BIO: HEALING ARTIST
Healer, heal thyself." My story and studies began as a “wounded healer” whose professional studies, training, and experience have required self-healing from trauma and mental illness while teaching others from that experience.
Self-love, self-healing, spiritual practice, holistic lifestyle, and creative expression have been foundations of my toolbox for recovery.
My original vision began in 1997 and over the years, I've developed my approach offering dance as a healing art, movement/fitness/core rehabilitation, breathwork, and bodywork to support (primarily) women of all ages to heal themselves and their centers (trauma, abuse, core and pelvic dysfunctions, low back & hip pain, scar tissue, and digestive issues) in the divine feminine way. We incorporate these healing elements into my dance sessions, classes, workshops, and interactive performance.
I've been through twists and turns with my recovery journey, falling and getting back up again many times. But I continued with my work, studies, and advocacy work including public speaking, teaching workshops, and conscious dance performance.
My commitment as a wellness practitioner, conscious performer, and choreographer is to model and embody this healing with the intention to support and encourage others in their recovery.
My personal healing journey began in earnest at 23-years-old. I sought help from holistic practitioners and then a spiritual guide to heal my own trauma (spiritually and physically), a dysfunctional relationship, and serious emotional and low back pain.
At 27, I began professional studies. At 28, I started performing bellydance and teaching it as a healing art for women. My studies include Integrated Internal Organ Massage, a Chinese Taoist healing art and “Unwinding the Belly” with Allison Post: belly massage, breath and energy work. Corrective exercise/Core & Diastasis Consultant certifications with James Goodlatte of Miami, FL and Thai Yoga massage are some more skills I added.
Step by step, I have come full circle with my recovery and approach to support my original vision. Never give up!
"Healer, Heal Thyself": Read more about my own mental health recovery journey and work as a trauma recovery advocate.
I do not claim to do the healing; Creator does the healing through me. My job is to be a clear channel for this loving, powerful force and allow people their own healing and growth process. I am there to “hold sacred space” for each person’s own unfolding. I believe in magic and the infinite power of love.
I was born to dance; it has always been my “lifeline” along with my love for Mother Earth. I saw my first bellydancer as a little girl and was completely mesmerized (I also loved the food!). The experience planted the seed for a lifetime passion for the mysterious, mystical power of bellydance and all healthy, natural feminine movement and energy.
Are you a dancer spirit on a healing path?
Born in 1968, I'm a child of the 1970’s and still a free spirit. I was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, a vibrant and prominent “cradle of jazz”. My father was a jazz musician and Latin dance instructor in the 50's and 60's and both of my parents were avid, unbridled dancers and artists. We also celebrated our ancient Celtic roots and danced freely celebrating with Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon.
I loved to dance to rock, funk, and disco and always naturally danced and moved from my hips. Like so many U.S. Americans and people throughout the world, my relationship to dance was deeply influenced by the creative brilliance of African-American culture.
I never thought I'd want to study ballet. I hated it as a little girl for many reasons. It felt unnatural (again, I was born to dance with my hips), my little body was stiff from holding sexual abuse trauma, no instructor supported or encouraged me, and, even then, my body type didn't fit the accepted image of a thin body and legs with straight lines. Then our community center offered a class for "creative free dance" where we danced in circles and ran around with scarves moving with joy and imagination. THIS was my class!
Dancing at parties as a teenager in the 1980's and then clubs in the '90's, the Latin dance forms of salsa, merengue, and Mexican cumbia blew me away with joy and opened another amazing and organic door of freedom through hip movement and rhythm.
I didn't seriously take dance classes until my 20's. It was then that cabaret bellydance gave me a gentle re-introduction to balletic influences. Ultimately, it was the kind, unwavering support of my spiritual teacher in the 1990's and that embrace of bellydance in my 20’s that gave me the confidence to call myself a “dancer” and the dance vocabulary and style to help me find my voice as a performer and dance instructor. It allowed me to heal as a woman and feel my strength.
Eventually my body wanted to do modern dance which was a great complement to my taste for avant-garde creative expression as well as strength training/functional fitness movement. I am always exploring creative movement and love fusion. Anything can become a dance; I turn strength training moves into dance movement and have taught classes with this fun and healing fusion.
My deep passion is to go out in nature to dance and pray. I often dance as I walk because it makes me happy and helps to reduce stress and regulate my mood. I find places in nature and city parks to practice and choreograph; my “studio time". This is the foundation for my dance therapy practice.
I love to experiment with movement and exploring my inner world and personal healing process which have become choreography for performance at mental health conferences, healing centers and events. Hours can go by like minutes and it feels like there’s never enough time to drink from this well of creative expression.
It was a blessing to study with bellydance teachers Kathryn Ferguson in Tucson, AZ and then teachers Emma Holder, Joie Grandbois, and Rosa Noreen in Portland, Maine. I pursued a long-buried fascination and intuitive connection with modern dance with Jessica Lockhart in Portland as an added layer to the fusion of styles that feel so natural to me. I also had the honor there of studying and performing “Entertainment Hula” and other Polynesian dances with Victoria Boucher who shares her Samoan family tradition.
I seek to live within and explore vibrant and dynamic communities brimming with creativity among fascinating individuals and collectives. I would like to see society: the streets and buildings, sidewalks, parks, mountains, and beaches lined with people dancing and living in harmony, joy, love, and freedom.