Why “JAZZ Dance”? A series of articles on the nine Nia movement forms.
I love the fact that the Nia Technique is based on 52 moves, and that our bodies can move in an unrestricted and limitless manner that allow for personal and imaginative interpretation. Visualize a session where we are dancing a well-known program focusing on yoga arts, then we delve into the same program in a follow-up session but this time the focus is on Jazz Dance. Although both classes may be based on the same moves, they deliver a completely different feel. And that’s ultimately what we are striving for.
When we talk about JAZZ Dance in this case, we need to imagine much more than just the moves, like ‘jazz squares (triad)’ or ‘shimmies’. We should imagine the energy and excitement that JAZZ dance can generate; the fun, sassy and sexy look-at-me kind of energy, at times bouncy like popcorn, other times sudden and unexpected like a bolt of lightning. It’s a flash dance with an attitude that moves you to the puts you up front where you tell your own story through movement.
Here are a few Jazz Dance workout tips from Debbie and Carlos Rosas, founders of the Nia Technique:
– Move and express yourself with pizzazz
– Move and be aware of isolated body parts
– Move and use your face and hands to speak to the world
– Move and play with small gestures that speak with passionate emotion
(Debbie Rosas & Carlos Rosas, The Nia Technique, New York, Broadway books, 2004, p.270)
So why JAZZ Dance? Jazz energy teaches us how to get on the stage of life if we need to. It drives us to show our individuality and helps us to be more outspoken and less restrained. This particular energy will especially benefit people who wish to practice free self-expression in a relaxed environment, like the one that a Nia class can provide. Through JAZZ dance, I was able to teach myself how not to shy away from being in the spotlight, which in turn led me to guide others and become a Nia teacher.
For those who feel at ease with the unique energy that JAZZ Dance creates, your Nia workout will prove to be an even more playful and childlike experience.
Are you a JAZZ-y person? I would love to hear how you play with Jazz energy in or outside your Nia class.