Mine is a story of the "wounded healer" whose training and experience also includes the necessity of self-healing. I grew up in an artistic, affectionate family but there was addiction and mental illness and I experienced trauma and abuse. So in my 20’s back in the 1990’s, I sought help from a spiritual guide and holistic practitioners to heal the trauma spiritually and physically, though all I knew was that I was in serious emotional and physical (low back) pain.
I was introduced to the power of spiritual healing/self-love/self-care, and the modalities of massage therapy, acupuncture, and Chinese herbs. Thus began my studies...
During that blossoming in my process, at 28-years-old, I started performing bellydance and teaching it as a healing art for women. I was also studying Chi Nei Tsang (aka CNT or Integrated Internal Organ Massage), the Chinese Taoist healing art which includes belly massage, breath and energy work. I worked with family and friends helping them heal trauma, scar tissue, and digestive issues. This was the foundation of my vision of dance as a healing art and bodywork to support women to heal themselves and their centers.
I continued to dance but also got licensed as a massage therapist, studying and practicing an eclectic blend of styles, certified in functional fitness/personal training (NASM), pre/postnatal corrective exercise and core & diastasis consultant (Fit For Birth). I combined all of this and taught group fitness and dance classes with women of all ages.
In Miami, Florida, I collaborated with the incredible birthing and women’s health community there. I also worked with the non-profit Trauma Resolution Center, a holistic mental health community center. I had the amazing experience of providing the full spectrum of my bilingual (English-Spanish) services (dance, yoga, breathwork, fitness, massage, self-massage instruction) through workshops, classes, and private sessions for staff and people from all over the world who were healing from trauma. Then I had my own studio in Portland, Maine for 3 years.
I continued to dance and explore the styles that I loved like bellydance, Latin movement, modern and create my own fusionist style. I offered dance-infused personal training and maintained my dance practice as meditation and prayer, as well as conditioning and performance.
"Healer, Heal Thyself": All along, I was dealing with bouts of mental illness and layers of trauma. I continued to study and heal on deeper levels and became a mental health advocate in my 40's.
I relocated to Southern California at 51-years-old. After coming to the other side of mental illness and being grounded in my recovery for several years, I was ready to fully return to my first and true love, dance as a healing art, to claim it as the center point of my work and mission. I could now realize my original vision but now with all of my years of interdisciplinary study and practice as a background.
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. It is deeply fulfilling.
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.
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.