Posted by terrepruitt on September 16, 2014
There is a Nia Routine called Miracle. It is fun routine. Like many Nia Routines it has form and freedom. There are two songs in which the foot work is pretty much the same throughout each song (form), but within the sameness you have the freedom to switch it up and add your own style. The choreography gives you the steps, the area where your feet are to be in dancing to the music, but you can decide how to get there and how your foot will be placed into that area. Form and Freedom. There is also something in this routine that Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos Aya-Rosas) calls the “Nia Bundle”. It is basically where the entire class gets very close together and dances. This is not easy for people to do. Why? There are at least as many reasons why this challenges people as there are people. But there are many benefits to dancing in a “bundle” and as a group.
One benefit of dancing in a close bundle is to practice our proprioception. In close proximity to other Nia Dancers we want to be aware of where our arms are, where are feet are, where are hands are. Are our limbs close to our body or are they out as far as they can go? Are we going to step on someone’s toes? Are we going to bump into someone? While the goal is not to step on nor bump into anyone, it is understood there might be some contact . . . but not often. For those in my classes that participate in the Nia bundles we do a good job being aware and moving in a close group.
Also dancing so close to each other helps us be aware of each other. Not just the physical presence of the other students, but there is eye contact, there is giggling, there is connection and a sense of community when you are brought really close together. No one is in their own space, we are sharing space. We move as one in space. We move as individuals in a shared space. We learn to dance together.
Another benefit could be that we – as individuals are pressed into moving in different ways. Finding a new way to move our body in dance because we are so close to someone. How can we move our elbows without elbowing someone? How can we dance to the music and express our spirit in such close proximity to others? Ahh . . . yes . . . new-to-your-body-moves just might be discovered.
I always laugh at the thought of someone looking in the dance studio at the community center and seeing all of the space with 12+ of us all clumped together in the middle or in a corner. I imagine them thinking that odd. I imagine them thinking, “WHAT are they doing?” Then we throw our hands up in the air and sing. It is quite fun!
So despite some people’s misgivings about dancing really close in a Nia bundle there are those who join in with gusto and reap the benefits. Does your dance exercise class have a bundle? What would you think if you were to peek in a class and see it? Would you be a bundle dancer?