One of my earliest and strongest memories is the urge to dance. My mother’s friend once said to me as a child, ‘don’t you know how to walk Sylvana?!!’ Skipping and dancing were much more fun!
I grew up in a little country town in Australia, where there were no dance teachers. When I moved to the city as a young adult I was excited to finally have the opportunity to attend a class. The excitement was short lived – the teacher named the complicated steps and everyone did them…except me, the one who had never learned them as a child.
I resigned myself to dancing my own way – and I always have, much to the amusement of my children at times. The urge to dance became less insistent as the demands of a large family, study, work and many other interests gained centre stage. In my life there was no regular opportunity for dance – except when I played music as a sound track to housework!! I found that when dancing this way I had a tendency to repeat a small repertoire of moves to a variety of beats – fun, but certainly no challenge.
I have always had a desire to be fit, and have tried many forms of exercise. While I enjoyed the results, these activities didn’t excite me and were therefore not easy to sustain. That was until my husband saw a Nia Dance promotion in a local magazine. He checked it out on the internet and said, ‘I’ve found something that you will love – it’s a fusion of dance, martial arts and other things – they dance like you!!’
From the first Nia class I felt as though I had come home - home to myself. I absolutely love the joyfulness and freedom of Nia. I would go to Nia classes for the sheer fun of dancing but there’s a bonus…you get fit, feel energetic, become more healthy in every way and meet wonderful people. AND there is no wrong way to dance Nia – the teacher demonstrates the moves in front of the group, usually facing away so that you can follow from behind. You get to drop those unhelpful old fears and inhibitions, move the way your body wants to move to the extent that feels good at the time, and do it all to funky world music.
I have always been interested in exploring and nurturing the physical, intellectual, psychological and spiritual elements of what it means to be a human being – Nia helps me to integrate all of those parts of who I am into one joyful package. I LOVE Nia!!