Greystones Yoga- Weekend Intensive with David Swenson and Shelley Washington May 2013

I meant to post an entry directly after the David Swenson Intensive Ashtanga yoga weekend at the end of May 2013, but clearly that never happened.

Participating in the Intensive Ashtanga yoga weekend with David and his wife Shelley Washington was an incredible privilege and I came out all buzzing and really motivated to take my own Ashtanga practice that bit further. Thanks to Rionach O'Flynn of Greystones Yoga, we were able to study with this seasoned, incredibly insightful and refreshingly funny yogi who has been practicing Ashtanga for the last forty years. It was an inspiring reminder that I am on the right track with my own practice, and that my practice has become so much more than just a way to become and stay physically fit. As a matter of fact, with consistent personal practice, I have managed to transform yoga into a lifestyle over the last few years. I am incredibly grateful to have discovered the practice because without it I would not know what to do, it's my anchor and keeps me sane no matter what is going on in the external world or with people around me.

David and Shelley take such a refreshing approach to teaching yoga, and make it so much fun. In fact, I cannot remember laughing as much in any yoga workshops I have taken in the past.  I loved hearing David's little anecdotes throughout the workshops. While taking Ashtanga yoga seriously and passing it down in the traditional framework as taught by Patthabi Jois, David Swenson still manages to keep a healthy balance between a serious, disciplined practice and a lighthearted approach allowing for human error and inviting playfulness.

Another thing I particularly loved about David's workshops was the fact that it involved a lot of group work which did not only take out the tension and possible anxiety that some anasanas (like headstand, handstand and backbend) may cause in some people but it also gave us really precious knowledge about how to assist other yogis in accomplishing and practising certain poses in a healthy, supported and controlled manner. While I love backbending sequences I am still a little weirded out by the concept of freestanding headstands (this got much better over the last year) and especially handstands. The idea of potentially falling freaks out my adult self and I much prefer having people around to catch me in case I do happen to fall. I know falling won't kill me and David did explain how to fall and roll out of falls safely but I still have not managed to entirely let go of the fear (that simply imagining the potential of falling creates).

The fact that David and Shelley put us in groups to work on and explore handstand helped me enormously as it made me realize how much fun handstands actually are. I love seeing the world from an entirely different perspective, and exploring my balance and strength. Also, it made me acknowledge that I am probably already strong enough to attempt them (gradually) on my own although my rational mind still tends to try and convince me differently. Another aspect I really loved about the weekend was that we were able to discuss yoga philosophy quite a bit too, which was a great way for winding down the weekend.

While I mostly practise yoga on my own, I always appreciate opportunities of connecting with and getting to know fellow yogis/yoginis. The events organised by Greystones Yoga are always such a welcome chance for me to do yoga in a group setting. The David Swenson workshops (much more like the David Williams workshops at Greystones Yoga last year) really allowed me to exchange myself with yoga practitioners and to feel that I am part of a greater movement. Not only did I get a lift of a beautiful massage therapist and met other yoga girls as a result, but I was also able to meet new people assisting and being assisted in the workshops, and I spent two amazing days in Greystones. Greystones is such a beautiful place and the whole weekend was sunny and bright, and I enjoyed vegan food at the Happy Pear. How much better can life get?

Just because I am only posting this entry now, I wanted to also mention that my participation in the Luke Jordan workshops at Samadhi Dublin on 14 July was amazing too. Again, the second workshop (which followed a Led Primary Series class) was about Yoga philosophy and chanting and I will definitely read the Yoga Sutras in depth after this. My next yoga related adventure will be with the wonderful Gillian Mooney who will teach a series of amazing workshops over the coming bank holiday weekend.. I absolutely cannot wait for it! Saturday 3 August will commence with a Tristhana workshop (10-1 pm) followed by the Principles of Backbending (2-4 pm). Sunday 4 August will start with a Led Primary class (10-1 pm) followed by an Inversions workshop (2-4 pm). And Monday will be an Introductory workshop to the Intermediate series (10-1 pm) which I am particularly looking forward to. See for more information.



Photo by Greystones Yoga

Tribal Umrah/ Marseille 19-29 July 2013

Words cannot express the magical atmosphere at the (itinerant) Tribal Umrah Festival which took place in Marseille this year. Of all the dance events I have been to in the past few years this has by far exceeded my wildest expectations. Not only was I blessed enough to be picked to partake in the Pro-Track program, but the social activities and many dance events organised throughout the week just blew my mind. The talent and immense love and support shared were simply overwhelming and it will be take my quite some time to process all the impressions I had during my stay in the South of France.

We arrived the weekend before the festival kicked off, and I am glad we got some time to explore Marseille before being immersed in dance related events and training the week after our arrival. On getting off the plane at the airport on Friday 19 July, we were hit by a wall of heat and it took some time to acclimatize despite the heatwave in Dublin the two weeks prior to our departure. We were so lucky to have booked a flat on Avenue de Mazarques which we we discovered was just a convenient few houses up from the studio (Olga Semanova Dance Studios) reserved for the Pro-Track. My first experience booking a flat via Airbnb was really quite positive, and I am thinking of resorting to this accommodation option when travelling to events in the future. It really makes all the difference to be staying and living in a local's flat. It automatically gives you a feel of home and a certain sense of familiarity. We loved our flat right from the moment we stepped into the doors. It was great having a chat with the landlady in French and to discover that my French (spoken) skills are not as rusty as I thought they would be due to a lack of practice in recent years. The landlady gave us a few pointers as to what places to check out in the surrounding area, and we were chuffed to discover that the beach was just a short walk from the flat and Parc Borely was just down the road also. All in all, the ideal place to stay for our dance ventures.

My friend Teuta and fellow dance soul then joined us that Friday afternoon, driving down to Marseille by car, as she is currently undertaking a road trip through France. It was so wonderful to see her again after a year, and to catch up and hear about her French adventures so far. The next day (20 July) we decided to explore the neighborhood and walk into town (leaving dripping pools of sweat behind us on the way in). I am so glad we made the trip to the Old Port as it's just absolutely stunning. I loved sitting on the edge dipping my feet into the water and enjoying the view across to the boats and harbor. We also got to see the Gay Pride that paraded through town as we walked in and it was super fun to see everyone's make up and dress. The participants had a mad good time dancing and partying though their choice of music was rather questionable at times. The markets around town were also fun to check out, and the whole of Marseille smelled lovely, of handmade soaps and lavender. We also stuffed our faces with Macaroons which was definitely an occasion for me to make a vegetarian exception and for temporarily "abandoning" my largely vegan lifestyle. The sun was shining all day, and we were spoilt rotten by the weather!

The Sunday we finally spent on the beach, and I loved just being in the water, and reading a really stimulating book on neuroscience/brain plasticity.

Our Pro-Track adventures got kicked off by a four-hour Black Sheep workshop on Monday morning, and I loved it. It was nice to study their group improvisational format which is very informed by American Tribal Style and it gave me food for thought for group work when teaching my own classes. The following morning class consisted of the Suhaila Salimpour format taught by Ashara (assisted by the gorgeous Maelle from Belgium) and it was great to review the format as I have been studying it for quite some time now. Deb Rubin's "Dance Therapeutics" class on Wednesday was amazing, tying into and expanding on what I learnt from Deb at the Infusion Emporium in Wolverhampton last year. Amy Sigil then rocked our world the following morning with her "can do attitude" (despite her broken foot). Reciting "I am ready" at the beginning of class was super fun and summoned our energies for a highly energetic, powerful Unmata style class during which Amy also managed to put together a full group choreo (consisting of 21 Pro-Track dancers). The main message being that the movement is already within us and that we need to listen to ourselves and discover our own movement repertoire organically. Another lesson I took away from Amy's class was that even any day to day activities can inform our movement vocabulary as dancers. The last morning class of the week was delivered by Sharon Kihara, and I am so incredibly blessed to have finally studied with this stunningly beautiful and exceptionally talented dancer. Sharon had us do a really strong and much needed yoga warm up which I absolutely loved. She then went on to analyze two drum solos with us which was really informative. In this class, we also learnt a lot about the social dynamics between dancers and musicians before tackling and learning Sharon's extremely fun and unusual drum solo (which she also performed at the closing show on Saturday, 27 July).

Moving on to the afternoon sessions, April Rose worked very hard to create her water choreography with our Pro-Track group. It was such an honor to be working with April and also to be able to collaborate with so many talented dancers. I particularly loved the interactive approach which involved everyone's creative input. While I started out in the "underwater group" and contributed some movement to their routine, I then moved on to joining the floorwork group. It was six of us and I just adored the floorwork despite the hard, concrete floor at the Olga Semanova studio (Nr. 52 on Avenue de Mazargues) and many bruises acquired as a result.

I truly think being part of the Pro-Track was a necessary step towards greater professionalism and integral to my further development as a dancer teacher and dancer/performer. It was amazing to be able to work with dancers that boast such a high level of proficiency, everyone catching on so fast and being so pro-active and supportive of one another. Witnessing this high degree of mutual support and dedication really inspired me, we had such a great sense of community and fellow dancey kinship, it was heartwarming. I just loved getting to know all the amazing Pro-Track dancers and hope we will be dancing together again soon. Our performance on Saturday was just amazing and I am absolutely dying to watch the recording of the piece. Considering we only had two hours four of the afternoons to put together and learn the choreography with April Rose, I thought we did a great job of supporting each other on the night. The Pro-Track water choreography was a lovely way of opening the closing show! Words cannot begin to express what I felt on the night of the performance- The whole atmosphere was just so magical with the stage being set up at the seaside in open air. Dancing outside with the refreshing breeze in our faces was just wonderful and seeing all the other outstanding dancers perform was such an honor. All the performances were just stunning, and I was particularly moved by Sharon Kihara's first number which was so emotional, powerful and truly overwhelming, moving me to tears as a matter of fact.

Our first Tribal Umrah participation got rounded off by a hike to the Calanques which was organised by Djeyenne and her Tribal Umrah crew. The hike was a perfect way of winding down in nature after an intensive week of dancing. Swimming and enjoying the beach after the hike was such a great reward for our hard work throughout the week and gave us the opportunity to socialize and get to know each other better. The trail of pools of sweat we left during the hike to and from the Calanques was so worth it and I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed I will be able to join Tribal Umrah next year also!

Thanks to Djeyenne and her Tribal Umrah chicks, April Rose, all the Pro-Track performers, my students Grace and Yukari and my gorgeous friend Teuta for such a memorable dance holiday!



Photo by Neï Mad Photographies

Junonia Bellydancemble Summer Hafla 16 June 2013

Join Junonia Bellydancemble dancers for a summer night filled with dancing and great music! We cannot wait to see ye all at our summer hafla, and burn the dance floor together!

AMOON will provide the musical entertainment/backdrop and to that we say YAY!:)

Dancers confirmed so far: 

Junonia Bellydancemble and Jasmin Victoria

Nadia Gativa

Aoife Hardiman (Apollonia)

Stacey McPartlin (KadriBellydance)

LauraMaeve (ATS/Speak from the Hip/ Kaatna Tribal)

Linday Pearson and Resham-Ka Triba

Nathalie Moyano (Peña Flamenca El Indalo)

Dayenne Dijkland

Emer Wall (Bollywood)

Bella AGoGo

Do not miss out, it will be a great way to catch up, dance our socks off and a wonderful kickoff to the summer vacation period!

Venue: Sweeney Mongrel Pub, Basement Function Room,

32 Dame Street

Time: Doors open at 7 pm (for friends and family)

Performances will start at around 7 30 pm!


Discovering The Moment: An invitation to presence. Workshops led by Tom Pritchard!




Discovering The Moment: An invitation to presence.Two day improvisation workshop in movement and voice

Tom Pritchard is a Glasgow-based dancer who will be performing in the upcoming CoisCéim production, MISSING.

Whether your interest stretches to performance, making art or simply continuing your journey to greater self-knowledge, this physical workshop aims to support your exploration.

Through Tom’s improvisation practice, you will be guided to explore different manifestations of the expressive, present self: voice, movement, painting, writing, singing, stillness.

“We will consider the nature of being solo, in dialogue and existing as part of an ensemble; being in contact and apart; excavating the narratives in our anatomy and the games in our senses.  By tuning our senses, we aim to rediscover the simplicity of inspiration that lies dormant, present and eager within each of us.”



TOM PRITCHARD is a Glasgow-based performer, improviser and facilitator working across dance, theatre, poetry and improvisation. He has performed internationally in solo and ensemble works for companies across Europe and has choreographed for, amongst others, Scottish Dance Theatre, IndepenDANCE and the SSCD. Tom is also an international facilitator of dance, improvisation and multidisciplinary performance and has directed On The Stage Of The Present since 2010. For more information about Tom’s practice, please visit


Tribal Remix- Brighton- 3-6 May 2013

Back home- back to the rut! I always find settling back into everyday work life the most difficult part.

Dance Intensives and workshops- whilst at times exhausting with all the travelling required- always nurture me so much, sustain my soul and contribute to my further education as a dancer and teacher. The creative, physical and emotional experiences I am able to gain at those events starkly contrast the routine of my office job, and  I often find it hard to accept the creative bleakness on my return to work.

Tribal Remix was an absolute success as far as I am concerned. A lot of sweat, a lot of floor work and contemporary modern dance (which is right up my alley). More muscles built, teaching skills experienced and acquired. I am ever so grateful for individuals like Hilde Canoodt whose organisational talent and zeal enable the European dance community to expand their dance expertise. Tribal Remix 2013 hosted dance teachers of very high caliber such as Mardi Love, Tjarda van Straten, Mirjam Sutter, Valerie Romanin and last but not least festival organiser Hilde Cannodt herself.

I was sick all of last week, but the zombie virus and my battered ankle did not prevent me from participating in all the workshops lined up for the weekend. I had no choice in this matter, to miss out on any of them would have been heartbreaking. I am so grateful that my conviction pulled me through, sniffling and congested, but all the same.

We actually arrived the Thursday night, and had Friday morning for a wee stroll on Brighton Pier and along the pebbly beach right outside our hostel. I always savor opportunities of going out into nature for peaceful walks so much, especially seeing that we are constrained to our office desks for most part of the week. Not exactly a fulfilling experience. Following our blissful stroll in the sun we had a really rewarding 3-hour workshop experience in Mardi Love's Original Choreography class. I had never studied with Mardi before, so was super excited at familiarizing myself with her teaching style and getting challenges thrown at us. I adore her lovely precise isolations and the combinations which she presented us with make for handy study material to improve precision and speed. It felt like being dipped into Vintage playful romance!

Saturday kicked off with Tjarda Van Straten's  2-hour The way you make me feel workshop which completely aligned with everything (and more) I am looking for right now as a dancer. I found the experimental nature of the workshops and the exercises quintessential to building expression and story line in my own dance. Expression and confident stage presence are aspects I am often struggling with, especially when put before audience. Tjarda made us present our own little improvisational sequence to the class participants at the end of class, and asked us to put emotion and expression into it. A seemingly simple, yet (to me) such frightening task. Again, I was confronted with my biggest fear of exposing  my bare emotions in front of others, which is contrary to my introverted nature. In front of audience, it just does not seem to come natural to me at all, despite the huge love and passion I feel for dance. We laughed a lot in this class though, especially when we teamed up together to tackle the exercises. Tjarda's "unconventional" class was followed by Joe Darby's Contemporary Dance Technique. Everyone loved Joe's warm-up and combinations, and both classes really inspired me to get back to my contemporary modern dance practice at Dublin Dance House and CoisCeim. The day was rounded off by a fun ATS inspired workshop taught by Hilde Canoodt in collaboration with live musician Sabio.

Sunday was another wonderful day filled with fun, dance and laughter. It started with Mardi Love's New Combinations workshop, followed by Mirjam Sutter's high energy Balkan choreography and completed by Valerie Romanin's Barefoot Flamenco workshop. Mirjam's teaching style is so high energy, and drill based and she makes sure to diligently correct students. Out of the whole Intensive this was probably the class that challenged me the most- due to the speed, the different movement quality which contrasts Tribal Fusion and Contemporary. Last but not least, Valerie's workshop really made me reflect on the expressiveness inherent in hand movements and the attitude transmitted by certain foot patterns.

The Saturday night we went to the student hafla, which was really fun. It is always so inspiring to see new ideas presented on stage! Sammy Gatehouse's performance that night blew me away, it was so strong and emotionally charged. Sunday night finished with a teacher show case which showcased stunning performances and although I loved all of them, I particularly responded to Mirjam Sutter's first piece which was dedicated to the Palestine population and their struggles.

Monday was our last happy day dancing. It was a little bit more relaxed than the days before, though I must admit my biceps and triceps thanked me for it with blissful aches. I most certainly "blame" (in a good way) Mirjam's floorwork class for that. I loved loved loved her floorwork items, and I totally want to play with contemporary floorwork more in the future. Tjarda's Silent Waves workshops again presented us with a lot of group exercises using voice to create rhythms and music, and experimenting with contrast, dynamics in movement. It was super interesting (and invited us to be goofy in groups) and I plan to incorporate those items in my personal practice in the future.

Mardi's Slow Layers and Sultry Combinations allowed us to revisit body rolls, chest circles and she taught us a lovely slow combination in the end. We then ended up in the parking lot for a Q&A with Mardi riddling her with questions on her experiences in creating dance opportunities and the like.

I am so grateful to have been able to participate in this event, as events like this always inspire me to push on and to continuously believe in my own path as a dancer and teacher. I love learning and I so appreciate the opportunities that have now become able to dancers across Europe that study Tribal Fusion and modern style belly dance.



    Tribal Remix image

Suhaila Salimpour Intensive- Lilian Baylis at Sadler's Well, London 7& 8 July 2012

It feels like an eternity ago already. I wish it was only yesterday, and that I could repeat it over and over again, today, for the rest of the week, the next few months, years for that matter. I could not get enough of dance training of such high quality like that, ever!

But alas, the reality is that I am stuck in the office chained to my desk yet another day, eyes glued to the screen, only sustained by recalling the happy dancey moments I spent in Sadler's Wells Theatre, London's equivalent to Dublin Dance House two weeks ago.

This was my first spontaneous overnight stay in London in honor of dance. Initially, I was a little concerned  at flying out to the UK for (barely) two days. Would it be stressful, tiring, what about my carbon footprint?  However, anyone who previously studied with Suhaila knows that staying sensible when Suhaila Salimpour workshops and Intensives are at stake is a major undertaking. Opportunities for European dancers to study with Suhaila in Europe are still few and far in between, although thanks to amazing individuals like Anna Kemper, Hilde Canoodt and Maelle and their organisational talent and commitment the occasions to study the Suhaila Salimpour format increase steadily on European shores.

Since I am only posting this a year after the event (the draft was sitting here this long, desperate right?), I just wanted to add that I am intending to participate in the Suhaila workshops in Brussels this year in October 2013. I am hoping to make a final decision and stick with it by the end of this week, stop making excuses along the lines of it being too excessive- a luxury item- on the list of my other expenditures.