Nia Testimonial: Jennifer Miller, Nia Graduate
I didn't grow up with much dance in my life. I tried tap for a few months when I was young, and ventured the occasional school dance or rock concert. I took my first Nia class at Rancho La Puerta around 1993. It was good, but I remember thinking that I "wasn't ready for it." Ken Gilbert started teaching Nia at the Santa Barbara Athletic Club in 1999. I already went to a lot of his classes and knew he was a good teacher, so I decided to give Nia a try after he had been doing it for about a month. I loved it; quickly I got over wanting to "get it right." There I found movement and its joy, and realized I had been missing it all my life. I took the White Belt Training eight years into my practice in 2007. I hadn't seen the need to get it, but once I had it, I kept going. I took my Black Belt Training in December 2010.
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
I do Nia to stay sane, to ground myself, to enhance the rest of my life. Mostly I do it because it feels good and I love how I feel when I'm doing it.
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
I practice Nia five days a week with Ken Gilbert in Santa Barbara.
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
Anybody can do it, and you don't have to be perfect.
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
Relax and don't worry about getting it right. I always say, I'm a bad actress so I'd rather be judged on who I am, not who I'm pretending to be. But really, chances are nobody is watching, so let go of the concern of how you look.
How many Nia teachers have you danced with?
I have taken classes from over 40 Nia teachers. Whenever I travel, if there's a Nia class within 30 minutes, I go to it. Each and every Nia class is a unique experience. Being in a new studio with a new teacher heightens that. My brain loves the variety. I really love dancing a familiar routine in a new space; the sense of being home in my body lights up and fills me with incredible warmth. The community aspect of Nia is tremendous to experience while away from home.