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I am a Seeker and will be a perpetual student of life.  I learn from each dance, interpersonal experience, reading, workshops & trainings, struggles, watching the natural world, diving deep within.   Below I give credit and gratitude to some of my biggest inspirations and teachers.  As you read (if you do:), you may gather that most of my teachers and guidance come from practice, direct experience and making space for inner work, of various kinds.  Thus, I suppose the first gratitude goes to me, for showing up, working hard, striving to do my absolute best, seeking the highest good, feeling all the challenging waves, following my bliss, exploring the shadows, listening to the calls, taking unpredictable & unprecedented turns, standing up for myself, entering partnerships, ending partnerships, continuing to stretch my heart.

Hooping

Without a doubt, my practice with this tool, this symbol has offered me many lessons about myself, life, flow, rhythm, physics, relationship & ecstasy.  She was my first portal to embodied bliss.  The hoop taught me to experience and embrace sensual pleasure for and by myself.  She showed me how to love the feeling of being in my body even more than the outward formal expression.   She’s continued to take me into new challenges, opportunities for more learning.  Dropping the hoop has taught me as much as finding deep, uninterrupted flow.

The Dance-floor

A life-long practice, dance has offered me a range of insight into emotional expression and release, waves of energy and group dynamics.  Dance has offered me therapy, since I was a child.  When I was young and alone, I found a sanctuary in music & movement.  In communal dance experiences, I’ve learned to find & communicate boundaries with my body, trust my body, trust the body of another.  The dance-floor has taught me to support and be supported, to care and be cared for, to hold and be held.  She’s taught me about community and group healing.  She’s revealed to me  and helped me express rage, grief, bliss & joy.  The more I let the darker emotions be felt, the greater access I have to the more joyful ones.  Her lessons and metaphors for life are many.

Muses & Guides

When my hoop practice was at its peak, I regularly saw a hoop muse who danced new, unfolding patterns in my mind’s eye.  She is my greatest movement inspiration.  My guides now come in many forms now, in dreams, in visions, in words, in emotions & sensations.  They guide me in many areas of life.   I’m learning to listen more deeply.  As I welcome the wisdom from the unseen realms, the felt sensations of my body, the emotional messengers, I receive important messages for healing, inspiration, growth, boundaries, decisions, inspirations and my Soul’s deeper purpose.

Life, mistakes, wounds & grief

Life’s teachers are always profoundly transformative and abundant.  Pain is, unfortunately, a potent, effective teacher.  As everyone, I have experienced a lot of pain in my family of origin, divorce, being human.  These experiences have offered me brutal yet important access to my soul, my calling, compassion and deep love.  As I open to a bigger understanding of ‘me’, I feel deeper pains, of my ancestors, of the Earth.  These stories, ancestral wounds, collective feelings are teaching me about the importance of grieving.  Deep ritualized grieving has offered me accessed to a transpersonal grief, rage, gratitude and forgiveness.

Improvisation

I have been expressing with my body in movement as long as I can remember, well before dance classes.  I’ve studied a little of many styles of dance and feel most at home in the improvisational realm, where I’m moving freshly into each new moment.  This path opens us to what is present, right now, fresh relationship, direct experience.  Even in choreography, there is space for improvisation and connection with something greater, a creative channeling.

Therapy

For several years, I’ve been committed to one-on-one, somatic based therapy.  This practice and guidance has taught me to track sensation, open to imagery, feel where energy is being lost, uncover memories of my blood and dialogue with the messengers of emotion.  Practicing these skills with the support of another has helped me to do this on my own, for myself.

Plant Medicines

Ancient allies, plants have helped me come home to my senses and expand my perception of reality.  As a source of fundamental nourishment to deep, transformational journeys, I am ever grateful and humble to your gifts.

Ancestors & Ancestral Medicine

I am currently immersed in a study of Earth honoring cultures, Ritual and Ancestral Medicine with Dr Daniel Foor.  This path of ancestral work has been deeply healing and illuminating for me.  Bow of gratitude to what I am learning from him about how to connect with wise & loving ancestors.  Then, the wisdom I’m recovering directly from these Ancestors is near astonishing given our cultural inheritance of disconnection here.  I feel passionate about living in relationship with my ancestral allies and continuing to honor and learn from them.  I will be deeply immersed in this study for the next year so that I can guide others in this work, one-on-one and in small groups.

Academic Studies

I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies at UNC-Greensboro in 1999.  This program was deeply influential for me.  My professors were incredibly supportive, taught me to read critically and write.  I’m forever grateful for the small program and the unique group of instructors that were there when I was a student.  Special thanks to Ben Ramsey, Jon Sopper, Derek Krueger, Charlie Orzech & Henry Levinson.

Since then, I have continued to take workshops & trainings, reading and Seeking in a less formal, but impactful way.

Susan Harper

After years of hearing of the brilliance of this woman, I finally received her medicine at the perfect time.  I am forever changed and deeply inspired.  I continue to dive into ritual, somatic studies, elemental work, continuum and group facilitation from her whenever possible.

Continuum & Rebecca Lawson

Friend, student, teacher and general beautiful being, Rebecca Lawson continues to inspire and lead me into the depths with continuum.  More than anyone I know, she lives as she teaches, in deep inquiry, kindness & non-judgment.  I bow to the work she has done in our local community as an elder in the Dance & Somatic realms.  I am currently in a lengthy study group with Rebecca and hope to continue deepening into this lineage of wisdom.

BMC & Authentic Movement with Janice Geller

Movement and somatic genius, Janice Geller is another gem in our local area.  I am currently studying Authentic Movement & BodyMindCentering in an immersion with Janice and have found a deeper connection to my organs as well as the power of gesture to allow access to states of consciousness.

Contact Improvisation

This practice has opened me up to trust others and the dynamic improvisational flow with another human being. Exploring contact with another body, rather than an object, has brought me to many edges and softened me in important ways.   I am thankful to John Bainbridge, Toni Craige, Adam Dipert & all those in my dance tribe who have explored with me in this way of play.

Partner Acrobatics / Acro Yoga

Since 2011, I have been in regular partner acrobatics practice with my now dear friend Liz Bliss and have learned a great deal with Kaci Torres & Katie Bouterse.  This practice has grounded & strengthened my body while giving me more opportunity to trust myself & others and to fall well.  This trust has transcended practice and helped to decrease my fear in life.  The practice has opened up positive touch, communication & problem solving.

Special thanks to Chelsea & Jason Magness for several strengthening immersions in this partnered art-form.  Not only did I learn technique and push my body in ways it had never imagined possible, I learned persistence and valuable human lessons.

Yoga

For many years, I practiced Yoga regularly.  Yoga & my lengthy internship at Triangle Yoga, taught me about the concept of practice, devotion to a physical discipline, to find balance, to stretch my muscles safely.  I continue to come home to this mat based practice.  Yoga was an important bridge for me.   My Yoga practice informed me how to create a home practice when I found the hoop.  I also thank Susan Delaney & Tracy Bogart for starting Triangle Yoga.  My work there with Tracy helped me when I wanted to open a studio dedicated to my movement passions.  Tracy also let me bring the first Aerial Dance workshop to the Triangle which laid the foundation for the current aerial arts scene here.

5Rhythms & Gabrielle Roth

While I never got to study directly with Gabrielle, I have learned so much from her writings, her students, her legacy.  I’m thankful for the foundations she laid to reclaim dance as a Spiritual Practice.  I absolutely base my dance waves on her format of the 5Rhythms structure and have found it to be deeply potent and effective.

Countless Inspirations

I have been inspired and supported by many.  I have low patience for videos, so I don’t watch many.  I’ve been to tons of workshops, but I honestly learn more by transmission, sharing movement space others.  Each time I dance with someone, something they do may open a portal within my own body.  Even if I don’t specifically learn the movement, it takes its own life in me without conscious intention.  I’ve experienced this in the hoop and on the dancefloor…how a movement just travels through the space and through our cells.  We couldn’t be nearly as creative alone.

Gratitude & bows to:

My family has been tremendously supportive of my eccentric path.  Even the moments where they showed fear in my persistence with the unconventional path pushed me to deeper commitment to my passion.  I’m thankful for all the lessons, the hardships, the joys, the love, the support, the struggles… For life.  I wouldn’t be who I am without any of it and your sacrifices.

Elders who have paved many a road for me to walk.  Thanks to all the elders and ancestors who have paved way for me to express, work and experience life as I do.  Thank you for your tireless work towards this reclaiming of the body.

Thanks also to:  The Flowjo & Hoop Convergence communities who have supported my creativity and yearnings.  Scott Crews, Kyna McCartney, Jonathan Baxter, Vivian Spiral, Ms Saturn (Jenny McGowan), Anah Reichenbach, Malcolm Stuart, Stefan Pildes, Ann Humphries, Brecken Rivara, Whirling Dervishes, Native American Hoop Dancers, Laura Blakeman, Rainbow Michael Haynes, Jessikah Towle, Lynne Jaffe…

and all the students and clients who have allowed me to teach, live this path, learn to hold space. Thank you.

 

PHOTO CREDITS:

Thank you to Pixie Vision & Daniel Calvert for many photos displayed here.