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, Fri at 10:15 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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia Music’

Affordable Wireless Earbuds

Posted by terrepruitt on April 27, 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, SJCityFitI teach a cardio dance exercise called Nia.  It is dance, it is exercise, it is a cardio workout.  It is done to music.  Nia teachers pay a licensing fee and included in that are routines.  The Nia Technique creates routines.  One part to learning a routine is to listen to the music.  I listen to it a lot.  Sometimes I have difficulty or I feel I do, if I don’t like the music.  But most of the time I like it.  But either way, I listen to it a lot.  Sometimes I listen to it while I am cleaning, but when I have the vacuum on I can’t hear it so I have been wanting some Bluetooth headphones.  I have had my earbuds in with my phone in my pocket or tucked in somewhere when the wire has gotten caught and the earbuds RIPPED out of my ears or out of the phone.  Neither one is good.  So I thought it would be cool to have a wireless pair.  Originally I was looking for headphones.  Everything I found was expensive.  I didn’t even realize they made wireless earbuds!  My husband found some that were affordable.  It turned out he liked them and they worked well.  Sometimes the affordable things don’t always work well, so it is nice that these did.  So I went looking and I found a pair that looked almost exactly like his but were even less expensive.  I’m only talking $4.00, but, $4.00 is $4.00.  So I got some.  And I like ’em.  I like mine better than his.

Both pair are over the ear type of wearables.  Both pair stick IN your ear.  On mine, the earbud part seems to be made of metal whereas his are plastic.  Also, the over-the-ear holder on mine seems a little softer more flexible.  I liked that a lot better.  It made them more comfortable.  When I tried his on, one of my ears started to hurt.  With the softer holder they might flex more and allow for better movement with my glasses.

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, SJCityFitOf course, at $13.99 they are from a brand I have never heard of – Parasom.  But they work.  Who knows if they will keep working.  I have experienced many off-brand – or more accurately – not a name brand – product that has stopped working after a couple of months.  So we will see.

Mine also had a little clip, which I liked.  The control portion of the earbuds on mine is about an inch or so closer to the earbud than his, but that is ok for me.  I am not using mine while running like he is, so it is easy for me to stop what I am doing if I need to in order to work the controls.  Although they are pretty easy and pretty standard controls.

One button powers it on – and it says, “Power on” and off (it says “Power off”).  The same button starts the play of music and pauses it.  One button turns the volume up, goes to the previous song, and restarts the song.  Another button turns the volume down and advances the music to the next song.

I haven’t used it as a headset for phone calls because the first time I tried it with my hubby’s he said he didn’t like the quality of my voice, so I haven’t bothered trying mine.  I know when I am using my regular headset and driving I can’t be on the phone that long because the quality of the caller’s voice is distorted.  Probably has to do with the fact that it is only coming through one ear bud.

Anyway, I am always excited when I get a product that I think of as expensive at an affordable price AND it works.  So, I like to share.  So far, this was at an affordable price, it works, so I am sharing.  I would like to point out that I did NOT receive this product for free or at a discounted rate for my unbiased and impartial review.  But, hey, how do I do that?  I read A LOT of blogs and reviews where the people say that.  Sign me up for that!

Anyway . . . if you are looking for an affordable wireless headset the one my husband got is good or mine is – which I think is better.

Have you ever had your earbuds ripped out of your ears because the wire to the phone get caught on something?  Have you been thinking about a wireless pair?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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?

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

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?

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

Sometimes I Just Say Yes

Posted by terrepruitt on October 9, 2014

This week I met with a friend and she asked me, “So how do you come up with things to post on your blog?”  It was very funny that she asked me that on that day because that day I was struggling to come up with something.  It is funny how some days it is as if something to write about is RIGHT there and other days I can think about it from the moment I get up until the last minute and still be struggling.  I am very particular about my posting schedule.  There are blogs that I like to read and I will go to them and there is nothing.  I will continue to go and there is nothing and after a week or two I forget to keep checking.  I like to post on a schedule so if you come to my blog you know something will be here.  But that is not always easy.  Especially since my idea was to post something about health and fitness.  There are so many blogs and websites about that.  The magazines all have both and you know how many magazines there are so the market is inundated with the same stuff.  And it is like the cooking shows.  If one is cooking with eggplant that week, they all are.  They are all talking about the latest fad, the latest exercise, the latest study.  Sugar is bad, eggs are bad — eggs are good, sugar is the devil — eggs might be ok, sugar is crack.  Just as examples.  And, for me, sometimes there is so much going on that I don’t have time to do the research and check the latest facts.  Life is busy.  Sometimes I have to concentrate on teaching.  Sometimes I have so much other stuff going on (you know in the last year I’ve had a lot of “stuff).  Sometimes I feel my blog suffers.  But I also think that when I just sit down and write . . . tell you what is going on (ya know when I don’t have time to research and fact check) . . . you guys seem to like that.  How about a nice share today?  You know I love to share.

I am lucky enough to be a part of a teacher rotation for a Nia class on Sunday.  So this past Sunday I taught at they YMCA.  It was the largest class I have taught there.  It was really nice.  The students were really into it.  It is always such a moving experience to have twelve bodies enjoying the dance.  Monday I am subbing for someone the month of October.  That class was a joy.

My Tuesday/Thursday class is making me so proud and happy.  Most of the people who attend Tuesday also attend Thursday.  This group is really beginning to “get their Nia on”.  They are actually sounding.  It used to be that I could tell the area of the room where the “whoo” (or whatever) was coming from . . . but this week, I didn’t know.  There were so many “whoos” and things I didn’t know who was making the noise.  There were doing so well, that I said I was going to listen.  So I was silent and they “ooed”!  It was magical!  I was so happy.  I was silent a bit more just to hear them.  And they kept going!  It used to be they would stop after the first check.  I would say, “I’m gonna do a sound check.”  And the whole room would make noise, then the next time . . . . crickets!  But not this week . . . they kept right on making noise!

One thing that happened, I already shared on Facebook, but I am going to share it here too, is the collective expression of dismay at our music being interrupted by lobby noise!  There are a lot of lovely songs in our Nia music.  We had just begun to get into the movement of the dance.  And the majesty of the song was settling in over the room when there was this LOUD noise from the lobby.  And the whole class went, “Awww!”  Even though the noise would not have ruined the song or the dance, it just BURST into the sacredness of it.  Two people went to shut the dance studio doors and I turned up the music and we danced on, but it was nice to see that other people appreciate the music and sacredness of it as well.  We like to experience without BIG LOUD noise.

My Wednesday class was full of new students.  And by full I mean, my “regulars” we not in attendance so it was just new students.  Fun stuff!

Also, thanks to one of my Nia students I had the opportunity to share information about Nia to a club in the area.  While it was understood prior to the meeting that nothing may become of it — as in, Nia may not be taught at the club — it was nice to be able to introduce people to Nia that had never heard of it before.  I love to talk Nia so to be able to explain to people who might host it was awesome.

My yoga class turned into a private session of sorts.  I was able to give one of my students some information that will assist her with something that she would like to improve upon specifically.  It is one thing for me to do asanas that can help, but we were able to target some movement habits that she will be able to pay attention to.  We both left feeling accomplished!

Then at the last minute when an instructor who became ill asked me to teach Nia for her students tomorrow, I said yes.  So instead of teaching one Nia class, I am doing two . . which I have done before but at different facilities.  Not two . . . back to back at the same place where I have already taught twice this week.  So what that means is . . . I need to get my post up and get going on deciding on something to teach.  So like I said in the beginning, sometimes I have to concentrate on teaching Nia!

So thank you for listening.  It was a nice week.  How was your week?  Do share?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

One Person Making A Lot Of Noise

Posted by terrepruitt on September 23, 2014

It only takes one.  One person, that is it.  One person besides me, that is.  I have observed different groups of Nia students and I have seen them alter their sounding practices.  It is so fun to witness a silent class become noisy.  I feel that making noises in a dance exercise class, or “sounding” as it is called in Nia, depends a lot on the music.  There is specific music that just lends itself to making noise.  There is some music that people instinctively just join in singing or making the appropriate sounds during the music.  There is also specific moves that lend themselves to sounding.  Chopping seems to cause “Hi-yas!” to erupt from the practitioner.  Blocking tends to cause loud “Has!”  But not all the time.  It does help when they are made a part of the choreography.  It helps when the sound is the same or at least consistent throughout the song.  My sounding often just comes out.  I am dancing to the music and perhaps thinking of the next move or discovering a pearl and noise just comes out.  It is not always the same as the last time.  I feel that sometimes makes people shy.  They want to have others saying it with them.  And it really only takes one.  That ONE person who seems to just have noises inside that have to come out.  That one person who doesn’t need the teacher to lead them.  That one person to just make a noise and it encourages others to do so.

I often feel that there are some that want to make noise, but they don’t.  There are many reasons people don’t make noise.  I think I mentioned it before, but I kind of remember it being a “thing”.  I am not saying we were told NOT to make noise, but you would never have walked into a women’s gym and heard grunting.  (Eye roll)  I guess that is because we aren’t allowed to breathe.  HA.  I don’t know, but I do have a sense that it was not something women were encouraged to do.  Exercise was done in silence.  So I think that has a lot to do with it.  We were not taught to make noise while exercising.  So we don’t.

But I sense there are those that want to.  What I see happening, is we will do the move with me making the noise for seven times.  The eighth time comes around and since we are changing to a different move I might be at the point when I need to use that time for instruction.  It just happens that on that eighth time the person finally got up their nerve to make a sound and then it is as if they are left hanging because I didn’t do it with them because I had to introduce the change.  Yup . . . I feel that happens a lot.

But not when there is that ONE person.  All it takes is ONE person.  That one person can — by example — encourage the rest of the group.  I love it.  I silently cheer that person on.  I send waves of gratitude out to that one person that is not me that is sounding and helping the group find their voice.  I have some GREAT sounders in my Nia groups.  And I am so happy and excited that they are finding their voice.

I know how it is to move silently through a class.  Nia is wonderful and freeing, so the dance is meditation to me.  But when I first decided to join in on that sounding — YEOWZZZAAAA!  Whoa!  That just took the movement, the dance, the freedom to an entirely different level.  It was invigorating.  So I know how it is to be shy about making noises in class (I know if you have ever taken my class you might not believe that).  I know how it is to take up almost the entire song before you allow that sound out.  But I also know how it FEELS and the senses my body experiences after a really loud and noisy class.  So I will keep sending out waves of applause to that one sounder as they lead the entire class into becoming sounders.

Do you make noise when you work out?  Perhaps you sing?  Do you breathe loudly?

Posted in Nia, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dancing Close

Posted by terrepruitt on September 16, 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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesThere is a Nia Routine called Miracle.  It is fun routine.  Like many Nia Routines it has form and freedom.  There are two songs in which the foot work is pretty much the same throughout each song (form), but within the sameness you have the freedom to switch it up and add your own style.  The choreography gives you the steps, the area where your feet are to be in dancing to the music, but you can decide how to get there and how your foot will be placed into that area.  Form and Freedom.  There is also something in this routine that Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos Aya-Rosas) calls the “Nia Bundle”.  It is basically where the entire class gets very close together and dances.  This is not easy for people to do.  Why?  There are at least as many reasons why this challenges people as there are people.  But there are many benefits to dancing in a “bundle” and as a group.

One benefit of dancing in a close bundle is to practice our proprioception.  In close proximity to other Nia Dancers we want to be aware of where our arms are, where are feet are, where are hands are.  Are our limbs close to our body or are they out as far as they can go?  Are we going to step on someone’s toes?  Are we going to bump into someone?  While the goal is not to step on nor bump into anyone, it is understood there might be some contact . . . but not often.  For those in my classes that participate in the Nia bundles we do a good job being aware and moving in a close group.

Also dancing so close to each other helps us be aware of each other. Not just the physical presence of the other students, but there is eye contact, there is giggling, there is connection and a sense of community when you are brought really close together.  No one is in their own space, we are sharing space.  We move as one in space.  We move as individuals in a shared space.  We learn to dance together.

Another benefit could be that we – as individuals are pressed into moving in different ways.  Finding a new way to move our body in dance because we are so close to someone.  How can we move our elbows without elbowing someone?  How can we dance to the music and express our spirit in such close proximity to others?  Ahh . . . yes . . . new-to-your-body-moves just might be discovered.

I always laugh at the thought of someone looking in the dance studio at the community center and seeing all of the space with 12+ of us all clumped together in the middle or in a corner.  I imagine them thinking that odd.  I imagine them thinking, “WHAT are they doing?”  Then we throw our hands up in the air and sing.  It is quite fun!

So despite some people’s misgivings about dancing really close in a Nia bundle there are those who join in with gusto and reap the benefits.  Does your dance exercise class have a bundle?  What would you think if you were to peek in a class and see it?  Would you be a bundle dancer?

 

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Saving Bars

Posted by terrepruitt on September 2, 2014

If you have read more than one post on my blog you know (probably) that I teach a movement class called NiaNia is very much about “dancing” and moving to the music.  The training required in order to teach is called the Nia White Belt Intensive.  The training is over 50 hours long.  Believe it or not there is hardly anytime in that 50 hours learning a routine.  In fact, I don’t remember learning any part of a routine in my White Belt.  But I know people who have taken the training more recently and they said they did review a song.  I remember when I first arrived at the training I literally had NO IDEA what it was going to be like.  I signed up rather late and if there was any pre-training at that time, I didn’t get it.  I had thought I would walk out of the training ready to teach.  Ha.  Nope.  I was given tools to help me be ready to teach.  There might be people who are ready to teach when they walk out of the first training . . . but I wasn’t.  I wasn’t that familiar with Nia to begin with so the way we were taught to learn a routine was very new to me.  As you may know we were taught to map our music by “barring” the music.

I know that Nia is making an effort to make things easier on teachers.  Nia Headquarters actually documents the choreography on the bars now.  So, I feel that the focus has shifted a bit away from barring the music the way I was taught.  I think the way I was taught was very cool.  I love the way Nia had at one time had us learning the music.  But I also understand the need to learn quickly or to have tools available to allow people to do things faster.  That is just the way our society is.  Things need to be done fast.

I also understand that we all learn differently.  We all have our own ways of doing things.  I honestly don’t do EVERY step that I was taught to do.  I also mix it up and I don’t always do each routine EXACTLY the same.  But pretty much.

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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes

For all the routines so far, I do bar the music myself.  Sometimes I have trouble with some of the songs so I might rely on the bars from HQ a little more than with other songs.  But I bar the music and I document the choreography myself.  I “fix” any discrepancies I might see on the DVD.  But I do this in steps.  First I bar the music.  I count the music and I dress my bars.  I have found the more detailed I am with the dressing the better it is for me.  I put as much detail as I want on there.  I don’t just put the sound I hear for the cue for the Nia routine.  I put the music on the page.  Then I scan the paper into my computer.  Now I have barred music.  So what I can do with that the barred page — without the Nia choreography on it — is use it for whatever I want.  I can add my own choreography.  I don’t just have the places marked where I would do or cue the already-created-Nia kata, I have sounds that I am familiar with document.  So noting my own choreography to the page is easy.

Then, on my paper I just scanned, I add the Nia choreography.  Once I do that then I scan my sheet again.  So now I have an electronic image of my complete and final bars.  I always know where it is.  I admit to taking my sheets of barred music with me either to teach or around the house, then I misplace them.  Or I mixed routines up so I have one song in with another routine.  Then after a year when I go to do a routine, I am missing a song.  I am pretty particular so I will look for it, but sometimes I let go and just look at my electronic copy.  I know that eventually I will find the hard copy so I just use the one I know where it is.

I am so happy though because I finally got a HANGING file system.  So much easier to file my routines that way.  I used to have them in a pile on a shelf in a cabinet.  So in order to get to them I had to take out the entire pile and go through it to find the routine I wanted.  Or to put one away . . . that is why I would end up with “lost” songs because I didn’t always want to take the time to take out the stack and deal with it.  But now, it is so much easier with them hanging!  Yay.

So, if you teach a dance class, how do you document your moves?  How do you note your choreography?  How do you store your notes?

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Nia Belt System Previously

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2014

Recently someone asked me about the Nia Belt system.  I pointed him to my original post on Nia’s Belt System.  The one where I mentioned having seen many articles back then (in 2009) talking about the belt levels as if people had to progress through them in order to participate in Nia.  That is not the case.  Nia is a dance exercise.  It is a workout.  You can go to a Nia class just like you can go to a Zumba Fitness Class, a Jazzercize class, a UJAM class, a Hip-Hop class, a yoga class or any other class where you just walk in and do it.  You can just walk in and do Nia.  No strings (or belts — tee hee!) attached.  Just move your body to the music and enjoy the sensation.  Get a workout.  Get some exercise in.  Dance.  The belts are for people who want to learn more.

Nia has a “self discovery” program.  I don’t want to say self-improvement because some people might think, “I don’t need improving.” and you would be right.  The intensives are workshops of about 50 hours that show you how to experience movement in your body, show you how to relate to things.  The intensives show you many different things.  Each intensive is labeled with a belt color to help distinguish it from the others.  I also pointed him to my website which has the belt colors and the focuses of each belt.  But I was reminded that the information on my site, from 2012, is not the current information.  Nia is always updated herself.  She is like the co-creator, Debbie Rosas, she like to be current.  Below is the information from 2012.  I want to make record of it.  Plus I wanted to keep it available in case anyone was interested in remember it and/or comparing it to the newly worded focuses.  You can go to my site at Nia Belt Levels and Focuses  to see the newly worded focuses and intents for each belt.

In 2012 when I put the information on my site there was a White Belt, a Blue Belt, a Brown Belt, and a Black Belt available to anyone.  There is now a 1st Degree Black Belt.   There is a Green Belt for people who are teaching and have a Nia Livelihood Membership.

“Each of the four belts mentioned has a separate set of principles.  There are 13 principles for each belt, each belt also has a focus.

The focus for a White Belt is physical sensation.   (Terre earned her White Belt in December 2008.)

The focus for a Blue Belt is communication, relationship and intimacy.  (Terre earned her Blue Belt in November 2012.)

The focus for Brown Belt is sensing and perceiving energy.

The focus for Black Belt is unlimited creativity.

As I said, there is an intensive, Green Belt, that is just for Nia teachers, the focus for a Green Belt is the craft of teaching Nia.  This is an optional intensive.” **

 

When I originally took my White Belt in 2012, the Green Belt was just being created and the original thought was Nia was going to have White Belts that are teaching take it next, before blue.  But by the time I had enough money saved up to take my next belt (yes, it took FOUR years) they had relaxed that requirement and now allow people to take the Green Belt when and if they want.  I want to take it.  However there was a Blue Belt Intensive that was closer and did not require air travel and hotel expenses.  So I took the Blue Belt Training prior to the Green Belt Training.

Except for the Green Belt there is no testing as in a martial arts type of setting.  And the Green Belt test is written.  There IS 50+ hours of movement, lectures, thinking, sensing, learning, agreeing, disagreeing, discovering, connecting dots, ah-has, oh-nos, and ooo-ahs.  It is incredible and intense.  The training that Nia delivers is excellent.

My posts about the principles of the White Belt and the Blue Belt can help give you a better idea of what we study in the intensives (at least those two), but it is really something one has to experience for oneself.

I hope you click over to my site to see the new verbiage for the focuses and the added intents.

 

**The belt information was taken from the Nia Now website on November 14, 2012.

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Rockin’ The Block Or More Accurately My Nia Classes

Posted by terrepruitt on June 17, 2014

I teach Nia for the City of San Jose and the YMCA.  I have been teaching Gentle Yoga too, but that is different.  The Gentle Yoga classes are usually smaller both the actually room we are in and the number of people.  And with yoga we don’t need the music loud so often times my iPhone in the middle of the yoga mats serves us just fine.  But with Nia we need the music loud.  Not “Zumba-loud” because I still need to be heard over the music, but loud enough that I can hear my music cues and people can get a sense of the music.  With most of my classes the number of students is more than yoga and the venue is larger.  I actually have taught at some places where the audio system did not work so I tried using my phone and it did not have enough volume.  With Nia people follow my lead, but they also move their body in their own way so it helps them dance when there is music to dance too.  So since I teach in all different places and the audio system is not always the same I have a variety of speakers.  I had been looking at one for a couple of years, but never wanted to invest the money.  But one day my hubby and I were at Costco and we saw a device I had been looking at.  He wanted to get it.  I hemmed and hawed, but we came home with a Block Rocker.

I had almost bought one before but with every model they came out with something different so I was trying to decide which one to purchase.  Then they came out with a Bluetooth enabled version.  I wanted to know that I could still use an Aux cable because Bluetooth can be spotty.  I had not been able to determine that from my shopping online at first.  And then I forgot about it until I saw it in Costco.  We pulled it off the shelf and checked it out.  Read the box to make sure it would play music both ways — via Bluetooth or a cable.  And my hubby put it in the cart.  All the way around the store I kept thinking, “Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.”  and on and on.

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 YogaWe came home with it.  We plugged it in and hooked it up to our devices.  It was pretty cool.  Both my husband and I have used it around the house.  It does GREAT house sound.  Our house is an acoustical “weird-mare”, but it works great.  Both of us have used it out in the yard.  But none of that is in a big room with people in it.  And I am not complaining that the rooms I have been teaching in have sound systems.  That is GREAT.  I am very fortunate.  I have not had the opportunity to use my big speaker.

My Group Ex Nia Class with the City of San Jose on Tuesdays and Thursdays is normally held in the dance studio.  But this summer there is Summer Camp in there for the kids one week every month.  So at the beginning of the year my supervisor moved us from the dance studio to the Multipurpose room.  I didn’t know if this room had an audio system.  I have been telling my class for months that we were going to be in the MPR for a few classes this summer.  Then for the past two weeks I have been reminding them of the actual dates.  I would have been very upset with myself if I had shown up and not be prepared.  Here I have been preparing them for months and then I didn’t have music.  I am soooooooooo glad I thought about my Block Rocker.  This is EXACTLY what it is for.

I even remembered to charge it the night before.  Ya see it is a Bluetooth device and it has a rechargeable battery so it can be used totally cordless.  Squeeeee!

So I used it today and it worked GREAT.  I am super happy.  I love it when things work out.  I am so glad that Costco had it and it was such a good deal.  As I said, I had been shopping for them for a couple of years and was happy this one was priced lowest of them all.  Even though it was the newest model.

Here is some information copied from the ION website:

•Streams music wirelessly from any Bluetooth music-playing device or phone
•Works with iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android devices, and more
•Input for a microphone (came with a microphone), instruments and other audio sources
•High-quality microphone included
•Built-in digital AM/FM radio and retractable antenna
•USB port for charging iPad, iPhone, or other devices
•Built-in battery provides up to 50 hours of use
•Bluetooth range of up to 50 feet
•High-output powered 2-way speaker
•1/8-inch auxiliary input for amplifying other audio devices
•Recessed wheels and telescoping handle for portability
•Rugged design to withstand heavy use
•Projects high-fidelity sound up to 150 feet away
•Built-in cradle for your smartphone, iPad, or other device

It does not have an equalizer so it will not be “perfect” sound.  It is what it is.  It is great . . . in my opinon . . . for exercise classes.  Oooo, I am so excited.  You know me, I like to share when I am excited about things.  When I learn of something that helps make MY life easier I like to share.  I like to let you know so perhaps it can help one of you.

Can you see yourself owning one?  Do you think you could use one?  Do you like to have people over for outside grilling and/or BBQing?

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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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