The Spirit of Nia Tour - A Conversation With Carlos Rosas


By:   |  April 3, 2009

Why did you, Debbie, and Jeff decide to go on tour? We really thought this was a great opportunity to celebrate this amazing creation with the people that really make it happen. I’m so appreciative for the lifestyle and dream that I live with Nia that I really wanted to be able to thank the Teachers and students. This year, the 25 Anniversary, is a very special year for us. To be in the presence of everybody, to dance with them, and to be able to say thank you to them, was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Why was the tour called The Spirit of Nia Tour? When Debbie and I were brainstorming, we first thought we’d call it the Heart of Nia Tour. The more we thought about it though, the more we realized that Spirit – which to us means uniqueness – spoke more closely to the way Debbie and I receive this practice. It is the Spirit of Nia - the uniqueness - that talks to us. There is a depth yet simplicity to that. Some people say, “Oh Carlos has such a great spirit.” In that way, spirit has a beautiful ring to it. Debbie and I agreed that the title The Spirit of Nia was more all encompassing.

What was the tour like for you? The tour was incredibly rewarding. It was very magical – the different crowds, communities, the anticipation, the letting go, the connecting of one community with another community then with another community. There was something very mystical, yet on the other hand very practical. While there were the usual computers, microphones, set-up, etc., there was this really mystical feeling of bringing communities together. I kept asking, “What is this that is bringing the communities together?” Then I started to sense how the “community” sits on the earth instead of just in one city or town. So it was very enlightening to me in that sense. I was feeling community even when not necessarily aware of it. That made something very big – traveling lots of miles over many days – very small and accessible.

What is something that surprised you, or was unexpected, while on tour? One thing that really surprised me was that it didn’t matter what the size of the room was, I felt close to everybody. I didn’t expect that. Another thing that surprised me was how big the crowds were. I didn’t expect that either.

What were your favorite moments of the tour? All of my favorite moments really happened while dancing. I really noticed while dancing with each community, how my body, within the choreography, would change based on the community. My body was responding to those around me - the expression of Nia came through my body as a reflection of who I was dancing with.

How did you find the energy for all of the events and traveling needed? For me, a lot of it was the practice of RAW – being Relaxed, Alert, and Waiting. Also the practices of Dancing Through Life, Living Meditation, and Life As Art as well. Being with that triad and being RAW was constant, constant, constant. At a practical level, the great work Tamara did to set up our travel arrangements and hotels made it so the rooms were just right – home away from home. Of course, being with Annie and having that extra support also had a lot to do with me being able to sustain all that was going on. The other piece is that the moment I was with the communities, the lifting would happen. The sense of love, the welcoming, the authenticity, was just enough to lift me.

Looking back at the last 25 years, how would you describe the transformation of Nia? The first thing that came to my mind has to do with just watching the group dancing. The one thing that really blew my mind was seeing the transformation of people recognizing the choreography, the music, the cueing - how they recognized what was happening and totally put themselves into it. The way they give themselves in the practice of Nia is one of the big transformations. Even the brand new students - the 25 years of Nia are going into their bodies in ways I haven’t seen before. Little by little, every 5 years, Nia is more and more in the body of the dancer.

What do you see in the future for Nia? To me the future of Nia is in watching the kids of the people in that room doing Nia. The future of Nia is their children dancing, growing up with Nia, and taking on the practice in their lives.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I really want to thank Annie for all of her support. Also thanks to the Producers – every single one of them were unbelievable. Thanks to Jeff for his dreaming and being so instrumental and aware of what this tour would mean to me and the Nia community. Thanks to Debbie, my lifetime companion in the path of Nia. And thank you to everybody I didn’t have a chance to say it to personally. How inspiring and invigorating it was to be received with so much love, affection, caring, opening, and joy. All of that – what everyone brought into the room – is still being reflected in how I teach my classes and has definitely inspired me. It has been like a spiritual fuel for routines, intensives, and the work that I continue to do. Thank you.