The journey of creating a routine is just that – a journey. While my process over the years has remained fairly consistent, it has also evolved as a result of small tweaks that go along with learning and improving.
Getting ready to film a routine video takes about six months and involves choosing the music, licensing the music, configuring the order of the songs, doing the bars numerous times, and progressing through at least thirteen rough renditions until I have a working skeleton. This skeleton is then refined until it results in the final product: a routine that conditions the body and inspires both teachers and students by delivering a new focus and experience.
R1, the newest routine (which will be released soon), reflects the new face of Nia. It represents collaboration, co-creation, the sharing of my process, and the wisdom, creative gifts and talents of others. The result is intended to inspire the Nia community in new way, and to train others to carry on the process of creating continuing education that supports the ever-transforming movement lifestyle we call Nia.
Created with the help of Helen Terry, Caroline Kohles and Kevin VerEecke, R1 is the second collaborative Nia routine (Velvet was the first, created with the help of these same individuals, as well as Danielle Eastman). As a team, we listened and responded to each other. We let go of “our thing” and developed something better by using the wisdom of the collective whole.
The choreography is fun and introduces some new, challenging moves. Incorporated into each song is a specific focus, such as the breath or the eyes. Each focus is used to sustain the energy that fills each movement. In choosing the music, I wanted to find songs that had complete bars. You’ll see that I almost made it. I also wanted to not include kicks, the cross-front or the cross-behind, which proved to be quite a challenge!
The entire process reminded me that while creating, one must remember to be ready for change. Be willing to let go of what comes. Be willing to throw it all away. Be willing to scrutinize every detail. Be willing to look at yourself and your motives for doing what you do.
When you first experience R1 for yourself, I hope you will feel what I do: that a Nia routine is a body of work, meant to live on for a long time. It is a story – an experience you can step into that makes moving different. It is more than dancing. It is the promise of pleasure, conditioning, transformation and healing. It is a method for changing bodies and lives.
Click here to watch a video of Caroline and Nia students dancing to one of the R1 songs.