Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

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

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 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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Posts Tagged ‘country line dancing’

Kicks; Front, Side, Back

Posted by terrepruitt on March 1, 2014

Here is where it is obvious that the moves we include in the 52 Moves of Nia are not unique to Nia. Kicks are part of many dances, martial arts, and movement forms. Kicks can be done in many different ways. They are great for many things. In Nia while we dance we often do kicks. We count each kick as a separate move so the Front Kick, the Side Kick, and the Back Kick are three of the 52 Moves of Nia moves.

I know that we did kicks in country line dancing and in West Coast Swing.  They kick in ballet and jazz dance.  We all know they kick in all types of martial arts such as karate, jujutsu, and kickboxing.  Kicks are even a part of exercise routines and sports.  I know they do kicks in Jazzercize and Zumba.

Each kick requires balance, and that is one of the things that kicks are good for.  The act of kicking helps improve, helps challenge, and helps retain balance.  One must be on one leg and/or foot in order to kick the other leg.

With a Front Kick, in Nia, we balance on one whole foot, we lift the other thigh so the foot is off the ground.  We keep our alignment of our three body weights.  We use our arms to help maintain the balance.  The leg we are standing on is firmly rooting to the earth yet the knee is not locked.  Then we extend the leg of the foot that is off the ground, allowing the shin and foot to move forward, away from the body.  We look where we kick.  We kick at our own level.  It could be that you are able to lift your thigh so it parallel to the ground or possibly your knee is higher than your hip.  Remember it is your kick so it is your balance practice.

The Side Kick starts as the front kick, on one leg, the we lift our thigh, but instead of sending the foot forward and away from the body we shift our hips so the one that has the leg lifted it higher than the other one and our knee crosses the midline of the body, the we push our foot out to the side of the body.  The same side as the foot that is lifted.

The Back Kick has the same start as the front kick and side kick.  Stand on one leg and lift the other thigh up.  As with the front kick your body is in alignment.  The we push the leg that is lifted, back, as if we are stepping on the wall behind us.  For an additional challenge to balance you can look behind you.

Just like all the 52 Moves in Nia, while doing these kicks in our Nia routines we often modify them a bit.  Sometimes the kicks are slow and powerful.  Sometimes they are fast and done with a bit of ease.  Sometimes the choreography allows for the foot to rest on the earth before rising again to kick, sometimes not.  Sometimes the kicks are done in a fast repetitive fashion.  Sometimes they are meant to be done low, sometimes they are meant to be done high.  But all kicks are meant to be done in your own body’s way.

In addition to balance, kicks help with strength.  Both legs, the standing and the kick leg get the benefit of that.  Also kicking is good for exercising your coordination, especially when there is travel involved and/or arm movements.  Kicks are a great addition to many dance modalities and exercise forms.  I would bet you are familiar with kicks.

Do you do kicks in your cardio dance class?  Do you include kicks in your workout routine?

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Four-wall or Cooking – An Experience In All Sides

Posted by terrepruitt on April 7, 2012

In Nia we do something that is called cooking all four sides.  When I first learned this I thought it to be just when we were on the ground.  “Cooking” to me was the “side” of the body that was on the ground.  When you “cook” all four sides you allow your belly, your back, your left side, and your side to “cook” on the ground.  So basically you are lying on a different “side” at one point in the dance.  In one routine, I can’t remember which one, while we are standing we turn and face one wall, then turn again, then turn again, then turn again and Debbie called it cooking all four sides.  I thought, “Wow!  I hadn’t thought to call THAT cooking all four sides, because (as I mentioned) I think of ‘cooking’ as being on the floor.”  But it works.  We are “cooking” or facing all sides, all walls.  In country line dancing we call it a four-wall dance.  Often times there are a few steps then a turn, a few steps, then a turn, and so on, eventually you face all four walls.  There are two wall dances and maybe even three, but the point is you face a different direction.  Generally the back becomes the front and the front becomes the back.

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,I’ve posted about Nia Routines before.  I explained a bit about how the routines are created and teachers can purchase them.  Nia routines used to be choreographed and performed on the training DVD by Debbie Rosas or Carlos Rosas or both.  I’ve also posted about the fact that Nia morphs and changes.  At the end of 2010 Carlos AyaRosas, the male co-creator of Nia retired.  As with any company that wants to continue on after a founder retires Nia had to make some changes.  To me it seems as if Nia had been thinking about this for a while.  I know when I attended my Nia White Belt Intensive both Debbie and Carlos talked about Nia continuing on after they leave.  So it seems to me that they had plans and ideas for how Nia will change.  I think it is evident in the way that Nia does not seem to be a flag flapping in the wind, it has true direction.  With the exit of Carlos a new era has been born.  Debbie is now co-creating routines with Nia Black Belt Trainers.  I love Nia and enjoy both the routines Debbie created and the ones Carlos created.  There are some I like more than others.  I am not saying that I like the new one I have seen more than I liked the “old” ones, I am just saying, “Yay!  Nia is not disappointing me.”  The new routine I have looked at is just as fabulous as the old routines I love. 

As a little background:  In order to teach Nia we must pay a licensing fee.  When we pay the fee we are purchasing the right to teach, continued education, and four Nia routines.  We are free to purchase additional routines when they are available, but four are included in the licensing fee and we are obligated to learn at least four a year.  I just recently renewed my license and ordered my routines.  I ordered two that are older (from 2007 and 2008) and two that are considered our new ones, dated 2011.  Usually I skim through all four before deciding which one to learn next.  One of them I ordered I have done once before in a class so I know that I like it and I was planning on learning that next, but my curiosity about one of the new ones got to me.  I decided to learn it next after having watched it.

I am very excited about this routine because it has the “four-wall” or cooking all four sides technique in it.  The routine I am currently teaching has it too but only briefly, this new routine has this technique in more than one song.  Since a Nia class is not a dance lesson we just lead follow like other cardio workout classes the cooking all four sides is to not a series of complicated steps, but it does allow us to face other directions.  In FreeDance there is always opportunities to face many directions and sometimes in the Nia movements alone one can be turning far enough to achieve facing another wall, but this is choreographed to have the entire class turn.  It allows the class to see a different perspective.  I think it is fabulous.
 
It could be making me nostalgic and thinking of country dancing days . . . but more so, I am excited to have this technique used in a Nia routine so my students can see things from the front if they are always in the back or the back, if they are always in the front.  It will help move the class in new directions and Beyond!

Have you ever thought about the fact that a cardio dance class is pretty much like a line dance? 

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