Category Archives: All about Dance

My journey as a Belly Dancer, includes my own performances, photos and videos alongside showcasing new talent, inspiring teachers and interviews.

The Yoga & Belly Dance workshop feedback

yoga and belly dance workshop Plymouth
The Yoga & Belly Dance workshop which happened on July 16th and created by Jodie and myself was very successful and although I was nervous at the beginning of teaching my session, within 5 minutes I calmed down and enjoyed myself. Jodie and I made sure that this first workshop was an introduction to who we are and what we teach and so the yoga was gentle with focus on yoga for the feet and the belly dance emphasized basic moves, basic traditional shimmmies and for a bit of a challenge I included layering samples which involves doing two moves or more at once. Overall 11 women out of 15 turned up and most of them gave positive feedback, one girl even gave me a hug and thanked both of us for bringing her back to her body again, which was lovely and some women are interested in Jodie and I leading goddess/sacred feminine day workshops in the near future. In contrast, there was a small amount of negative feedback which came from two women, I’m guessing were friends and seemed a bit petty but then in the grand scheme of things, who we are and what we do is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and the positives outweighed the negatives.

It was a fun three hours and because it was a successful workshop we will be doing a few more together this year, when Jodie comes back from Czech Republic in August and before I jet off to the Far East early next year. The next workshop will be more tailored and include teaching tribal fusion belly dance but I’m unsure as of yet what Jodie will teach in her yoga session. I will also include a short meditation inviting the ladies to focus on their sacrel/womb centre, giving that area some love and healing. I am pretty sure Jodie will also include a short introduction to some pranayama too.

Overall I am very happy we taught together, our energies bounce off each other really well and I can’t wait to announce the second workshop coming soon early Autumn!
Both Jodie and I will be working at the Yoga Hub festival in September, I’ll be performing and teaching some belly dance and Jodie will be offering massage therapy, visit the link here if you fancy a weekend of yoga in Newquay!
I am also in talk with a lady who runs a three part business called Rhythm of Beauty and part of this business involves facilitating training weekends and retreats, She wants me to perform and teach at her Winter retreat in Derby this November during the full moon which sounds delightfully magical! So stay tuned for that!

Lots of exciting and lovely things are brewing and I can’t wait to share them with you all. In the meantime I am working on my illustrated poetry book, last articles for Yogi Approved and Bad Yogi Magazine, writing book & product reviews and I am also considering doing a day intensive training in Thai Foot Massage, I’ve already trained in Indian Head Massage and I think both are lovely gestures I can offer people after some yoga or belly dance or as stand alone treatments? More on this later!

Yoga and Belly Dance Workshop

yoga and belly dance workshop Plymouth, UK
Jodie and I have finally organized a yoga & belly dance workshop together! We spent the Spring months planning what we want to teach, creating promo imagery and leaflets for the big day happening on the 16th July which is in a couple of weeks time. So far about 75 people are interested, 12 say they are going and 7 have paid for their place. There are only 15 spots available but we are hoping to facilitate more if this first one is successful. I am so excited and nervous because THIS is exactly what my dream career entails so I am thankful to the yoga loft for hosting us.
In the near future I hope to teach weekly evening belly dance classes, weekend workshops and kiddo yoga & art sessions during school holidays. Much more is in the pipeline and I am just testing the waters but the future I hope for involves me leaving my retail job to be a TEFL English teacher (online or on placement) and that will be my main sources of income with teaching yoga, art and belly dance on the side as my residual income and I already have two ladies interested in me teaching at their retreats for next summer in Bulgaria. This workshop is the step in the right direction to what I’ve been working on and who I am becoming and I am super proud of myself for being head strong and forging my own path.
Kiddo yoga & art workshops as well as Teen yoga & Belly Dance workshops are currently being planned also for the summer holidays, stay tuned for more information!

Here are the details if you are interested in coming to our workshop:
Take some time out to recharge, feel grounded and connect to youself. In this 2.5-3 Hour workshop we will be fusing Yoga and Belly Dance focusing on the base Chakras and energies of grounding and self empowerment.

The Yoga section will combine asana, breathing and visualisation to help connect to our core. Incorporating an observation of the feet and their connection to the rest of the body discovering how to build a strong foundation from the ground up. We will also explore our connection to our root chakra and look at how to engage Mula Bandha for grounding and inner strength. This will then be weaved into a hip and shoulder opening Asana flow in preparation for the dancing.

The Belly Dance Part will start with a brief history of the dance then you will be taken on an uplifting journey utilizing your feminine energies and connect you to the ebb & flow of your body, the joy in your heart and earthy rhythms of tribal belly dance. Katie will guide you through simple belly dance movements and techniques learning to do fun shimmy hip movements, slinky snake arms and belly rolls. This part of the workshop will be playful and energising and hopefully put a smile on your face.

After the dancing we will end the afternoon with a short a guided meditation.

Wear loose comfortable clothing
For the belly dance you don’t need to show your belly
All equipment provided
Suitable for all abilitys
Start time 4pm
End time approx 7pm

There will be a short break in between the yoga and Belly Dance classes.

Sunday 16th of July at 4 pm
Cost £25
£20 early bird (full balance to be paid by 3rd of July).
£10 deposit to secure your space.
Just 15 spaces available
Facebook link here: Yoga & Belly Dance Workshop

To book contact Jodie via plymouthholistics[at]gmail.com or the Yoga Loft.
yoga and belly dance, Plymouth UK

Yoga brings me Joy

bow pose with strap
My Yoga story started back at university when a friend pleaded with me to tag along with her to a yoga class. I sighed and said OK, even though at that point of my life I just wanted to loaf on the sofa and eat Nachos. The yoga class itself was pretty standard and had no particular style and I really enjoyed it, but not enough to stick at it.
During the last 6 months of my Fine Art degree, I was building a room installation and creating a video performance to be projected into the room. The video performance was a fusion between a dream I had, research of ancient Hindu temple dancing and my alter-ego. During my studies of ancient dance forms (because I am also a belly dancer and wanted to create Art around ancient dance) I discovered that these particular dance styles like Odissi and Kathak were interconnected with Yoga, there is even a status of Shiva as Nataraja (meaning Lord of the Dance) and this particular statue can be found in Yoga studios; also a very beautiful and popular yoga pose is named after him and is called Natarajasana “Dancer’s Pose”. It was at this point in my life I learned that ancient temple dancing (of which Belly Dance evolved from) also had similarities to Yoga and by chance I met a woman who was in the midst of her Yoga teacher training and needed guinea pigs to teach sequences to for free which I thought would be great training to help my body look like a graceful, moving temple dancer. Through this woman I attended a weekly practice of Ashtanga in her home alongside the beginnings of my studies in Yoga Philosophy, more in-depth knowledge in the Chakras and Mudras (which are also used in classical Indian dance).

Coming to Plymouth to live with my partner (since we had been long distance for a year and a half), I had no money, no friends, no job, nothing but my degree certificate and plentiful ideas of where my life was to go. But my ideas didn’t go according to plan and even though I found work just to have some money to support myself, it wasn’t where I thought I’d end up and I became lost and very lonely. It was then I discovered the yoga loft, my teacher (in the photo) was offering community classes (essentially a donation based, pay what you can or it’s free). Which was a saving grace for me, it helped me get out of the house, socialize in a quiet room and continue to develop my yoga practice, then I’d go home and read a yoga book and spend my afternoon doing some belly dance practice.

That was four years ago. I remember I had a phone conversation with my mum during my time of struggle, it was very hard for me to open up to her but I did it. I remember telling her that it feels like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall whilst at the same time keeping my head above water so I don’t drown in my sadness. The reality that regardless of my skills and knowledge in mental health, psychological trauma, art as therapy and the community arts, nobody wanted me. As an outsider looking in, I realized that Plymouth is a city with small town mindedness, the people here are very cliquey and prefer to hire those they know, why hire a girl from the North “when my friend Jane has a daughter who can be an assistant care worker”, right? I’m not judging that mindset but it did cause a lot of issues for me to even make friends, let alone find work suited to my skill-set, so I’ve been working my butt off in a part time retail job to help fund my yoga classes, continuing professional development and travels for the past few years.

I told my mum “It feels like the universe is putting obstacles in my way to nudge me in a different direction, every door just closes on me as if to say ‘No this is not for you’ and I feel in my heart I want to teach belly dance and yoga, I know it sounds crazy and I know you may think it’s not a practical way of living but it feels right, I’ve tried so hard to be ‘Normal’ and it’s not working.” I was expecting my mum to tell me to grow up and be practical, that the world is a harsh place and to just stay in my retail job so that maybe I’ll be a manager one day. But she didn’t, her exact words were “Kate, I don’t ever want to see you end up like me, don’t waste your life in retail and I think your idea to be a belly dance and yoga teacher is a brilliant idea.” She wasn’t judging retail as a career path, it’s a perfectly decent job but this conversation was showing that my mum was beginning to see who her daughter really is.
I remember gasping for breath whilst at the same time sighing with relief, for the first time my mum fully understood and supported me and from that day on I began to work hard towards who I am becoming today.

I’ve spent almost over 4 years practicing yoga and learning so much about it, I’ve continued my studies in Belly Dance and performed on numerous stages around the UK. I’ve gained knowledge in Anatomy & Physiology, Nutrition, mental health, dance leadership, dance therapeutics, yoga philosophy and much more. Both Yoga and Belly Dance bring me so much joy and looking back, even as a child I always loved moving, I’d copy dance choreography from MTV because my Mum couldn’t afford to put me through dance school or gymnastics.

Yoga became my friend, it was the missing piece in my heart and now sits in the chambers next to belly dance. I’ve also recently had some lovely feedback from some cheery older women telling me my physical practice is beautiful and that I am really good at it. Obviously there is more to yoga than making it look pretty and I am far from being advanced but the compliments made me realize I’m no longer the awkward and stiff beginner and that has given me confidence to keep practicing and one day be a teacher.

Because I am so interested in all things holistic I want to combine the yoga with creative movement, belly dance, Reiki and much more. As a budding Pagan Priestess I want to create beautiful sacred feminine circles as well to encourage a sense of healing and love and as qualified kids yoga teacher, again the whole vibe will be holistic and include therapeutic yet playful art into the mix. I want to facilitate workshops for the homeless, refugees and those suffering with mental health issues so I have big plans and it’s so interesting to look back on where I was (and who I was) then to who I am now. I’m still the same person but I have so much more clarity and a bit more sass in regards to fighting for what I want and I think the combined energy of yoga and belly dance had given me the courage to realize my potential, to know I can manifest anything I want if I work hard for it. To see the physical changes in my body helps me see that if my body can change, then so can my life. Both Yoga and Belly dance keeps me aligned and true to myself which is why I’ve been as stubborn as an Ox when people have attempted to change me and my mind, I will not give up the two things in my life that have been constant and consistent forms of unconditional love I have given to myself. So I’m sticking with my gut feeling, my heart vessel is full to the brim with joy and I’m aiming true.

Yoga & Belly Dance Workshop

belly dance
A good friend of mine, Jodie and I are planning a yoga & belly dance workshop to be co-facilitated in and around Plymouth at community centres, festivals and the Yoga Loft. The aim of this workshop is to be a holistic one with Reiki at it’s core, although on a subtle level. With Jodie very interested in Shamanic work and myself a budding Pagan Priestess we do hope all our ideas evolve and grow in order to teach sacred feminine and goddess circles in the near future. But until then, the first few taster sessions will stay simple and to the point.

Jodie did her Yoga teacher training in India earlier this year, she is also a massage therapist and Reiki Practitioner. I’ve been a practicing belly dancer for 15 years, having taken classes with Rachel Brice (who teaches Vini Yoga in her belly dance classes), Petite Jamilla and Samanatha Emanuel. I’ve also studied under a Lebanese teacher in Cyprus. My fundamentals are in Turkish, tribal dances like Kalbelia and the drum solo, yet my style is tribal fusion which is basically a fusion of all dance forms with traditional belly dance at its core. I have qualifications in Anatomy & Physiology (L3), Chakra Balancing (L3), Nutrition & Health (L2) and I am a Reiki Practitioner also.

Belly Dancing is more like a lineage, there is no “Teacher Training” so to speak but the knowledge is passed on from one woman to another woman in order to teach others, there is an unspoken rule that you shouldn’t begin to teach belly dance until you’ve got a serious practice, are performing on stage and can show a decent skill set, able to create choreography and technique alongside general knowledge and history of folkloric dances. I believe one day someone somewhere will make an accredited Belly Dance teacher training but until then I will continue to develop my skills and knowledge in Dance Therapeutics as well as Yoga and general fitness.

I do intend on attending a yoga teacher training one day in the far future for many reasons. Firstly I love yoga but also because it’s a complimenting form of movement that works really well with teaching belly dance. It will also teach me basic skills on teaching sequences, give me a teaching voice plus fundamental knowledge about the body as it moves.

As stated above, in regards to the unspoken rule of teaching belly dance, this is why I have been reluctant to teach it until I felt ready and until I felt I had enough knowledge to share. Some women decide to teach after taking only a few classes, I personally think this is disrespectful of the dance because much like yoga there are so many layers to it other than it’s basic moves like the shimmy or the hip drop. I’ve grown as a person and a dancer and I feel like in order to continue growing as a student of creative movement I need to teach- Kind of like learning on the job. It’s all about taking that leap of faith. With Jodie at my side I feel supported, as does she with me since she is new to teaching Yoga. It feels really good cultivating this new friendship through our mutual love of all things holistic and creative.

These photos were taken by Jon Roberts Photography and will be used for promo material like flyers and banners to promote our workshop. So stay tuned for the date and venue announcement!

yoga & belly dance

yoga with belly dance workshop

tribal belly dance and Hatha yoga

dance and yoga workshop Plymouth

Belly Dancing to my Best Friend’s Song

Mid February, as you guys know I ventured up to the North of England to visit my family in Blackpool and best friend in Liverpool. During my few days staying with my best friend Nicola, she invited me to perform at a monthly event she hosts called “We want Women” at Lennon’s Bar, she also suggested we perform together to a song she created with me in mind a few years ago.

We had been talking about collaborating for many years, we’ve had so many ideas about going on tour in a little camper van to teach and perform. We’ve discussed fusing our talents together to create incredible holistic workshops in Belly Dance, Yoga, Dance Movement, Art, Voice Projection, Song Writing, Drama and even bring meditation and aromatherapy into the mix. We are still discussing if this is possible, even if it’s for a couple of months I believe it’s totally doable, perhaps during the summer months because that is festival season here in the UK, more and more people seem more curious and open to try new things.

So this collaborative improvisation between the two of us was something special, it was the first time we’ve ever performed together and although my choreography wasn’t the best due to lack of time to rehearse together, it felt great to finally create a piece of art together. I’d love to do this performance again but perhaps with more production involved similar to how Beats Antique perform their shows. So we’d include professional lighting, art projections behind us, the post produced version of “Little Fish” to have good bass and I’d practice a little more ha! But this video is finally live on youtube (after some technical difficulties) and I hope this is the beginning of future collaborations.
Check out more of my dancing in this youtube playlist here.