Nia Testimonial: Dianne Lancaster, Nia Teacher
I walked into my first Nia class in the summer of 2000 at a retreat in San Diego. At some point during the class, I was brought back to the joyful feeling I had as a child dancing ballet. My sleeping dancing spirit was finally awakened. At that moment, I knew that Nia would always be a part of my life. I was hooked and took several classes each week.
In the spring of 2006, I received my White Belt in NYC with Caroline Kohles and Winalee Zeeb. I was fortunate to be living in NYC at that time and was able to continue to take Caroline’s classes and workshops. I had the deep desire to teach and share the joy of Nia, but it wasn’t yet my time.
Now I live in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Embraced by the wonderful Nia Carolina community, I began teaching at their local jams in March of 2011. Although eleven years have passed since my first class, it is now time for me to teach. I embrace the Nia philosophy, "through movement we find health." I want to share this with people so they can find the joy of movement in all aspects of life.
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
The reason that I practice and teach Nia was realized in my recent experience at Camp Bluebird (CB). CB is a three-day retreat for cancer survivors held twice a year in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Several different classes are offered throughout the day. I offered to teach Nia in one of the time slots.
Thirty people packed into the room for class. There was an overflow of people that couldn't fit in the room. The participants went to the camp director after class and told her they wanted another class. I taught an add-on the next morning in a larger space... over 20 showed up! There was a lady in a wheelchair, and a few people with canes that sat in chairs during the classes. Only two had been to a Nia class before, and the rest had never heard of Nia!
The focus of my class was on finding joy by connecting to the body. My playlist was a blend of the Nia routines R1 and Vibe. The folks were so happy and clapped after each song. Some of their comments after class were, " I felt dirty inside since I got my cancer diagnosis, but I feel clean after the Nia class" and " My left side of my body felt dead since my breast cancer surgery, and Nia gently encouraged me to move and feel that side of my body" and " Nia purified my soul." The lady in the wheelchair told me that she use to be a ballroom dancer, then said, "Nia brought me back, I danced again."
If you build it, they will come. Of course many asked me, "Where can I take another class?" I told them about the NiaNow.com website, as well as the local website for Nia. They will be searching for classes.
We have been blessed with the gift of sharing Nia in our community. People want to connect, they want to move, they want to feel. Sometimes they just need gentle encouragement.
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
I received my White Belt in NYC with Caroline Kohles and Winalee Zeeb. I recently audited some classes with Denise Medved. In Asheville, North Carolina, I have taken classes with Jenny Lumb, Annie Sparks Poteat and Maureen Jablinske. I have also particpated in jams with Lia Barth.
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
How it allows us to feel the joy of movement without judgement.
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
Listen to your body. Relax and tap into your inner joy. Don't worry about going left when everyone else goes right, or going backward while they go forward. You cannot do anything wrong. Move in your own natural way, in your own natural time.