Fast Clock: This is similar to the Slow Clock, but this time you’ll be stepping from one number to the other, combining two or more numbers before returning to the center. Begin by marching in place in the center of an imaginary clock on the floor. Maintain a rhythmic pace, and on 1, step to the front with your left foot, landing on 12:00; then with your left foot, step over the center of your clock and onto 6:00, as if stepping over a puddle; then with your left foot, step over the center of your clock and out onto 9:00; the step back to the center of your clock. Now change sides, leading with your right foot, stepping to 12:00, 6:00, and 3:00. Sound 12:00, 6:00, 3:00, center as you move. Alternate sides. (From The Nia Technique Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas).
It is week 23 of my 52 week challenge, and for those of you playing with me, our move for this week shall be Fast Clock. The goal for the week is to incorporate this move into our daily routines. We will use the three planes of movement, high, middle, and low, and the three levels of intensity to gain insight into our relationship with this move. Allowing sensation to be our guide, we will seek comfort as we play with agility, mobility, flexibility, stability, and strength. At the end of the week report back on your experiences with this movement or journal about your experiences. Have fun!
Last week I played with Slow Clock. Slow Clock is a move that I absolutely loved as a student even though I struggled initially with the footwork. It was always my favorite move to energize. I liked covering a lot of ground, and when I add a Cha-Cha-Cha to change the leading foot, I enjoyed adding a little hop. It is a move that allowed me to connect to the Joy of Movement reliably. Little tweaks to Slow Clock kept the move fresh and alive. So, I am sure you can imagine how excited I was to dive deeper into my relationship with Slow Clock over the last week.
I began my week by “walking” my Slow Clock around the house. I played with high, middle, and low planes, and I played with speed. When I stepped to 12:00, I would dip my hands into imaginary pools of water, and at 6:00 I would shake the water from my hands as I held them over my head. Sometimes I would add an arm circle at 12:00 and reach into the clouds and sink to my lowest plane at 6:00. Other times I just “walked” my slow clock as though I were in a trance or stuck on some imaginary moving sidewalk that abruptly ended at the window.
I played music that was both fast and slow and danced my Slow Clock to the music. What I discovered is that when I slowed things down, I had a much greater awareness of the combination of movements that form Slow Clock. I was no longer stepping to 12:00; I was heel leading to 12:00. I was stepping back onto the ball of my foot at 6:00. While I did already understand that these moves that we covered weeks and weeks ago in the challenge were combined to make up the Slow Clock, the slower movement brought a different awareness to my experience of Slow Clock. I wasn’t just waiting for the little hop at the Cha-Cha-Cha that I enjoy so much; I was enjoying the playfulness that slow movement allowed. I sensed agility as I changed directions moving towards and away from the center of my clock. I sensed stability and mobility in my ankles, knees, and hips. As I sank to my low plane, I sensed strength in my legs. When I reached for the clouds, I sensed flexibility. The lesson that I learned and keep learning on this 52 week journey is that slowing things down always changes how I experience and view a movement. I will always love to energize this move, but I have a new-found appreciation for a slow Slow Clock.
I have been incorporating my weekly focus into my teaching, and this week was no different. I found songs that worked for Slow Clock, and we danced them in class. My favorite variation was the addition of Toes In, Out, Parallel. At 12:00 we turned our toes in, as we marched through the center of our clocks, we had parallel toes, and at 6:00 we turned our toes out. It added a little spice to the movement for me, and hopefully for my students and fellow dancers as well.
So far in this challenge, I have played with: Closed Stance, Open Stance, A Stance, Sumo Stance, Bow Stance, Cat Stance, Heel Lead, Ball of the Foot, Whole Foot, Relevé, Rock Around the Clock, Squish Walk, Duck Walk, Toes In/Out/Parallel, Sink and Pivot Table Wipe, Stepping Back onto the Ball of your Foot, Cross Front, Cross Behind, Traveling in Directions, Lateral Traveling, Cha-Cha-Cha, Slow Clock, and now Fast Clock. Next week we move on to kicks. Yay!
One last note: It was an exciting week for me. I signed up for my next Nia training and next step in my personal and professional development; The Nia 52 Moves training in Portland this June. I had been contemplating waiting for some mythical future date to arrive when I felt like I would be ready to take this on; presumably some future time in which I would not be over committed in my life and would have piles of money sitting around that I had to labor to spend. I know that day might never arrive, and I just felt the urge to plunge into the deep water and see what happens. I am beyond excited about this training, and I hope that it makes my future blog posts about this 52 week challenge more interesting and insightful.