Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Toes Out’

Turn In Nia And Other Dance Exercise Classes (Video)

Posted by terrepruitt on July 10, 2012

I wrote a post about a four-point turn, that is what I call one of the turns we do while we are doing Nia.  In Nia it is sometimes called an Aikido turn.  But it is a turn that is done in many dance exercise classes, including Zumba.  I realize that even if you are reading the post while trying to do it, it could be a bit confusing so . . . . . voila!  A video.

The first clip is of me facing away and I start with a RIGHT turn, then alternate.  Then the second clip is of me facing the camera.

As with my Aikido turn post maybe right and left indications will work better for you.  In my other post I decribed the left turn, so here I will write out the right turn.  And as stated, the right turn is the first turn I demonstrate.  Turn your head/eyes to the right, allow your hand/arm to follow. Move your right foot to “toes out” turning your right thigh bone to the right. Then step on your RIGHT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%. As you are stepping all your weight on your RIGHT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the right, in the direction you want to go. Swing your LEFT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your RIGHT FOOT. Step onto your LEFT FOOT, toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the RIGHT FOOT (“toes out” foot). Swing your RIGHT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your LEFT FOOT (weighted foot).  You will land standing on the RIGHT FOOT, and turn the LEFT FOOT to be parallel with the right foot. . . making that the fourth point or step.

Even though in the first clip on the right turn you can’t see my right foot “toes out”, I do the turn enough times in the video for you to see how the first step is a “toes out” move.  Starting the turn with the “toes out” and already turning the direction you want to go will go a long way in enabling you to get all the way around.  Even if it takes a lot of practice to get all the way around, starting that first step with the leg in outward rotation will help a lot.  I also said in my last post that I think it is easier to do this move fast as opposed to slow. So it might be a good idea to not try it really slow at first because it is not easy slow.  Just go.  Right toes out, left, right, left.  Or left toes out, right left right.   Remember we do not spin on our feet. We need to pick the feet up off the ground to avoid blisters and strengthen the leg.  Also you might notice that this turn is done on the balls of the feet.  You put all your weight on the ball of the foot.

While my fourth “point” or step I am exaggerating and pointing my toe in that might not always be the case.  When we are moving to the music the fourth “point” could end up being any number of things depending upon many number of things.  The choreography sometimes calls for different things.  Plus there is the individual body that is doing it to consider.  Sometimes people can’t get all the way around, it could be that the music is really moving and there isn’t enough time to get around and settle into that fourth step or it could be that this is one of those moves that will take practice.

It’s a great move that allows us to use ALL five Nia Sensations.  Flexibility on the “toes out” and as we place our feet, mobility in our joints, strength to get us around and stop, agility to stop, and stability to stay stopped.  Cool, huh?

So how are you doing with your turn?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Common Dance Turn – Four Point / Aikido

Posted by terrepruitt on July 9, 2012

In Nia there are 52 Moves that run through the Nia Routines.  One move that we do quite often is not on the list of 52 moves.  I call it a four-point turn because we take four steps to do it.  In one of the routines I recently learned the instructor calls it an Aikido turn.  Since Nia borrows moves and ideas from Aikido and associates Aikido with circular, spiral, and spherical motion, it makes sense this turn would be called an Aikido turn.  As with many dance exercises the moves can sometimes be done fast or slow depending upon the music.  Sometimes in a Nia routine we can do the same move at different speeds.  With the four-point – which is four step – or Aikido turn – the best way to accomplish it is by starting with the first step being a “toes out” type of step.  Point the foot out, away from the body in the direction you want to turn.  Allow the entire thigh to turn out.  Whether you are going to do a fast or slow turn, this first step is key in making it all the way around.  Another key is to LOOK!  Look the direction you want to turn.  Also helpful is hands and arms.  Allow your hand to follow after the eyes.  The order would be eyes/head, hand/arm, foot/leg.  While this is one arrangement of the order, sometimes your arms might actually be doing something else and that is fine too.  It could be that the hands and arms lead, but whatever the case your eyes can be a part of the turn.  Nia is a dance workout so sometimes we might have our arms dancing in another way to the music.

For a beginner learning the turn, I would make the previously mentioned suggestion of the order.  Eyes/head, hand/arm, foot/leg.  The thigh bone/foot turned out.  Then step on that “toes out” foot, weighting it 100%, as you step all your weight on it your body will turn in the direction you want to go.  Your free leg can be swung around to what seems like in front of your “toes out” foot, but by the time you step onto it, it will end up being besides the toes out foot because you will put all your weight into your second step and take the weight off the “toes out” foot so for a moment they will be side-by-side.  Then you will swing your free leg behind to land about in line with the heel of your weighted foot.  You will weight the foot that just was swung, and turn the other foot to parallel . . . making that the fourth point or step.

Maybe left and right indications will work better for you:  The order:  Turn your head/eyes to the left , allow your hand/arm to follow.  Move your LEFT FOOT to “toes out” turning your left thigh bone to the left.  Then step on your LEFT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%.  As you are stepping all your weight on your LEFT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the left, in the direction you want to go.  Swing your RIGHT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your LEFT FOOT.  Step onto your RIGHT FOOT,  toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the LEFT FOOT (“toes out” foot).  Swing your LEFT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your RIGHT FOOT (weighted foot).  You will stand on the LEFT FOOT, and turn the RIGHT FOOT to parallel . . . making that the fourth point or step.

Right to left works the same but start with your right foot.

To me, it is actually easier to do it fast than slow.  But either way the hips get great rotation in the sockets.  I was taught that we do not slide on our feet or spin on our feet.  We dance barefoot so it is very different than if you have dance shoes on.  There is not a nice layer of material that allows for easy sliding and spinning.  We pick up our feet so as not to get blisters and to better condition the feet and the legs.  So when we turn we are not spinning on the balls of our feet.  That is one reason why I call it a four-point turn because we are hitting “points” in our dance.  Points, steps, either way it is not a spin on the foot.  This is another reason why it is important to start the turn with the toes already turned out because we also always want to be gentle on our knees.  Also in Nia we are always reminded to remember our own body’s way.  It is more important to protect and love our knees than it is to make it all they way around when doing a turn!

This is a pretty common dance move in dance exercise classes, but it is not always easy and can present a challenge.  I believe it becomes particularly challenging when the person doing it wants to keep their eyes on the instructor.  The best way to do it is to allow the eyes to move with the turn.

This is also a very fun move because you never know what we are going to do at either end (after the 4th step).    Now that you got the turn down come to a Nia class and see what could be waiting at the end!  You got the turn down, right?

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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 »