Living an Agile Life

Hello, My Dancers,

So much going on these past few weeks. I feel a bit like I’ve been swept up in a whirlwind. Or a blender. And, yet, life goes on, and I choose to dance. Movement and dancing is my way of claiming my life in unsteady times and saying, “Now I Am.” It is my respite from the storm and my affirmation that life is to be lived. And, when I dance with all of you, it is my way of saying that community will continue to come together to mourn, to celebrate and to be.

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This month in classes, we are focusing on Agility. It is defined as nimbleness or the ability to change the body’s position efficiently and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength and endurance. Agility is in essence the ability to stop and start again. In the studio, we experience and build our physical understanding and awareness of agility. In the world outside ZenSpace, we step into whole being agility - body, mind, emotion, spirit. 

How do you experience agility throughout your day?

Please forgive me! There will be no class tomorrow on Columbus Day, October 9 :(  My big is turning 19 tomorrow and we are going to check our mental agility with an Escape Room experience.

After tomorrow, we will dance as usual on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and of course, ongoing on Mondays at 6:15 p.m. 

Also, I encourage you to join me in more movement with Hip Hop on Tuesdays with Saquan and Cardio Dance on Wednesdays, both at 7:30 p.m. 

More Dance = Happier, Healthier YOU!

Amy

PREPARE for Impact

AnyBODY in?

I’ve decided to move forward with my intense interest in self defense. As a coach, I am incredibly curious how it will empower me to inspire others to take responsibility for themselves and their voice. As a woman in this very unstable and unsafe world, I am looking to empower myself to stand up to bigotry, racism and violence with strength, stability, poise and voice. 

One concept from this summer’s course in self defense continues to vibrant and echo throughout my being. Our instructor said during our first session that in the moment of being attacked: “Forget about being NICE. There is no being nice in this situation.” 

Wow. For me, not being nice is a reach waaaayyy out of my comfort zone. And he is right. There is no room for Nice when my life depends on it. It is the moment for strength, voice, stability and power. At the beginning of each sessions, we repeated in full voice:

I have the right to defend my self.

I have the ability to defend my self.

I will defend my self.

Thought each session, every counter action to being attacked was accompanied by a strong, solid: “NO!” 

And yes, they turned off the lights and attacked us from behind. We responded in full body and voice. There were 25 women in that room in their full power and full VOICE. It was creepy and definitely upped my anxiety level, and yet, after the initial shock, I found my ability to respond. 

PLEASE CONSIDER:

How many times have I asked you to use your voice in class? How many times have you shy-ed away from using your voice? How many times have you given up your right to express yourself verbally because it is easier not to? If you can’t use your voice in the safe and secure studio of ZenSpace, how will you ever use your voice when your are not safe? 

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I invite you to attend an introductory workshop with me on Wednesday, August 27, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, which will be given by Prepare at Grace Church in NYC. The cost is $50. I am going as a student to continue learning and to check out the organization. I’ve never done any coursework with them; however, interestingly enough, I wrote an article about their parent organization — IMPACT — 25 years ago when I was a journalism student at Northwestern. I was intrigued then, and I am still intrigued now.

If you would like to join me, please register below and let me know you are IN. 

http://prepareinc.com/events/2-hour-introductory-workshop-adults-older-teens-all-gender/

Please remember that there is No pressure ever from me for you to participate. My classes and my coaching live in a space of non-judgement. This is your choice. If you want to come and can work with the date, I will be so happy to have the company.

All my love,

Amy

Self Defense is Your Right, Your Responsibility and Within Your Power

Yoohooooooooo! 

It’s me, once again, from Israel with a seriously interesting share…Please pay attention to this one! 

My big girls and I were offered the opportunity to take a 3-time self defense course this summer. We went for it. This isn’t the kind of course where you sit in the classroom and listen. This is a full-on, impact course where we learn and experience defending ourselves in full volume. Lights on, Lights OFF - from the front, from behind, any which way. We hit cushions and we hit people. 

The instructors are from the world of Aikido so while they are gentle in their approach to the martial arts, they are not gentle in what they are offering us for our own safety. The three most important lessons I have learned during the first two sessions is:

1. Be AWARE and PREPARE 

2. Use Posture and Walk to convey that you are not a Victim

3. USE YOUR VOICE (NO! NO! NO!) with every punch, kick and movement

If you have experienced Nia with me, you already know that there are threads of these elements throughout my classes. Awareness and appreciation of your body, your strengths, your weaknesses and YES, your Voice is a pivotal component of Nia for me. In this course, we practice yelling NO while kicking, kneeing, striking our attacker. The 20+ women taking this course range in age from 12 to 65, and everyone of them has POWER and VOICE.

YOU have POWER and VOICE. Don’t shy away from it in the safe spaces of your life like in Nia class. USE IT. So in the event that you need it, instinct takes over after the initial shock, and all of your Power and Voice will be available to you.

Here is Lina (my 18 year old) in practice with an unmasked teacher. (Look at the teachers wearing masks for full-contact practice behind her.):

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I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Adi Goren, my movement mentor and dear friend, who, once again, has extended an opportunity to me to step into my power and strength. And to afford me the opportunity to teach my children a vital lesson at this age and stage of their lives. 

With all my love,

Amy

We Got Game...

Get ready!!! Cuz we got GAME for this Monday Night! Hip Hop Game!

We contacted Say Say to bring Hip Hop to ZenSpace. Who is Say Say? What?! He is none other than Derrick Ladson’s younger brother. Derrick spent years teaching hip hop in Hoboken to children and adults before moving to Puerto Rico. (My daughter, Shai, took classes with him, and he is amazing body, mind, emotion & spirit.) Say Say is just as talented and as lovely a person. I know cuz he has joined Derrick on many occasions to dance with the kids! Say Say is back from working at Walt Disney World and said YES to teaching at ZenSpace! Whoot Whoot!!!

Due to Marisa’s shoulder injury, we asked Say Say to sub on Monday night...

HIP HOP DANCE WORKOUT with SAY SAY!!

This class infuses dance moves, sports drills, conditioning exercises and high intensity Hip-Hop dance workout. First portion of the class we'll be moving for about 25mins straight, targeting different body parts and some strengths or weaknesses, followed by a 5 minute ab and core strengthening. For the last half hour, the class ends with a small hip-hop routine , a cool down, and a stretch. Think fitness meets Zumba meets Hip-Hop ! Prepare to sweat! 

We wish Marisa a speedy recovery!! And thank her for filling in for me while I am away!

Amy

Road Runner...Meep Meep!

Heeeellllloooooo…

One of the greatest gifts the Nia Principles gave me was the awareness of Natural Time. This Principal encourages you to move your body in its own way, in its own time, with individualized and personalized movements that allow you to build proper neural connections. And, when I pause to reflect on my Natural Time, I sense that I am a ROAD RUNNER. Meep! Meep!

From September through June, I’m racing around, getting “stuff” done and on a high-speed ride (for the most part). And, then we hit summer! BOOM. Sudden stop. Kids at home, late nights, later mornings and the routine is completely shifted. I do a little transition dance, which in the beginning doesn’t look too pretty and doesn’t feel so right in my body. And then, I relax into the awareness of the slower pace and my choice to be at peace with the offering to Slow Down. 

How do you sense your Natural Time?

Meep! Meep!

Amy

Awareness in Travel

Hellllooooo from Tel Aviv!

I know, I know…You thought I would up and leave and disappear for the summer. Nope. Just doesn’t happen that way for me. Although I step out of teaching you in July and August, every summer, I step into deep reflection and learning. This summer, I have declared my focus to be Awareness with the intention of bringing my Nia practice and philosophy into my everyday life. I have to say that it is a wild ride. So much rich, deep learning and clear understanding. I will share it with you throughout the summer. Look for me on FB with all my shares and here in our weekly email.

I am also spending time everyday learning routines to bring back to all of you. I’ve chosen for my first one an oldie but a goodie: Oshun. It’s a Debbie Rosas routine chock-a-block with martial arts moves set in easy-to-learn and fun combinations. I’ve also identified and woven in some deeper understanding of yoga as I move through the routine. And, I am learning it tight so the easy in my body transfers to yours;) I can’t wait to share it with you! I’m also playing with setting the routine to contemporary music so we will have a lot to work with when I return. I wonder which routine I will choose to learn after Oshun…stay tuned!

And TOMORROW, you all have CLASS! This time, you have Zumba ZenSpace Style. We’re branching out into additional styles of dance and movement. We’ve invited Amanda Eitzen to join the team to sub for Marisa who is subbing for me;) She will teach Zumba with a special focus on keeping it healthy and sustainable for your body. Please register for class, try it out and let us know what you think! 

I hope you are all having a wonderfully warm summer experience. 

Much Love,

Amy

Summer Step Out - Learning & Yearning

Hey Community!

Yesterday, I taught my last Nia class before I fly away for two months. Although it is always bittersweet to leave for the summer, I am learning and growing as I step out. I wanted to share some of this learning with you. First of all, I am proud to say that we have such a dedicated and thriving community, I was compelled to hire a sub for my classes. We consolidated the three classes into one for the summer — The Monday Night Dance Party!! “(6:30 - 7:30 pm - at ZenSpace, of course!) More on our Nia and Zumba subs later…

The perspective of Stepping In to my classes in September and Stepping Out of my classes in June enables me to reflect on my teaching and my practice. Step In and Step Out are the 2nd and 7th Cycles of every Nia class experience. When we Step In, we consciously prepare our body, mind, emotion & spirit for the dance leaving all distraction behind. When we Step Out, we consciously close the experience and embrace what comes after. Nia extends far beyond my classroom teaching and dancing and reaches into my life creating a richness and deep fulfillment.

As I Step Out of this year of teaching, I am reflecting on my advances as a teacher, and I am yearning for more. As a teacher and guide, I have learned more ease with transitions and I have improved my knowing of how to move my students more smoothly through movement. I am sensing more deeply as I dance, finding myself less in my head and much, much more in my body. I have added knowledge and new practices to my repertoire, including Nia Move IT, Nia 5 Stages, and all my Coach trainings and certifications, which I weave into my classes through the Focus and Intent (Cycle 1 of the Nia class experience).

As for my yearnings, I have packed up some routines, new and old, with the intent of learning and reviewing over the summer. I intend to dance Nia most days, and my focus is to bring the routines into my body so my mind is free as I teach. As students, you will experience more ease in your movement and transitions between and greater ability to drop into sensation during class. I will also continue to develop a Synergy between Coaching and Movement that I will weave into my Nia and Coaching offerings at ZenSpace in the Fall. More on that as I delve deeper...

Now, may I introduce you to Marisa and Amanda who will join us at ZenSpace this summer!

Marisa Guastella will be stepping in for me this summer on Monday Nights. Former belly dancer turned amazing Nia teacher, I encourage you to dance with Marisa! She has an amazing story and is a beautiful being. 

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Check out Marisa’s Bio — 

Born and raised in NY, Marisa Barcia entered into the performing arts at the age of 8, studying for over 30 years, teaching for over 20. She earned her Bachelor's of Science in Performance as a Classical Guitarist from Hofstra University; studying performance with William Zito and music theory under composer Chandler Carter. She settled in NJ in 1999, where she resides today with her 2 children. After having children and needing to lose 110 pounds, her focus on movement and fitness brought her to her love of dance. Marisa claims dance was the next logical progression of her journey in the arts. With her musical background and analytical nature, she was taken by the study of movement in her body and new found level of fitness. She studied Bellydance with Chadia of the Gypsy Caravan Dancers and is a certified Sharqui Bellydance Instructor through Oreet Jahassi. She found Nia, "by accident," and knew right away she found a personal practice that connected her mind, body, emotions and spirit. She feels the practice brings out her essence through the 52 moves and music. She traveled to Texas to obtain her white belt in July of 2016 and was quick to share the practice instructing her own Nia classes. Marisa is involved in the Nia NJ Community, continued to the teacher training of Moving to Heal with Nia Creator, Debbie Rosas in Baltimore, MD. Once she stepped into Nia, she hasn't looked back. While busy as a program and marketing director at a YMCA, Barcia also teaches private guitar and flute lessons and enjoys writing. Marisa sees her creative side as the channel for her love of the art of practice itself. She says, "the dojo can be the dance floor, a conversation, or a daily chore; it's the quality of living that I am always practicing. Is it authentic, purposeful and joyful? These are my ingredients to a life well lived."

 

And please welcome Amanda Eitzen, Zumba Teacher, for the Dance Party on July 10th! Yes, that’s right! We are introducing a ZenSpace-Inspired form of Zumba and it is debuting on July 10. Amanda will bring us Zumba with a focus on healthy, sustainable movement. Her classes will include an introduction to the moves so you know what’s coming and you will be able to dance without injury.

Check out Amanda’s Bio — 

Amanda has been dancing since before she could walk! Growing up she took classes in ballet, tap and jazz and eventually became an assistant dance teacher during her high school years. She fed her hunger for dance in college with aerobics and hip-hop classes (and of course the occasional dance club!) While attending graduate school and working full-time, Zumba was her getaway and stress reliever, and she was glad to be taught by some truly amazing instructors over those 3 years. In 2013, after finishing graduate school, and at the encouragement of her instructors, Amanda became certified in Zumba. She was fortunate to teach at Branchburg Sports Complex in Branchburg, NJ where she had attended classes. After moving to Hoboken for full-time work, Amanda began teaching Zumba at Stevens Institute of Technology in 2015 and is pleased to be able to continue to share her love of Zumba and dance with others!

 

And finally, I would like to say a special thank you to ZenSpace Owner, Kristen Mangione, and our new ZenSpace Business and Membership Director, Voula Papadopoulos. ZenSpace has grown this year and is poised for even more growth. I am proud to work with these wonderful people who are dedicated to transforming lives one person at a time, one body at a time. The Nia Technique has a home in Hoboken at ZenSpace and I am so grateful each time I step in to the studio.

 

Have a wonderful summer, friends. Wear sun screen, laugh lots, play everyday, jump into the water and most definitely, dance barefoot,

Amy

Celebrate Nia's Worldwide Reach!

My Peops!!

Throw your hands up and say YES!

 

TONIGHT!!! 6 pm at ZenSpace! 

Uta Altmann and I are giving a kickin’ class. My European Nia Sister is gonna be in da house! We’ve been “belting" together since 2011!! She is one of those women who impressed me with her energy and kindness from the moment I met her and continues to do so every time I have the Joy of meeting up with her:)

Come to celebrate the beautiful practice of Nia that brings people from all over the world together.

Say YES!

Amy