Thoughts About The Absence Of Verbal Cues
Posted by terrepruitt on November 19, 2015
In order to keep my post from being really long – I personally like to read short posts . . . I started this story in my last post and I am finishing it up here. In my last post I talked about the ways classes are led. I talked about how Nia was designed to be a lead and follow, with cueing at a specific point, and even certain types of cues (pearls). I also mentioned how Nia is about keeping things fun and new . . . always challenging the body, mind, emotions, and spirit (BMES). With that in mind sometimes Nia teachers might teach classes without cueing. Now the “cueing” is up for interpretation. What we did was NO VERBAL CUEING. I decided to clap to indicate that a change was coming. And it ended up that, during two songs I pointed to indicate direction at a couple of areas in each song.
After the class, I asked what they observed. One student said she like it. I pressed a bit because I wanted to know WHY she liked it. I wanted to know what she noticed about it. Because I noticed things too. So I wanted to know what SHE noticed. She said that she felt as if she could do what she wanted more without the verbal cues. She felt she could dance more. Some others agreed. A couple of people said they felt more connected to their bodies. And it is my opinion that having a deeper connection with your body is one of the reasons why we play with no cueing. However, what I observed was really interesting . . . I thought. I noticed that the class was more synchronized. They were all doing the moves together more than I have ever seen.
There is this one part in this routine that people always “jump the gun” on. There is always someone doing the “big” move before the big move. But during the non-verbal cueing class . . . they all did it perfectly. This synchronization struck me as I watched it, and then again when one of the students said she felt she could do what she wanted more without instruction. Apparently they all want to dance perfectly in unison and my “interfering” as we call it, is keeping them from doing that.
When instructing a small group it seems as if there is less of a need to guide people. In larger groups there seems as if the odds are someone seems to look as if they could use a cue. And as a teacher, I want to help, so I might count, or repeat the instructions of the move. In smaller groups there are less people so less opportunity for that.
This silent class had a fewer people than we have been having.
Some people expressed the opinion that they didn’t feel as much joy and/or energy in this silent class. They shared they really like verbally cued classes better. They were relieved to hear that this is not the norm or where my Nia classes are headed. This was just play. This was just a way to experience Nia different. This was just an experiment with the body and dance.
It was fun. But, at one point I put my fingers to my lips because I wanted to say something so badly, but I didn’t want to break the silence. We did sound because that was the mood we wanted. We wanted the energy and the play of sounding, but we wanted the introspectiveness of no verbal cueing.
We will be doing it again. In fact, we have been dancing another routine I was thinking about trying it with so we will see.
Nia is so fun and so interesting. Have you been to a Nia class yet?
Have you taken a silent Nia class? What did you think?