Pretty soon it’s our turn. We head into the studio and position ourselves around the room. I take a deep breath and relax, opening my body and soul to the energy of the room around me. Sunlight streams through the skylights above us and fills the room with brightness. Class hasn’t even started I’m already happy I dragged myself there.
There’s something spiritual about dance for me. I love the way my mind clears when I’m concentrating on remembering a combination, extending my body and keeping up with the rhythm of the music. In a city as busy and bustling as New York, it’s rare to find spaces of pure peace and tranquility and I feel lucky to have found one.
Nia’s calming voice talks us through the warm-up exercises, a mix of yoga, ballet, modern and pilates. We face each other in a circle, feeding off one another’s energy and tossing it back and forth between us. It’s an incredible feeling, being fully aware of my own body and those around me. We’re encouraged to let go, to release vocal sighs, and I happily oblige. It’s been a long week.
After thoroughly prepping our bodies for class we pull ourselves off the floor face the mirror and begin with simple exercises. As many modern dance teachers do, Nia uses a drum accompany our exercises. The simplicity and rawness of the beating reverberates in my core and seems to take over. Next come the cross-floor exercises, where we repeat combinations from one side of the room to the other. Our movements are large and exaggerated and yet controlled and precise.
We center ourselves on the floor again as a group and begin the final combination. This is my favorite part of class; I love expressing myself through the final combination, letting go of everything else in the world and just living in the moment. I push my body to the limit and it doesn’t let me down. I turn, jump, twist and sustain and I thrive with each new challenge. When we finish, an hour and a half has passed and we’re drenched in sweat. We end class with bows and applause for our teacher. I’m both exhausted and full of energy, ready to take on the world.