Nia Testimonial: Denise Gilchrist, Nia Graduate
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, United States
I’ve always loved to dance. In fact, to borrow a quote from the ballerina Anna Pavlova, “I danced before I could walk”. Now don’t get me wrong. I never said I was a graceful dancer, a beautiful dancer, or even a good dancer. But ever since I could hold onto my grandfather’s stereo cabinet and bounce along with Louis Armstrong, I’ve felt that dancing was my birthright.
In the spring of 2006, at the age of 41, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was stage two, the latest “early stage”. I won’t go on about my personal experience facing “the big C”, but suffice to say that surgery and chemotherapy left my body feeling heavy, tired, and stiff. I was introduced to Nia in the winter of 2008, not long after my treatment ended, and I haven’t looked back since! I am grateful to be dancing through life once again with a sumptuous and healthy body beyond my wildest dreams.
I love eating healthy food, doing yoga, and hiking in the woods with my husband. My relationship with Nia is something that feels precious, potent, and outrageously joyful.
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
Nia White Belt Principle 1: The Joy of Movement, sums it up best for me. Nia’s choreography provides just enough structure and offers me the freedom to express myself, which has the power to make my heart sing! What’s more is that Nia can really burn off stress after a horrific day at work. By the time I arrive home after dancing with my Nia friends, I feel balanced and at peace.
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
I take classes twice a week at ACAC, the fitness club I belong to in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Chris Scott and Patti Pline are my instructors. They are both dynamic and inspiring in their own right, and their classes are always lots of fun. I have also taken the White Belt Training and Green Belt Training with Stephaney Robinson in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Stephaney is a masterful teacher! I hope to be instructing one day myself when the time is right.
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
It’s more than just dancing. It’s more than just exercise. It is truly holistically healing. Dare I say it’s magical?
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
If you like to dance, you can’t miss. Just have fun. Your body will thank you.
As much as Nia is shared and practiced all over the world, what you will get out of it will be uniquely your own. How cool is that? Try it and keep coming back!