The last weekend of February, 2013, Danielle Woermann had coordinated a visit from Helen Terry. Not sure if you know about Helen Terry, but her mixing of Nia Routines to different music and her creating of Nia Routines is legendary. She is the Nia Trainer that has a Dark Side of The Moon Routine. I am a Blue Belt. I was a White Belt for four years before my Nia business could actually pay for the next level of training. When it comes to conducting a Nia Class, belt level does not always have anything to do with it. I know many different belts and their belt level cannot be ascertained by attending their classes. In other words some white belts can create their own routines and put their own moves to music and they can dance on the fly. So being a belt other than black doesn't necessarily dictate skill. Regardless, I was very excited to learn to dance a routine I know well, to different music. (But, several years later, without having the routine on DVD (/recorded), I can't remember all of the moves. :-) )
In the class with Helen, we did the routine as a Nia class first. That was super fun. It was the preview of what was to come. Then came the workshop portion. The bars were already done for us. Barring music does not always come easy to me. Some songs -- BAM! -- super easy, I can get it, some songs I struggle with, so having the bars done and the choreography on the page was great. It allowed us to start learning the movements right away. We would review the choreography then dance the song. Helen would show us different things we could do with the moves.
When Helen puts a routine to different music a couple of her ideals are: 1) to use an entire album and 2) to not change the order of the music on the album.
With this routine - Sanjana to Annie Lenox's Medusa Album - Helen changed the order of the dances slightly. If you know Sanjana she separated the dances of "Holographic Universe" and "Ornid" with the dance from "I'm in Heaven". I have not gone through and compared each dance in San Medusa to each dance in Sanjana, so I am not certain if everything is exact, but they are very much recognizable. And, if you are a Nia teacher you might be familiar with the phenomenon of doing a routine and knowing it really well, then for some reason popping in the DVD and learning there is a move you skip entirely or something you do out of order or in a completely different way. That could be what is occurring for me when we do one of the songs. The move for me and my students is A stance dance forward with a shimmy and A Stance dance back with a tail wag. In San Medusa we do tail forward and shimmy back. That took me a long time to get. The first few times I did San Medusa, I just gave up trying to do it correctly altogether, then eventually it just happened.
There are a lot of great things I learned from this workshop. There were a lot of things I was reminded of. I love taking any type of Nia training because there is so much to Nia, I forget a lot. So I love being reminded and, of course learning new things. I got A LOT of fabulous things out of the training. A lot of new stuff and a lot of reminders. Two of the best things I got out of it were to Stay With Your Enoughs and Slow Down both can lead to "catching chickens". For more on Staying with Your Enoughs click here. For more on Slow Down and Catch Some Chickens click here.
I got out of this training what I wanted and more! I ALWAYS LOVE being with Nia people and I really enjoy their company. I received one form of "formula" to play with creating my own routine. Although, years later, I have still not taken the time to create an entire routine. Unfortunately, other things seem to come up that require my attention. Probably my first routine will not be as lofty as using one whole album in order, but I understand that I can grasp the freedom Nia gives us. I can use the BASIC part of a routine in order to supply Nia students with something new yet something familiar at the same time making for a great Nia experience. Just like that was a GREAT Nia Workshop. Thank you so much, Helen and Danielle!**
**I updated this information a bit - June 17, 2017