WHEN did you first take an interest in dance?
I have always loved music and dancing. In my teens and twenties, I went to three discos a week just to dance and get lost in the music. My secondary school dance teacher wanted me to come to her after-school ballet classes, but I thought I was too overweight so didn’t go, even though she asked me three separate times!
WHAT is Biodanza?
Biodanza translates as the Dance of Life. It is an international system danced worldwide, created by Rolando Toro Araneda who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Rolando believed if everyone danced Biodanza there would not longer be wars and cruelty, as it joins people together, promotes celebration and acceptance of others, and opens the heart.
HOW did you come to teach Biodanza?
I have enjoyed many types of dance – Ceroc, 5 Rhythms, expressive movement – but it was only when I found Biodanza in 2008 that I knew this was what I would train in.
I did three wonderful years of training, which was one of the best periods of my life, before teaching others in 2011. First on Dartmoor, then Dartington and, after moving to East Devon, I now teach in Colyton, Colyford and Burton Bradstock. I still teach my original group at Bovey Tracey too – a one-day workshop once a month.
Last year I completed my Didactic training so I can now teach people to become teachers themselves. I start with the Dorset School of Biodanza in May with the director, Mike Skilbeck, to welcome people on this journey of reconnection to the intelligence and joy of the body with its emotional and instinctual intelligence.
The first two years are mainly experiential, then if people want to teach others they continue into the third year which gives them all they need to do this.
HOW can it benefit people?
Biodanza claims to work with the genetic potential that we are born with, but which sometimes gets shaped in a less free or natural way through our upbringing and life. Through the various dances and movement exercises, these different aspects have a chance to be expressed and in some cases re-emerge.
Biodanza is based on enjoyment and has two parts; a vital section and a relaxing section. In this age of busy, busy where adrenalin is constantly being triggered, there is little opportunity to experience the opposite – relaxation, where the hormone acetyl choline is released.
Personally for me, I had very low vitality and found groups difficult, preferring one-to-ones because of my sensitivity. Biodanza continues to improve my resilience and enjoyment of life and I am fine in groups now. I even gave a presentation at my qualification time to over 50 people and was fine.
A video of this is on my website at www.joysofdance. co.uk, where I also share my poems and art inspired by the three-year Biodanza training.
On a weekly basis, with everything that is going on in the world at large, which can be distressing and challenging, Biodanza through the music and dance restores me to my happiness and belief in the basic goodness in people.
WHAT do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love nature and animals; painting, especially portraits; and travel.
WHAT do you like about the local area?
East Devon is very beautiful. I love seeing egrets and herons from my window. I like that it is close to other great places such as Lyme Regis and the coastal walk. Being near the sea is a tonic.
Find out more about Biodanza and Julia’s classes at www.joysofdance.co.uk