Paris, Nia and a Weekend to Remember

Helen Terry is a Nia trainer, teacher, studio co-owner and Nia Retreat Center proprietor based in Montgomery, Texas. She has been devoted to teaching Nia full time since 1993, and travels around the world to share the practice. 

Before I fly around the world to share and teach Nia, I sometimes question leaving my family and my studio. I also question the time and money involved in traveling. Then I arrive at the venue, see the anticipatory excitement on participants’ faces, have a blast inspiring attendees, and revel in helping others rekindle the joy of movement. It makes it all worth it.

Recently I was invited to Paris by Blue Belt certified Nia Teacher Laurence Duperis and Brown Belt certified Nia Teacher Sophie Tataru. Laurence has been practicing Nia since January of 2008. She had travelled to Brighton to attend a Nia Blue Belt Training, and as the week progressed, despite Laurence’s shy demeanor and quiet voice, she shared how she had a big dream of hosting an international trainer for a big community Nia event in Paris. Even though she had no experience in producing events, she wondered if I would consider coming to Paris. I was delighted and accepted the invitation on the spot. The look on her face was priceless! On returning to Paris, Laurence connected with Sophie, who shared she had a similar dream and had been asking me to come to Paris since 2007. And so began their adventure together, co creating a successful weekend of classes and workshops in Paris with me.

I've done similar events to this in the U.S., England, Wales, New Zealand, Australia, Budapest and Costa Rica, but Paris was new for me. My initial impression of the community was that it was somewhat fragmented. The people seemed cautious and a bit reserved. What I discovered (as is usually the case) was that NiaSounds music and Nia White Belt Principle 1 (The Joy of Movement) had a magical affect on everyone, bringing us together in a way that created a special bond in the moment and a sustained sense of community connection.

On a blissful Saturday, in a theatre environment, we learned about Nia’s Five Sensations of Fitness while moving to music from Aria. We sensed flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability in the body to sounds that beautifully support these dynamics.

We used an operatic melody to help us tap into the sensation of flexibility. We used the staccato of techno beat to explore agility. The cello provided an opportunity to tap into the sensation of mobility, and we imagined our movement reverberating like the sounds of strings. The Arias experience left us warmed up, primed and ready for my most requested Nia experience: Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, which I synchronize with The Wizard of Oz movie.

The next day, we began a sizzling, sensual Sunday by dancing to the Nia routine Sexi, which I adapted to Queen Latifah. This was followed by a Nia 52 Moves workshop and a grand finale Afro Celt Nia experience. Check out this fantastic slideshow that captures the essence of our weekend.

These events were open to the community, and we had attendees from UK, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Switzerland. Everyone there felt the spirit of Nia and the spirit of community. Newcomers were infused with a genuine flavor of the Nia, and were enthused to attend regular classes. Nia belt graduates benefited from a new kind of creativity, and remembered to remain focused on the body through sensation.

I departed reflecting on the look in my students’ eyes, relishing in the sweet words of gratitude shared. I was reminded that I know why I do what I do. I love my job and feel blessed. I am especially grateful to Laurence and Sophie. This wonderful duo exemplify inclusion, compassion, understanding and collaboration. Their focus was clear: to produce successful, Nia events with the intent to continue to build a sense of community, enlarging and opening up what was already initiated by Black Belt certifed Nia Teacher Regine Petit, to help Nia become even better known. They absolutely did this–with dedication, love and grace. I thank them for their incredible thought and effort, and for making our Paris debut such a vibrant and memorable experience.

Now I look forward to heading to Thailand for the first time in June, and then returning to Budapest, Hungary. But I’ll be back to Paris in November, and I hope you’ll join me!