when the song is one that makes every part of your body want to move, when it is familiar, or one you love it is not easy sitting still. It is not easy to sit with a tall spine that does not gyrate to the beat. But when we do practice the art of listening with only our ears we might hear sounds we had not been aware of before. While we are listening the idea is to name instruments and sounds that you hear. Sometimes you might not know what you are hearing, either you don’t know the name of the instrument or it isn’t really an instrument at all, so you can give them their own names. For instance something might sound like rushing water or trash can lids. I know a Nia teacher whose husband is in a band and she is familiar with a lot of different instruments and the sounds they make. She is very good at naming them when she hears them. Me, if you look at my bars you will see a lot of spaceships. There is a sound that I think of as a spaceship so I use that symbol to signify that sound. I HEAR a spaceship.
This stage might sound a bit like RAW, where we are Relaxed, Alert, and Waiting while we listen to the music, but it is not. Our bodies might be in the same position, of a lengthened spine and a relaxed state but in RAW we are just listening without opinion or too much thought. We have no inner dialogue so there is no naming of sounds. In RAW we are just waiting to receive. With Being Seduced by the Music we are practicing the art of listening and naming what we hear. We are engaged in the music even though we are not moving.
For me this stage of FreeDance might even produce a few pearls. It could be that I don’t know the instrument so I think of what it sounds like which allows us to move “as if we are sloshing in mud”. Or it could be that the sound just makes me think of a certain movement such as “throwing your arms in the air with a burst of sound”. While I might not be purposefully trying to think of pearls with the seduction I just let my mind flow. If there is a dialog then there is, if not, that is fine. I just let the music flow and I listen giving names to this sound and that sound.
Listening to the music without giving it dance or without it allowing to move us in dance allows us a deep relationship with it. We are not imposing our own ideals onto it as we move or we are not interpreting it, we are just letting it in. We are just listening. With that we learn about it. We hear things we might have missed while floating about the space. It is nice to be able to have that connection with the music.
Stage two of FreeDance, Being Seduced by the Music – The Art of Listening is just another toy in our toy box that Nia has given us to play with to become better teachers and better dancers.
Have you ever been sitting still listening to a song you have heard many times before and heard something you hadn’t heard before?
Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: 13 Principles in the Nia White Belt, Art of Listening, eight stages, Nia, Nia dancers, Nia FreeDance, Nia Music, Nia pearls, Nia RAW, Nia teachers, Nia White Belt, seduced | 2 Comments »