What Do You Mean Nia FreeDance Tool?
Posted by terrepruitt on April 18, 2015
Some of you may be wondering what I mean when I say Nia FreeDance Tools. Recently I invited First Degree Black Belt Nia Teacher, Jason Alan Griffin, to present a playshop of his creation. The playshop was him sharing some Nia FreeDance Tools. I have talked about what Nia FreeDance is before, it is where there is no assigned choreography and we just dance to the music (or not). But it is not the type of dancing you would see in a club. It is not the type of dancing that has specific names for the dance moves . . . yeah a cha-cha, jazz square, or a pirouette might sneak its way in, but primarily it is not that type of dancing. So some of the tools we have to practice Nia FreeDance are the 8 Stages of Nia FreeDance. And within those stages can be additional tools.
First of all as a reminder we do FreeDance to allow our bodies to move in different ways. To move in ways that are not our normal ways of dancing . . . so if you ARE a ballerina, the idea is to let your body dance outside of the ballet mold. If you are tap dancer perhaps in FreeDance your feet don’t tap. It is a way to practice different moves to music and allow our bodies to experience something away from its regular patterns.
There are other reasons and ways a Nia Teacher uses Nia FreeDance, but I am just going to keep this post on the path of tools. So within the tool box are the 8 Stages as I mentioned.
Now, in the playshop Jason did not mention these tools in association with the stages, but a lot of the tools he shared were introduced to me in connection with the first 5 stages of Nia FreeDance.
So with Stage 1: FreeDance (Catch Phrase: Anything Goes, Movement-Wise) . . . almost all of the tools could be associated with this stage but one that sticks out for me is being silly, acting goofy. This is super fun and is pretty close to guaranteed to get you to move in a different way to music than you might be used to.
Tools I associate with Stage 2: Being Seduced by the Music (Catch Phrase: Art of Listening) are as it says, being seduced by the music. So just letting the music take you away. I imagine most of you have had a song play where you can just get carried off by it. You can just move without thinking and dance away.
There is also Tempo Change . . . this involves the art of listening because you are listening for the tempo and then dancing against it or with it or faster than it or slower than it or opposite of it. Just listening and moving to it — in your own way.
There is also a tool that we use called “Forget the music” where you just dance in your own way — period. People might look at you and wonder what you are hearing because it might look to them as if you are not dancing to the music. And you could not be. Perhaps you don’t like the song that is on or you like a different version that you know so your dance is not “to” the music.
Stage 3: Feelings and Emotions (Catch Phrase: Pretend, Fake It, Act As If ). This stage has a lot of tools that connect to it, if you are dancing the “Feelings and Emotions” you act “as if” you are ___________ (fill in the blank with an emotion). You could be ACTING “as if” you are angry so you stomp around the room. Or you are ACTING “as if” you are jealous or ACTING “as if” you are happy. Allowing your body to move in ways that it would move if you were feeling those emotions is a great way to move.
Or you could PRETEND you are playing an instrument. I always say that I have become the greatest musician since I started teaching Nia. Or you could act as if you are playing a sport or a child’s outdoor game. This type of pretending is not sticking strictly to the stage and catch phrase, but it can be connected to it because there is pretending, faking, and acting.
Stage 4: The Creative Source (Catch Phrase: The Real You). This is where there is no story or no acting “as if”, you are moving with your true emotions. The tool would be no choreography allowed, in fact the dance is suspended and you are moving in your own way as an emotional being.
Stage 5: Authentic Movement (Catch Phrase: Change!!). Here is where the tool of changing every two bars comes in. The movement is authentic. The real you, nothing fancy just the way your body goes, but changing it every two bars. Or the change could be applied to directions or levels. You could dance going one direction and quickly change to go another directions. Or you could be dancing in the high plane and switch to the low or the middle. The idea is to CHANGE!
So that is what we mean by “tools”. Basically ideas of how to move. There are a lot of tools that can be used, there are so many ways to move. One of the most fun things to experience is an individual actually practicing these tools and then coming up to me after class and saying what a great workout they received. Many say they didn’t realize that FreeDancing could be such a great workout. That is one reason why we FreeDance . . . it really is a GREAT workout! Having a lot of tools makes it fun!
Does this give you a better idea as to what the “tools” are? Does this give you ideas for your next dancing-in-your-living-room session? Or ideas on how to conduct your next car-dancing moment?