Posted by terrepruitt on February 19, 2015
Do you ever just dance? You might be one to turn on the music and start dancing. Perhaps you have a favorite song you like to dance to? Or you might be one who breaks into dance spontaneously. You could be in the house and a song comes on and you don’t even really think about it, next think you know you are moving to the music. Perhaps you are one that is so gusty or you just don’t care so you dance in the aisle at the grocery store. Music moves us. It is easy to dance to a song we like. Sometimes we “can’t help it”. We just burst into a dance. But dancing without choreography in a dance exercise class? No one telling you exactly how to move? Just move to the music? Without having consumed any alcohol? It is a concept not easily grasped by many. It is a concept that we practice often in a Nia class. We call it Nia FreeDance.
As I mentioned dancing without choreography in an exercise class is a new concept to many. Moving without having a structured plan doesn’t sound like exercise to many people. Some people are very resistant to Nia FreeDance because of this reason. Some people cannot understand how you can “get a good workout” without having a structured plan, without moving the same way over and over again. The way we have been programmed to exercise includes repetition and structure. It includes traveling in a straight line from point a to point b, it includes being told how to move. So just moving without any idea of what comes after the present movement is vastly alien to some.
Yet, I have people who actually let go and try it. Those who push beyond their own skepticism and doubt come up to me and say, “Wow! I am sweating.” Those who let the music move their bodies without thinking about it have said, “Who would have thought that I would have gotten such a great workout?” Some realize, “I might be sore tomorrow.” They MIGHT be sore the next day because they moved their bodies in ways that their bodies are not accustom to moving.
Nia FreeDance is there to help stimulate movement creativity. So if you do it with full abandon you might end up with muscles that talk to you the next day. Your body will have moved in new and different ways. So Nia FreeDance is not the dancing you would do at a club or a dance lesson. It is just free movement. Yes, some of those cool club moves or patterns you learned in dance class sneak in because we dance what we know. We think about it and move in that way. But there really is more to FreeDancing. It might have a pattern for a moment, it might have structure for a moment, but it moves away and comes back. It is free.
Stage 1: FreeDance
Catch Phrase: Anything Goes, Movement-Wise
Stage 2: Being Seduced by the Music
Catch Phrase: Art of Listening
Stage 3: Feelings and Emotions
Catch Phrase: Pretend, Fake It, Act As If
Stage 4: The Creative Source
Catch Phrase: The Real You
Stage 5: Authentic Movement
Catch Phrase: Change!!
Stage 6: Witness
Catch Phrase: Interfere…Judge…Not! Observe
Stage 7: Choreography
Catch Phrase: The Accidental Click
Stage 8: Nia Class
Catch Phrase: Levels 1, 2, 3
The catch phrases have changed slightly since I participated in the Nia White Belt Intensive in 2008, but it is all basically the same. The catch phrases give you a clue as to what the stage is for. All the stages help you to FreeDance. You can dance each stage separately or combine them in any fashion. The idea is just to give you something to help get you moving and then give you something to keep you moving. Moving in new and different ways. The new and different active body, mind, emotions, and spirit. FreeDance is one of the key things that makes Nia unique. If you click on the stages above you will go to the post that I have posted for each stage.
I am very excited about the Special Nia Class and Nia Free Dance Playshop that I am producing next month. So I have been thinking a lot about FreeDance and how great it is. This post is a result of my excitement and my attempt at getting people excited and curious about FreeDance. Reading about it is one thing, but getting up and actually DOING it is another. These are the stages used to deepen your practice, but they are not what we will be covering in the Playshop. As the flyer states, we will be learning Jason’s tools for FreeDance! I hope you will join us!
Are you a dancer? Do you break into dance? What is the current hit that you can’t help but dance to?