“Stay with it……”
That’s the phrase that stays with me from Sophie Marsh’s Nia week.
Others too: “Relax your jaw… and breathe!” or “[there are] no mistakes!” and “Feel the joy”. But that first was my favourite.
“Stay with it…..” she calls out….with the music, with the movement, with the moment, with the joy. She stays moving with it herself, swaying gently as the music changes to a new track, a new rhythm, a new pace. And then she’s off again, this time to a foot stomping beat accompanied by guttaral yells; or maybe to a melodic number with waving arm movements; and occasionally to a slooow drawwwwwn out curling on the floor with aaaaahs and great wide smiles of bliiiissss.
Nia is many and various in its musical numbers, and Sophie is a true master of them all. She is quite literally a master, in that she is the only Nia teacher in Australia who is qualified to teach other Nia teachers, one of only 50 in the world. But she’s also a master in her ability to lead and inspire her class. They follow her in sweat, in song, in soul; they love her. Of course they love her: she is leading them down a path to joy. That is what Nia is about: connecting with joy, grounding yourself in an energy that leads to casting off stress and finding happiness.
The women this week span an age range of some thirty years – there are three mother/daughter couples, and all ages in between. Many of them have danced with her back in Australia, but some are entirely new to Nia. It’s a week that takes plenty of energy – but then there’s plenty of time to recoup between classes and the group go off snorkeling, visiting a village, trawling the local shops in Savusavu, lie by the pool reading and enjoy a massage.
And plenty of little extras too. Michelle beats me soundly at Scrabble. Simone helps me redesign one of the villas. Stefanie plays tennis with JJ. Belinda gets me interested in the idea of a lifestyle week but I’m not yet sure what that means. Sally’s 5 – year old daughter Lola makes a good-bye speech that has us all cheering. We all feel the joy one way or another.
Next year’s Nia week will run August 17 – 24 2013.