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NIA Dance: So geht es!

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 213 views

Head out, music on, let’s go: The trend sport NIA combines relaxation and martial arts exercises with rhythmic sounds. With its mix of yoga, taekwondo, tai chi and modern dance, the varied training method strengthens nerves and muscles – without any drill. Read more about it here.

What is NIA dance?

Anything but ordinary: NIA is one of the most popular fitness trends from the USA. Translated, the abbreviation NIA stands for “Neuromuscular Integrative Action”. This means that the exercises strengthen both nerves and muscles.

Relaxation techniques and martial arts are used in an NIA class. This creates an effective combination for reducing stress and aggression. NIA strengthens the soul and body awareness and is easy on the joints. Anyone can take part – from beginners to trained athletes.

The trend sport consists of 52 different movements that the participants can perform at three different levels of difficulty and barefoot. These movements are called the NIA alphabet. Each participant can choose the intensity of the training themselves.

NIA: a holistic fitness program

A holistic fitness program

Strength, balance and beauty: NIA is a holistic fitness program, a so-called fusion fitness. It was developed by aerobics trainer Debbie and Carlos Rosas, a former tennis pro and fitness trainer. In the 1980s, they wanted to create a workout that involved all body regions and muscle groups, was drill-free and didn’t put any strain on the body. It was the beginning of NIA.

The basis of NIA is a combination of Western and Far Eastern sports. Among other things, the holistic program combines these elements:

  • the stillness and focus of tai chi
  • the dynamics of yoga
  • the explosive power of martial arts like taekwondo
  • Dance elements, for example from jazz dance, modern dance or ballet

Kicks and relaxation: This is how NIA works

Sometimes fast, sometimes slow and always barefoot: At NIA, different techniques alternate. Soft dance moves follow powerful sequences. Freestyle is also allowed. In addition, conscious breathing, exclamations like “Yeah” and powerful screams are part of the holistic training method.

The special thing about it is that the trainer only gives the participants suggestions, they can let their body feelings run free. The solid basis in every NIA fitness program are summarized these three elements:


Music and rhythm play a big role in NIA. The participants dance to a mixture of pop, electro, new age and ethno. Jazz dance elements add lightness. Movement sequences from modern dance create contrasts. Elements from ballet and aerobics can also be found in an NIA lesson.

martial arts

Kicks and punches: NIA exercises are based on Taekwondo exercises. These powerful movements help release aggression and anger. There are also harmonizing movements from Aikido and slow Tai Chi movements that harmonize soul and body.

relaxation techniques

Various elements from yoga promote inner balance and stretch tense muscles. This allows the participants to relax.

52 basic movements – the NIA alphabet

The NIA fitness program consists of 52 basic movements. They are referred to as the NIA alphabet. They include, among others:

  • turns
  • Kicks
  • Punches

Depending on whether the movements are performed according to the powerful Taekwondo or the gentle Tai Chi principle, for example, they have a different effect. The participants can choose how they implement the exercises, thereby contributing creativity and setting their own limits.

This is how NIA works

The NIA effects are versatile. The participants can explore and get to know their own body through the fitness program. This increases their awareness of themselves and of what is good for them – and what is not. Another positive effect is that NIA improves posture. Other effects are:

  • Body and soul come into harmony
  • more strength and mobility
  • Cardiovascular training
  • better coordination of the two halves of the body
  • balance and relaxation

Who is NIA suitable for?

There are no restrictions. NIA is basically suitable for everyone who wants to exercise, regardless of age and condition. Everyone does an exercise as long as they can and feel comfortable. NIA is therefore well suited for anyone who has difficulties overcoming themselves to exercise. Pregnant women and children can also participate.

Where are NIA courses available?

If you are interested in NIA and would like to try it out, you will find courses in numerous fitness studios. In addition, various yoga studios and adult education centers offer the holistic program. If you want to test NIA on holiday, you will now find special offers that combine wellness and the multifaceted fitness program.

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