Posts Tagged ‘Nia White Belt’
Posted by terrepruitt on May 9, 2013
I teach Nia. I actually like to say I lead Nia because to me teaching a dance is more instructive. What I think of as teaching is the type of class where the instructor demonstrates a step or two then the students do the steps a few times, then the instructor demonstrates more steps and the students practice them. Eventually the steps are strung together in a dance. But in my Nia cardio classes it is just lead follow. I do – you follow. I give verbal instructions and/or verbal guides but it is not the type of instructional class where I show you, then you do, then we practice and then we string all the steps together. So I guess it is not an “instructional” or “instructed” dance class. But I do teach by example. You follow my lead. In order to be a Nia teacher I had to take the Nia White Belt Intensive. I have talked about this before, but to review the White Belt is the first level of Nia. The White Belt Intensive is over 50 hours of instruction and is open to anyone. Individuals do not have to have the intent to teach. The Nia White Belt Intensive is about the body so anyone is welcome to join and learn. In order to be a Nia teacher there is an additional licensing fee. The fee is due annually and it includes four routines that we, as teachers, agree to learn per year. I was just looking at my DVDs. I have two routines that I have not learned. I have 19 that I have learned. I have been teaching almost four and half years so I am keeping up with the four per year schedule.
Now, I want to clarify that I have learned 19 routines. That means that I basically did the bars and have shared 19 routines with my students. That means I roughly know those 19 routines. I could stand up right now and lead you through some of them, but some of them I would have to look at my bars, and some of them I would have to study my bars. But I also feel I am better at just doing. While I want to do the routine as per the choreography, I am not as afraid as I once was to just DO the routine.
When I am preparing to do a different routine for my class sometimes I have a chance to practice and sometimes I don’t. I will look at my bars for each song. Sometimes I look at the first few lines and think, “Oh yeah, I know this one.” Then when I am leading it my body and my mind don’t remember it as well as I thought and I just dance through it, but then when I get home I look more closely at my bars or re-watch the DVD. It really is about moving and having fun. As long as we are moving and we are doing it close enough then it is good. Then, like I said, I come home to get the choreography better established in my head and body!
The routines I have learned are:
Alive – Carlos AyaRosas
Amethyst – Debbie Rosas
Aya – Carlos Rosas
Beyond – Debbie Rosas and Ann Christiansen
Birth – Debbie Rosas and Collaborators
Canta – Carlos Rosas
Clarity – Carlos Rosas
White Belt Dream Walker – Carlos Rosas
Earthsong – Carlos Rosas
Humanity – Carlos AyaRosas
Miracle – Carlos Rosas
Opal – Debbie Rosas
Passion – Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas
Sanjana – Debbie Rosas
San Medusa – Helen Terry
Sexi – Carlos Rosas
Velvet – Debbie Rosas
Vibe – Debbie Rosas
The names of the routines that I have on my shelf that I need to learn are Butterfly and Oshun. I just renewed so I have four routines that I need to pick out as my new routines. Picking routines is always a challenge because everyone has such different tastes. Some people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE some of the routines I have and I don’t love them. So for me it is a difficult decision. I try to pick routines that I think my students will like, but then that is just a guess. I know which ones they like out of the ones I teach because they request them often.
If you were just picking a routine from the name which one would you pick? As a Nia student which one out of this list is your favorite? What about Nia teachers, which is your favorite out of this list?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: Ann Christiansen, Canta, cardio class, cardio dance exercise, Carlos AyaRosas, Carlos Rosas, dance exercise, dance instructor, dance teacher, Debbie Rosas, Dream Walker, Earthsong, Global Unity, Nia, Nia bars, Nia choreography, Nia Dance, Nia DVDs, Nia licensing, Nia Practice, Nia routines, Nia stuents, Nia Teacher, Nia White Belt, Nia White Belt Intensive, Opal, Sanjana, Sexi | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on March 7, 2013
At the present time I am fortunate enough to be holding Nia classes at four different locations in San Jose. Each location allows me to meet different people. At one of the locations I have been teaching for four years and some of my students have been coming to my classes that long. At three of my locations I am a new teacher and Nia is new. Most of the people are new to me. It is exciting to met new people and discover new relationships. There is the relationships between my students and me and there is the relationship between Nia and the students. One of my students told me after one class that she loved the part of Nia where we compare things to nature. The specific example she stated was “tickling the clouds”. She said that the mention of nature in Nia reminded her of one of her favorite poets, Mary Oliver. She asked me if I had heard of Mary Oliver or if I was familiar with her. I said no. I also said that I would look her up. Well, the following week, my student came into class and handed me a copy of two poems. As soon as she held out the paper, I remembered that I had said I would look up the poet and that I had forgotten. I gratefully took the paper without reading the poems because class was about to start. After our class there is another class so I did not stop at that time to read the poem either. It was not until today I picked up the paper to read the poem. On the second line I realized I HAD heard this before and I laughed. This very poem or at least a portion of it is in the Nia White Belt Manual.
I thought it was funny that my student related Mary Oliver’s work to Nia and obviously so did the creators of Nia, Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, because they put this poem in the manual. Only the first few lines are in the manual, but I recognized it right away.
The lines are:
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”
From Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese poem.
That portion of the poem is at the very beginning of the section which is Principle #1, The Joy of Movement. The last line of that section really struck me.
I want to continue to share with my students that a Nia class is not just about learning the moves and doing a routine. It is about doing what the body loves. It is about their relationship to their body. It is about their relationship to Nia. To me that is why we do a routine over and over. That is also HOW we do a routine over and over and not get bored with it. If we move and let our body do what it loves then it is moving in a different way. Once we have done a routine a few times we can play. We can move lower . . . if that it what the body loves . . . we can move higher . . . if that is what a body loves . . . all the time moving in the general pattern of the routine. It is when we are not in tune or when we cannot let go, that the routine is tiring or boring. If we are only moving the way it was choreographed and not putting our spirit into the moves it is as if we are walking through a desert on our knees. Suffering through a workout. UGH! Repenting for the cream we had in our coffee, the workout we missed yesterday, or the cookie we had at lunch.
I used to do a different routine every class. I thought people would get bored with the same routine. But then I realized that the more I knew the music and the choreography the more fun I had and the more playful I could be. I asked my class and they said they liked the fact that after doing the routine a few times they, too, could be less concerned with the choreography and more aware of their own spirit, dance, and play. So it is a relationship with Nia and the body that we are building and experiencing in a Nia class, we are not just learning a routine, we are not just moving through choreography.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I work on a routine schedule, playing with it to see what works. I want to ensure my students don’t get bored, yet I want them to build a relationship with Nia. I want them to be able to dance and play with the routines.
I love that my student shared her thoughts with me. To me that is me being able to witness her budding relationship with Nia. I love that because of my thoughts about repeatedly doing a routine, I was able to look at this poem and relate it to that. Like many things I might look at it sometime from now and have it relate to something else. My relationship with it might change, just as my relationship with my students and with Nia will change and grow. That is the nature of it all.
Posted in Nia | Tagged: Carlos Rosas, Debbie Rosas, Joy of Movement, Mary Olive, Nature, Nia, Nia choreography, Nia classes in San Jose, Nia experience, Nia locations, Nia Music, Nia relationships, Nia routines, Nia San Jose, Nia students, Nia Teacher, Nia White Belt, poems, poets, Principle #1 of Nia White Belt, San Jose Nia classes, tickle the clouds, Wild Geese | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2013
If you’ve read a post or two of mine you know there are many things I love about Nia. I think that Nia is a great workout, but I also think that a lot of the ideas, principles, values, and “things” can be used in everyday life. That is one reason why I share so many things about Nia here. I am working to get Nia out there so people know what it is, but I understand not everyone likes to do dance exercise as their type of workout, but there is a lot of Nia that can be applied to every day. Nia has a lot of ideas that can be applied to more than just the original place you hear it. For instance in the Nia White Belt, the manual states:
“New Ways – It Can Be a Stretch!
Some of this information may shake up your reality. Nia may disrupt your normal methods of doing, being and communicating. We do not intend to create disharmony or fear. We have no desire to aggressively challenge who you are, what you believe in, or what you stand for. The information we share with you is intended to assist you, inspire you, and to celebrate human potential.”
The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual March 2001, V3, page 1-5
I love that. I love that when taking a Nia intensive it is explained that you might come across new things. You might be shown a different way or something new, but they are not out to change you into what they believe, but to allow you to see something in a new way. All that is really asked of you is to have an open mind, heart, and body. It is even suggested not to examine or think about stuff too much. The belief is that you will get what you need when you need it. That is a great relief too because there is so much information it really takes the pressure off when it is understood that you will not get it all or remember it all upon first being exposed.
What is so tremendous is that this same information, this same philosophy can be brought into a Nia class. If you have never done Nia before the first time can be a surprise. It can surprise your senses, your body, your mind, your spirit. It can leave some people feeling a little unsure. I mean not every exercise class has you parting clouds, swimming in water, stepping in goo, and prancing like a pony. Some of this type of stuff can shake up someone’s reality. This type of movement might completely disrupt what they think of as normal methods of exercise. They might not be able to “get into” prancing like a pony. Prancing might not fit into their idea of exercise. But I know that if they have an openness of mind they will wake up the next day and realize that ponies get in a good work out. The “normal” methods of being might not have them pulsing their pelvis, shimmying their shoulders, or doing a sexy hip bump. Nia doesn’t want to make people uncomfortable with these things, but this type of movement is “normal” for the body by design. These moves aren’t meant to challenge you or what you believe in, they are meant to allow you to move your body as it was designed to move.
With the fun movements and ideas included in a Nia class it can easily inspire your and allow you to celebrate the human potential—to celebrate your body’s potential. This can kind of go along with my last post about spirit. It could be your spirit that lets you just let loose and gyrate those hips without fear. The idea here is to come to a Nia class with an open mind. Don’t let they way you’ve been taught exercise should be to keep you from experiencing something new. Don’t let fear of something unknown and/or different scare you off. Don’t think that just because it is unknown to you or different that the goal is to change you into something you are not. Just come and let your body move and let IT tell you what it thinks of Nia.
This week (February 10 through February 16, 2013) I am teaching EIGHT Nia classes. If you are local it would be GREAT to see you in at least one. They are at all different times on different days in many different places (most in San Jose, one in Santa Cruz). I bet there is one that would work for you: http://www.helpyouwell.com Also, in case you are not local or one of the eight doesn’t work for you check out Nianow.com. There are classes all over the world! Dare to dance?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: dance exercise, Dance Workout, exercise workout, Nia, Nia class, Nia classes in San Jose, Nia Dance, Nia Intensive, Nia principles, Nia San Jose, Nia Santa Cruz, Nia White Belt, Nia White Belt Manual, San Jose Nia, The Nia Technique | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 2, 2013
This is Nia Blue Belt Principle #12, Observe, Listen, Guide, Co-Creating Movement. This is something that we can do as part of the practice of Nia. This is something we can do in a live Nia class or even while doing a Nia DVD. Observe the teacher, listen-observe ourselves, then guide our own bodies to match what the teacher is doing. So watch and follow. Then really pay attention to what it is you are doing. Sometimes we might think we are doing the same thing but we are not. Then guide yourself to match what the teacher is doing. It does not have to be rushed. The moves do not have to match right away.
All of it is done with X-Ray Anatomy which is principle #10 of the Nia White Belt. X-Ray Anatomy does not mean we have X-ray vision, but it does mean that we see the way the body moves. We look at the body and observe the movement of the bones. As we dance and observe the teacher we see the placement of the bones. We see the vertical and the horizontal. We see the different planes.
Then, with X-Ray Anatomy, we listen to our own bodies. We acknowledge where our bones are. We notice the alignment. We pay attention to the structure. We monitor our vertical and horizontal. We discover how our bodies do the move. We witness it. We can stay here until we are ready to guide ourselves to match the teacher. If we are playing with the principle in a live class it is recommended to speak with the teacher beforehand so that they understand that we might not move onto the move they are doing until we are ready. It is also a good idea to stand in the back of the class so as not to distract the other students. Most people will move on to the next move, following the teacher, within one or two repetitions, but with practicing, play with, and the dancing of Nia Blue Belt Principle #12, Observe, Listen, Guide an entire sequence of moves could possibly be “missed” while in the “listening” stage.
Then when you are ready — no rush — you move onto matching the teacher. Have your bones and your angles match hers/his. Have your alignment match, your vertical and horizontal match.
This also works as a teacher observing the student. We can observe the student. We can watch the way they are doing a move. Then we listen to our body. We pay attention to how we are doing it. Then without rushing we can model our student’s move. It is a way of Co-Creating Movement. The practice of this principle also entails Nia Blue Belt Principle #6, because there is going to be some Split, Ellipt, Blend with this. But the order would be more of an Ellipt, Split, Blend. We would be ellipting onto the teacher or student to observe. Then splitting into self to listen. Then blending in the guide portion.
This is another interesting aspect of the practice of Nia. This is another way that Nia is unique. We Co-Create Movement to dance with our students. With music as our main guide we have all these principles to play with.
Can you see how the practice of Observe, Listen, Guide is a way to Co-Create Movement in a class?
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: Co-Creating Movement, Nia Blue Belt, Nia Blue Belt Principle #12, Nia class, Nia Music, Nia participant, Nia student, Nia White Belt, Nia White Belt Principle #10, OLG, X-Ray Anatomy, X-Ray vision | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on November 27, 2012
The Nia Blue Belt has 13 principles as does the Nia White Belt, Nia Brown Belt, and Nia Black Belt. The principles for the Blue Belt were created to layer onto or weave through the Nia White Belt Principles. The 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles are:
1. The Joy of Being In Relationship
2. The Power of Two
3. Awareness, Insight, Clarity
4. Developmental Anatomy
5. The Power of Three
6. Split, Ellipt, Blend
7. Nia Class Format
8. The Power of Silence & Sound
9. Form and Freedom
11. Music, Movement, Magic
12. Observe, Listen, Guide
13. Vertical Routines
Even though I have been introduced to 13 new principles, I can still work with the 13 Nia White Belt Principles. I still have a lot I can learn through them. Nia actually made practicing them easy by creating the Blue Belt principles to weave into the White Belt Principles. The Nia White Belt Principle #1 is The Joy of Movement. When Nia creates the principles they create catch phrases and other things to help explain what the principle is about and help people remember the principle and what it is about. One of the things they use as a tool is a triad with words or phrases. The triad for principle #1 in the Nia White Belt is the same as the triad for principle #1 in the Nia Blue Belt. The triad is choose, sensation, and universal joy.
The Nia Blue Belt Principle #1, The Joy of Being In Relationship, the catch phrase is “with”, so you choose, sense the sensation, experience universal joy. You are in relationship with all three in addition to “the other” you are in relationship with. The “other” does not have to be a person, it can be a movement, a body part, a person, a thought, an idea . . . . anything. As an example, you can be in relationship with your hips as they move when you walk. You are not just aware of them, but you are in relationship with. There is communication going on. It is not just you moving them, you are listening, sensing, aware . . . in relationship with. They move and you receive information from them. Maybe you sense them tilting forward. Why? What is that the result of? Can you move them so they are not tilting forward? You ask. They say yes. You move in a way that adjust them. You move on. Energy and information going back and forth between you and “the other”. This is applied to dancing Nia. This is applied to teaching Nia. This is applied to everything. This is applied to life. We choose. We sense. We have the opportunity to experience Universal Joy. We have the opportunity to be in relationship with.
So this is a new idea for me. This is how I am perceiving it today. This is how I am understanding it today. I welcome others who have taken the Blue Belt Intensive to comment. I believe this principle is one of the things that takes practice. It is something that can be played with and experienced. And I actually feel as if my relationship with this principle changes. So, yeah, there will probably more on this as I explore the Joy of Being In Relationship With!
Do you somewhat understand how you can be in relationship with?
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: 13 principles, Awareness, Blend, Clarity, Developmental Anatomy, Ellipt, floorplay, Form and Freedom, Insight, Joy of Movement, Magic, movement, Music, Nia Black Belt, Nia Blue Belt, Nia Brown Belt, Nia class, Nia Class Format, Nia Intensive, Nia relationship, Nia training, Nia White Belt, Split, the joy of being in relationship, Vertical Routines | 7 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on November 13, 2012
Last week I cancelled my Monday and Wednesday Nia class and got a substitute for my Tuesday Nia class with the City of San Jose. I decided to take the next level of Nia training. I was a White Belt, now I am a Blue Belt. Nia calls their trainings intensive. I cannot assume to know why, but I am glad they do. They are very intense. The training is part lecture and part moving. The moving can be dancing or types of exercises to further the learning process. People tend to learn better when they are doing, so there is a lot of doing. In my rough calculations it was about 53 hours of instruction, including the Master Classes. It was Saturday through Friday. It was exhausting. It was energizing. It was incredible. As I have mentioned before and I will continue to mention Nia is a cardio dance exercise. Come to a class. Move. Have fun. Sweat. Get your workout in. But Nia is also a practice. I compare it to yoga in that a person can go into a yoga class and work out and do the exercise and then leave and not give it a second though. Or they could give it a second thought. They could take on some of the aspects of yoga, they could practice breathing and/or meditating or anything else that might be attached to their yoga class on a deeper level. That is what a person can do with Nia too. So some people take the intensives for self-growth with no intention of teaching at all. Even if they are not planning on teaching or are not currently doing so, the training is just as intense.
Each belt level has its own focus and intent. Blue Belt focus is Communication, Relationship and Intimacy with the intent to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way. Sounds like a lot. Ok, it IS a lot. LOL!
In addition to a focus and intent, each belt level (aside from Green) has its own set of principles. With the Blue Belt, the principles were made to layer onto or over the White Belt Principles. Some of the information is very close to being the same, but with a little more added to it. It is very interesting the way Nia does things. It is very amazing the training they come up with and the delivery of it.
In this training we were shown many things, one was an enlightened way to use the Nia 5 Stages or the Developmental Anatomy to measure all types of things and where we might be in a process. It is a pretty cool tool. It is part of the Body’s Way.
I am 100% positive I will have more posts regarding the Blue Belt Intensive, the Blue Belt Principles, and my thoughts on it all. I am still processing it right now. My mind is racing with thoughts, ideas, things I learned, things I didn’t learn, just a lot of things. There is so much that I want to share. There is also a lot I don’t want to share. Nia is not a secret society by any means. There are no secrets to the intensives, in fact most of the information is things that have been around for as long as I can remember. The information is stuff you have probably heard before. It is just the WAY they deliver it. And the way it is connected to the body that is somewhat unique. If I decide not to share something or talk vaguely about some things it is because I don’t want to ruin the surprise of some things for those of you that will be taking the Blue Belt. Since the Blue Belt Principles are layered onto the White Belt Principles I will probably write more post about them too. And we will see what comes up. I have chosen to participate in Nia as a practice. For now, I will revel in Blue!
Is there something that you have in your life you consider a practice?
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: 13 principles, Blue Belt Principles, cardio dance, cardio dance exercise, cardio dance exercise classes, City of San Jose Nia Classes, dance exercise, Developmental Anatomy, focus and intent, Master classes, Nia 5 Stages, Nia Blue Belt, Nia dancing, Nia exercise, Nia Intensives, Nia Practice, Nia training, Nia White Belt, TBW, White Belt Principles, Yoga, Yoga Practice | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on July 5, 2012
Nia is both a dance exercise and a life practice. Kind of like yoga. You can go to a class and get the exercise you want and have it end there or you can learn about its principles and take them into your life. There are levels of the practice. Nia has chosen to use a “belt” system as their levels. Instead of just having numbers or names, they have assigned belt colors to the levels. There are five levels; White Belt, Green Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt, and Black Belt. The intensives to gain the belts can be taken and enjoyed by people who aren’t teaching. Each belt has 13 principles, except Green. Green does not have its own set of principles because green is the belt level that is actually designed specifically for teachers and helps them hone their teaching skills. It delves into the 13 principles of the White Belt. The White Belt’s principle #4 is FreeDance. FreeDance as a practice has eight stages. I have posted about eight through two. This post is about stage one. Stage #1 of Nia’s 4th White Belt Principle is Freedance – Anything Goes (movement wise).
While you are dancing any movement is great if it is authentic movement. With Nia there is choreographed moves, but within the patterns of movement there is the ability to freedance. Also with many routines there is sometimes just freedance where we are allowed to dance free to the music without any choreography. Stage one: Freedance, anything goes, allows us the greatest of freedoms. You can dance using the wall, the mirror, a chair, the floor, or a ballet barre that might be in the room. You can dance fast, slow, high, low, or in the middle. Anything that you sense your body wants to do to the music. It is up to you.
The idea with freedance is to just let the body go. Don’t think about it. When you think about it often comes the judgment. Sometimes the judgment can interfere with movement, especially if it is judgment along the lines of, “Oh I must look silly doing this.” “Oh that probably isn’t pretty.” “Oh, I am not graceful enough to spin.” “Oh, I need to do this or that.” This is all inner dialog that clogs up the muscles and their movements.
Freedance also, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, in not club dancing. We are NOT just bouncing or undulating to the beat, we are moving to the music. We are moving our bodies towards as pleasurable sensation of health and well being.
Freedance is also not patterned dancing, we save the patterns for our choreographed movements. Freedance is just free. It is spinning twirling, diving and whirling. It could be hopping or dropping. It really is whatever your body does.
Freedance is not easy. It takes practice. It is not easy to just be on the floor and not think about how you are going to move and just let your body go. It is a challenge. But once you can stop thinking and talking in your head you will find yourself moving to the music. Sometimes you might even notice that you are moving in a way that you didn’t think about and it is really amazing to have that sensation. But don’t think too much, just keep moving.
I would like to invite and encourage you to make some space in your home or if you are so inclined find a space to dance outside . . . find a space turn on some music and just dance. Let yourself go. Let yourself be free. Allow the time, space, frame of mind and spirit to freedance. Remember, anything goes!
Wahoo! I have to add that in the middle of typing this up I secured another class to sub for the City of San Jose. So exciting to be able to share Nia through the city! Yay!
Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: Authentic Movement, City of San Jose, dance exercise, dance practice, freedance, Green Belt, Group Ex, life practice, Nia choreography, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia Practice, Nia San Jose, Nia student, Nia Teacher, Nia White Belt, Nia's White Belt Principles, San Jose Nia, stage dance, substitute teacher for the City of San Jose, Yoga, Yoga Practice | 2 Comments »
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 »
Posted by terrepruitt on May 12, 2012
We move our hips A LOT in Nia. With all the hip movements we do I say we have juicy hips. Not only do we shake and shimmy our hips we take time to stretch and open our hips. Hip flexors are a group of muscles that move the thigh towards the chest. These muscles can get short and tight, especially from sitting. Office jobs usually mean sitting in a chair all day while at work. Add the commute time to the sitting on the job and many people end up sitting over eight hours a day. Sometimes the hip flexors can become so short and tight they can keep an individual from standing up straight. In addition, the origin of one of the muscles in the hip flexor group is in the lower back, if this set of muscles is short and tight it can sometimes result in lower back pain. For many individuals stretching and lengthening these muscles can bring relief from back pain and help individuals stand up straighter.
There are a lot of stretches that can help lengthen this group of muscles. The yoga Pigeon Pose comes to mind. This is a great pose because the leg that is straight out towards the back get the lengthening benefit and sensation, while the bent leg assist in opening the groin area and stretching those muscles. The butterfly stretch really stretches the groin area, too. The closer you can get your feet to your pelvis the bigger the stretch, and the close the knees to the ground the bigger the stretch. This is a great stretch you will definitely feel in the inner thighs. The spinal twist both supine and seated can bring great relief. So whether you are laying down and allowing your legs to be on one side of you or whether you are sitting up with one leg out and hugging one bent knee, you still get a nice stretch for the pair of muscles whose origins starts in the lower back.
One stretch I love to do is somewhat like a spinal twist in that you let the legs twist to one side, but instead of bringing them over to one side as a pair you let one leg start its journey to the other side of your body and the other one follows in its own time. Think of your legs as pages in a book.** One leg goes then the other leg flips (as a page) slowly. No rush. Also if you allow one leg to fall to one side while the other is on the first side (think open book) it is similar to the butterfly stretch but with hips completely open. Then ”close the book” having your legs end up on one side while gently twisting to the other, you get the nice gentle stretch in your back. In Nia our floorplay cycle often includes many of these.
Swinging your leg from front to back either in a standing position or lying down on your side can stretch the muscles. Let the leg swing as far to the front as comfortable and then as far back as is comfortable. In both the standing and lying position you want to keep you back straight. Don’t let it get into the swing of things, just let your leg swing.
Some exercises can assist in stretching the muscles too. The lunge, especially a long lunge, helps stretch and lengthen the muscles and open the hips a bit. The leg that is stretch back with get the stretch in the front. You can either do the lunge stepping forward or back, but the longer the step the bigger the stretch.
These are just some simple stretches that might help loosen up your hips if you have tight hip flexors. If you tend to sit at a desk that could be something that is happening. Make your hips juicy and happy by stretching them a bit. It might even help you walk taller and with more ease.
**This image I learned from Debbie Rosas at my Nia White Belt Intensive. I use it all the time in class.
Do you ever sit so long when you stand up you kind of are bent over at the hips?
Posted in Training and Exercise | Tagged: back pain, butterfly stretch, Debbie Rosas, groin area, groin muscles, Hip flexors, hip movements, hip muscles, hip shake, hip shimmy, lunge, Nia, Nia cycles, Nia exercise, Nia floorplay, Nia White Belt, Pigeon pose, spinal twist | 2 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 »