My mum and my grandmother both loved to dance, dancing was part of what we did growing up, as a teenager it became a refuge and a way to express my anxed and confusion, also an escape from having to talk to people & feeling awkward at parties. If I could get myself onto the dance floor I was at home - & I noticed that after dancing the talking came much easier.
Dancing was in the background of everything else I did, during my travelling time I learnt flamenco, when I went to Bristol University to study Psychology I learnt to Jive.
I came across the 5 Rhythms during a particularly tumultuous and difficult time in my life, if felt like I'd been thrown a life raft. I could process and integrate and understand what was going on in me, and dance at the same time. Not always easy but what a brilliant thing!
I fell in love with the dance.
With Susannah & Ya'Avov's expert tuition the love only deepened.
When I met Gabrielle Roth, the founder of the 5 Rhythms, she also became my teacher for many years.
I wasn't sure about teaching myself, I didn't have a great deal of self confidence, but I knew I wanted to keep learning and deepening in my dance. Through the 5 Rhythms I grew and got to know myself better. At the same time I was exploring different kinds of therapy and healing practices.
Around this time I also met another teacher Suprapto Suryodamo. Working with him in Devon & particularly the movement work we did outside in wild & sacred places had a huge impact on me. Bringing together movement & connecting with nature was a perfect match. His kind, insightful & sometimes off the wall antics were a refreshing tonic to my soul.
I met my friend Karen Melton in Bristol, on the dance floor and she introduced me to Pre & Perinatal Psychology which opened me to a whole world of experiential understanding regarding embodiment & why it is that we can find ourselves repeating unhelpful patterns. It is only in the last few years that I finally trained to offer this amazing work.
I was also exploring sacred sexuality & healing through a variety of Tantra teachers, and completed various trainings. Working with sexuality felt like an important theme, at that time so many trainings ignored sexuality as they did the early imprints work.
Having trained with Gabrielle Roth I immersed myself in teaching her work, though I always integrated all the other training I was receiving into what I offered. During this time I also met the father of my son...on the dance floor, of course! And danced my way into our marriage life together, birth of my son and time together before dancing my way through a very painful divorce and time as a single parent.
After years of teaching I began to feel something else was missing...it was a certain quality of embodiment and a slower pace that was hard to settle into in the 5 Rhythms. I often spoke with Gabrielle about this and she fully supported my explorations and was excited when I began an MA in Dance, Somatic Movement & Well-being.
This MA changed everything for me. I loved using my brain again in an academic way. There was a culture of self-care & personal enquiry that is extremely nourishing. We experienced an explored may different movement orientated bodies of work. I deepened in my practice of Authentic Movement, experienced Emily Conrads Continuum Movement for the first time, and revisited Anna Halprin's work and there was an expectation that we could and would evolve our own ways of working with movement.
I brought all I learned here into my work and continue to offer many different ways onto movement and embodiment.
As my son got older and more independent I could feel space opening up for me and after I completed Ray Castellino's four year Early Imprint training, it finally seemed time at last to reconnect with my love of horses. I had been helping out as a volunteer at friend's stables locally on a regular basis. Among other activities, they offered riding for young people with autism. Dawn Oakley-Smith is an unusual horsewoman in that she works with horses in a healing way. She teaches on one of the top UK courses that trains people in working therapeutically with people with the help of horses, she sees the soul connection in all things.
It was a natural step, although it took a while, for us to start exploring 'Dancing with Horses' and now we offer this beautiful, transformational work at least once a year. I now care for 2 of my own horses & a good chunck of my day is taken up with their basic care. I find them a wonderful antidote to being on-line, to being inside too much and to being too human centric. Right now horses are my most constant teachers, I have so much to learn!
The dance goes on along side my movement practice I have a pretty steady yoga practice. Recently with a small group of women I bought a small piece of land and my passion has become wilding it and planting trees on it.