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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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 ‘Jason Alan Griffin’

The Routine Really is AMAZING

Posted by terrepruitt on May 11, 2016

You may have seen me announce that I was producing another Nia class with a guest teacher.  “Producing” just means that I communicate with the teacher, secure a venue, and promote it as much as I can.  The guest teacher does the routine or playshop work and presents the material.  I have had this guest teacher come teach a couple of times before.  Jason Alan Griffin is a first degree Nia Black Belt and he travels the country with his dog River, and he teaches Nia.  In March of 2015, he was going to be in our area so I invited him to present his FreeDance Playshop.  Then since he was going to be here on Friday, I asked him to do his based-on-Nia-routine Frankie Say Nia.  So we had a Nia class on Friday, then the playshop and a class on Saturday.  He happened to be passing through our area in August so I invited him back to do Frankie Say Nia again because it was so fun the first time.  This time around he was traveling with a few routines and the one I thought would be the best for the Nia community here was “Amazing”.  It is appropriately named.  A small group of us danced Amazing with Jason on Friday, May 06, 2016.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitAmazing came about through Jason’s desire to share all the wonderful Nia energy he experiences during his trips.  He said he was bringing his work and sharing it, but sensed a lot of creativity out there and he wanted to embrace it.  So he invited Nia communities to contribute songs from their areas.  Then as he visited each area and each Nia community the choreography was revealed.  It was either revealed by the community already having done it or by a collaboration.

Now he is spending several months on the road bringing this routine to many Nia communities around the country.  He has a few other routines that are on the menu Orchestra, Woodstock Experience, and Floorplay . . . all sound super fun by their descriptions.

The focus of Amazing is on connections and directions.  We moved in all directions and were encouraged to sense the connection.  As with many things in Nia the connection could be one of or all of the BMES.  So we could have been connecting with the Body, the Mind, our Emotions, or Spirit.  We were invited to connect with people in the room, in the Nia community, and any where.  The intent was to explore something new and return home renewed.  And again, as with many things in Nia, that could relate to the BMES.  As an example we would extend our arm and try a new movement for our hand, then return our hand back to our center or our “home” and sense if there was a change or some new or different kind of sensation.

It was super fun.  A question occurred to me today as I was thinking about writing this post,  “Do I just think it is fun because I am not a student often and so any chance to dance Nia is fun?”  Then I pictured the e-mails I received telling me it was fun.  I remembered the comments after class.  It was fun.  We have fun when Jason teaches us.  So, even though he is planning on taking a year off from traveling, I am hoping that a quick jaunt down the coast to us won’t be considered “traveling” and he will come back next year to teach us again.  I really want to try that Orchestra class.

Below are some pictures from the class.  I do hope one day you’ll come dance with me!

 

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If you want to see MORE pictures and a video from the class please visit my site.

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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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Dancing, Learning, Posting, Editing

Posted by terrepruitt on April 2, 2015

Nia has been a cardio-dance workout since 1983.  It is not as well known as some other cardio dance exercises.  So when we have events, such as Nia Jams, Playshops, Plearns, Workshops, Intensives, Master Classes in addition to attending and enjoying these events I ALWAYS think of those things as opportunities to take pictures and videos.  I always think that the pictures and videos can be posted on social media so that we can “get Nia out there” so it becomes more well known.  The videos and pictures are meant to show people how fun it is.  The pictures and videos are to show that it is a workout.  The videos and pictures are meant to show people how anyone can do Nia.  I was so caught up in getting people signed in and getting things ready to go for the Nia Class that I recently produced, I neglected to ask permission to take and post pictures and videos.  But . . . I also had it in my head that it is well known that while we do our Nia events we want to have pictures of them to promote our Nia events.  Well . . . . this is the result of me not doing due diligence and gaining permission BEFORE taking the pictures and the videos.  These are some of the pictures and videos from the Nia Class on Friday, March 27, 2015.  I have posted other pictures where I had to block someone out, but never videos.  It takes a long time, so this is the end result of a non-professional video editor (me).

As I stated in my post, What Did Frankie Say?, on Saturday after the Nia Class, Jason Alan Griffin, a First Degree Nia Black Belt is travel the United States presenting his Nia routine he calls Frankie Say Nia.  I didn’t do well, at all, with the dressing in the 80’s style, but I did think the animal print would work.  My little head top pony-tail was supposed to be a tribute to the “BIG HAIR” of the 80’s.  I didn’t bother actually doing my hair up in that BIG way because after the first song it would have just been flat.

Nia IS a cardio-dance WORKOUT and the routine followed the classic Nia style with all seven cycles of a Nia workout.  And in keeping with the seven cycles this routine has a focus and an intent.  The focus being the Creative Hand and Arm Expressions.  The intent is to allow us to relax into personal power.

The routine is full of fun and familiar songs, except the last three.  There were three songs in the Floorplay section and the first one just struck me as odd.  I don’t mind dancing to odd music.  Dancing to odd music is fun.  And, in fact, part of the Nia White Belt Training gets us to dance to music that might be considered undanceable by many.  I have yet to come across music that is undanceable, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think some of it is odd.  And it wasn’t so much that it was odd, it was that I couldn’t remember ever hearing it before.  Jason, kindly reminded me again (because I asked him at least three times and couldn’t remember still) that it was Ghost Town by the Specials.  I was also trying to follow the moves and allow myself to dance, so I didn’t even listen to all the words.  It is a very varied song.  I am listening to it now as I type and it is making me laugh!

Regardless of my error in not getting permission beforehand and regardless of the less-than-professional job of “editing”, I believe it is still obvious that fun was had by all.  It was a great time.  I still have the Playshop to post about.  I will get to that eventually.  So stay tuned!  We can’t wait to have Jason back for more Nia.  I will keep you posted so next time you can join us!

EnJoy!

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What Did Frankie Say?

Posted by terrepruitt on March 28, 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, PiYoLast night we had a visiting Nia teacher come to Campbell and present a routine that he has created.  Jason Alan Griffin is a First Degree Nia Black Belt and he created a routine he calls Frankie Say Nia.  He travels around to different places with his dog River and he brings Nia with him.  He has routines he has created and playshops.  Friday night was the Nia class where he did his 80’s Alternative New Wave music routine.  People were invited to dress in 80’s style – bright clothes, animal prints, whatever they think of as 80’s fashion.  It is difficult – for me – to think of dressing up at the same times as wearing clothes I can workout and move comfortably in.  Jason was wearing shorts that reminded me of Saint Patrick’s Day and I was wearing animal print with my hair up in a silly pony.  That was as far as I was able to take my dressing up.  I’ll have to check with Jason about the shorts.  I forgot to ask him about them today.  The dressing up and the clothes were not what makes it fun or 80’s, it was 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, PiYoJason had us dancing to many familiar tunes.  I was happy to hear all of them that I knew.  I knew all of them until we arrived at the Floorplay portion of the Nia class and then I was just mystified.  I kept thinking I would eventually recognize it, but it was out of my scope of knowledge.  And I don’t even remember what it was.  I believe there was mention of a bar.  It was odd to me.  And, later it was indicated that I had a look on my face (odd) matching what I was thinking.  As I said, I kept waiting to hear something that would spark some sort of little hint that I had ever heard the song before, but nothing came.

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, PiYoJason’s playfulness and ability to match movements to music is so evident in his routines.  And they are just fun.  I can say that we all had a great time because every commented on having one!  His choreography and the music made for a great time.

I was very happy that he had some FreeDances in the routine because I was looking forward to gleaning some tools from them as he taught.  And I did.  Then the next day he took it to the next level with the FreeDance Playshop.  That has to be a post all of its own.  Perhaps more than one.  We will see.  I am still processing.

As I have recommended before to you, Dear Readers, if Jason comes to your town you should go to his class.  That is, if you like to have a great time while you are getting your dance workout in.  You can always check out his schedule on his blog.

I have included some pictures.  As I have said before, it is not easy to get pictures of moving bodies.  I had help from my hubby.  We had at least three devices taking pictures and videos.

Can you tell from the pictures that we are having a good time?

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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, PiYo

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, PiYoI hope one day we will be able to dance together!

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Goings-On

Posted by terrepruitt on January 22, 2015

What is going on with you? Here? Me? Well, I mentioned that Nia released four new routines at the end of the year. I mentioned I ordered three. Well, I received them and I listened to the music for the one I had planned to learn first and just as I expected. The music for the entire routine is from ONE artist. When I originally noticed that, I thought that might be an issue for me. I thought that it would all sound the same and I wasn’t too excited about that prospect. But the music from the routine I didn’t order was even less appealing. Now, let me explain that we are able to listen to snippets of the songs. Like on iTunes. It only plays for a moment. As you may have found out from listening to snippets on iTunes some times what you hear is not exactly what you get. I mean sometimes a song can change dramatically. The Nia website used to allow us to listen to the entire song, but now we only get a short preview. So . . . having listened to the previews of all the songs for all the routines, I “didn’t like” the music of one routine. That is why I didn’t order it. But I was leery of the “One artist” routine. But the snippets sounded different enough, I thought it would be ok. Turns out . . . not so much. But . . . often times the first “listen through” of a routine’s music reveals an instant “I don’t like”, but that fades or disappears entirely sometimes. So, I have faith it will be fine, but . . . it caused me to decide to work on learning a different routine. So I am in the process of learning a new routine.

I always look at them for the first time and think, “Oh cool. That’s not too hard. I can learn it quick.” But then . . . for me that is not the case. It is one thing to be able to dance to a routine, but it is another to be able to lead it. I could just take it to class and we could play with it, but I like to have a really good handle on it first.

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, PiYoBut . . . . somewhat exciting news . . . as is always happening at places that have exercise classes, it seems as if there is going to be a change in the schedule at one of the facilities where I teach. So they are looking to fill a spot, but they don’t really think they want another cardio class, but . . . . I know that it takes time to find the right class and a teacher that can do it, so I offered to do Nia in the meantime. Well, much to my surprise the supervisor took me up on that deal. As in starting next week. The odd thing is – I was already set to sub the class one day, so it is basically like I am taking it over tomorrow.

Another exciting thing is the response I have received from the Nia students that currently attend the other classes I teach. They are excited to have an additional Nia class. Many of them said they would take the class. So . . . we will see. I am secretly –ok, so it is not a secret (!!) hoping that the class will do well and the center will let me keep it. With Group Ex classes we know that nothing is permanent because things sometimes need to change, but there is the “permanent” and we like that. So it could be that I end up taking routines into the classroom sooner than normal if I get to teach four classes a week, regularly!

I am going to go be a student on Saturday. One of the Nia students that used to attend my classes moved to a different area. I am going to visit her. We are going to go to a Nia class she now regularly attends. I think being a student will be a great energizer. I don’t take the time out to be a student as much as I would like. Seems like I am always trying to learn a routine so I don’t take time out from that. But this was planned in advance and it will be perfect.

My hubby and I are still adding to our Goodie Jar. It is looking quite festive with all of the Christmas wrapping paper scraps we are using.

Did I mentioned the Nia Events I have on the calendar for March? There is going to be a Friday evening class and a Saturday playshop? The evening class will be a routine done to 80’s music and the playshop is all about Free Dance. The Nia Teacher that is going to do both is Jason Alan Griffin. I wrote a post about him, First Degree Nia Black Belt Guest Teacher because he brought his Goldfinger routine to the East Bay Area last year.

Whew!  So that is what is up with me.  Do tell, what is up with you?

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First Degree Nia Black Belt Guest Teacher

Posted by terrepruitt on May 1, 2014

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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!

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Jason leading the class in his silver pants!

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

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

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