I am taking next week away from teaching classes to focus on healing and creative projects. I’m not leaving town or going to work with a teacher. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing. Which maybe is fine and perfect since neither “healing” nor “art” are nouns.

They are both verbs.

They are processes.

They are ways of being and living.

So that’s what I’ll be doing next week. Healing. Arting.

Many thanks to the acac Nia team who are graciously sharing their gifts and teaching my classes.

I’ll be back teaching and posting here the week of May 27.
Until then,
Dance on. Shine on.

Advertisements

Co-creativity abounds this week! Thanks to Mary Linn for diving into the original Bliss routine from 1998! And I had fun putting the moves to an eclectic blend of music, too! I hope you were able to fly this week — either with us in the studio or wherever you are.

You can find this week’s Bliss and Bliss-ish playlists below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

But first, here are some things I know you want to know about:
Moving to Heal classes with Sheila Queen 12:30-2pm at Northside Library (except *)
Join Nia Blue Belt and Moving to Heal Instructor, Sheila Queen for a class designed for anybody looking for a gentle movement practice to complement and facilitate healing of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Northside Library from 12:30-2 (except*)
May: Thursday: *5/17 (1-2:30), 5/31
Friday 5/25
June: Friday: *22 (10:30-12), 29
For questions and more information, contact Sheila Queen at squeen125@gmail.com

acac Memorial Day Hours: Monday, May 28
Susan will teach her class on Memorial Day at 11am at acac Albemarle Square. Spend part of the holiday with yourself, your body and us!
Acac hours for the holiday are:
acac Albemarle Square: 8:00am-4:00pm
kids zone – 8:30am-2:00pm
spa – 9:00am-3:00pm
acac Downtown 8:00am-4:00pm
kids zone – 8:30am-2:00pm
spa – 9:00am-3:00pm
acac Crozet staffed 8:00am-12:00pm
kids zone – 8:30-11:30am
acac Pantops staffed 8:00am-12:00pm
Adventure Central* – 9:00am-7:00pm *tennis courts only
Waterpark – 10:00am-7:00pm

Nia Freedance First Fridays with Kate at ACAC ~ Friday, Jun 1!
Every first Friday Kate Aust shares a Nia freedance class at ACAC Albemarle Square. Nia Freedance gives you an opportunity to play for a full hour moving your body’s way. We each get to tap into the creative wisdom of our body, emotions, mind and spirit stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance class will be Friday, Jun 1 from 11:25 to 12:25 in studio B.
As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Monday, May 14, 2018, 1045am ~ Bliss Revisited with Mary Linn

All I Want 6:52 Shantal
The Hush 5:24 Rae & Christian
All I Ask 4:48 Rae & Christian
Swimming Pool 5:41 Rae & Christian
Spellbound 5:43 Rae & Christian
Fool 5:21 Rae & Christian
Swansong 5:22 Rae & Christian
Where the Story Ends… 5:44 Shantel
Blessed 7:48 Bliss

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 840am ~ Bliss, Susan-Style

Home 6:05 Rebecca Luker (All I Want choreography)
Essarai 5:48 Cantoma (The Hush choreography)
Orozco 5:22 Tosca (All I Ask choreography)
Miss You 4:49 The Rolling Stones (Swimming Pool choreography)
No Roots 3:56 Alice Merton
Hold The Line 3:56 Toto (Spellbound choreography)
Fool 5:21 Rae & Christian
Moving Into a New Space 5:28 Sounds from the Ground
I Know I’m Not Alone 4:04 Michael Franti & Spearhead (Where the Story Ends choreography)
Blessed 7:48 Bliss
Let It Go 2:16 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

Wednesday, May 16, 2017, 11am ~ Bliss, Susan-Style

Home 6:05 Rebecca Luker (All I Want choreography)
Essarai 5:48 Cantoma (The Hush choreography)
Orozco 5:22 Tosca (All I Ask choreography)
Miss You 4:49 The Rolling Stones (Swimming Pool choreography)
No Roots 3:56 Alice Merton
Hold The Line 3:56 Toto (Spellbound choreography)
Fool 5:21 Rae & Christian
Moving Into a New Space 5:28 Sounds from the Ground
Artichoke Funk 5:56 Zeb (Where the Story Ends choreography)
Blessed 7:48 Bliss
No Trace 3:58 Jamie Catto & Alex Forster

Thursday, May 10, 2017, 840am and 630pm ~ Bliss Revisited with Mary Linn

All I Want 6:52 Shantal
The Hush 5:24 Rae & Christian
All I Ask 4:48 Rae & Christian
Swimming Pool 5:41 Rae & Christian
Spellbound 5:43 Rae & Christian
Fool 5:21 Rae & Christian
Swansong 5:22 Rae & Christian
Where the Story Ends… 5:44 Shantel
Blessed 7:48 Bliss

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

Twenty years ago, Nia Technique Founder Carlos Rosas created the routine Bliss. I was a new Nia student at the time and remember the buoyant, powerful feeling when I danced the routine. I felt like I was flying.

In the intervening years, I come back to some of my favorite songs from Bliss but I rarely teach the routine as a whole. This week, Mary Linn and I will teach our interpretation of this classic routine together on Monday and Thursday* and I’ll offer my own Bliss-ish playlist on Tuesday and Wednesday**.

The original music of the routine is largely selections from Rae & Christian’s 1998 album Northern Sulphuric Soul. I love the variety of sounds and the rich, passionate vocals in these tracks which offer ears and imagination and bones a playground. Bracketing Rae & Christian are three pieces from Shantel’s Higher Than the Funk album, also from 1998. These have a meditative pulsing quality that help my thinking mind relax and my body to explore.

Carlos’ focus was on the balance between gravity’s grounding and the electromagnetic pull up. The image he used was the flame: fueled and rooted to the source while pouring energy up. After dancing this focus in different ways over the years, I think of this energetic balance as the way humans soar. The way we can fly is to push up out of the Earth itself. Earth grounds us and Heaven pulls us. In our bodies, the 1st and 7th Chakras create that even energy pull of rooted and expansive.

And, as Buddha Cat (that wise creature) reminds me, a simpler view of this focus is the balance between up and down.

Please experience Bliss this week — either with us in the studio or wherever you are.

* Bliss with Susan & Mary Linn
Monday, May 14, 1045am-12noon, acac albemarle square
Thursday, May 17, 840-940am, acac downtown
Thursday, May 17, 630-730pm, acac albemarle square

** Bliss-ish with Susan
Tuesday, May 15, 840-940am, acac downtown
Wednesday, May 16, 11-1215pm, acac albemarle square

Friends, this is a focus that has captured my body, mind and imagination. It started as a pearl that dropped into a class several weeks ago (a “pearl” is simply a word, phrase or image that comes to a teacher that she doesn’t “think” of) and since I received it, Sound Sensation & Space has been a mainstay of my personal practice. Dancing with SS&S enriches my dance and my days in a profound way. I’ve loved sharing it this week and – spoiler alert – we’ll be coming back to it as it evolves.

I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences. As always. Please do reach out.

You can find this week’s Dancing with Sound, Sensation & Space playlists below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

But first, here are some things I know you want to know about:

Moving to Heal classes with Sheila Queen 12:30-2pm at Northside Library (except *)
Join Nia Blue Belt and Moving to Heal Instructor, Sheila Queen for a class designed for anybody looking for a gentle movement practice to complement and facilitate healing of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Northside Library from 12:30-2 (except*)
May: Thursday: 5/10, *5/17 (1-2:30), 5/31
Friday 5/25
June: Friday: *22 (10:30-12), 29
For questions and more information, contact Sheila Queen at squeen125@gmail.com

Bliss Revisited with Susan & Mary Linn on May 14 & 17
Mary Linn & I are diving back into Bliss: a classic routine created by Nia co-founder, Carlos Rosas. The music of British production duo Mark Rae and Steve Christian and German DJ Shantel allow the body to drop deep roots and long powerful reaches. Join us for Bliss!
Mon, May 14, 1045-12noon Albemarle Square, Room A
Thu, May 17, 840-940am Downtown, Group Ex Studio
Thu, May 17, 630-730pm Albemarle Square, Room B

acac Memorial Day Hours: Monday, May 28
Susan will teach her class on Memorial Day at 11am at acac Albemarle Square. Spend part of the holiday with yourself, your body and us!
Acac hours for the holiday are:
acac Albemarle Square: 8:00am-4:00pm
kids zone – 8:30am-2:00pm
spa – 9:00am-3:00pm
acac Downtown 8:00am-4:00pm
kids zone – 8:30am-2:00pm
spa – 9:00am-3:00pm
acac Crozet staffed 8:00am-12:00pm
kids zone – 8:30-11:30am
acac Pantops staffed 8:00am-12:00pm
Adventure Central* – 9:00am-7:00pm *tennis courts only
Waterpark – 10:00am-7:00pm

Nia Freedance First Fridays with Kate at ACAC ~ Friday, Jun 1!
Every first Friday Kate Aust shares a Nia freedance class at ACAC Albemarle Square. Nia Freedance gives you an opportunity to play for a full hour moving your body’s way. We each get to tap into the creative wisdom of our body, emotions, mind and spirit stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance class will be Friday, Jun 1 from 11:25 to 12:25 in studio B.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Monday, May 7, 2018, 1045am ~ Dancing with Sound, Sensation & Space

Edge Hill 7:00 Groove Armada
Transcendence 4:00 Thievery Corporation
Dance of Sarasvati 9:07 Kitaro
Moonsmith 5:50 Marisi choreo
Corazon Espinado 4:38 Santana
Call Me up (644-7215) 4:16 Bio Ritmo
Samb Adagio 5:58 Safri Duo
Lebanese Blonde 4:49 Thievery Corporation
Falling Slowly 4:04 Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova
Because 2:22 Elliott Smith
Any Other Name 4:10 Thomas Newman

Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 840am ~ Dancing with Sound, Sensation & Space

Edge Hill 7:00 Groove Armada
Dance of Sarasvati 9:07 Kitaro
Moonsmith 5:50 Marisi choreo
Corazon Espinado 4:38 Santana
Call Me up (644-7215) 4:16 Bio Ritmo
Samb Adagio 5:58 Safri Duo
Lebanese Blonde 4:49 Thievery Corporation
Falling Slowly 4:04 Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova
Because 2:22 Elliott Smith
Any Other Name 4:10 Thomas Newman

Wednesday, May 9, 2017, 11am ~ Dancing with Sound, Sensation & Space

One Good Dub 8:16 Kaya Project
Clouds 6:33 Feuerhake
Yesterday Girl 3:27 The Smithereens
Desert Rose 4:46 Farhat Bouallagui/Sting
Coolsville 4:53 Rick Braun
Long Train Running (Groovy Dooby Mix) 5:07 DJ’s Brothers
Electrorloge 6:29 Trouble Makers
Transcendence 4:00 Thievery Corporation
Power Of Two 5:23 Indigo Girls
The Space Between 6:02 Zero 7

Thursday, May 10, 2017, 840am ~ Dancing with Sound, Sensation & Space

One Good Dub 8:16 Kaya Project
Clouds 6:33 Feuerhake
Yesterday Girl 3:27 The Smithereens
Desert Rose 4:46 Farhat Bouallagui/Sting
Long Train Running (Groovy Dooby Mix) 5:07 DJ’s Brothers
Electrorloge 6:29 Trouble Makers
Coolsville 4:53 Rick Braun
Transcendence 4:00 Thievery Corporation
Power Of Two 5:23 Indigo Girls
The Space Between 6:02 Zero 7

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

Sound has vibration and vibration creates sensation. Notice what it feels like to hear big drums or cellos or flutes. Or what it feels like to hear a friend laugh or an ambulance siren or birds sing.

Sound elicits a variety of movement. Some sounds encourage swinging, expansive expression, others tight contraction. Notice the movement inspired by sweeping strings, fast bluegrass or hot tango. Or a child’s cry, a summer rain, or a thunder crack.

Sound connects to the space in different ways. A loud shout in a small room feels different that one at the top of a mountain. A gentle rustling feels different in a protected glade than it does in a crowded theater.

There is a sensation of moving in space as if it was tangible: leaning into it, flowing through it, breathing it in.

Whether you’re moving in the studio or moving through your days, notice your relationship to sound, sensation and space. Allow yourself to sense each of the three and then to let the three interplay with each other to heighten your awareness and deepen your experience.

A NOTE ABOUT THE ART:

Sometimes, I know exactly what I want to make when I’m making art. Other times, things just seem to happen one after another and I’m just following the thread. That’s the way this piece went…ending with three threads!

Who knew that habit-breaking could be so much fun? I really enjoyed flipping my class prep habit on its head by starting with the music and letting the focus come just before class. You can see the art I made for each class here as well as a bunch of resources about breaking habits. I called classes this week “It Is What It Is” but I found each class to be surprisingly rich in their own way. So maybe it’s more than what it is. Is it?

You can find this week’s It Is What It Is playlists below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

But first, here are a bundle of things I know you want to know about:

Moving to Heal classes with Sheila Queen 12:30-2pm at Northside Library (except *)
Join Nia Blue Belt and Moving to Heal Instructor, Sheila Queen for a class designed for anybody looking for a gentle movement practice to complement and facilitate healing of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Northside Library from 12:30-2 (except*)
May: Thursday: 5/10, *5/17 (1-2:30), 5/31
Friday 5/25
June: Friday: *22 (10:30-12), 29
For questions and more information, contact Sheila Queen at squeen125@gmail.com

Nia Freedance First Fridays with Kate at ACAC ~ Friday, May 4!
Every first Friday Kate Aust shares a Nia freedance class at ACAC Albemarle Square. Nia Freedance gives you an opportunity to play for a full hour moving your body’s way. We each get to tap into the creative wisdom of our body, emotions, mind and spirit stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance class will be Friday, May 4 from 11:25 to 12:25 in studio B.

Bliss Revisited with Susan & Mary Linn on May 14 & 17
Mary Linn & I are diving back into Bliss: a classic routine created by Nia co-founder, Carlos Rosas. The music of British production duo Mark Rae and Steve Christian and German DJ Shantel allow the body to drop deep roots and long powerful reaches. Join us for Bliss!
Mon, May 14, 1045-12noon Albemarle Square, Room A
Thu, May 17, 840-940am Downtown, Group Ex Studio
Thu, May 17, 630-730pm Albemarle Square, Room B

acac Memorial Day Hours: Monday, May 28 ~ Susan’s class at 11am!
Susan will teach her class on Memorial Day at 11am at acac Albemarle Square. Spend part of the holiday with yourself, your body and us!
Acac hours for the holiday are:
acac Albemarle Square: 8:00am-4:00pm
kids zone – 8:30am-2:00pm
spa – 9:00am-3:00pm
acac Downtown 8:00am-4:00pm
kids zone – 8:30am-2:00pm
spa – 9:00am-3:00pm
acac Crozet staffed 8:00am-12:00pm
kids zone – 8:30-11:30am
acac Pantops staffed 8:00am-12:00pm
Adventure Central* – 9:00am-7:00pm *tennis courts only
Waterpark – 10:00am-7:00pm

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

Monday, Apr 30, 2018, 1045am ~ It Is What It Is: Trust

On The Forest Floor 5:05 Bob Holroyd
Alhambra Pt 1 1:21 Natacha Atlas
Duden 6:41 Natacha Atlas
Vision: O Euchari In Leta Via 6:08 Hildegard von Bingen
Something Understood 4:27 Bob Holroyd
Drumming Up a Storm 6:01 Bob Holroyd
Yahoo 7:33 Veeresh & The Humaniversity Sound
Mother Earth 6:52 Veeresh and the Humaniversity Sound
Through Cinemas 5:55 Loop Guru
Dark Waters 4:35 Bob Holroyd
Tabla Breath 5:27 Benjy Wertheimer & John de Kadt

Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 840am ~ It Is What It Is: Chest

On The Forest Floor 5:05 Bob Holroyd
Duden 6:41 Natacha Atlas
Vision: O Euchari In Leta Via 6:08 Hildegard von Bingen
Yahoo 7:33 Veeresh & The Humaniversity Sound
Mother Earth 6:52 Veeresh and the Humaniversity Sound
Amor Real 7:26 Jon Anderson
Fun Does Not Exist [Dolmus Mix] 6:22 Natacha Atlas
Is This The End 3:50 Zee Avi
Somehow Familiar 3:40 Fabrizio Paterlini

Wednesday, May 2, 2017, 11am ~ It Is What It Is: 1st Chakra (Release Sacrum/ Engage Low Belly)

Snakeroot 7:58 Lis Addison
Always Waiting (fest. Irina Milkhailova) 7:08 Kaya Project
Quero Saber (fest. Orieta Pines) 6:29 Rodney Hunter
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
What It Is 4:58 Aubrey Haynie/Mark Knopfler
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Dance Floor (Nu Brazilia Remix) 5:28 The Tao Of Groove
We Come Together (Fishy Beat Mix) 3:48 Goldfish Feat. Sakhile Moleshe
Rhythm Is? (Marques Wyatt Mix) 5:49 Afro-Mystik
Sunsethighway 4:00 Kiln
Universalfemalebreathchoir 4:54 Kiln

Thursday, May 3, 2017, 840am ~ It Is What It Is: Squeeze & Release

Snakeroot 7:58 Lis Addison
Always Waiting (fest. Irina Milkhailova) 7:08 Kaya Project
Quero Saber (fest. Orieta Pines) 6:29 Rodney Hunter
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Dance Floor (Nu Brazilia Remix) 5:28 The Tao Of Groove
Shiny Happy People 3:46 R.E.M. Feat. Kate Pearson
Rhythm Is? (Marques Wyatt Mix) 5:49 Afro-Mystik
Sunsethighway 4:00 Kiln
Unchosen 3:54 Jesse Cook

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

When I teach Nia, here is my habit: I start with the focus. I think about it, read about it, draw and write about it. I post what I come up with here on this blog. Then I create playlists for the week based on that focus, choosing choreography and lyrics and energy that lend themselves to where we’re putting our attention. Then I listen to the music, review or create choreography, and BOOM, I’m ready to teach for the week.

I like it. It works for me. And it is definitely, without question my habit.

Several years ago, I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I found it to be utterly fascinating and I still think about it all the time. I totally recommend the book and you could also read/listen to this NPR interview to get a taste of the science behind how we do what we do. One of the things Duhigg talks about is how much of what we do is habit. Research shows that 40-45% of the choices we make aren’t choices, they are habits. There are excellent reasons for why our brains do this (like efficiency and freeing up space to do more creative things) but it’s worth understanding how habits work so we can make choices about them.

Habits aren’t just fascinating to me but to some of my favorite writers:

James Clear recently wrote about replacing bad habits with better ones (and before that, wrote about how habits work…based on Charles Duhigg’s book!)

Leo Babauta, blogger at Zen Habits writes extensively about habits (obvio from his blog title) so there’s lots to explore on his site but I like his Habit Change Cheatsheet as a starting point.

Seth Godin writes a genius blog with short, wonderful posts. You can see some good ones about habits here, here and here.

In my experience, habit-breaking isn’t just beneficial for the results it can offer (like quitting smoking or meditating regularly or eating more dark leafies). I believe that there are intrinsic benefits to breaking any habitual pattern. Years ago, my friend Marga Odahowski, author of The Way of the Hammock,told me that she would start habits intentionally (chewing gum was the one I remember) in order to then break it. And I think there is something to this.

It is an act of mindful awareness to notice what we are doing and how we are doing it. Do you always step onto the first stair with your dominant foot? Do you always put take your right shoe off first? Do you always dance the same way during freedance? There isn’t anything inherently wrong with doing any of those things and (unlike smoking or eating Hardee’s every day) they aren’t likely to hurt you much. But what if the very choice, the very act of doing something new or doing something old differently has tremendous benefits? Would you be willing to play with the possibility of changing things up?

We’re going to explore neuroplasticity in a future focus (you can read a little about it here and there is lots more to find on the Interwebs) but my short answer is YES. Understanding the way habits work is the first step toward not only building the habits you want to have but also to making your brain stronger and healthier.

So, here’s what I’m doing: I’m breaking my class-preparation habit this week. I’m picking music based on my whim. Then for each class, I will let a focus show up somehow in the time just before class: it might be something someone says to me, something that I see on the drive in, or something that pops into my head as I set up the stereo. It is what it is and we’ll see what it is. For each class, I’ll do a sketch or some piece of art for the focus that arrives. We’ll see what it is and it is what it is.

The idea is that breaking the habit of how I do what I do makes it more than whatever it is.

Focus Gallery

Mon, April 30, 2018, 1045am

Trust. The health of any relationship comes down to the trust that each side has for each other. Think of the relationship you have with a friend, a business, your body, a beloved. What do you trust? What don’t you trust? What is the sensation of trust?

Tue, May 1, 2018, 840am

Chest: the home of the heart. I woke up this morning with a tender, achy heart. A tendency when I feel this way can be to stabilize my chest to protect my hurting heart. Instead, this morning we focused on mobilizing the chest to keep the heart soft and sensation alive rather than numbed. Breathe into the feeling.

Wed, May 2, 2018, 11am

First Chakra. On a physical level, we focused on releasing the low spine/sacrum and engaging the low abdominals. On an energetic level, we focused on the first chakra which resides at the sacrum. The first chakra is the center of security, stability, and your right to take up space in the world. By releasing the low back and engaging the low abdominals, we offer ourselves support from the inside while also resting in the support below us. Any time you accept help or fully relax and let go you are energizing your first chakra.

Thu, May 3, 2018, 840am

Squeeze & Release. Energize and relax your body in the most basic and powerful way. Your heart and lungs and muscles all work in this way. Feel it for yourself.

%d bloggers like this: