Wednesday, July 11, 2012

KNEE-AH: Putting the Nia in Knee Awareness


I injured my knee in February and had to do physical therapy for two months. During that time I was unable to teach Nia classes. Even though they were challenging and interesting at first, I eventually got bored of my physical therapy exercises, and wanted to start teaching Nia again. I started to play around with ways to do my physical therapy exercises in the context of a Nia class.  I discovered that many Nia songs already had some of my exercises in them, and others could be added with small choreography tweaks. And that is how the KNEE-AH routine began.

Eventually it came time to teach again, and this is the routine I put together for that event. It was very important to me that the routine felt like Nia, that it was a challenge, but that it didn't exacerbate my knee issues. I also thought it would be cool if I could manage to not only avoid hurting my knee, and not only to do my physical therapy exercises, but to strengthen my legs and correct imbalances in my knees and legs so that an injury of this type wouldn't happen to me again.  And the great news is, I was able to do all of that with this routine. 

Knee-Ah keeps a very grounded groove going and combines a bit of Yulunga and other Dead Can Dance songs with Somthin’ Happnin’ (Water In Me), Work That Body and other Nia favorites. It blends classic Nia with basic knee physical therapy and a strong focus on moving and dancing with strong, healthy, pain-free knees. 
The physical therapy exercises are peppered throughout the routine, from the warm up, through the get moving section and into the floorplay section. My knees always feel very taken care of by this routine. And some of the students present on that day in New York when I taught this routine reported that they learned a lot about the use of their knees and appreciated the opportunity to do Nia with such Knee Awareness. 
Here is a video with some clips of me exploring how to put the movements into the music.  This is a glimpse of a very embryonic Knee Ah routine. 

And this video shows some clips from the final Knee-Ah routine video. 

The Nia Video of the Month for July: KNEE-AH

This is a video of me practicing the routine. I've actually cut together two different days of practice in order to give you the 'tightest' routine I could.

Purchase the full video with a recorded voiceover for only $9.

Or get this video, along with every single video I release (three a month) with a membership to JAG's Video Club.


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