From an early age I was taken to , and by dance. I had the great privilege as a young child to go the ballet at Covent Garden, for free, as my Dad was a graphic designer and created their programs, and so I saw the classic ballets like Swan Lake, with all the great soloists . It really sparked my imagination and I then had ballet lessons at junior school . By the end of juniors I was apparently “ too tall “ so I could not continue , and confidence was crushed ...as if tall people could not dance ! However, at secondary school I loved the freedom of “Modern dance “ and I also went to learn Scottish country dance and basic ballroom dancing. The 60’s brought a very different kind of dancing, when I experienced being totally at one with the music, “being danced “ as it were … Also in the 60’s our family used to go to go on holiday to Spain in our camper van and participate in the local fiestas .. being drawn in by the locals to dance their Catalan dance the “Sardana” ( not any easy dance I may add !) After school I became an art student for 5 years and dance did not really feature in my life .. In the 1980’s, I was diagnosed with early signs of cancer, which changed my life! I started looking at all sorts of alternatives to surgery, including colour healing, acupuncture, homeopathy, and psychotherapy.
I knew I was looking for change and didn’t really have a life purpose. As part of my healing, a healer took me on some healing “guided trips“, where I found myself watching, with delight, some people dancing in a circle. ( these images came from myself ) I had no clue what this meant and left perplexed. However, I did pick up a brochure from the healer for the Findhorn Foundation, and consequently applied to go on a healing workshop, preceded by the Experience Week. Little did I know a new life was dawning and that dance was coming back into my life big time !
On that Experience Week I danced an intro into Sacred Dance , with Anna Barton and suddenly the penny dropped! This was totally wonderful - I felt connected to my body, to the earth, the cosmos and to that circle of dancers, and I felt at one with myself. But most importantly …This is what I wanted to do! In 1983 I went back to Findhorn to do a three-week training course in Sacred/Circle dance with Anna Barton. At that time there was very little of this kind of dancing in the north of England. Although I would have liked to have stayed at Findhorn, and despite not seeing myself as a teacher, I had a vision that I must sow the seeds of this dance.
I was desperate to dance more – it was either go up to Findhorn or go down south to dance with teachers like Colin Harrison or David Roberts or June Watts ( who were all inspirational to me )…so eventually in order to bring dance closer to home I started teaching in Leeds, where I lived at the time , on a regular basis ,in 1986. I travelled throughout Yorkshire, Lancashire, Newcastle, Lancaster , and S.W Scotland, doing regular or one- off groups, supported by the Enterprise Allowance Scheme. I got £50 a week for one year ! I was truly sowing the seeds of the dance and I felt in exactly in the right place at the right time … It was very exciting . (I was unaware at the time there were a few others in Sheffield, Chester and Liverpool also starting …the hundredth monkey effect was happening.) At this time I was also declared free from cancer.
I am still sowing the seeds of the dance and tending the mature plants. Some of those I taught are now teaching dance to others. Still on a quest for growth and change, I received a small taste of the Alexander Technique in 1988, from a trainee. I was intrigued by her poise and knew I wanted to know more! She was training in Kendal under Don Burton. I went on a course for the public there and immediately knew that I had a lot to learn (or unlearn!) from this inspiring, holistic teacher. So I started a three year training course in 1992. Much was woven into the course to make it both creative and challenging: anatomy, voice work, autobiographical writing, contact improvisation, creative arts, performance arts, chakra (energy system) work, meditation, all interwoven with Alexander’s basic principles. My body unfolded and opened. I found a greater strength in my spine and back and in myself. I was both grounded and “up” at the same time. I came out as an occasional singer, performing occasionally with circle dance bands. I began to bring some Alexander principles into my dance teaching and started to teach Alexander lessons on a one- to- one basis. I have also enjoyed blending in more depth Alexander and Circle dance into certain workshops..
During the Alexander training, I learned about Reiki healing. I took Levels 1 +2 and then Masters. This led to further healing and learning for myself and meant that I was able to give others this deeply healing space. In my dance work, my biggest passion is really Eastern European and Gipsy (Rom) dances, (my thanks to Laura Shannon)and probably aided and abetted by a dance course and a wonderful trip to Bulgaria in 1991 that I will always remember. The dancing outside, in the mountains , the music and singing , the costumes + rituals , the landscape … But I also enjoy celebrating the Celtic festivals throughout the year using simple ceremony as well.. I love to include live music, dancing outdoors, themes of the elements, the chakras, women’s dances, fast and wild dances and deeply meditational ones. It’s the creative weaving together all of my trainings and passions to create a unique bend.
My most recent dream was to take a group of dancers to Greece (which I love ) to dance which I did twice on Aegina, near Athens . I was planning to go to the wonderful Pilion region ( East of Athens ) in 2020 but alas Covid 19 put an end to that , but I hope to go next year in September …if you are interested get in touch ;
Alexander teaching gives me the opportunity to enjoy the privilege of working with this simple and yet profound technique of the art of changing ourselves. I have worked with musicians, pregnant women, people with neck, back, shoulder or arm problems and those who wish for change and growth in their lives. I witness pain, tension and unhelpful habits fall away. I see ease, strength and lightness take their place.