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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    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘First Degree Black Belt’

What Do You Mean Nia FreeDance Tool?

Posted by terrepruitt on April 18, 2015

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoSome of you may be wondering what I mean when I say Nia FreeDance Tools.  Recently I invited First Degree Black Belt Nia Teacher, Jason Alan Griffin, to present a playshop of his creation.  The playshop was him sharing some Nia FreeDance Tools.  I have talked about what Nia FreeDance is before, it is where there is no assigned choreography and we just dance to the music (or not).  But it is not the type of dancing you would see in a club.  It is not the type of dancing that has specific names for the dance moves . . . yeah a cha-cha, jazz square, or a pirouette might sneak its way in, but primarily it is not that type of dancing.  So some of the tools we have to practice Nia FreeDance are the 8 Stages of Nia FreeDance.  And within those stages can be additional tools.

First of all as a reminder we do FreeDance to allow our bodies to move in different ways.  To move in ways that are not our normal ways of dancing . . . so if you ARE a ballerina, the idea is to let your body dance outside of the ballet mold.  If you are tap dancer perhaps in FreeDance your feet don’t tap.  It is a way to practice different moves to music and allow our bodies to experience something away from its regular patterns.

There are other reasons and ways a Nia Teacher uses Nia FreeDance, but I am just going to keep this post on the path of tools.  So within the tool box are the 8 Stages as I mentioned.

Now, in the playshop Jason did not mention these tools in association with the stages, but a lot of the tools he shared were introduced to me in connection with the first 5 stages of Nia FreeDance.

So with Stage 1: FreeDance (Catch Phrase: Anything Goes, Movement-Wise) . . . almost all of the tools could be associated with this stage but one that sticks out for me is being silly, acting goofy.  This is super fun and is pretty close to guaranteed to get you to move in a different way to music than you might be used to.

Tools I associate with Stage 2: Being Seduced by the Music (Catch Phrase: Art of Listening) are as it says, being seduced by the music.  So just letting the music take you away.  I imagine most of you have had a song play where you can just get carried off by it.  You can just move without thinking and dance away.

There is also Tempo Change . . . this involves the art of listening because you are listening for the tempo and then dancing against it or with it or faster than it or slower than it or opposite of it.  Just listening and moving to it — in your own way.

There is also a tool that we use called “Forget the music” where you just dance in your own way — period.  People might look at you and wonder what you are hearing because it might look to them as if you are not dancing to the music.  And you could not be.  Perhaps you don’t like the song that is on or you like a different version that you know so your dance is not “to” the music.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoStage 3: Feelings and Emotions (Catch Phrase: Pretend, Fake It, Act As If ).   This stage has a lot of tools that connect to it, if you are dancing the “Feelings and Emotions” you act “as if” you are ___________ (fill in the blank with an emotion).  You could be ACTING “as if” you are angry so you stomp around the room.  Or you are ACTING “as if” you are jealous or ACTING “as if” you are happy.  Allowing your body to move in ways that it would move if you were feeling those emotions is a great way to move.

Or you could PRETEND you are playing an instrument.  I always say that I have become the greatest musician since I started teaching Nia.  Or you could act as if you are playing a sport or a child’s outdoor game.  This type of pretending is not sticking strictly to the stage and catch phrase, but it can be connected to it because there is pretending, faking, and acting.

Stage 4: The Creative Source (Catch Phrase: The Real You).  This is where there is no story or no acting “as if”, you are moving with your true emotions.  The tool would be no choreography allowed, in fact the dance is suspended and you are moving in your own way as an emotional being.

Stage 5: Authentic Movement (Catch Phrase: Change!!).  Here is where the tool of changing every two bars comes in.  The movement is authentic.  The real you, nothing fancy just the way your body goes, but changing it every two bars.  Or the change could be applied to directions or levels.  You could dance going one direction and quickly change to go another directions.  Or you could be dancing in the high plane and switch to the low or the middle.  The idea is to CHANGE!

So that is what we mean by “tools”.  Basically ideas of how to move.  There are a lot of tools that can be used, there are so many ways to move.  One of the most fun things to experience is an individual actually practicing these tools and then coming up to me after class and saying what a great workout they received.  Many say they didn’t realize that  FreeDancing could be such a great workout.  That is one reason why we FreeDance . . . it really is a GREAT workout!  Having a lot of tools makes it fun!

Does this give you a better idea as to what the “tools” are?  Does this give you ideas for your next dancing-in-your-living-room session?  Or ideas on how to conduct your next car-dancing moment?

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First Degree Nia Black Belt Guest Teacher

Posted by terrepruitt on May 1, 2014

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 Yoga

This class was held in San Ramon on April 30, 2014!

As you probably know I teach a dance exercise called Nia.  It is a cardio workout.  If you have read any of my information on Nia you will also be aware that many of the people who practice Nia consider it to be more than JUST a cardio dance exercise.  But . . . on the surface that is what I call it, in brief, to let people know what it is.  If they are interested then we can discuss some of the other facets of it.  Like many exercise disciplines there are star teachers or celebrities.  I’ve talked about that before.  There is always some people who were there from the beginning and so they have the most experience and often times get categorized into star or celebrity “status”.  Yesterday we had a long-time Nia Practitioner and Teacher do a 007 Nia class.

Jason Alan Griffin is one of the first First Degree Black Belts.  Nia has created an additional training intensive, they have added a “degree” to the black belt.  It is so new that not a lot of information is out regarding that, and I didn’t even think to ask Jason about it.  I am Facebook friends with Jason and yesterday was the first time we met in person.  Jason likes to travel, so he drives around with his dog River bringing Nia to cities around the United States.  He created a routine he called Bond Girls, but recently re-named it to Goldfinger and that is what he is delivering on his current trip.  He was in the East Bay last year (I believe) but he packs his travel schedule so tight he doesn’t stay long and so I missed the classes he had.  Maybe he was in the North Bay too.  I don’t remember.  I couldn’t make it.  So this trip I was very excited to get to take his class, meet him, and his dog.

Jason is one of those dog daddies that takes his pet parenting seriously and he posts a lot about his dog.  So through his Facebook and blog I feel I know both of them a bit so I was happy to finally get to meet him.

Not to use the current happenings in my life as an excuse, but I found myself leaving for the class much later than I intended and also the directions I looked up gave me a different travel time than the day before.  I ended up being late for class.  And while I felt very bad about that . . . I decided to forgive myself which enabled me to jump right in to his already-started-class.  It was so fun.

While the invitation to dress up in something shimmery was there, I completely forgot, but Jason did not disappoint.  He had on some shiny silver pants.  He led us through many of the 52 Nia moves while we focused on pelvis, chest, head.  We used our spear fingers in true James Bond fashion.  We danced in our own body’s way and laughed and sang while doing so.

Every time I take a Nia class I realize I am not a Nia student often enough.  I love being able to laugh at myself because I don’t get the moves on the first (or how many ever it takes) go around.  I love being able to just follow as someone else’s lead.  I love being able to learn new pearls and moves.  It is so fun.  I am so glad that I was able to join the East Bay Nia community while they hosted Jason’s class.  It was super fun.  I want Jason to come to San Jose to deliver his FreeDance Playshop.  🙂

I hope you jump at the chance to dance with Jason when he is in a city near you.  He is really fun to dance with.  And if you are lucky, River will sneeze on you!

Thanks, Jason and River.  I look forward to your next visit!

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 Yoga

Jason leading the class in his silver pants!

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 Yoga

Janet and I doing our Bond Girl impressions – with spear finger

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 Yoga

Jason and River. River was more interested in the grass than posing!

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