Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Class #92 Nia Tuesday 10:00 a.m. (Susan)

This morning’s class will complete the Nia quartet on the schedule and I’m looking forward to the freedom of movement this class brings. Since I took Susan’s class on Saturday (see blog #88) the routine is still fresh in my memory and there’s less angst than usual about learning the steps.

As I mentioned on Saturday, Susan is at the tail end of this particular routine so her regulars know it well and can really cut loose. This is my third time to do the sequence and I’m comfortable enough with the steps to experiment with including the arm movements too. I typically find that if I initially try to learn both the steps and the arms at the same time, I can’t do either so I focus on the feet first.

One of the pleasures in these classes is watching the good dancers do their thing. I admire athleticism in all its forms and the ability to move rhythmically (i.e. dance) is highly athletic. It’s interesting to me how I can more easily connect with the fluidity when we do a movement that is similar to something I practiced in Aikido for years and years (there are some Aikido inspired moves in Nia). The thing is, I have to actually pretend that I’m doing Aikido instead of dancing and then the relative gracefulness appears. For some lucky people this ability to move fluidly is natural but I’m sure it can be cultivated, to some extent, with practice even for those of us who don’t have the “gift”.

The “routine” as I’ve been calling it is actually comprised of about seven or eight songs that each have their own set of steps/movements. Some of them are easier than others but Susan always shows the basic steps before we start as a reminder – then when we get going she shows the different levels – from low impact to high speed – the degree of difficulty and heart rate rising with the level. In one of the songs there’s a matador move (I think that’s what it is) where we take our invisible cape and scamper about the room. Everyone takes off on their own unique and unpredictable path dodging bulls and fellow dancers all the while. This is probably my favorite part of the class edging out the dance where we flap our ‘wings’ and bawk like a chicken – also a hoot.

According to my heart rate monitor I burn up 330 calories in class while maintaining an average heart rate of 101 with a maximum of 117. My guess is that Susan, operating at level 3 the whole time probably has numbers significantly higher than mine. The thing is, Nia can be a really great cardio workout, especially as you gain confidence in the steps. I was a little bit tired coming into class today so that might have kept down my numbers some too.

Susan Garrett (right) with sidekick Robin Hanle

There are about eight sublime dancers in class today (and me). The winner of the $25 gift certificate is Marilyn Weinstein.

Okay, folks, that’s 92 down and a paltry 18 classes to go. Next up, Power Pump Wednesday morning at 10.

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