The Nia Swish
Steve's Success Story
A co-worker dragged me to my first Nia class. She told me all the usual stuff“a mix of dance, martial arts, etc. Mostly she told me the teacher’s “booty shake” was a sight to behold. There I was tripping over myself doing jazz squares, having trouble following the steps. But the atmosphere was very friendly, and I didn’t feel judged. Plus, the guidance through the thoughtfully choreographed routines really helped. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of a workout I could get basically doing dance“something I always feared“loathed, actually. But I chose to lean in to the challenge and try and grow beyond it.
The body awareness that Nia has brought to me can be described as incredibly expansive. It took Nia to help me understand that I’ve spent a lifetime moving in one-dimension—completely linear. Nia has literally opened up all three dimensions of movement for me, and awareness of fine motor control in places I simply wasn’t using. Even after all these classes, I still find room to grow, something new to explore, some new way to challenge myself. It is a discipline that can meet you wherever you happen to be in the moment.
I’ve been a Nia regular for near 3 years now, and yet I struggle to find the right words to define it. I realized in the search for words that it largely defies definition. The usual terms only frame what amounts to a much richer individual experience. Some moments in life, the line between what is created and what is experienced vanishes. In this space lies an awareness only understood within the moment. Every artist seeks to capture these magical moments. So the best definition I can venture for Nia is: A creative art form actively expressed through a combination of structured and free-form bodily movement. But ultimately, Nia must be done to be understood. Come try it for yourself, and maybe you’ll be hooked. If nothing else, you gotta see the impressive Nia “swish!” I am still working on mine“