SYJ: Why have you brought the world the practice of The Nia Technique and built an international dance and wellness modality? What first possessed you to do so?
Debbie: Jump aerobics mobilized millions of Americans. We were part of the mobilization. It was great, but it was just a beginning. As years skipped by, we grew restless for something more than tedious donkey kicks and leg lifts. Bouncing through a spine-rattling hour made less and less sense. Most jump aerobic movements that weren’t injurious simply weren’t efficient, which meant we were putting in a good deal of grunt-and-groan effort for disproportionate paybacks. The cardiovascular conditioning was invaluable, but there had to be a better way to care for and refine the whole body – one that would caress the soul and stimulate the mind while sculpting the body.
I was already into mind-body fitness and due to a sports-related injury, I went to practice with a martial artist. He asked me to take my shoes off and for the first time I sensed my feet on the ground. I was forever changed. Nia is not considered a dance company. Nia is a cardio-dance workout, a movement practice, and lifestyle based on the intelligent design of the body.
SYJ: What is your number one goal when you offer your teacher training?
Debbie: To have the teacher understand they need to address their body first, then teach others.
SYJ: What do you hope to bring to the lives of the dancers?
Debbie: I hope to inspire people to love their body, love life, and develop a relationship with their body that adds meaning and pleasure to living in their body.