Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia White Belt Training’

Nia White Belt P6 – Base – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on August 10, 2020

Wow. We are already on Principle 6 of the Nia White Belt Principles in the first ever Nia White Belt Training Online. Remember this is somatic training so it is about the body. For people that have not taken any type of anatomy training or exercise training the information might be new, but since Nia is based on the body a lot of it is not new because we pretty much have had the same number of bones in our feet since they have been able to count all the bones in the feet (26 in each foot). Nia is based on science but the way Debbie relates it to your everyday life is what makes it fun and amazing. Nia White Belt P6 Base. It is about the base, our foundation, from our feet to our hip joint.  The triad consists of feet, legs, hip joints.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via ZoomI love to remind my students that feet need to be flexible in order to provide the shock absorption we need with each step. Also, in order to help with the entire health of the body they need to be strong, and also allow the energy to flow through. Nia refers to the feet as the Hands that touch the Earth.   Feet like hands relay a lot of information to the body.  In Nia we dance barefoot to not only receive that information through the hundreds of thousands of nerve endings in each foot, but to help with the health of our feet.  Nia has 52 Moves the routines focus on.  Twenty seven of them are associated with the base and each move can help keep feet flexible, strong, and allow energy to flow up to the body.

There are four categories associated with the base. The “Feet” category has 8 moves, the “Stances” category has 6 moves, the “Steps” category 9 moves, and the “Kicks” category has 4 moves.  Below is the list of “base” moves and links to my posts about them, except the Cha-Cha-Cha.

*Feet*
1.  Heel LeadDance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom
2.  Whole Foot
3.  Ball of the Foot
4.  Rele
5.  Rock Around the Clock
6.  Squish Walk
7.  Duck Walk
8.  Toes In, Out, Parallel

*Stances*
9.  Closed Stance
10.  Open Stance
11.  “A” Stance
12.  Riding (Sumo) Stance
13.  Bow Stance
14.  Cat Stance

*Steps*
15.  Sink and Pivot Table Wipe
16.  Stepping Back onto the Ball of Your Foot
17.  Cross Front
18.  Cross Behind
19.  Traveling in Directions
20.  Lateral Traveling
21.  Cha-Cha-Cha
22.  Slow Clock
23.  Fast Clock

*Kicks*
24.  Front Kick
25.  Side Kick
26.  Back Kick
27.  Knee Sweep

If you have never been to a Nia class you might be amazed at how many ways you can do each of these moves. There are many ways . . . you could shift your intention, you could shift your energy, you could shift your focus, you could shift your weight . . . . all of these things would allow you to sense the move differently.  And the great thing about them is you don’t even have to be in a dance class to practice them.

Can you spot one you might call a favorite?

Posted in 2020 Nia White Belt Principles, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

8 Stages Of Nia White Belt P4 – FreeDance – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 29, 2020

As you know different people learn different ways and as we were only on stage 5 with just 20 minutes left in class on Monday, I was wishing that we had more time to explore the principles. I wanted to be able to be with each stage longer. This is my first time re-taking the Nia White Belt. After class, Debbie stays after to answer additional questions and receive comments and, funny enough, one person said she liked how fast we went through the stages. She felt she got more out of it instead of spending so much time on them. Someone else spoke up and “mirrored” that sentiment. I don’t think it was their first re-take. I would have loved to spend more time with it. For my blog, I thought I would at least separate the introduction of the principle from the stages, since for many people exercising without specific instructions is a new and challenging concept. Being able to move one’s body in their own body’s way in a dance exercise class is not the norm – unless you are in a Nia class. The Nia White Belt Principle #4 is FreeDance and it has eight stages.

With Nia FreeDance participants can dance what their body needs at the time they are in the class, but not everyone knows what to do with that freedom. Not everyone knows what their body needs. So there are eight stages we use in our practice that can help. I am not going to do a language comparison (between when I took it in 2008 and now) I am just going to say the verbiage has changed a bit but the message is the same. Here is the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 8 stages with their tag lines and explanations, as usual there is a lot more, I am just sharing a bit.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom1 – FreeDance ~ Anything goes movement-wise: this really means, just move your body. A lot of people have a strict idea of what “dance” means so unless someone is doing ballet or waltzing across the floor they will say, “that’s not dance”. But in Nia we kick, we punch, we shimmy, we bob our heads . . . . pretty much ANYTHING GOES MOVEMENT-WISE. Granted in a class we will make certain that is it safe.

2 – Being Seduced By The Music ~ The Art of Listening: this is where you can stop moving. You may be surprised at what you hear when you are just listening to the music. And then once you start dancing again you may be moving differently because you actually heard something you hadn’t heard before. Or you may just have a different sense of the music.

3 – Feelings + Emotions ~ Pretend, Fake it, Act “as if”: this is where you pretend. You can pick an emotion . . . and act as if you are XXXX. You can pretend to be mad, angry, happy, sad, tired, bored, flirty . . . whatever and then you dance that. You let your body MOVE that emotion.

4 – Creative Source ~ Real You: here you remember a story and allow yourself to feel that emotion and dance that. You may find that you use less energy when you are actually tapping into a real emotion than when you are acting and the emotion is coming from your head. Dance your story and see where that emotion takes your movements.

5 – Authentic Movement ~ Change!!: this is about the way your body moves. We dance and as we are “forced” to change we find authentic movement. For those that know how to count the bars we change every two bars, but until you know that, just change often . . . let’s just say you should change about 15 times in an average speed 5 minute song.

6 – Witness ~ Neutral Observer: this is where we just notice what our body does. We aren’t supposed to change it we are just noticing what it does.

7 – Accidental Click ~ Music + Movement Integration: this is where we have a “click”, when we really feel our body move to the music and we know that that is how it is supposed to be moving. Something “clicks”. Once you sense that keep doing it.

8 – Body-Centered Choreography ~ Levels 1, 2, 3: this is where you can take that movement tendency or that click and dance through the three levels. The three levels are what we want to demonstrate in a Nia class so that everyBODY can have fun and get the workout their body needs at that time. Level one is less, smaller movements, two is more, and then three is the biggest and something you may not even be able to (or want to) maintain throughout the class. It is nice to visit all the levels so that you can experience the different sensations in the body.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that these levels relate to YOUR body.  My level one might be your level three, that person over there . . . their level three might be my level two . . . . so do YOUR BODY’S levels.

I wrote out the main things that I want to remember (pictured here) and posted here.

There you have a bit about the eight stages of the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 – FreeDance. These can help people with their FreeDance practice.

I could go on and on, but I need to stop here.  I hope this gave you an idea about Nia FreeDance and maybe if gave you some ideas on how you can play and practice with dancing in order to stimulate your BMES.

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Nia White Belt P4 – FreeDance – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 27, 2020

I have several posts regarding Nia FreeDance. When I was teaching often there was a period when we had FreeDance Fridays. That was fun. I feel when I am teaching multiple times a week it is really great to have one class be FreeDance. I have posted about the 8 stages of FreeDance. There are a couple of posts about a FreeDance Playshop I produced once and one about the tools for the eight stages of FreeDance that we can use to help us “to stimulate movement creativity”.  We just had our class regarding FreeDance, Nia White Belt Principle #4. I am happy to report, not much has changed. Again, some of the language used has changed and certainly the way it is presented. I want to clarify that the training is always evolving, Nia is always finding new and better ways to deliver the information, but the core information is not changing. That is a great comfort to me and it makes sense. I want the organization I am involved with to grow and improve, but I don’t want it to change the core of what it does. So, 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 is FreeDance.

Now in my previous documentation of it, you may see FreeDance written different ways and that is because I understood Carlos (one of the original creators of Nia) to have different ways of writing it. The principle was one way (FreeDance) and then the first stage was another (Free dance). So, if you see differences that is why. And moving forward I will endeavor to keep it FreeDance.

This term sometimes confuses people because they think the class is free. I have experienced this many times. But FreeDance is something that Nia participants do, it is a practice, it is a principle of Nia. It is “stimulating movement creativity”.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via ZoomDebbie said something today that clarified something for me, she was talking about form and freedom, we have a lot of that in Nia. In light of the 2020 Nia White Belt, we have form in the way of choreography and we have freedom in the way of dancing free. Debbie equated form with “structure” and how that makes people feel safe.  Freedom could be compared to “no structure”, which sometimes makes people feel unsafe. The freedom in an exercise class can be intimidating for many people. Being told what to do and how to move the body is the way most people are taught to exercise, so when they come to a Nia class and they are told, “Move your body.” They don’t know what to do. It is just like the story Debbie tells about when she first when to a Dojo. People can be told to focus on moving their arms, but they want to know HOW to move their arms, they want specific movement instruction. We have language to guide people to move in FreeDance, but there is still a lot of freedom in that and for some people that is a huge challenge.

There is a triad for this principle, like with all of the principles, it consists of Move, Explore, and Create. They put the numbers for the 8 stages going counter clock-wise on the triad, but have created a separate graphic with the stages going clockwise. Instead of drawing the triad and creating the graphic I chose to write out the eight stages. We can use the eight stages to helps us move. Here I am just going to list the stages:

1 – FreeDance
2 – Being Seduced By The Music
3 – Feelings + Emotions
4 – Creative Source
5 – Authentic Movement
6 – Witness
7 – Accidental Click
8 – Body-Centered Choreography

The next post will contain the tag lines for each stage and the information I wanted to high-light for myself.

So, Dear Reader, how do you feel about dancing with no instruction?  How do you feel about dancing with little to no instruction in a cardio exercise class?

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Nia White Belt P3 – Music + 8BC System – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 20, 2020

We are on our fifth week of the Nia White Belt Training via Zoom. We have reviewed Principle 3. From my previous posts, when I first took the White Belt, it was treated like two parts. Now, in 2020, while Principle 3 is called Music & 8BC System it is broken down into three parts. While our triads go from bottom left corner, to right, to top, I feel like the book and the training do not follow that order:  Principle 3’s triad is made up of RAW, Sound, and the 8BC System.

Following that triad, we have RAW, which is truly R.A.W. and stands for Relaxed, Alert, and Waiting. This is how we are supposed to listen to our music. Eleven years later and I still get so sleepy I often stop and take a nap. The original instruction was always to sit and most of the time, halfway through a song I am so tired I can’t keep my eyes open, so I think I will start standing in RAW. It really is an amazing way to listen to music. Maybe I just take the “relaxed” part too far. We relax, but we are (supposed to remain) alert, and we wait for the sounds and the silence.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, Zoom meetings, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, Nia Belt Training Online

There are so many ways to do this it can be fun, if you can stay awake! You can listen to the sounds of the song as a whole or you can pick out one instrument or sound and follow it through the whole song . . .that is where the waiting can come in because it might not be a constant throughout the entire song so you are left waiting.  It could be actual silence you are waiting through.  Once you are familiar with the sounds and silences they can become cues when the choreography is added.  You can do this with songs you have never heard or songs you have been listening to your entire life.  Sit in RAW and listen to a song you are familiar with and see if you hear any new-to-you sounds.

On another corner of the triad, we have sound, the anatomy of the music; the rhythm, the melody, and the harmony. This is listened to in RAW. Instead of listening to just one sound/instrument, perhaps you focus your attention on just the harmony and listen to the entire song that way. Or the rhythm or the melody, it is another way to become familiar with the music.  Again, a fun way to listen to music.

And finally we have the 8BC System which is the way we Nia teachers learn our music. We count it to “bar” it and the result is a map that helps us to move to it. Again, eleven years later and I am still learning with this. I love really studying the music and mapping it well because I always hope to “do my own thing” to it, but then, more often than not, I am in awe of the choreography and end up trying to stick to it. So . . . I am still learning to play with Nia music that has choreography.  Perhaps this time through the white belt I will grasp “playing more” with Nia music and become more flexible.  When dancing to music that has not be choreographed by the Nia choreographers I can play just fine, but it is stepping away from the moves that are timed and planned so well that I am still learning.

My previous posts on Nia White Belt Principle 3 Music & the 8BC System are still pertinent so I am not going to go further into it. As I have said over and over, to really understand the richness of the material and training you have to take it for yourself. I have barely scratched the surface on what Debbie went over in class and the triad graphic is incomplete, there is more to each triad. As I have also said about Nia, 98% of this can be applied to your life.

If you approach listening to people in RAW, where you are relaxed but alert and just waiting for them to share with you what they are saying, how fabulous would that be? If you were to stop and listen to the rhythm of life around you and notice the melodies and harmonies that accompany it, what would be able to notice? Now, the 8BC System might be a little more challenging to add to your everyday life, but I bet there is a use for it. If not the ACTUALLY “barring” of life, but the idea of when you hear a certain sound you can attribute a move to it or a sensation.  Perhaps a surge of excitement when a familiar ring tone sounds on your phone.  A move to rise when you hear the doorbell.  A move towards the kitchen when you hear family coming in for a meal.

Can you think of ways you can listen in RAW?  Can you listen to life in the form of rhythm, melody, and harmony? 

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