Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Something New To Something Old

Posted by terrepruitt on November 18, 2014

I have posted about Nia’s 52 Moves.  They are moves that Nia has decided to include in the Nia Routines.  They are moves that work the entire body.  They exercise the brain and the nervous system.  As I have explained before they are not moves unique to Nia.  Many dance modalities and exercise modalities incorporate them into their practices. It is somewhat like Bikram Yoga in that they have a set number – 26 Postures – that they move through.  The moves are yoga moves, but if you were to practice Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga) you would know which poses you are going to be doing.  That is what Nia has done.  They have just gathered 52 Moves and we use them in our Routines.  Of course, not ALL moves we do in a Nia Routine are part of Nia’s 52 Moves.  We do more than just those 52 movements.  Sometimes we do other dance moves.  Sometimes the movements we do can be likened to actual dance moves.  There is one move that we do that I compare to a Pas de Bourrée.  Or more accurately what I learned as the Pas de Bourrée.

Today one of my students asked me what I was saying and I said it so fast and learned it so long ago I never really thought about it.  So I decided to look it up and give it a little attention.  After class I was thinking about when I first learned it and it was so long ago I don’t even know where I learned it from.  It could have been my brief foray into tap and ballet.  I am going to assume so.  It seems like I don’t know where I learned things like Kick Ball Change, grapevine, Cha-Cha, and the Pas de Bourrée.  I am also thinking that I learned it when I was young because I don’t remember ever researching it.  Where I think I would be more intimately familiar with the name had I learned it as an adult.  But then . . . I really remember also learning it as a “drunken sailor” so . . . I don’t know.

Carlos Aya-Rosas (Nia’s co-founder and the choreographer of the Aya Routine) does not call it a Pas de Bourrée in the routine Aya he actually just puts his feet together then out and that is how he describes it.  I instruct it as a Pas de Bourrée.  But it is not a Ballet Pas de Bourrée which has one lifting up on ones toes.  So that could be why I think of it more as a “drunken sailor”.  That visual really helps people do it.  Although in some venues that might not be the best of descriptions.  It is also like trying to walk on a swaying ship.

So as I said, Carlos, brings his feet together then steps out.  When I do it I cross my foot behind, shift my weight and come up a little bit on one foot then step out.  It is more of a Jazz Pas de Bourrée than a ballet one.  So three steps (Jazz) as compare to four to five steps (Ballet), with no pliés or pointes.

The Free Dictionary says:

pas de bour·rée  (pä d b-r, b-)
n. pl. pas de bourrée
“A small stepping movement, often executed on pointe, in which the dancer either skims smoothly across the floor or transfers the weight from foot to foot three times as a transition into another movement.”

I am grateful for my students who remind me to revisit things I know, in order to refresh or learn something new.  It is somewhat like the beginners mind when I go back and revisit something.  I know how I learned to do the step, but it is nice to take it further and learn more about it.

Are you familiar with the Pas de Bourrée?  Have you taken Ballet?

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