What to Expect in a Nia Class…Music, Movement, and Magic

Nia classes are done barefooted. That’s the first thing you’ll notice. Class begins with a focus or intention which could be anything ranging from the placement of the feet to sensing Universal Joy in your body when you move. Next, we step into class and the space we’ve created together, a space to seek pleasure and expression through movement. We breathe and fully inhabit our bodies as much as is possible, letting our minds explore, our emotions play and groan, and our spirit…well, dance.

Nia is an integrative practice that doesn’t just make you sweat and work your body in ways it doesn’t experience in other exercise regimens, it challenges every bit of you according to the level of dynamic ease that best suits your body and what it needs.

The MUSIC comes from every corner of the world, and often from independent artists that may be new to you. The music itself is an uplifting and energizing celebration of various cultures. When the movements begin, the variety of steps and stances, arm motions, and use of the natural body weights of the pelvis, chest, and head challenge the students to find their own freedom of expression within the form that is offered.

Nia draws from 9 different MOVEMENT forms to create a balance of linear and circular movements that use masculine and feminine energies. Wisdom and practices are taken from each of these forms to create an integrated neuromuscular fitness program called Nia.

The Dance Arts

  • Jazz Dance: The Dance of Fun, Showmanship, and Expression
  • Modern Dance: The Dance of Creating Shapes in Space
  • Isadora Duncan Dance: The Dance of Free-Spirited, Honest Movement

The Martial Arts

  • T’ai Chi: The Slow Dance
  • Tae Kwon Do: The Dance of Precision
  • Aikido: The Dance of Harmonious Spherical Motion

The Healing Arts

  • Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais: The Dance of Conscious Awareness of Sensation
  • Alexander Technique: The Dance of Movement from the Top
  • Yoga: The Dance of Conscious Alignment of Bones and Joints

Previous training in any of the above isn’t necessary because the choreography of Nia is crafted to weave the movement forms together seamlessly in a dance that can be modified to any fitness level. Whether you run marathons or you’re limited in your motion, you can work at the level that works best for you.

Your dance is your dance, and you’re free to move in your own Body’s Way. Everyone is welcome.

You may sing in a Nia class or make whatever noises you like. “Ha!” “Ooooh.” “Grrr.” “Mmmm.” “No!” “Yes!” Bringing the voice into class adds a new dynamic of breath, vibration, and emotion. For new Nia students, this is one of the more challenging parts of the class and can become quite emotional for people when they’re given the freedom to express themselves through their voice and their body at the same time. But we keep dancing and breathing and playing and laughing. That’s when the magic happens. When your Whole Beautiful Being is on the dance floor interacting with the other Whole Beautiful Beings. That’s when we stop being black or white or brown. That’s when we stop being whatever kind of work we do the rest of the day. That’s when we’re kids again, playing together without a care in the world. That’s when we experience the Joy of Movement that is right there waiting to be danced with in that moment in time and space.

Yes, you’ll sweat. And you’ll probably move your body in ways that you haven’t moved it in a long time, if ever. Be sure to wear comfy clothes and bring water for this one hour class. But the part I love most about a Nia class is the laughter and the sense of community. Where else do you go in life where you get together and consciously decide to play? Play in a way that is healthy, refreshing, and meaningful? In a way that fills your heart and makes you want to dance? That’s why I keep coming back to Nia.

Nia may stand for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, a mouthful to be certain. But when I’m dancing in a Nia class—as a teacher or as a student—I am free. And so are the others around me. We are boundlessly, MAGICALLY free.

See http://www.nianow.com/cdawnmccallum to find my class and event schedule and to learn more about Nia. There are dozens of FREE articles to browse and download plus Nia Sample Dance Videos so you can see what it looks like and try it at home.

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