Five Years of Nia in Helena Benefits Truth in Progress

Two Helena groups join forces to experience Nia for Freedom and Justice at the Dancing Lotus Center on November 6th and 20th, raising both awareness and money for the important work of Truth in Progress.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

9-11 a.m. Nia Jam: cost is $15, led by Helena and other Montana Nia instructors.

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nia Youth Jam: ages 11-18, cost is $5, led by Helena Nia instructors.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

9-11 a.m. Nia Jam: cost is $15, led by Helena and other Montana Nia instructors.

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nia Jam for Moms, Dads, and Kids (for children ages 6-10), cost is $15 for child/parent pair, led by Helena Nia instructors.

Writer and lesbian/gay rights activist Marilyn Bennett and black activist, minister, and writer Rev. Gil Caldwell launched Truth in Progress in January of this year, a nationwide multimedia project based out of Helena. They focus on promoting cross-cultural understanding around issues of race, sexual orientation, and religion.

“There is often a division around issues of sexual orientation, especially when religion is thrown into the mix,” Bennett, director/producer of Truth in Progress and Helena Nia instructor said. “We saw that polarization in the recent controversy with the health education curriculum. We can get past division when we can stop and truly listen to one another, find some common ground of experience, and unwrap the ‘issues’ to find the people inside.”

Both Truth in Progress and Nia believe in reaching out to the Helena community in particular even though their outreach is nationwide. Helena has the unique potential to be a platform for this movement, which combines our awareness of racial and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) tensions with those of our body. According to Kathryn Kelly, psychotherapist and co-owner of Dancing Lotus Center, the Nia technique, which draws on dance, martial, and healing arts, is a way of moving the body/mind/spirit/emotions in a healing, life-giving way. It is an energetic, cultural dance and movement that changes the way people feel about themselves.

She goes on to say, “As a psychotherapist in private practice for many years, I have repeatedly seen the damage that intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination does to LGBT people and their families. Many people are finding a fun way to find healing and exercise through Nia, and it’s a natural fit with Truth in Progress and its aim to bring understanding and wholeness to individuals and communities.”

The Dancing Lotus Center opened in May 2007 and one month later had already become a regional training hub for advanced Nia training. Twenty people from all over the country have come to Helena for the White Belt certification, the first of five levels. Nine of those people are from Helena.

"Nia is a great gift that continues to surprise me. With Nia I've improved my strength and flexibility and found relief for some chronic pain. It’s a great workout but there are so many other ways a Nia class helps. It gives me a chance to be playful and creative. It helps me find focus and balance. And it can re-set my day," says Bruce Day, recent White Belt graduate.

For Gloria Hermanson, cancer survivor and recent Blue Belt graduate, Nia is grounding experience, “Following breast cancer surgery and chemo I was desperate to get my life back to some level of healthy functioning. A flyer in my physical therapist’s office led me to Nia. That was almost 3 yrs ago and I’m still there. Nia didn’t just give me my life back, it gave me a new one!”

Dancing Lotus Center offers multi-level yoga classes, the Nia Technique, massage therapy, and integrative psychotherapy all with licensed teachers and certified therapists. It is located at 40 N. Last Chance Gulch. Its website is More information is available about Truth in Progress at

Contact: Marilyn Bennett (406) 459-4142 or Kathryn Kelley (406) 461-5412