Nia classes are held in studios and gyms all over the world. They are a great way to practice Nia on a regular basis or to find out if Nia is ‘your thing’. Nia classes are open to anyone. I teach 10 Nia classes a week in two great studios in Hamburg: Meridian Spa and Kaifu Lodge. You’ll find the exact times in my calendar. During my Belt training weeks in different locations, I also offer Nia classes that are open to everyone. That way you can experience a Nia class with me even if you don’t live in Hamburg.
A Nia Class with Ann Christiansen
When you begin a Nia Class, you consciously choose to dive into another world and let go of the stresses of daily life. We call this the “step-in”: the first and most important step, because only with this deliberate shift can you clearly experience and focus on the moves. At this point, you also have time to gauge how intensively or gently you want to approach your movement for the session. After that we move into a warm-up phase. It’s always new and different. You activate your muscles and joints; the energy starts to flow. Here again, you monitor how intensively or carefully you want to move. The warm-up is followed by a faster set, a cardio segment that gives you the chance to go all out and test your boundaries. We incorporate taekwondo-based kicks and punches and there’s a lot of dance - a party atmosphere. Light dance-based moves continuously alternate with precise, powerful moves. Yin and yang energy flows. The fast, often seamless changeover between the two polarities is not just physical but also mental training.
We challenge more than just our muscles; the brain gets a workout too! Plus, there’s a switching between form and freedom that happens in a Nia class that increases your attractiveness – as you’ll see from the glowing faces of the other participants during this phase of the class!
After this we move on to a floor-based segment we call ‘floorplay’ or, slightly tongue-in- cheek, ‘anti-aging on the parquet’. Here you’ll experience strengthening exercises, stretches, yoga asanas and moments of relaxation. The session concludes with a step-out, when you consciously return to everyday life, briefly experiencing the before-and- after effect again. This allows you to take some of the Nia session’s energy with you when you re-enter everyday life – your own little trove of treasure.
In 1998, right at the beginning of my Nia journey, I began introducing Nia in two- to four-hour workshops. I would create the format from content that had recently inspired me. On the one hand, it was a way for me to get my career going as a Nia teacher. On the other, it was also an opportunity to introduce Nia to all the people who were curious about it, with the luxury of more time than the classic 60-minute Nia class. In the beginning, I didn’t really know what to present in the workshops other than working with a Nia routine I had just learned. I tried a lot of different formats and I quickly realized that a long discourse about Nia doesn’t work so well, nor does discussing texts and explanations without any kind of movement component. It also wasn’t so good to start with free dance or movement without instruction.
The best was to start with our classic format, a Nia class, and then create an experience that deepened and intensified what we had experienced in the class. My passion for anatomy and kinesiology (anatomy of movement) has had a big influence on my work and this way I could connect my two worlds: the work I did as a therapist where I treated people experiencing pain in their body, and my passion for using music and movement to feel more pleasure through the body.
When I first started, I called these experiences ‘workshops’. Then one day while reading, I stumbled upon the word ‘Playshop’ and had this feeling of a ‘click’: Yes! That's what we do! As we play, we experience something and in so doing, we learn. I came across a quote that I liked:
We believe that children do not play to learn, but learn because they play.
With my experience in shaping these two- to four-hour work- / playshops, the range of themes and variations that I offer has expanded greatly. In a playshop with me, you are invited into an adventure rooted in your own experience; you’ll deepen your knowledge of Nia and also learn something new about yourself. You’ll learn about connections in your musculoskeletal system and you’ll learn how to optimize your Nia movement with simple tips and techniques. For details of where and when playshops take place, see my Belts & Events section.
You are always more than welcome to dance with me at my Belts and Events (all dates and times are in my calendar). Anyone who wants to deepen their practical Nia skills at home, however, or can’t find a Nia class in their area, has several options. One is Nia TV – Nia on demand. With Nia TV you have a large selection of Nia routines and videos that you can access at any time with your subscription – whether you are in your own living room, staying at a hotel or training in a gym! There are monthly, quarterly or year-long subscriptions available.
You can also just buy a single routine if you like. You can order from a range of Nia workout and training DVDs/downloads online. The workouts are always beautifully filmed so that even these virtual Nia sessions will help you to discover or rediscover your love of dancing! Specifically want a class with Ann? Whether you are a seasoned mover or new to Nia, the popular routine "U" offers a class choreographed with everyone in mind. The workout is available for download on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. DVD copies can also be purchased on Nianow.
Nia Belt Training
In the Nia Intensive Trainings - the Nia White, Green, Blue, Brown and Black Belts - you have the opportunity to go deep into the techniques and principles of Nia and to acquire knowledge of philosophy, anatomy and music. The belt intensives also provide opportunities for self-discovery and for enhancing your own movement patterns; you become fitter and stronger, develop your own skills and, in a holistic manner, learn more about the practice of Nia. If you’re interested in what the 5 different Nia Belts offer, you can find out more about the belt levels here.