...a magical experience...
I have been teaching Nia classes since 2004. In my 16 years of teaching, I have led classes during many tragic and heartbreaking events - some personal, some local and some global.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a wave of ‘Nia Bayou Boogies – Dance and Donate’ classes swept across the country and the globe, starting right here with NiaSeattle teachers then spreading to the global community with teachers and students raising over $32,000 in one month. We danced and donated again as NiaSeattle teachers for many more natural disasters such as the China earthquake in 2008, the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and the tragic Oso, Washington landslide in 2014. Our Nia classes have continued through a series of human made disasters as well, including dancing to end violence against women in the One Billion Rising worldwide efforts held yearly since Valentines Day 2012. http://www.Onebillionrising.org
In November of 2012, Washington State voted into law that marriage is legal between same sex partners. On December 15, 2012, the morning of my long awaited wedding to my partner of 23 years, I led an emotionally filled Nia class one day after the horrible Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
“Events like this can create fear that further isolate and change the values and practices of our culture, community and country; or, it can strengthen the personal and collective resolve for compassion, equality and justice for all.”
--Bob Gilbertson, President and CEO of YMCA
On Saturday, June 11, 2016 I was up late, laughing, celebrating and opening birthday presents from my family until past midnight after they took me out to dinner and to see “Motown, The Musical” in Seattle. It was a wonderful and festive night watching world-class musical theater. The very next morning, on June 12th, I awoke to the horrific news that 49 people were killed and another 53 injured by a mass murderer at The Pulse, a gay dance club in Orlando, Florida. The mass murderer died too making the total 50. I sadly reflected that this was happening as I opened my birthday presents. It was Latin night. They were dancing, celebrating life, doing what they loved to do, with their friends and loved ones, at, what they thought was a safe place.
“We must begin to see and feel that the life force of people and all living things is precious. We must drop the fear and step into love. We must find a way to stop the hate.”
--Debbie Rosas, Founder and CEO of The Nia Technique
This week, as I lead my six Nia classes at my own Blue Heron Ranch Studio in Sammamish and at Bellevue Family YMCA, I have a very sad yet strongly determined heart – a heart determined to spread more love and more compassion in any way I can. As a Nia teacher, I have learned that moving with music and dancing with community can be healing and empowering – even in the most hopeless of times. I was happy to receive a heartfelt note from my directors at the YMCA, where I have been employed as a Nia teacher for nine years, including one from the president and CEO of all YMCAs, Bob Gilbertson. He ended his note with a reminder of our choices, “Events like this can create fear that further isolate and change the values and practices of our culture, community and country; or, it can strengthen the personal and collective resolve for compassion, equality and justice for all.”
I also received a strong message from the founder and CEO of Nia, Debbie Rosas, where she included this call to peace, “We must begin to see and feel that the life force of people and all living things is precious. We must drop the fear and step into love. We must find a way to stop the hate.”
This week the focus for my six Nia classes is ‘Dancing with Community’ with the intention to move and bring a sense of harmony, synergy and love into our bodies and our lives. It is an honor to provide a safe place to dance with each other while cultivating a dynamic collective positive energy that I hope will somehow, someday penetrate the fear, sadness and hate and heal our broken world. More kindness. More forgiveness. More compassion. More love and peace. Starting here. Now. http://randeefox.blogspot.com
Illustration by Randee Fox