Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

8 Stages Of Nia White Belt P4 – FreeDance – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 29, 2020

As you know different people learn different ways and as we were only on stage 5 with just 20 minutes left in class on Monday, I was wishing that we had more time to explore the principles. I wanted to be able to be with each stage longer. This is my first time re-taking the Nia White Belt. After class, Debbie stays after to answer additional questions and receive comments and, funny enough, one person said she liked how fast we went through the stages. She felt she got more out of it instead of spending so much time on them. Someone else spoke up and “mirrored” that sentiment. I don’t think it was their first re-take. I would have loved to spend more time with it. For my blog, I thought I would at least separate the introduction of the principle from the stages, since for many people exercising without specific instructions is a new and challenging concept. Being able to move one’s body in their own body’s way in a dance exercise class is not the norm – unless you are in a Nia class. The Nia White Belt Principle #4 is FreeDance and it has eight stages.

With Nia FreeDance participants can dance what their body needs at the time they are in the class, but not everyone knows what to do with that freedom. Not everyone knows what their body needs. So there are eight stages we use in our practice that can help. I am not going to do a language comparison (between when I took it in 2008 and now) I am just going to say the verbiage has changed a bit but the message is the same. Here is the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 8 stages with their tag lines and explanations, as usual there is a lot more, I am just sharing a bit.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom1 – FreeDance ~ Anything goes movement-wise: this really means, just move your body. A lot of people have a strict idea of what “dance” means so unless someone is doing ballet or waltzing across the floor they will say, “that’s not dance”. But in Nia we kick, we punch, we shimmy, we bob our heads . . . . pretty much ANYTHING GOES MOVEMENT-WISE. Granted in a class we will make certain that is it safe.

2 – Being Seduced By The Music ~ The Art of Listening: this is where you can stop moving. You may be surprised at what you hear when you are just listening to the music. And then once you start dancing again you may be moving differently because you actually heard something you hadn’t heard before. Or you may just have a different sense of the music.

3 – Feelings + Emotions ~ Pretend, Fake it, Act “as if”: this is where you pretend. You can pick an emotion . . . and act as if you are XXXX. You can pretend to be mad, angry, happy, sad, tired, bored, flirty . . . whatever and then you dance that. You let your body MOVE that emotion.

4 – Creative Source ~ Real You: here you remember a story and allow yourself to feel that emotion and dance that. You may find that you use less energy when you are actually tapping into a real emotion than when you are acting and the emotion is coming from your head. Dance your story and see where that emotion takes your movements.

5 – Authentic Movement ~ Change!!: this is about the way your body moves. We dance and as we are “forced” to change we find authentic movement. For those that know how to count the bars we change every two bars, but until you know that, just change often . . . let’s just say you should change about 15 times in an average speed 5 minute song.

6 – Witness ~ Neutral Observer: this is where we just notice what our body does. We aren’t supposed to change it we are just noticing what it does.

7 – Accidental Click ~ Music + Movement Integration: this is where we have a “click”, when we really feel our body move to the music and we know that that is how it is supposed to be moving. Something “clicks”. Once you sense that keep doing it.

8 – Body-Centered Choreography ~ Levels 1, 2, 3: this is where you can take that movement tendency or that click and dance through the three levels. The three levels are what we want to demonstrate in a Nia class so that everyBODY can have fun and get the workout their body needs at that time. Level one is less, smaller movements, two is more, and then three is the biggest and something you may not even be able to (or want to) maintain throughout the class. It is nice to visit all the levels so that you can experience the different sensations in the body.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that these levels relate to YOUR body.  My level one might be your level three, that person over there . . . their level three might be my level two . . . . so do YOUR BODY’S levels.

I wrote out the main things that I want to remember (pictured here) and posted here.

There you have a bit about the eight stages of the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 – FreeDance. These can help people with their FreeDance practice.

I could go on and on, but I need to stop here.  I hope this gave you an idea about Nia FreeDance and maybe if gave you some ideas on how you can play and practice with dancing in order to stimulate your BMES.

Posted in 2020 Nia White Belt Principles, FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Act As If – Pretend – Fake It; Stage 3 of Nia White Belt Principle #4

Posted by terrepruitt on March 10, 2012

I have posted about Nia FreeDance before.  Nia FreeDance is meant to encourage creativity.  In Nia routines sometimes we have entire songs that are FreeDance.  Not all routines have an entire FreeDance song, but all routines have at least one part as FreeDance.  The one part could be that our feet have choreography and our arms and hands are free to move.  The creativity is released.  As the 4th Principle of the Nia White Belt it can also be used as a tool to help a Nia teacher learn a routine and/or explore his or her practice.  The principle has 8 stages.  The third stage of FreeDance is Feelings and Emotions with a catch phrase of: Pretend, Fake It, Act As If.  This is the stage where you pick an emotion and you act it out.  This is not the same as stage 4 where you draw on the real you and you act out a story you have experienced, this stage is pretend.

The idea of stage 3 of Nia FreeDance is to pick an emotion, a feeling and then act it out.  Pretend you are feeling that emotion at that moment.  This would be practice or play outside of a class setting where you are doing a routine.  So when using this tool as a way to grow and create you aren’t even expected to dance.  The exercise is to pick an emotion act it out for a bit, then pick another emotion.  Acting and explaining the feeling with your body in an exaggerated way.  If it helps create a story in order to fake that emotion.  It can be somewhat fun because normally when you are angry you probably would not throw yourself down on the floor and kick and scream, but when we are pretending to be angry and acting “as if” you can.  You can throw an angry punch.  You can run and jump for joy.  You can do anything you would like and since it probably wouldn’t be something you would be “allowed” to do in society it tends to spur creativity.  And this creativity gets your body moving in news ways.  It gets your heart pumping.  It gets your blood moving.  It gets your joints juicy.

I used this stage not too long ago as the focus of a few of my Nia Classes and it turned out to be very interesting.  So within the class setting we actually danced our pretend feelings and emotions.  We continued on with the routine we were doing at the time, but we added our “act as if”.  So it altered our movements a bit.  We allowed ourselves to follow the emotion so as we were dancing steps and hand movements might have been changed, but we still danced.  As I said it was interesting because my class did not want to act the “negative emotions”.  Some had a difficult time with some of the ones we deem as “negative” or ones that go against one’s normal self.  We danced:  keeping a secret, letting a secret go, happy, loopy, light, jealous, worry, love, angry, masculine, annoyed, bashful, brave, calm, childlike, guilty, fearless, and more.   We tend to assign negative and positive, but they just are . . .I think that we can look at an emotion and or a feeling and it can be neither, but as we live with it it could become one or the other.  If we let it affect us in a negative way, then maybe it can be perceived as a negative emotion?

The Embody and Share portion of the Nia White Belt Manual states: “Emotions are energetic responses to our experiences. We must learn to deal with our emotions to keep ourselves free and unblocked.”  So my thought process is, that if an emotion “blocks” us or causes us stress then we consider it negative.

People didn’t like the emotions they felt were negative. There was a tendency to not pick them from the list I had displayed.  But I think they are good for exploring movement.  So it’s fun to play with them all.  Remembering it is pretend, we are faking being (whatever the emotion is that we chose), we are pretending.

Well, what do you think?  I invite you to make a list of emotions and feelings, then put on some music.  Pick an emotion/feeling from your list and move to it.  Stay with it until you are ready to move on and then pick another one from your list.  Do this for a few songs.  You might be surprised at your movements.  You will probably be able to create ways to move that you didn’t realize.  When you are not thinking of your movements it allows your body to release and —- ahhhh! —- movement creativity.  Go ahead, you can do it.  Let us know how it goes!

Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »