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

    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 ‘Nine Movement Forms’

Jazz Square Using The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on October 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps this will help.

Key things to remember:

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

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

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

Toes In, Out, and Parallel in Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on May 1, 2012

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,At this point you might have noticed that I only have a post for 9 of the 52 Moves of Nia.  I am going to work on that.  I have a Nia friend who is posting about the 52 Moves of Nia on her blog and she has inspired me to continue on.  I have the list of the moves on my website.  I link the blog post from there so people on my site can click to see a description and possibly a picture.  With only 9 post I only have 9 links.  This is ten and moving forward.

Nia is a unique cardio dance exercise that combines nine movement forms into a fun and energizing workout.  Nia has moves we call the 52 Moves.  Many of them are common to other dances.  I am posting here about Toes In, Out, and Parallel.  I know I have seen these moves in other dances if not done together at least done separately.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,To do the move as one move you start with your feet parallel to each other.  They can be hip (joint) width apart.  Then turn your toes in to face each other.  Turn them in as far as you comfortably can.  Then swivel your feet out so the toes are pointing in opposite directions.  Again, only do it as far as you can — comfortably.

This is the whole move.  There is a routine where we are in A Stance and I have the participants dance toes in then toes out.  Which I consider a lot of fun.  You can play with this move by trying to walk with toes facing in, then with toes facing out.

I like to play with the move by doing one foot toes in and out.  Sometimes just letting one foot do a dance all of its own; in, out, in, out, tapping my toe to the ground with each twist of my leg.  I also like to do this move with varying stances.  My instructions here say to start in open stance, but it can easily be done in A Stance  (as I mentioned I do in my Nia class).  You’ll notice that different muscles are used when you change the width of your stance.

Moving the feet in this manner allows for all the bones in the leg to rotate which gets the thigh bones moving in the hip socket.  Movement is a way to keep the joints health.  Movement helps fluid into the joints.  I say “juicy joints.”  We move to have juicy joints.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,In addition to helping the hip joint this move helps keep the ankles mobile and the knees flexible.

With healthy hip joints, ankle joints, and knee joints the enables walking and moving in general to be done with ease. So even though this is one of the moves we use in our dance exercise routines that does not mean the use of it is limited to that.

You can decide to walk with toes in for a bit during your day, then with toes out.  While standing you can stand with toes in, then out, then parallel.  It is an easy exercise to play with and incorporate into your day.  And it really does help with the health of your joints.

Are you gonna do it?  On your trip from your desk to the coffee pot?  While you are going about your day with the kids?  Which on in your favorite, in or out?

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

Three of Nia’s Nine Movement Forms

Posted by terrepruitt on March 12, 2011

I believe that I have mentioned before Nia allows us—even encourages us—to do routines with different focuses. I know I have posted about focuses before. This past week I led my classes in the Nia routine called Sanjana. I believe this is a routine created by Debbie Rosas NKA Debbie Rosas-Stewart. It is an awesome routine (well, yeah . . . its Nia). I decided that I would do one of the nine movement forms per class. I know I have posted about Nia’s Nine Movement Forms before, too.  I had used some of the movement forms previously with this routine, so I decided the ones we did this week would be ones I had not paired up with Sanjana. Monday in my San Jose Nia class we did the ideas of Moshe Feldenkrais. For Wednesdays Nia class in San Jose we utilized the energy of Tae Kwon Do. My Los Gatos class on Friday experienced Sanjana with the Modern Dance flair.

I love this about Nia. I love that doing the same routine, but doing it with different energies allows for different movement, different sensations. Each movement form has its own energy, that is how we apply them to a routine and come up with something unique. I chose Feldenkrais for Monday because often times participants are a bit sleepy on Monday mornings.  Sometimes we prefer something that moves us but something more along the lines of a stretch or a healing art.  It could be that too much was done over the weekend or not enough, so Mondays are a little different.  With this conscious movement as our guide we were able to focus on the sensation of the body as we moved. The dance was conscious.  We could concentrate on areas that needed attention, either from the over-use during the weekend or lack of use.  Whatever the case, the idea is ease.  Move with ease into one’s own power and strength.  This is a gentle movement form but that does not mean it is not intense.  We can still move our bodies to get a great strength and/or cardio workout when playing with the healing arts, but it is with greater awareness.

By the middle of the week, Wednesday’s class was perfect for Martial Arts.  Nia students have “recovered” from the weekend so the whole body can be used.  We have the strength to utilize the power of the Tae Kwon Do energy.  The dance can be precise, by this time of the week.  Two days are behind, only three are left (class is in the morning), the desire and focus needed to push on is there.  Sanjana has great opportunity for dynamic ease to be exercised.  There are katas that allow for the fluid moves of martial arts with dance, kicking, punching, blocking, and striking.  In fact the “Exercises” listed in The Nia Technique White Belt Manual* under the Tae Kwon Do craft seems as if they were written expressly for Sanjana.

Friday, unknown to me at the time I planned my dance week, was a great day to do Modern Dance.  With the tsunami that hit Japan over the night (Thursday night for us, Japan’s Friday) it was a great time for dance. Modern Dance calls you to express yourself.  This movement form is one of imagination.  You can be big and/or small, fast and/or slow, a tree, a rock, sand, water, air, even a feeling.  People can truly dance whatever they want.  So while we are still practicing our stances the feelings put into it are those of the participant.  Movements led by me are executed by whatever sense is being experienced.  Many people had different issues and feelings to work through.  Even if some of those feelings were a celebration with the understanding that life is short and precious so we need to celebrate what we have while we have it.  This form is that of balance–both on and off, flexibility, strength, power, drama, emotions . . . whatever fits.  It was a great way to let our bodies move while our hearts went out to all that were affected.

Nia is awesome like that.  We danced the same routine for all three classes this week.  With each class it was different while we paired up the routine with different movement forms.  While the movement forms were able supply the energy, the “feel”, the sensation that was required for the day.

(Thoughts and prayers go out to ALL that are/were/and will be affected by the earthquake in Japan on March 12, 2011 and the subsequent tsunami.)

*March 2001, V# Page 2-19 thru 2-20

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Nia’s Three Stages of Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on September 30, 2010

With Nia you get a workout.  It is not necessary to have any experience in any type of dance modality or martial arts, or any type of practice (Yoga, Pilates, etc.).  Any BODY can walk into a class and join in and following their own body’s way get a great workout.

In the Nia practice there are three stages.  So if you want you can take your workout into these areas.  The stages are:

1—Learn the Move
When you learn the move you are learning the name, you are thinking about the move.  The concentration is on placing your feet in the proper place, learning where your limbs are supposed to be.  Maybe trying some of the different intensity levels and the different planes.  This is the stage where you are actually doing a lot of thinking.

2—Move the Move
This is the stage we you move the move.  You are doing a routine and just moving.  Getting the moves into your muscle memory.  Your body is learning the move.  Here is where you are learning the combinations.  This stage is where you let your body lead and you don’t think too much.  The body has an intelligence of its own and if you let it sense it can flow.

3—Energize the Move
This is the stage that you can achieve once your body knows the move.  This stage could be during a song the first time you do it, if you feel comfortable and your body senses the moves you might be able to just put the energy into it from one of the Nine Movement Forms.  Or it could be the stage you get to once you have done the song a few times.  It really depends on the you.  It depends on how you feel and how you sense the music.  But this is where we really get to play with our routines, where we can energize with the energy of T’ai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Jazz Dance, or Yoga.

This weekend (10/03/10), in Willow Glen/San Jose I am holding a Nia Playshop where we will Learn the Move.  We are going to play with some of the moves that make up the 52 Moves of Nia.  Then after we are going to have a Nia Class where we Move the Move.  Since we will have spent an hour Learning the Moves I am hoping that some of you will be able to Energize the moves.  See you Sunday!

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