Posts

the SPIRIT of Nia

I come from a sports background. After I got out of school, I no longer had an outlet for my athleticism so I got into dance. I felt it was a discipline that offered me a good physical challenge. I had considered going into boxing or martial arts, but I had a problem with the fighting mentality that pervaded. Being a dancer eventually led me to become an aerobics instructor, professionally.
This satisfied me for several years until I started to notice my body breaking down. I was in constant pain and it was not uncommon to see overuse and misuse injuries in my field.
So it was this that led me to Nia. I read about it as a practice that combined the best of all worlds. The martial arts barefoot practice of self discipline, the healing qualities and self awareness of Alexander and Feldenkrais, the spiritual connections of yoga and tai chi, the freedom and expression of modern and jazz dance.... it was perfect for me. It combined exercise with self improvement with healing.

And as I scie…

Blue Earth

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The Blue Earth routine was created as a very special project initiated by JAG in July of 2017. His idea was to enlist Nia teachers from all over the globe to collaborate via electronic media on a brand new routine. Using mostly Facebook and Dropbox, JAG, in Seattle, worked together with about a dozen teachers from as nearby as Portland, OR and as far away as New Zealand. Together they compiled a playlist and shared choreography ideas over video until, after several months, they co-created a wonderful routine.

The focus of the routine is on The Base and the intent is to bring Stability to our movements by touching the Earth. The routine begins with a strong Feldenkrais energy and then moves into a sultry jazzy Tai Chi feeling. The third song features Graham style Modern Dance and Nia FreeDance while the fourth is strongly rooted in Aikido. The fifth song captures a sparkly Jazz feeling, while the sixth has a very powerful Tae Kwon Do attitude. The seventh song has a lovely Duncan Danc…

The Cocktail Hour

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I have wanted to do an A. R. Gurney play for many years. His vivisection of upper middle class WASP culture speaks to my upbringing and I've always been drawn to the humor and humanity in his writing. So when I heard that Renton Civic Theatre was doing The Cocktail Hour, I was thrilled and excited to audition. It was one of his plays I hadn't heard of, but as soon as I read it, I loved it.

The story is of a playwright who has written a play about his father and comes home one weekend to ask his permission to produce it. The play contains some family secrets and a less than flattering characterization of his father, so he's not surprised when the father denied permission to produce the play. I loved the fact that the play the characters are discussing is actually the one we are seeing on stage. It is a fun, meta experience with lots of laughs and some seriously touching moments.

As I was preparing for my audition, I focused on John, since he was my age. But I was envious o…

April Playshop of the Month: Mental Energy in Nia

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Nia is described as a Body-Mind Workout. But how do we integrate the Body and the Mind?

April 1 is Easter this year. And it's April Fools Day. April 1 is also the first Sunday of the month, which means JAG is teaching a Nia playshop at Balance Studio from 9 - 10:30 am, followed by a one-hour Nia class at 10:30 am. 

This month we're focused on Mental Energy in Nia. There are many ways that Nia asks us to use our minds. Some examples are Awareness, Conscious Personal Trainer, Measure and Movement, Counting, Pattern Recognition, and many more.

This playshop is going to cover the myriad ways we utilize Mental Energy in Nia to keep our minds sharp and quick and the ways we connect our Body to our Mind.

Students are encouraged to bring questions and concerns regarding Mental Energy for JAG to answer and discuss. The first 90 minutes of this playshop will be discussion and practice without music. And the final hour, from 10:30 to 11:30 will be a full classic Nia class where we'll…

January Playshop: Dance Wild -- Reflexive Conditioning

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On the first Sunday of 2018, January 7, JAG is going to throw a "Wild" party at Balance Studio in Fremont. We'll meet at 9:00am and go through all of the moves of the routine.

First we'll Learn them and then Move them. This will all be done without music so that we can take our time and really appreciate the structure of each move and kata. We will also be having a conversation about reflexive conditioning as we go through the routine.

And then, at 10:30 we'll do the Wild routine all the way through with music and enjoy the opportunity to Energize all of the movements. The focus of the routine is on Reflexive Conditioning.

Reflexive Conditioning is one of the four types of conditioning that Nia offers and one that is often overlooked. Nia encourages us to exercise with fluid ease, softness and gentleness, but it's also just as valuable and important to engage the nervous system with suddenness, surprise, sharpness and intensity. Life isn't always gentle a…

December Playshop: Martial Arts of Nia

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Nia draws from the influence of several Martial Arts, Healing Arts and Dance Arts.  For the December Playshop of the Month, JAG will focus on the three Martial Arts that Nia borrows from:

Tai Chi - "The Slow Dance"

Tae Kwon Do - "The Dance of Precision"

Aikido - "Harmonious, Spherical Action"

If you think that the Martial Arts is just about throwing blocks and kicks, then you will definitely benefit from this playshop that discusses and explores how we get the power of moving slowly, shifting our weight, traveling in directions, stabilizing, grounding, centering, conditioning and healing our bodies form the Martial Arts.

In addition to a brief overview of proper body mechanics, we will also have a visceral experience of many aspects that make Nia such a unique and powerful practice.

The first 90 minutes of class will focus on each of the three Martial Arts, and the final hour will be a class in which we can appreciate all of the Slowness, Precision and Ha…

November Playshop: How to FreeDance

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Have you ever felt lost when the teacher calls out "FreeDance!" in the middle of a Nia class?  Are you one of those that escape by getting a sip of water or hiding in the the back corner of the room until the choreography returns? Then you need this playshop. JAG has gone into the mind of a FreeDancer and will break down, step by step, what happens inside someone to allow them to FreeDance creatively for hours.
Learning these very simple tools will transform anyone into a passionate, creative, unstoppable FreeDancer. After this morning, you will no longer wonder what to do when the only direction is "FreeDance Everybody!" You will no longer run out of ideas and you will relish the opportunity to break into spontaneous FreeDance once you've learned these 'secrets'. This is not the 8 Stages of FreeDance (which is for creating choreography) and it's not the Nia FreeDance class format which rellies on your ability to pull moves out of your back pocket. …