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 ‘rock around the clock’

THAT’S Not Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on October 10, 2016

I know that I have written posts about how different people think of different things as exercise.  I have written about how some people don’t think that a shimmy is exercise.  Whether they don’t THINK of it as something that should be IN an exercise CLASS or they just don’t think they get any benefit from it.  Some people just don’t think of dance as exercise.  I know I even mentioned that TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have changed the way some people think.  Some people understand that dancing can be considered exercise.  But I don’t think I have ever talked about how some people don’t consider all dance dancing.  I might have but I don’t know that I have and it was something I was thinking about recently.  I was thinking that not all “dancing” is considered dancing by everyone.

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, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitI was asked to substitute teach a class called Dance Fit.  I had asked several times what “Dance Fit” was, but the response was that the students would be happy to just move to music.  I had a feeling that the person answering just wanted to make sure that they had a teacher so that they would have a class.  So I had been thinking about what I could do.  Then I was also thinking about how I was recently at a festival where I overheard some people talking about a particular person there dancing.  They were saying that he wasn’t really dancing.  They were saying that they thought he wasn’t hearing the music.  They just weren’t “getting” his movements.  And I was looking at him and I thought it was fine.  I could see how his movements fit with the music . . . to me.  I thought that he looked as if he was completely dancing in a way that his body was responding to the music.  He looked like he was in the moment.  He looked as if he was having fun.  It was fine to me.

But later I realized that not everyone thinks of all movement as dance.  A ballerina might not consider clogging dancing.  A ballroom dancer might not consider the pony (remember that move?) a dance.  Someone used to doing Latin motion with their hips might not consider a chorus line kick part of a dance.  So perhaps those women had specific ideas of what dance is and so they didn’t consider his body movements dance at all.

I think that might happen when it comes to Nia.  Some people might not consider a front kick or an upward block a dance movement.  People that are accustomed to all the Latin dance steps that are in Zumba they might not consider a jazz square a dance move.  Just like some people might not consider a shimmy something that should be in an “exercise class”, some people might think a move such as rock around the clock or a duck walk isn’t really dance and shouldn’t be in a dance exercise class.  I think I have overlooked that fact.  Hmmmm.

Well, I had decided to not try to create something or TRY to do something that the class MIGHT like – because I really had no idea.  I decided to do something tried and true.  I decided to do something I do best.  I decided to teach Nia.  And they loved it.  The supervisor was totally correct in saying that the class just loved to dance and they want to move.  They were fabulous.  We had a lot of fun.  Nia is a great “product”, it is a great technique.  And when people who like to move get to experience we get to have fun.  I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks where I get to fill in as a sub.  The students are all about movement of the body being dance and they do great.  I was concerned about it for no reason.

What about you?  Do you think of only certain moves as DANCE?  Do you have a broad definition of dance?

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

Ways To Practice Rock Around The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on January 15, 2015

I have said it many, many times, but I am going to say it again.  Nia has 52 Moves which we incorporate into the Nia routines.  These moves have a specific way to be done.  But the way they are done is adjusted, like many things, when you are doing them in a routine.  There is or was a debate about one of the moves called the bow stance.  The debate is or was about how the weight of the body should be distributed. The reason I am saying “is or was” is because I don’t know if the debate was ever settled.  The discussion regarding it — at least one that I had seen — was on Facebook and it was a long discussion.  I don’t know what the end result was or what the “official” decree is because to me, I want to teach balance, so if I am JUST doing a bow stance then I would instruct people to have their weight evenly distributed.  Usually I am not doing JUST a bow stance.  If I am showing people the bow stance it is because it is in the routine and there are other steps prior to or after it and with other moves on either side the weight gets distributed according to the need.  So, in other words, we adjust the move to fit the dance and choreography.  So that is what my class and I are experiencing right now with the Nia 52 Move called Rock Around the Clock.

If you read my original post about it, the one that explains what it is, the instructions state to start the rock on the heels.  But in the routine I am leading my class through currently we start the rock on the toes.  Then we roll (or rock) to either the left or the right.  We actually go both ways and like many things, the different “sides” or directions are very different in regards to sensation and difficulty level.  One side is easier than the other . . . at least that is the consensus with my students.  So it is very beneficial to practice “rocking” both ways.

With this post I am doing two things; 1) I am reminding you to practice moves going both directions.  Just like we do both sides.  If we are doing a move with the left side we do it with the right.  We – trainers – often say to keep the body even and it really is to work both sides of the body AND the brain!  2)  Share with you a different or additional WAY to practice Rocking Around the Clock.

My original post says something about this being an example of an easy move.  It is not necessarily “easy”, what I probably should have said was the Rock Around the Clock was not a high intensity move.  So for those that are really starting out learning this move you might even want to sit down and do it.  Since feet are in shoes for a large part of the day and those shoes might not allow for a lot of ankle mobility, it could be that your ankles just don’t want to move in the way that is required with this move.  So it is a great idea to sit down and allow the ankles to loosen up.

For me, my feet want move opposite of each other.  So each foot wants to be on the opposite edge, so training my feet and my brain to be on the same edge it interesting.  Sitting in a chair while doing this move allows my feet and brain to understand that this move is “same edge”.  Once you get your feet and brain on the same page, then you can stand up.  (FYI:  Sitting and practicing this move is very different from trying to take pictures of your feet while sitting and practicing this move.  But hopefully you will get the idea from the pictures even though they are not very good.)

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When you are standing you can use something to hold onto like a counter, table, chair, wall, something that is sturdy and can assist you in balancing.  Having something to steady you while your feet get used to supporting your weight on the edges is nice.  The support also allows you to really exaggerate your foot movements to help get the movement into your muscle memory.

This move helps build strength in the ankles and the feet.  This is also a very “mental move”.  It is one of those moves you might have to really think about in order to do it correctly.  Then, with practice, it will become one of those moves you can do without thinking so much about.  And your feet and ankles will benefit greatly.

So have you tried it?  Can you do it sitting down?  Can you do it standing up?  Can you see how it is an interesting move?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

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 »

Rocking Around the Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on February 15, 2011

Nia has a list of 52 moves.  A lot of Nia’s moves are moves that are from different forms of dance.  I knew a lot of them already because of the different dance I have been involved in.  One thing I’ve done before is just rolling around the foot, in Nia we call it Rock Around the Clock.  Normally we actually STEP to or on positions as if we are dancing on clock on the ground, but for this move it is rolling on our feet, as if on positions of a clock.

With your knees relaxed and your upper body loose, rock back onto your heels.  If going “counter-clockwise” you would rock to the right edge of both your feet–at the same time.  Then move to the balls of your feet, rising on your toes.  Then rock and roll 🙂 to the left edge of your feet.  Both at the same time.  The feet roll to 6 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 12 o’clock, then 9 o’clock.  Rock around the clock.  Don’t forget to rock clock-wise.

This move helps build strength in the ankles and the lower leg.  A strong base is a stable base.  With this move the muscles in the feet can also be exercised.  Since often our feet are encased in shoes that don’t allow them to achieve the movement they are designed for, this move can help with strengthening our feet AND improving flexibility.

Nia’s Rock Around the Clock is a prime example of one of the exercises we do in a Nia class that is easy to do and results in huge benefits.  If at first you find this move a challenge to your balance that’s ok, practice it holding onto a table, a chair, a counter then before you know it you will be able to rock around the clock without any help.
Update-ish:  On January 15, 2015 I posted about another way to practice this move.  Click here to go to Ways To Practice Rock Around The Clock.

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