Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The time is Now for NIA

   Carlos Rosas Teaching Nia

NIA is an exercise form that incorporates dance-martial-art-type moves along with the feelings themovement generates.

All the in the-trenches-research IE/ID has done over the years confirms the longest lasting exercise programs allow us to express ourselves. Furthermore, for those of us who love dance, this is an insistent energy that only increases with time.

Therapeutic movement can be a part of any movement discipline if you can shift beyond the “-do-I-look-right-am-I-right-for-this,” type of mentality. But in Nia it is seamlessly woven into the exercise hour. 

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with wanting to execute a movement correctly,

or with wanting to look one’s best. But we need more, we need to feel ourselves moving in a way that encompasses not just the “shoulds, the rights” but the individual quirks and unregulated beauty that each body owns.

Nia Dance
We have spent the time to learn the correct ways and now it is time to listen to the body’s revelations. A Chinese doctor once said to his student, “you have to woo the body.” It’s from this place that wisdom comes. 
Nia Dance

The Nia class started with the Sarah, the instructor and owner, saying we would be working with touch. “Think of touching the space with your bodies, your voice, and your eyes.” We began moving. The class uses so many dance  and martial arts styles: salsa, box step, cha-cha, balance'from ballet.


Whatever the step though, we are constantly opposing it. For example we did small light ninja type steps, followed by larger bounding side steps. We then added arms: chopping the space with a punch followed by a smooth bent elbow flowing block.
Ann Leaping

This change of body dynamics and the corresponding emotions challenges you to focus on both movement and feelings, fluidly shifting into different physical and emotional sensations.

It’s like a massage for the body and psyche, that’s further enhanced by the addition of “free
exploration.” At several points in the class, Sarah, announced “free exploration” and encouraged us to take the movements and just go with them, reminding us to “touch the space with your eyes, with your breath.” The music was orchestral and expansive melodies, contrasted with more rhythmic drumming and ethereal voice soundings.

ID adored this part, because there is a deeper opportunity here. It offers everyone in the class a chance to relate to one another via movement alone.  It is the opportunity open to experience not just dancing by oneself but moving and relating to other people. This is a window into the thrill of performing.

It's very Duncanesqe so the spirit of Isadora--check out a Nia class—See you bare foot and dancing!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Inveterate Dancer needs NIA

Fall brings with it the first "dance" class for ID. Summer has been more about IE flat out exercising: swimming, and running, not too much dancing (except for on the beach of course)  

It's been great but ID was dying to try out some of the new dance and yoga studios that are cropping up everywhere here in Marin.

The latest is MoveMe Studio. 

ID is about to head to a NIA class. NIA is "a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts..."

Check out the video with NIA founder Debbie Rosas and Moveme studio owner Sarah Caveney,

The description says every NIA class includes 52 moves and has seven cycles!

Yikes, hope I make it through!

Wish me luck,


wild freedom▲ Dancer....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September: "Falli-ing" into dance

IE/ID flips through the New York Times travel section every weekend.On the one hand it’s necessary fodder for dream-fantasy-making (Barbados, Prague etc.) and for brushing up on my shaky geography skills (as in where is Turkey? And what ocean is that?)  

At Villa Clara, the menu is in French.

This weekend yielded a fascinating article for Plierelevelife on travel bloggers.

 My favorite of this new band of adventurers/entrepreneurs is a blogger named Mickela Mallozzi of

After my last post of dancing on the beach (I know it’s a little long-- bear with me as I master Microsoft movie maker!!) It was great to read Mickela on dancing wherever you are: 

"To me, the most amazing way to connect with people of a different culture is to get up and dance with them, taking the time to learn something so personal about their culture.. touching them sweating with them having fun..Everyone says, 'Well I’m not a dancer, ' but you don’t have to be one as long as you are willing to try something different."

Mickela learning Hungarian dance with the locals - photo by Mario Dal Molin

It’s a time for all of us to move forward into the next season: September-school-cooler weather- dance --classes.  Let’s celebrate. Here’s to fall and new ways of fall-ing into dance every day!!