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

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Posts Tagged ‘dance moves’

Jazz Square Using The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on October 12, 2013

I took dance lessons when I was young.  I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know the Jazz Square.  Of course there had to be a time because one is not born knowing what a Jazz Square is much less how to do one.  But I don’t remember not knowing how to do it.  So I actually must have learned it prior to my dance lessons, because I was young when I took my lessons but not THAT young.  Whatever the case . . . . unfortunately it was all too long ago for me to truly know . . . I knew what a Jazz Square was when I entered my first Nia Class and when I took the Nia White Belt Intensive.  While the Jazz Square is not included as one of Nia’s 52 Moves it is something we do a lot in our routines.  It could be considered part of the Jazz Dance that is one of the Nine Movement forms that make up Nia.  Well, not everyone has had dance lessons or knows how to do a Jazz Square.  So we can use the clock to help them.

Nia has a core set of moves called Nia’s 52 Moves.  Three of them actually have “clock” in their names.  One is Rock Around the Clock, another is Slow Clock, and another is Fast Clock.  So it makes sense that with those moves we would use a clock image to do the move and/or help explain and instruct the move.  I have posted before about how we use the clock to help direct other moves.  Well, the Jazz Square is one of them.  While it is called a square it sometimes might be more of a rectangle, but the idea is to use the four corners.

First thing to know is that the Jazz Square is just four steps.  So often I will just have my students march or step four counts.  Sometimes we will get the dance going with that and then move to the square.  Some people stay with the marching and that is fine.  Another VERY important thing to know AND DO is to weight each step.  As in, put all your weight onto each step you take.  When you are learning the jazz square this is of the utmost importance.  This will ensure that you are taking a left, right, left, right (or right, left, right, left) approach and not trying to use the same foot – as in left, left, right, left – and just getting tangled up.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaLet’s do a Jazz Square left-over-right.  So we will be starting with our left foot and having it cross over the right foot to the right side.  The left foot comes over to the right and lands on 2 o’clock, the right foot comes back to the back right corner and lands on 4 o’clock.   Then the left foot steps back to the back left corner – 8 o’clock, then the right foot steps over to the upper left corner – 10 o’clock.  That is one jazz square.  To keep going the left foot swings around the right foot to the upper right corner – 2 o’clock and you continue on.

So right-over-left is: right foot to upper left corner (10 o’clock), left foot to back left corner (8 o’clock), right foot to back right corner (4 o’clock), left foot to upper right corner (2 o’clock).  To keep going the right foot must swing around the left foot back up to the upper left corner (10 o’clock).

Sometimes when we are doing a fast jazz square my square turns into a diamond with step one being more at 1 and the corners a little askew.  But I have corners!

As with many things sometimes it is easier for a person to do it one way than the other.  So it might be easy to do left foot over right foot, but when you switch it is not as easy.  Sometimes that is when a student will march.  Or they will do the jazz square but not the hand or body movement that we pair with it.  Continuing to move is the key so whatever they do is great.  Eventually with practice, the can do it!

Perhaps this will help.

Key things to remember:

  • FOUR steps
  • Put your weight on every step
  • Step to 2, 4, 8, 10 – left, right, left, right or
  • Step to 10, 8, 4, 2 – right, left, right, left
  • Marching is an option
  • Have fun

Do you do the Jazz Square?  Does this help?  Can you do the Jazz Square and a shimmy?  Both ways?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Slow Clock – 52 Nia Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post about using the clock in Nia, we have a move called the Slow Clock.  Using an imaginary face of a clock on the ground assists us in knowing where to step. The slow clock can be used to incorporate any “hour” on the clock into the dance.  The move starts with the feet in the “center” of the imaginary clock.  The “slow” is in reference to always returning the foot to center before allowing the foot to go to another number on the clock.  To practice the slow clock move begin with a march in place.  If you begin the march with your left foot touching the ground on the one count, then use it first to touch on 12:00, then return it to its original position in the center of the clock.  Then place the left foot at 6:00, then return to center.  Then use the other foot, touch to 12:00, then center, then 6:00, then center.  Hour then center, that is the basis of the slow clock.

As with almost any move it can be done in slightly different manners and still be the same.  The slow clock can be done with just a tap or a touch to an hour, with the foot returning to center.  Or it can actually be a step, where the weight is put full upon the foot stepping to the hour.  To keep it the slow clock the foot would return to center before any other move was made.  So it can be a tap, a touch, a step.  It can even be a slight shift in the weight.  As long as the foot returns to center.

In some Nia routines we do sumos out to 3:00 then return to center, then we sumo to 9:00.  Now if you were thinking about that you would know without me saying,  “Move your right foot to 3:00, then to center, then your right foot to 9:00.”  Remember?  I mentioned how efficient it is to use the clock to help instruct with moves instead of saying directions and which foot to move every time.  With the instruction of sumo 3:00, you know you are stepping your right foot out to the right so you land in a sumo or riding stance.

With the example above you see that the slow clock can be done with opposite feet.  It does not have to be one foot stepping to an hour, then returning to center, and then that same foot stepping to another our.  It can be — as example, the right foot to 12:00, center, left foot 6:00, center.  Add some rhythm and a little bounce and you have the Charleston!  Add some rhythm, a little bend at the knees, and some hips and you have a salsa!

In addition to improving precision and grace, moving with the slow clock does many things depending on how you move with it.  For instance dancing the slow clock to a specific rhythm can also improve coordination because the tendency might be to just skip over returning to center.  Also, sometimes it can be something to help keep your mind focused because sometimes when the mind wanders your foot can forget it needs to return to center unless it is focused.

So that is the slow clock, another one of the 52 Moves of Nia.

Using the tool of the imaginary clock are you able to move in Slow Clock?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Always Looking At The Clock In A Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2012

In Nia we use the clock a lot.  We don’t actually USE the clock, but we use the idea of a clock face on the ground.  When we are moving and dancing we often times refer to the hours on the face of the clock to indicate where to put our feet or move our body.  I had mentioned this in my post about Katas.  I find that it works well when I am learning the routines.  I note the “o’clocks” on my bars.  I find it works well when sharing the moves in my Nia classes.  And I find that Nia students appreciate having a reference point.  It REALLY helps me when there is an actually clock in the room in my line of site.  I know that probably sounds silly because the reason we use a clock to assist in the dance is because it is something familiar and constant, but sometimes it just helps to be able to glance up and be able to say, “Step to one o’clock.”  I use the clock a lot.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaOften times our stepping isn’t exactly on an hour.  Often times I feel as if it is BETWEEN the hours, say between one and two, but it is still a great reference point.  As with many of our moves in Nia it could be that we are stepping on the foot we have placed at a specific hour or it could be that we are pointing or tapping on the hour.  Using the hours of the clock as a reference can help prevent confusion when required to state which foot is being used.  Since we are moving to music one does not always have time to state, “Cross your left foot to the right diagonal and stop.”  And saying, “Left right diagonal” could be confusing, so it is nice to have a set “direction” by using the hours on a clock.  So I can say, “Left at 1:00” and that is even more clear than saying either one of the instructions previously stated.  It is clear that the left foot is to cross over and land at 1:00.

Also it seems to even work better than just saying the directional left and right.  If I were to say, “Put your left foot out” I have not actually indicated WHERE to put your left foot, but when I say, “Left to 9:00” it is clear where the left foot should go when it goes “out”.  Another example is a bow, it could be executed with the leg directly behind or crossed back so again the clock adds a greater level of instruction.

Of course, the participants in a dance exercise class are watching the instructor but giving them verbal instructions allows them to do it in their own body’s way instead of just trying to do it the exact way the teacher’s body is doing it.  Some people might have a LARGE clock face on the ground on which they are dancing and other’s might have a smaller one.  It all depends on where they leg reaches, but at least they know what direction.

In Nia there are even moves that refer to the clock.  Within Nia’s 52 moves we have a “slow clock” and a “fast clock“. So as I said we use the clock or at least the idea of a clock a lot in a Nia class.

Makes Nia sounds easy, huh?  It is.  And it is fun.  Find a class near you nianow.com or check out my Nia class schedule on my website (www.HelpYouWell.com).

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Music as Motivation

Posted by terrepruitt on June 16, 2011

Music is a great motivator.  Often times it is used to set a mood.  Sometimes we even use it to memorize things.  I’ve been putting on Lady Gaga’s album, The Fame or Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream album to do my Ten Minute Workout to.  Such fun songs on both the albums.  As you know the workout is only ten minutes so I don’t get through much of either album during the workout.  Somtimes I am in a middle of a song and I just say or I’ll do some additional sit ups or whatever I am sensing I want more of.  If not, like when I’m in a hurry, I carry the music about with me.

I often listen to Nia music (music that we use for Nia routines) because I am always wanting to learn it better.  Or I am trying to learn a new routine (and sometimes that takes me awhile).  But I don’t like to do a timed set of exercises to Nia routine music because I get distracted and start doing the Nia choreography or something else pops into my head and I move those moves to see it they fit.  I do the same thing with other music — dance to it — but at least if I am doing specific moves new/other moves don’t pop into my head as with Nia routines which are always in my head so they just kind come out.  🙂

So this is MY placeholder.  I will be back to report that I did my workout.  What about you?  How are you doing with it?  What is your favorite song(s) to workout to?

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June 16, 2011 at 11:37 am

Ha!  I am done.  I was done awhile ago, but when I logged in to post I had a comment and I wanted to answer it.  And as you can see it is longer than the original post.  HA!  I always do that when I comment.  I do it on other people’s blog.  My comment is longer than their post.  Now I am doing it to myself!!!!

Well, anyway, today I did my little workout to Prince.  What about you?

Posted in Ten Minute Workout check-in | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »