Dancer, teacher, energy holder


The Nia Technique logo – this necklace was a birthday gift

Another milestone: Last Sunday, I taught at my first Nia dance jam.

The energy at these jams is always high.  Since there are several teachers (6 at this one, including me), there are students from many of the classes, so it’s a greater reflection of the local Nia community.  Although I somtimes attend larger classes, I’m used to my small morning classes, which maybe stretch to 8 people at most.  Larger classes require more body and spatial awareness: how close am I to the person next to me, if I turn or take a step back, how close will I be to them, and will I run into them.  Smaller classes allow more freedom of movement, stretching, taking up space.

Also, each teacher has a different energy and teaching style.  In this case, one teacher is fiery and athletic; another is soft and playful; another is energetic and empathetic, and so on.  We each bring ourselves to the dance floor, and the combination raises the energy of each teacher’s personal style and weaves them together.

When I teach, I have to be aware of the people around me and also give myself permission to take up space.  Put on the headset, use my voice, calm and steady.  Notice if the volume of the microphone on the headset is loud enough in contrast to the music, or if I need to make any adjustments.  Be present, be in the movement, and be with everyone else.

I made a request before the jam: that we, the teachers, connect and set intentions beforehand. We did, and I think that moment helped us move and teach together with more ease.

I was slightly out of breath when it was time for me to teach the cool down songs.  I gradually found my breath, slowed myself down; encouraged everyone to pause, to sense.  The cool down songs in Nia often have more free and softer choreography; there’s an open invitation to rest, to give your body what it needs as the routine winds down.

I had a moment where I made a joke and was able to laugh, where I followed the energy as I led the class from one yoga pose to another. I ended with sending gratitude to the pulse of each person’s heart, to the pulse of community, and to the pulse of life all around us.

I had this great sense of relief and accomplishment after, and a sense of sinking deeper into my Nia teaching practice. I was tired but also high from the energy of dancing in community, and from being an active holder of that energy.


One response to this post.

  1. Nia Jams are so awesome. The energy is out of this world! When I taught my first jam, I had been teaching a while, but my students were quiet, they never “sounded”. So I am doing this song with this class of about 30 people behind me and we get to a part in the song where I normally sound alone – and 30 people “HA!” with me . . . and I was so unprepared for that, that it startled me. I FELT the “HA!” It was awesome, I said, “WHOA!” Jams are awesome!


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