Guest Blog: Allison Brooks went to the University of Mississippi and earned her degree in biomedical anthropology. She is currently studying in the field to finish an ethnography on the effects of biomedicalization on Bolivian cultures.

Nia Dance, short for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, is a new “dance” to reconnect with nature and the body. Most think that spending the nights outdoors, following naturopathic medicine, and eating all natural foods is the only way to become one with nature, but Nia Dance is offering a new perspective. The movements are inspired by everyday interactions in nature and reflect even the simplest bodily actions. Many state that Nia Dance allows one to “dance through life” and stop sleepwalking through their waking-life.

Nia Dance is unlike any dance. While must dances like Zumba, Salsa, or Dance Revolution, inspire people to get up and move, Nia actually makes the dancer connect with the body, mind, and spirit. It draws for the movements of nature, the body, martial arts, and healing arts to lead to health, wellness, and fitness. It is not based on skill level or mastery of movements, but is mostly used to become aware of the body and to let go of the unconscious.

During a session, a group listens to earthy, soul-stirring music from all over the world to weave together sound and silence, action and inaction. Some of the moves are slow, while others are playful, and some are completely still. The sequence of the movements and sounds allow for people to become more aware of their conscious movements and understand that every movement of the body is a form of dance. This makes Nia a personalized dance and allows for people to appreciate their gift of life and individualism.

Though Nia Dance promotes a healthy lifestyle, its main focus is to empower everyone to look within and reconnect with themselves and nature. Instructors believe that every person can discover, explore, and unleash their individual potential of life. By engaging with senses and understanding their bodies, Nia Dancers can improve their confidence, health, and well-being.
Not only do instructors and dancers see this change, but doctors do as well. Nia Dance is becoming a popular way for patients to stay upbeat and positive during aggressive medical treatments. Many men and women with a chronic illness or unfavorable cancer prognosis, turn to Nia Dance or other forms of integrative therapies to help manage the stress and pain of treatments.