New niche: NIA movement center moves

“Make more time for exercise.” “Avoid stress.” “Try something new.”   
Resolutions like these tend to appear and reappear with stubborn regularity on many of our personal growth to-do lists each new year. But the resolve soon dissolves– a reality that only enhances the ennui of our times.
Why not just stop making resolutions? That’s certainly one option. But 2003 offers more positive health solutions, right here in Charlottesville.
Starting the year off with a holistic bang is Studio 206, the alternative body-mind-spirit movement center started by owner/director Chris Friedman in 1999. Back then, the studio staffed nine teachers and offered classes primarily in Nia (an innovative inspirational fitness program inspired by martial arts, dance, and healing arts), yoga, and the Alexander Technique at its original location. 
As word spread, the proverbial ball picked up speed, and one studio was no longer big enough to contain the exuberance.
“From the beginning, our goal has been to allow the community to grow organically and to expand in response to that growth,” says petite and powerfully peaceful Friedman. Apparently, her goal is finding the support– and the space– it needs  to continue thriving. 
Now with 36 instructors and 80 classes ranging from yoga (there’s literally a style for every age, shape, and flexibility range), capoeira, and Pilates to belly dance, Irish stepdance, and creative dance for toddlers and for teens, Studio 206 is opening a second location at 505 Monticello Road in the heart of Belmont. This new space above Mas, a soon-to-open tapas bar, has the same light-and-airy feel as the main studio with big windows, mountain views, and a sprung maple floor.
From January 11  until January 17, new students will have the chance to sample the studio’s ample offerings at both locations for free.
If you resolved to jump start 2003 in a fun and healthy way, the Saturday morning (10am-12pm) “Playshop” with new-fitness pioneer and Nia co-creator Carlos Rosas– who’s in town this week to train Nia instructors at Studio 206—would be a good place to start.
Rosas, who trained (and inspired) Chris Friedman, says attendees can expect an intensified Nia experience, complete with soul-searching music and lots of interaction and freedom of expression. About Charlottesville, which is the first Nia-center in Virginia, Rosas says, “There’s a feeling of cohesion here. People at Studio 206 are comfortable supporting and participating in new expression. I feel very creative here.”
Coming from the teacher’s teacher, that’s no small compliment.

All classes at both Studio 206 locations ( 206 Market Street and 505 Monticello Road) are free to new students during the week of January 11-17.  For the complete schedule, visit  www.studio206downtown.com or pick one up at the studio.
Nia co-creator Carlos Rosas leads a special two-hour Nia “Playshop” at the Omni Hotel Ballroom on Saturday, January 11 10am-12pm ($25). No prior Nia experience is necessary. To sign up or for more information, call the studio at 296-6250.

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