Principle 2: The Nine Movement Forms of Nia:  Dance Arts, Martial Arts & Healing Arts

p2 9MF Rainbow

The Story of the Movement Forms from Nia co-founder, Debbie Rosas:

We studied various movement forms to balance the feminine with the masculine, the precise with liquid fluidity, the powerful with the yielding. Over time we found that by blending various movement forms, we were able to express and explore different aspects of our
physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. The movement forms connect us to a variety of energies, which together keep the body vibrant and healthy. They create different ways of breathing and moving, different energies and emotions. Each movement from has its own personality, and you will naturally be more attracted to one form over the others. Our intent is to help you discover the unique
essence each movement form offers. It is not necessary to have studied each form extensively; instead, capture the feeling, the essence each form brings to expressive movement.

Descriptions of the energies of each of the nine movement forms…

Dance Arts:  Jazz, Modern & Duncan Dance

p2 9mf jazz

Jazz – Fun, Showmanship & Expression

  • Move energy quickly, in short, explosive lines; isolations
  • Expression; passion exudes from hands and heart; playful
  • Coordination enhanced by synchronizing one body part with another
  • Infuse emotion into all parts of the body, all parts of the movement

Playful, attitude, jazzy, impulsive, showy, senseless fun, sudden, pulsating, sensual, isolated, burst, energetic, surprising, skillful, quick, hips, hands, fingers, shoulders, sexy, spontaneous

P2 9mf duncan

Duncan Dance – Spirited, Honest Movement

  • Childlike – run, leap, hide, climb trees, dance, fly
  • Creative exploration, unfolding mystery, magic & play
  • Joy of all emotion, expression with authentic ease; light heart
  • Opens ankle joints and spine; balance arises through physical ease, light feet & free-flowing expressive movement.

From the soul, child, spirit, angelic, freedom, exploring, running, playing, skipping, social, interactive, hope, positive, joy of play, effortless, fairy-like, magic, melodic, flying, unfolding, radiating

p2 9mf modern

Modern Dance – Playing with Balance, Shapes & Space

  • Shape-shifting; possibilities, choices, form & formlessness
  • Explore range of motion, emotion, balance, play; subtle & dramatic
  • Build core power in balance
  • Centered both on and off balance; dance around center

Moody, serious, free, introspective, on & off balance, tight & loose, form & formless, shapes, space, color, heavy, light, playful, contrasts, gravity, surprise, aloof, collapsed, hot, cold, pause, move, angles, circles, lines

Martial Arts:  T’ai Chi, Tae Kwon Do & Aikido

p2 9mf tai chi

T’ai Chi – The Slow Dance

  • Mind deeply relaxed; mindful of actions & thoughts
  • Power, ease, & lightness rooted in grace; Peace & harmony
  • Moving from the feet with relaxed joints establishes fluidity
  • Slow Motion cultivates strength, endurance & flexibility in the legs

Soft, relaxed, wind-like, fluid, water, grounded, rooted, connected, liquid, focused, balanced, meditative, graceful, integrated, strong, agile, effortless, gentle, flowing, circular, supple, quiet, open & rounded, dynamic ease

p2 9mf tae kwon do

Tae Kwon Do – The Dance of Precision

  • Lines that deflect, stop & move objects out of your way
  • Emotional strength, confidence, alignment: Warrior, Eagle
  • Punch from heart level, the most powerful center from which to deliver upper body force
  • Hand techniques – punches, strikes, spear finger, etc. –move energy & strengthen

React, sharp, solid, protective, thrust, aware, speed, start & stop, direct, quick, conscious, precise, directed, sudden, kick, punch, block, alert, power, pushing, aggressive, timing, resistance, anger, passion, fire, electricity, voice

p2 9mf aikido

Aikido – Harmonious Spherical Motion

  • Turning conflict into harmony; acceptance of what is
  • Create spiral & circular movements to cultivate energy
  • Consciously connect energy to center and direct it along the path of least resistance
  • Feel yourself in the center of a spiral, supported by vertical axis

Blending, relaxation, attention, continuous, flowing, spirals, circles, recycling energy, perpetual motion, in and out, infinity, figure 8, cooperative, harmonizing, peaceful & powerful, swirling, adapting, soft edges, connected, fluid

Healing Arts:  Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique & Yoga

p2 9mf feldenkrais

Feldenkrais – Conscious Feeling of Movement

  • Movement without effort; ease & efficiency
  • Let go of the pushing mind; slow down to reconnect & feel deeply
  • Move rather than react; listen before you move
  • Empower though self-guided movement, attention off teacher

Somatic, individualized experience, felt, perceived, self-conscious, healthy, healing, slow, self-adjusting, body-centered, connected, body-conscious, mindful, internally directed, awareness, sensation

p2 9mf Alexander

Alexander Technique – Movement from the Top

  • Organize the body from the top down; lengthening, reaching out & up
  • Light, lightness of being reflected in gracious posture, walk & voice
  • Self-observe habits to change them
  • Non-interference, consciousness & reasoned intention

Internal, subtle, not doing, consciousness, ease, flexibility, health, physical freedom, unbound, don’t try, easy, grace, naturalness, head up and out – body follows, upward direction, not overdoing or under doing, re-patterning, getting out of your own way

p2 9mf yoga

Yoga – The Conscious Dance of Alignment

  • Align bones with the forces of the Earth & the energy around you
  • Use the mind to develop a better relationship with your body
  • Gain flexibility & power; restorative; increases and restores the natural flow of energy
  • Let go of effort; flexibility does not equal success; less is more

Bones, alignment, postures, muscles, ligaments, extensions, strength, flexibility, agility, gentle, powerful, oneness, balance, supportive, restorative, angles, open mind, multidimensional

  1. This is fantastic, I have never hear of Nia! Thanks for this post!

    • Welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful and inspiring. Thanks for reading. ❤

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