Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Slow Clock – 52 Nia Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post about using the clock in Nia, we have a move called the Slow Clock.  Using an imaginary face of a clock on the ground assists us in knowing where to step. The slow clock can be used to incorporate any “hour” on the clock into the dance.  The move starts with the feet in the “center” of the imaginary clock.  The “slow” is in reference to always returning the foot to center before allowing the foot to go to another number on the clock.  To practice the slow clock move begin with a march in place.  If you begin the march with your left foot touching the ground on the one count, then use it first to touch on 12:00, then return it to its original position in the center of the clock.  Then place the left foot at 6:00, then return to center.  Then use the other foot, touch to 12:00, then center, then 6:00, then center.  Hour then center, that is the basis of the slow clock.

As with almost any move it can be done in slightly different manners and still be the same.  The slow clock can be done with just a tap or a touch to an hour, with the foot returning to center.  Or it can actually be a step, where the weight is put full upon the foot stepping to the hour.  To keep it the slow clock the foot would return to center before any other move was made.  So it can be a tap, a touch, a step.  It can even be a slight shift in the weight.  As long as the foot returns to center.

In some Nia routines we do sumos out to 3:00 then return to center, then we sumo to 9:00.  Now if you were thinking about that you would know without me saying,  “Move your right foot to 3:00, then to center, then your right foot to 9:00.”  Remember?  I mentioned how efficient it is to use the clock to help instruct with moves instead of saying directions and which foot to move every time.  With the instruction of sumo 3:00, you know you are stepping your right foot out to the right so you land in a sumo or riding stance.

With the example above you see that the slow clock can be done with opposite feet.  It does not have to be one foot stepping to an hour, then returning to center, and then that same foot stepping to another our.  It can be — as example, the right foot to 12:00, center, left foot 6:00, center.  Add some rhythm and a little bounce and you have the Charleston!  Add some rhythm, a little bend at the knees, and some hips and you have a salsa!

In addition to improving precision and grace, moving with the slow clock does many things depending on how you move with it.  For instance dancing the slow clock to a specific rhythm can also improve coordination because the tendency might be to just skip over returning to center.  Also, sometimes it can be something to help keep your mind focused because sometimes when the mind wanders your foot can forget it needs to return to center unless it is focused.

So that is the slow clock, another one of the 52 Moves of Nia.

Using the tool of the imaginary clock are you able to move in Slow Clock?

2 Responses to “Slow Clock – 52 Nia Moves”

  1. You make it easy to follow. This is great. 🙂


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