Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am

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

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 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 ‘dance choreography’

Generations Sharing Music

Posted by terrepruitt on May 10, 2014

I imagine I am like all dance exercise teachers, in that when I hear music I enjoy I think about how I can bring it to my Nia class.  I think about creating choreography to it.  I was thinking the other day about what music would appeal to one of my classes.  My train of thought took me on a little journey. First off – before I share my journey – this is not a rant about how modern technology has caused huge chasms between people because while there are some disconnects there are some great connections. This IS a little about how things have changed and how we miss out on somethings but it is more of a ride down a memory rail line then a rant. Many of you that lived through the time period that I am about to mention, have probably heard the “remember when” about when you had to listen to the radio “all” day before you could hear that song (ya know, whichever one you wanted to hear) again.  There was no device to turn to that could play it instantly. Unless you held your cassette recorder up to the radio and recorded it, you had to wait for it to be played on the radio. There was also the accidental sharing of music that today’s technology prevents happening.

When I wanted to listen to my music I had to go into the living room and play my records. I usually had to ask if I could.  Then I would turn on the stereo with the turntable for the whole house to hear. I am not saying that I played it loud, I am just saying that it was played through speakers so everyone had to suffer through me playing my latest obsession over and over and over.  That is why I had to ask permission to play my music.  If I was playing it, the people present would have to listen to it.  So I am sure my mom got to “know” my music. I shared with her that “latest” tune. The pop music. Now-a-days people have personal devices with which to listen to their music, so it could be that parents never actually hear what their kids are listening to. They don’t get to connect on that level.

Not that parents and kids ever connect on the same level when it comes to music, but sometimes it could happen.  I imagine my parents became very familiar with some of my music.  I bet they even learned some of the lyrics via pure repetition.  I bet that they even grew to like some of it.  With these thoughts rolling through my mind, like a leisure train, it made me think that this might be the case with some of my students.  I would love to bring music to my Nia classes that reminded them of connections with their children.  The connections could even be so tenuous as them not even really liking the song but the sense of familiarity and family would allow their bodies to connect to it.  They could move and enjoy the sensation of movement without really thinking about it.  They would be able to associate memories to the music.

Ha.  These are the thoughts of a Nia Teacher wanting to MOVE her students.  But, as I first mentioned, I bet other cardio dance workout teachers think the same way.  What do you think?  Do you think songs like that could get you moving?  Do you think songs with that type of connection could allow you to dance?

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Yeah, Nia Makes You Think

Posted by terrepruitt on January 7, 2014

I had a new to Nia person come to class today.  She called me yesterday to ask about it and showed up to class today.  I like that.  Of course, I asked her about it after class.  She said she liked it because it made her think.  She said that is what she needed.  Nia is amazing because it is one of those exercises that DOES make you think.  There are differences in a Nia routine.  There are times when there is Free Dance, a time where you don’t think.  You just let your body move to the music.  You let it go and see where it takes you.  It is not a trance dance, you are not in a state of trance, but you are letting your body move to the music without thinking.  There is no thinking of what others think or how you look, or of a pattern, you just move.  There is also the choreographed steps.  Some of those steps are described as the actual dance steps there are, say a Jazz Square, a grapevine, a ball change, etc.  And when learning them or even when incorporating them into a routine there may be thinking involved.  There is also the imagery used in Nia.  Where instead of saying reach up we might say pick an apple, instead of just saying walk we might say walk Jazzy, instead of saying get down on the ground we might say melt onto the earth . . . .these things might cause you to have to think for a moment.  What are the movements involved in picking an apple?  What does “Jazzy” mean?  How does a body melt?  Sometimes a routine will have us doing a movement that is out of the ordinary.  Say against the normal “flow” of movement.  And again that is where we have to think.  So sometimes, yes, we do think in Nia.

Right now I have just begun teaching a routine, I have only taught it once and it is making me laugh because when I first saw Debbie Rosas do it on the DVD I didn’t understand why she said left hand on one section and right hand on another.  To me it looked as if she was alternating.  So the first few times I did it, I alternated my hands that I started with.  When I was barring the song and I went to write down the arm choreography I stopped to watch it closely.  She says left when we start with the left ONLY and right when we ONLY start with the right.  There is alternating hands in between, but not alternating starting hands.  This is one of those funny moves that makes me think.  I love that the other teachers on the DVD didn’t quite get it either.  Makes me feel better.  Makes me remember that it is a practice and my brain and body will have to think about this move until I have it engrained.

I love that Nia is Body, MIND, Emotions, and Spirit (BMES).  I love that new people come in and see all that it is and say they love it.  I love it even more when they come back.

I always say that there was a reason Nia was once named Neuromuscular Integrative Action . . . . because that is really what it IS.  I don’t know why they abandoned that, but I can imagine.  It is a mouthful.  And to some perhaps it sounded intimidating.  Once people come to class they get to see it for themselves.  It really was/is an ingenious name, just a bit much, I guess.  As we are thinking we are using our nerves and our muscles.

So, what do you think?

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Turn In Nia And Other Dance Exercise Classes (Video)

Posted by terrepruitt on July 10, 2012

I wrote a post about a four-point turn, that is what I call one of the turns we do while we are doing Nia.  In Nia it is sometimes called an Aikido turn.  But it is a turn that is done in many dance exercise classes, including Zumba.  I realize that even if you are reading the post while trying to do it, it could be a bit confusing so . . . . . voila!  A video.

The first clip is of me facing away and I start with a RIGHT turn, then alternate.  Then the second clip is of me facing the camera.

As with my Aikido turn post maybe right and left indications will work better for you.  In my other post I decribed the left turn, so here I will write out the right turn.  And as stated, the right turn is the first turn I demonstrate.  Turn your head/eyes to the right, allow your hand/arm to follow. Move your right foot to “toes out” turning your right thigh bone to the right. Then step on your RIGHT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%. As you are stepping all your weight on your RIGHT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the right, in the direction you want to go. Swing your LEFT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your RIGHT FOOT. Step onto your LEFT FOOT, toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the RIGHT FOOT (“toes out” foot). Swing your RIGHT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your LEFT FOOT (weighted foot).  You will land standing on the RIGHT FOOT, and turn the LEFT FOOT to be parallel with the right foot. . . making that the fourth point or step.

Even though in the first clip on the right turn you can’t see my right foot “toes out”, I do the turn enough times in the video for you to see how the first step is a “toes out” move.  Starting the turn with the “toes out” and already turning the direction you want to go will go a long way in enabling you to get all the way around.  Even if it takes a lot of practice to get all the way around, starting that first step with the leg in outward rotation will help a lot.  I also said in my last post that I think it is easier to do this move fast as opposed to slow. So it might be a good idea to not try it really slow at first because it is not easy slow.  Just go.  Right toes out, left, right, left.  Or left toes out, right left right.   Remember we do not spin on our feet. We need to pick the feet up off the ground to avoid blisters and strengthen the leg.  Also you might notice that this turn is done on the balls of the feet.  You put all your weight on the ball of the foot.

While my fourth “point” or step I am exaggerating and pointing my toe in that might not always be the case.  When we are moving to the music the fourth “point” could end up being any number of things depending upon many number of things.  The choreography sometimes calls for different things.  Plus there is the individual body that is doing it to consider.  Sometimes people can’t get all the way around, it could be that the music is really moving and there isn’t enough time to get around and settle into that fourth step or it could be that this is one of those moves that will take practice.

It’s a great move that allows us to use ALL five Nia Sensations.  Flexibility on the “toes out” and as we place our feet, mobility in our joints, strength to get us around and stop, agility to stop, and stability to stay stopped.  Cool, huh?

So how are you doing with your turn?

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