Valerie Sanchez dances with change. On a two-year trip around the world, she learned to embrace opinions, customs, and the way other cultures interact with movement, music, and community. Her main push for traveling was to broaden her horizons as a newly minted Nia fusion fitness instructor.
She had heard Nia was a global initiative and wanted to connect with the different teachers, practices, and classrooms worldwide.
Sanchez says the trip forever altered her relationship with material goods and money, waging war on her “gypsy soul versus her business side,” as she had left the corporate sector to traverse countries like the Japan, the Czech Republic, Australia, and Malaysia. After landing back in Tallahassee, she discovered a way she could merge these distinct aspects of her life.
Her workshop, “A Gateway to Change,” at the Capital Regional Medical Center on Tuesday June 26, shows how Nia with the arts can provide stress management tools for everyday life.
“I wanted to find that bridge between professional Valerie and free spirited Valerie, and that’s how Groove and Wellness was created,” says Sanchez.
“It involves the movement, the interconnectedness of wellness and how traveling can contribute to your growth as a person. It is still taking shape, but the essence is transformation and giving people tools to cope with things they’re going through personally and professionally.”
Sanchez was first bitten by the travel bug a few years prior. Seeking a change of pace, she took a one-way flight to Honolulu, Hawaii, to work for a startup media and creative publishing company and discovered Nia not long after. Sanchez explains that Nia dates back to 1983, making it one of the first forms of fusion fitness as it draws from three areas: martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts. She first witnessed a class during a press preview on the island.
The demo lasted 15 minutes and afterwards she was given free class passes. Although Sanchez had found Nia to be a little “wild and weird,” she decided to try out a session. She hoped for 50 people to hide behind, but when she arrived she ended up being the only student in class. Halfway through she was hooked and once her free passes ran out Sanchez signed up for work exchange to clean the studio every morning in order to take class.
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