Nia White Belt Training with Ken Gilbert
It takes a unique man, one who is loving, strong, sensitive and powerful, to stand in a circle of women. Ken is that man – our first male Nia trainer (besides the now-retired Carlos AyaRosas). He works to inspire, educate and motivate everyone to become healthier; more integrated and balanced in their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lives.
I met Ken at an IDEA fitness convention. On his back was the phrase, “Slightly askew players.” I knew immediately I liked this man. He was like me, an artist.
In addition to being an artist, Ken is an actor, dancer and performer. His most recent work has even included the trapeze. I’ve loved working with him over the years, watching him grow, gain confidence, and integrate who he is into Nia. He makes Nia better. Ask the people who produce Ken’s White Belt Trainings and they’ll tell you he is fantastic.
It is with great pride and gratitude I celebrate Ken, as he now stands, holding the space for “the men of Nia.” Thank you Ken, for your grace, tenderness, support, love and compassion. It is an honor to work with you. I hope that all Nia teachers have the opportunity to be in your presence.”
By: Debbie Rosas | May 13, 2011
“I completed my White Belt training in July 2011 with Ken Gilbert. It is quite challenging to describe to others what the Nia White Belt training is like, what to expect. It is dance, it is being in my body, but it is so very much more than that.
There were a couple of phrases that Ken used at the start that struck me and certainly were fulfilled by the end of the week. “Welcome Home”. “Stepping in to my Greatness”.
I had danced Nia nearly two years before attending the White Belt and when Ken used the phrase “Welcome Home”, I instantly thought yes that is the feeling when I dance Nia – I am home, this is where I belong, it feels so right.
The White Belt for me was a big part of my journey of becoming my authentic self. “Stepping in to my Greatness” via Nia!
There was laughter and sharing and reflection and learning. I thoroughly enjoyed the act of learning – I had never enjoyed learning to this extent before. Connecting to my body, learning to recognise and name sensations, connecting that to life, others and the outside world – “Dancing through Life”.
For me, the next step in my Nia journey is to share (teach) Nia to others. To be able to share a little of my experience and myself in this way.
It is a week that I will always remember!”
Liz Rout, Christchurch, March 2012
“White Belt July 2011, I thought I might be stepping into a puddle of knowledge, but instead found myself at the edge of a warm, deep ocean of sensation, emotion, exploration and discovery of self. It was challenging, confronting, nurturing and exhilarating.
Ken Gilbert brings a depth of life experience, a calm probing and enormous presence and energy to the White Belt. His ability to gather a room of dancers up into the energy of his master classes, where there is a papable cohesiveness, swept along on a journey of discovery and stepping out into the world afterwards in wonderment, spills over into his White Belt training.
The opportunity to be on retreat at KP was also profoundly beneficial. To be removed from the distraction of everyday life, to have time to get to know more of the fellow participants and build that rapport as a group was very valuable. If you live in Auckland or nearby and decide to do the White Belt, seriously consider the residential stay at KP as being an important part of the experience.
It took me three years of attending nia classes before finally being in the position to do the White Belt. I have received enormous benefits from having had this experience . It has enriched all aspects of my life.”
Clare, Christchurch, March 2012
“Since training the Nia White Belt Intensive my life has more depth: in all directions, all dimensions.”
Helene Purcell, Christchurch. WB Sydney 2007. Trainer: Ken Gilbert
“When I first discovered Nia, I thought it would be just another form of dance and movement, with maybe a little something extra. However, I knew from only my first class that there was a distinct difference to the other dance classes I had attended in the past. After a few more classes, I began to feel what that “something extra” was. Each week, I would hear my teacher, Helene say, ”Feel the sensation in your feet, feel the sensation in your elbows.” Gradually, I began to actually sense all those parts of my body and finally understand what she meant all those weeks before.
During Helene’s classes, she would share with us various elements of the 13 Nia Principles by setting the class focus. Also, she would often share her experience during the White Belt Intensive as well. I soon became very interested in learning more about Nia and what exactly it meant to commit and participate in the White Belt Intensive. This is when things began to change for me.
I was extremely lucky to have chosen Helene as my Nia teacher, because with her committed communication with Nia White Belt trainer, Ken Gilbert, preparations soon began to formulate for another White Belt Intensive that would be held here in Christchurch, New Zealand. Before I knew it, plans were falling beautifully into place and I was first off the block to get registered.
For me, the White Belt Intensive was a life-changing experience. It was mostly what I had anticipated, yet the outcome was so much more. Nia has helped me bring awareness to my body and go beyond just the surface of my life; it has allowed me to explore my true self whilst integrating my life-long passion for dance. I am now dancing for me and MY body, rather than dancing for anyone else. For so long, my body, mind, and spirit were screaming out for change. Both Nia and the discipline of the White Belt are helping me to explore those changes.
Now, as a Nia White Belt graduate and licensed Nia teacher, I have no doubt my life’s journey will take me to places I never imaged going. I would like to say a very special thank you to Helene Purcell and Ken Gilbert for their incredible inspiration and sharing not only a wonderful form of dance and movement, but a life practice I will take with me always.”
Stephanie DeMay, 11/10/09
“I have been very fortunate to participate in the 7 day Nia whitebelt intensive in Christchurch with trainer Ken Gilbert. My intentions of what I wanted to receive from the course were more for my own personal growth rather than to be a teacher. I wanted to explore more of who I am and find more of my strength, I also had an urge to bust out of my limitations and tendencies that hold me back in life. I also felt excited about the Nia practice of living life as meditation; learning to be present in movement and daily living. The course gave me all this and so so much more as well.
The 7 days were full of learning, growing, challenges, sharings, tears and healing!! I found the pleasure of listening to my body; being present with the sensations in the body and how this can be lived moment by moment in life. I found the absolute joy in movement and my love of dancing became so much more full with a deeper awareness.
Our trainer Ken has such a commitment to his own practice and therefore shares his experience with a lot of compassion, realness and integrity. I feel very grateful to have had this experience, I also feel excited about the community that is unfolding around Nia in New Zealand.
The Nia whitebelt training is a wonderful and life changing experience I can whole heartedly recommend!”
Samantha Tran, 6/10/09
“The Nia dance has brought back an innocence … the joy from moving and going with the music only remembered as a child. The dance like no one is watching. With that has come the motivation to become lithe and flexible again after many years of being “off” exercise as such. It’s holistic approach better suits my current approach to and stage of life, and the connectedness it brings through dancing with other women in a non competitive, heartfelt, embracing environment can only be described as pure soul. For women who feel they are losing their sense of natural timing due to being in a world where busy is “in”, I recommend coming back home to your natural way through Nia. It has reconnected me with music, nature and above all JOY.
Many thanks to the Nia Team.”
“I DANCE Nia because it powerfully connects me with Source benevolence, both spiritually and physically..And as an aging arthritic, Nia is accessible, adaptable and affirmative of the Body’s Wisest Way..
I STUDY Nia because its lifestyle philosophy and practice challenge the relentlessly imbalanced parts of me to come back to centre – and realign with all that is healing and potentialising, in both myself and others..In times of adversity or in the wake of Life’s “throwings and unknowings”, Nia has been a saving grace as both an anchor and an outlet – but most importantly, a teacher of somatic wisdom.
The foundation of these learnings and the opportunity to experientially engage with the depths and breadths of the Nia Way, began for me with taking the first level of training offered universally – the White Belt Intensive. A WORLD of inner and outer Unfoldings have transpired for me since – strengthened by the leeway in the Nia education process to revisit any Belt undertaken at any time for no cost. I am convinced Nia manifests a unique Life study path, multi-dimensional and multi-facetted, and which now addresses every fibre of my being. The White Belt both lies at the entry of that path and permamently ramificates into the healing and creative journey ensuing.”