Contrast is a fundamental aspect of every art form. Think of a painting with colours dark as well as light, warm and cold hues. Or the beautiful blend of tone colours in a musical symphony. The artful combination of flavours in a perfectly cooked dish. Or the subtle juxtaposition of words and sounds in a lyrical poem.
Every Nia class is a magic tapestry of contrasts. We transition seamlessly from one energetic state to another. One moment we may be sassy show-offs, the next, powerful fighters. After that we could move intrinsically, sensing our anatomy intuitively. In another instant, we become shape-shifters in space, molding our bodies with expressive power. Our bodies guide us naturally from one state to the next.
By the end of the class we have been on an adventure, traveling through every energetic terrain we can imagine. The result is a work-out that not only incorporates the whole body, but also moves our spirits and emotions through a universe of different spaces.
Nia draws inspiration from nine completely diverse movement forms: three dance arts (Modern Dance, Jazz Dance and Duncan Dance), three martial arts (Tae-kwon-do, Aikido and Tai Chi) and three healing arts (Yoga, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais). Each one of these has its own unique energy, which it contributes to the fabric of Nia.
While some of the Nia 52 Moves could be associated with particular movement forms, there is in general no direct correspondence. For example, a front kick, which we may be tempted to associate with Tae Kwon Do, can be danced with the energy of Jazz Dance, or sustained in a yoga-like move. The way in which we energise the moves adds even further to the richness of the Nia experience.
In this way, Nia becomes far greater than the sum of its parts. Nia is not a combination of nine movement forms. Rather, Nia is an unique technique that draws inspiration from the energies of nine different movement forms. This distinction is crucial in understanding the very essence of Nia.
In the coming months, we hope to home in on one movement form at a time, examine its philosophy and nature, and reflect on its contribution to Nia. It should be a fascinating journey, and I can't wait to share my thoughts with you!