Clothes by Yes World Boutique, belts by Erica Ross
Our Beautiful Blossoming Community
Dance Our Way Home is a practice and a community.
Knowing this journey could not happen on its own, nor meant to be experienced alone, we are so very grateful for all the relationships which have been birthed, and all the generous, heart-felt support and guidance we have received along the way.
Big thanks go out to EVERY WOMAN who graces the sacred space of DOWH- past, present and future- including all the beautiful women who assist/ed DOWH in the studio, who offered their beauty to the labyrinth photo shoot and/or promo video, as well as to 5 precious women (Della Bitove, Elisa Hatton, Kerry Ann Ingram, Serena Oakley and I-Ping Wong) for modelling and dancing in our newest photo shoot.
More thanks go to:
Kerry Ann Ingram, Gail Raynard , Catherine Morningstar and Laura Nashman for assisting in the DOWH booth at The Yoga Show & Convention, 2009. Leslie Jennings and Catherine Raine for their beautiful poetry as well as their joyful presence. Read Leslie's poem "Essence" and Catherine's poem "Labyrinth Dancers".
Laura Nashman of Spa-la-la for her flute playing in sessions as well as on our relaxation CD "Unwind".
Debbie Danbrook for her Hitachi Japanese flute playing in session.
Guiomar Campbell for her drumming and rhythms in session.
Gurbeen Bhasin of Meow Films for our promo video.
EMAR for her song “Tumare Darshan” on our promo video.
Vwodek Wojczynski and Brandon Ling of RSC Business Group for their business guidance.
Andy Haslett of Dovercourt House for our 'home' to dance in.
Robert Helmer of The Inner Garden for our home, spring 2011.
Habeeba Hobeika of Habeeba's Dance Studio for another of our homes.
Diane Bruni of 80 Gladstone for our newest home, 2013.
Marilyn Daniels of Vision Legacy Coaching for her brilliant coaching.
All the fabulous Muses of Sundays with the Muse: Zahra Haji, Gennie Brukner, Guiomar Campbell, Caro Cloutier, Nan Keyser, Val Moysey, Lang Liu, Michelle Tocher and Wende Bartley.
All the wonderful certified DOWH Facilitators:
2010- Alex Collas, Cate Laurier, Della Bitove, Elisa Hatton, Gail Raynard, Kersti Abawi, Mari Rossi, Nicole McKenzie, Serena Oakley, Susan MacIver and Twyla Kowalenko.
2011- Anna MacLean, Britta Sivasankaran, Jennifer Peterson, Heryka Miranda, Maria Mars, Nikki Singh, Tara Abrams, Tracey TieF, Zora Noronha and Vanya.
2012- Bev Swanson, Elizabeth Grace, Micheline Marchildon, Naomi Benoist, Rachelle Catahan and Sandra Taylor.
You are all a blessing to this vibrant expressive community!
Erica Ross, Co-Creatrix, Director, Facilitator
Growing up in a home of dance and art, Erica Ross offers the wisdom of her life experience as a dancer, artist, group and workshop facilitator, DJ, certified hypnotherapist, life mentor, traveller and mother. She has been involved in the creative and healing arts for over 30 years. Read Erica's full bio.
Nan Keyser, M.Ed, OSP, Co-Creatrix, Facilitator
Nan is a psychotherapist in private practice who has been a compassionate facilitator of the healing and expressive arts for over 15 years. She is a clinical member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists and has trained in body-centered modalities such as bioenergetics, sensorimotor psychotherapy, movement, chanting, and yoga. In her therapy practice, she has a caring, woman-centered approach to effectively help women create positive change with issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body image, panic, blocked creativity, phobias, abuse, trauma, and relationship problems. Nan is co-founder of Dance Our Way Home and The Move Dance Collective. email@example.com
Twyla Kowalenko, MSW, Community Outreach Director, Facilitator
When asked who she is, Twyla replies, without hesitation, “A Dancer.” And although she has always been a dancer, prior to her exploration with Dance Our Way Home, she would have chosen other descriptions first. The impact DOWH has had on her own life, the desire to share the power of what she has discovered through the practice and her own dancing has led Twyla to initiate a DOWH Community Outreach program that aims to offer the embodied practice to as many women as possible. Twyla’s passion for this initiative is complemented by her background in social work, where she has had the opportunity to work with many groups of women in various parts of the globe as teacher and facilitator, counsellor, case manager, advocate, fundraiser, writer, editor, program developer and evaluator and researcher. Twyla is excited to bring her many hats to her work with DOWH and is blessed to share her journey with a growing community of amazing women! firstname.lastname@example.org
Mari Rossi, Co-Creatrix of the DOWH Immersion, Facilitator
Three years ago serendipity brought Mari Rossi to Dance Our Way Home, and in this practice she found a way to deepen her healing journey. She had been dancing different modalities, including ballet, jazz, modern and expressive, since she was a child in Brazil. Mari completed her training as a yoga teacher at The Yoga Sanctuary in Toronto and recently studied at Baby and Me Fitness to become a certified Pre and Post-natal fitness and yoga instructor. She is now taking a break from her studies in psychology at the University of Toronto and from ISIS’s Expressive Art Therapy program, to raise her beautiful newborn daughter. Mari’s own journey through motherhood has inspired her to bring Dance Our Way Home to pregnant women and new moms.
Alexandra Collas, Facilitator
Born in Lima, Peru, Alexandra's dancing way took her to Canada. She found DOWH three years ago and has been moved to dance with Erica ever since. She graduated as a DOWH facilitator in December 2010 and has recently started facilitating DOWH this summer. Her dancing path is intrinsically related to women's wellbeing and personal growth. A NIA instructor, an expressive dancer and yoga lover, Alexandra uses her creativity to inspire expression and uniqueness. She likes to think of herself as an eclectic facilitator or a "weaver of stories", having the pleasure to co-create dance spaces with the amazing personalities she encounters in each of her dancing spaces. Alexandra's next steps take her to South America where she plans to facilitate DOWH, Nia and Yoga classes for women and children. For more information about Alexandra, please go to: www.peruflownow.com www.alexandracollas.com
Kersti feels excited and blessed to have completed Erica’s inaugural Dance Our Way Home Immersion, and to now be able to offer this beautiful dance practice in her home community of Oakville. For 18 years Kersti has practiced psychotherapy, and continues her private practice in a naturopath’s clinic in Oakville. She has also always sought balance through physical activities like running, skiing, yoga and meditation. Five years ago, Kersti discovered flamenco dancing, and still loves it. Then a friend introduced her to Erica, and DOWH, and she jumped at the chance to try it! She immediately felt at home and experienced a deep sense of peace and clarity after her first DOWH session. Each DOWH event enlivens and connects her to herself, and opens her to appreciate others. 'The body never lies. It is older and wiser than the mind. Dance is rhythm and movement, it is life.' Kersti invites every woman who craves wholeness, joy, and vitality to grab the opportunity to freely express all of herself in a safe and supportive space, at Dance Our Way Home. Kersti now has a new studio called Evolve Studio in Oakville where she offers DOWH and other embodied practices. email@example.com 905-580-1934
Serena Oakley, Facilitator
Serena is a passionate advocate for the sacred feminine and mind-body wellness for women. She felt instantly at home in the safe, loving, creative energy of DOWH and became a certified DOWH facilitator in fall 2010. Her background as a yoga instructor, bellydancer, astrologer, tarot reader and mother led her to founding her own studio in east Toronto, Shakti Sisters Yoga, which celebrates the Goddess in all women. firstname.lastname@example.org
Della Bitove, Facilitator
The first time Della danced at a DOWH session with Erica she was so moved that she immediately signed up for the facilitator training. She recently returned to Toronto from Ireland where she danced with the faeries for 12 years. Singer, songwriter, performer of ancient womens songs and stories as well as a faerie doll maker, Della weaves her love of nature and the faeries into the dance journey. She invites women to raise their voices, kick up their heels and re-discover the divine spark within them. Who couldn't use a little faerie magick in their life? email@example.com
Susan MacIver, Facilitator
Through her passion for dance Susan discovered DOWH in 2009. She fell in love with this inspiring and empowering practice of freedom expression through dance. Although she has studied Flamenco Dance for the past 17 years, DOWH has brought her to a deeper level of creative expression through movement. A pilates instructor, reflexologist, writer, holistic nutritionist and now as a DOWH facilitator, Susan brings heart-felt exuberance to her work. She joyfully invites others to peel away their armour and dance into their wholeness. firstname.lastname@example.org
Elisa Carlass Hatton, Facilitator
Elisa became certified as a DOWH facilitator in December 2010 and joined a loving community of people committed to the pursuit and experience of bliss, healing, joy, empowerment, freedom, embodiment and presence through the awesome power of movement, visualization and breath. She is also an experienced Yoga Teacher, Community Innovator & Developer, Activist and Artist who is passionate about co-creating spaces that are centred in wellness, community, creativity and inclusion. She is excited to practice DOWH with absolutely everyone who is interested in transformational healing for themselves and the broader community. She is particularly and whole-heartedly committed to creating spaces where self-healing from the harm experienced due to oppression, discrimination and marginalization can and will happen. "Our entire being is yearning for our attention, devotion and care. So what are you waiting for? What I deeply long for – for you, for me and for our diverse and vibrant communities – is a real, vital and tangible relationship to that which is our birthright and fundamentally sustains us all: love, worthiness, connection, belonging. I’m thrilled to facilitate this amazing healing practice. We all deserve to thrive and live our very best lives, so let’s get DOWH together!" Follow Elisa's blog here: www.turtletoesyoga.blogspot.com
Maria "Savita" Mars, Facilitator
"Anything is possible... in the presence of Divine Love." From a place of self-doubt and limiting beliefs about what a bountiful and juicy woman can do and be, Maria discovered a long-dormant passion for dance. The Universe, in its wisdom, led Maria to Dance Our Way Home. Embracing the DOWH vision and recently certified as a facilitator, Maria “Savita” is inspired by the wholeness and transformation she experienced while dancing within a sacred circle of womyn. She let go the voice of the inner critic and found the lover, poet, artist, and muse within. "Savita", the co-creatrix and goddess within who knows, intuits, creates and inspires, was fully birthed along the spiral journey. Maria brings her Divine, passionate and soulful self to the dance floor, with open mind, heart and arms to share both DOWH workshops and unmediated, ecstatic dance with communities north of Toronto (including York and Simcoe Regions). Offerings are enriched by Maria's sacred relationship with nature and animals as well as training and/or living practices of meditation, visualization, mindfulness, primordial sounding, reiki, quantum touch, and divination. email@example.com
Vanya has a skip in her step and a twinkle in her eye thanks to Dance Our Way Home, Erica's beautiful mentorship and all the incredible dancing goddesses that have graced her path. DOWH has opened up a whole creative world of restorative, personal transformation and the ability to share the love of meditation as celebration with women who have opened to this healing practice. Vanya has travelled the world, visiting and exploring indigenous cultures and traditional ways of healing, growing food and connecting to the natural world. She brings this gathered wisdom to her practices as a Dance Our Way Home Facilitator, as a Holistic Practitioner (Thai Yoga Massage and Reiki), Meditation Facilitator (Osho Dynamic Meditation) and Outdoor Experiential Educator. Her holistic outlook and practice combines mindfulness, energy work and dance as meditation and revitalization! Come dance beneath the boughs of the wild forest. firstname.lastname@example.org : www.vanyasforest.com
Tara Abrams, Facilitator
Tara was introduced to the power of music and movement over 10 years ago. Through her practice in DOWH™, the 5Rhythms® and other movement meditations including yoga, JourneyDance™ and Biodanza® she’s experienced profound transformations that have deepened her appreciation of self and humanity. Her practice continues to show her our innate power to see, restore, love and heal. The DOWH™ facilitator training provided Tara the opportunity to further explore herself and validated her sincere desire to be of service to others exploring their terrain of life through movement. Tara’s honored to support other's express their authentic movement, creating more presence, acceptance, compassion and love in our world. email@example.com
Tracey TieF, Facilitator
Tracey TieF is a Certified Natural Health Practitioner who operates Anarres Natural Health in downtown Toronto. She carries on a family tradition in the healing arts and has an extensive background in dance, physical therapies and botanical medicine. Facilitating Dance Our Way Home is a way for Tracey to integrate her passions for dance, spiritual and healing practices. Tracey came to Dance Our Way Home as part of her recovery from injuries from being hit by a truck door while riding her bicycle, and found the practice to be not only essential in the healing of her body, but also to her spiritual growth as a woman. She presently offers Pay What You Want 2 hour sessions for women with (or without) girls and boys under 12, in downtown west Toronto. www.anarreshealth.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikki Singh & Zora Noronha, Facilitators
30 years ago, Nikki started her own spa business. Her daughter Zora also had an interest in being of service and decided to join her as a young teeneager. Together, they co-created Body & Soul Holistic Spa. This fabulous mother-daughter team offer a unique blend of heart-centered esthetic services combined with holistic therapies. Synchronistic events lead them to DOWH with the amazing Erica Ross. Through dance, they rediscovered the Goddess within and their lives have been transformed and enriched. Through DOWH, they received connection to self and other divine women. They received unconditional love, inspiration, a safe, sacred space to 'be' where walls of self-consciousness melted away. Becoming dance facilitators is the perfect compliment to the soul nourishing services they offer. They specialize in Reiki, meditation, spiritual psychotherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, aromatherapy, a full range of delicious esthetic services, DOWH's spiral dance journey and many more juicy treats. Nikki & Zora believe strongly and embody the divine feminine and look forward to dance, heal and awaken the Goddess within you. Namaste :) www.bodynsoulholisticspa.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna MacLean, Facilitator
Anna MacLean is a dance and theatre artist who follows her love of creativity in community. While studying theatre at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Anna began leading weekly drama groups in the mental health unit at the IWK Grace Children's Hospital. This is where she began to explore theatre as a tool for personal development and growth. During that time Anna taught drama and dance at Neptune Theatre School and was an active member of Halifax's vibrant theatre community. Now based in Toronto, Anna facilitates the Spirit Movers, an inclusive, sacred dance troupe at L'Arche Daybreak: an intentional community dedicated to creating homes and programs with people who have intellectual disabilities. Anna also leads retreats, works as a children's choreographer for RoleCall Theatre and is a Groove Method Facilitator. She is interested in the ways dance and theatre can create space for personal transformation and healing. She strives to make dance as accessible, joyful and welcoming as possible. email@example.com www.dancefoodforthesoul.com
Heryka Miranda, Facilitator
Heryka is an inclusive and integrated community worker and dance artist. She is co-founder of ReVeAL Dance Creation, providing opportunities for leadership development, recreation, social and professional networking, life skills and wellness through dance arts and performance, for people with and without disabilities. For more than 15 years, she has worked in various community worker capacities that consists of political activism and political education. Most of Heryka’s work is based at the grassroots level in some of the most vibrant and diverse communities in Toronto and Washington, DC. Her vocation to youth and social justice has led her to work with vulnerable and marginalized youth and their families in Mexico, Central America and Venezuela. She has training in Dance/Movement Therapy from the Antioch Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire, completed a one-year Expressive Arts Therapy program at the International School for Interdisciplinary Studies, ISIS – Canada, holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Maryland, and is a recent awards recipient of the Access and Career Development Grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Heryka's artistic inspirations and teaching approaches come from seeking deeper ways to connect with others through the power, strength and wisdom of one’s very own and unique vulnerabilities. She is a proud certified DOWH (Dance Our Way Home) facilitator eager to take it out into the world! firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Grace (formerly Liz Diaz), Facilitator
A trance dance experience in 2011 lead Elizabeth Grace to explore dance as sacred medicine. As a life coach and counselor she became fascinated with how movement could be used for self-discovery, self-empowerment and healing. DOWH's philosophy of My body is my teacher, My body shows me what I need to know was a perfect fit for Elizabeth Grace's own personal journey to discovery her bodies own voice. As a DOWH facilitator, she is honored to be able to provide a sacred space for women to move, and give voice to parts of themselves that may be difficulty to express or connect to words, a way to move emotions, thoughts, and experience through dance helping to heal and whole. Elizabeth Grace is currently working towards bringing DOWH to marginalized groups of women, newcomers, seniors and youth. She is also following her passion of exploring how movement connects us spiritually, pursuing training in Spiritual Psychotherapy and Expressive Arts. email@example.com
Sandra Taylor, Facilitator
Sandra is a multi-faceted artist with a passion for creativity and exploration. Erica first mentioned DOWH to Sandra when she saw her spontaneously dancing at a musical tribute to the poet Rumi. Sandra felt a soul calling to take Erica's divine feminine dance training and is deeply grateful for the honour of dancing together with all of the women from the training. Sandra's background also includes yoga facilitation, west-african percussion, classical piano, and singing/songwriting. She is delighted to embrace the experience of DOWH as an influence for her performance, life, and facilitation. www.sandrataylor.bandcamp.com
Beverly Swanson, Facilitator
Bev is a Holistic Life & Wellness Coach, trained with an accredited institution of the International Coach Federation and owner of Conscious Life Coaching Services. With a background in theological studies and over 10 years in the counseling field, her niche is holistic wellness - Mind/Body/Spirit consciousness. After stumbling upon the Dance Our Way Home website quite serendipitously, Bev followed her soul’s call and made a temporary three month move to Toronto from rural Manitoba in September of 2012 to embark on this creative “movement as medicine” DOWH journey. “At times, it is clear that my spirit goes before me. This was one of them. The name itself (Dance Our Way Home) spoke to me immediately and was quite a draw. It is an honour to share this healing sacred dance practice with women.” DOWH has become another tool, as part of the healing and expressive arts, that fits in well with Bev’s passion to create “Sacred Spaces” for the evolution of the soul, empowering others to awaken to the truth of who they are and connect with their own inner wisdom. She does this through one on one coaching services by phone and Skype, in-person group coaching, wellness workshops, the alternative health care system of Bodytalk and now, delightfully, through her certification as a Dance Our Way Home facilitator. Bev is the only DOWH facilitator in the province of Manitoba. She feels privileged to have “danced her way back home” to bring this opportunity for opening to the sacred and self to women on the Prairies! www.ConsciousLifeCoaching.com
Robin Linton, Community Outreach Intern
Robin joined DOWH’s Community Outreach in April, 2011, as an intern for her first year placement through George Brown College's AWCCA (Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counselling and Advocacy) program. Since she was a child, she knew that a future filled with assisting marginalized women and children, however she could, was what she would strive for. Robin is very interested in exploring alternatives to traditional therapies and is especially fascinated with the power of music. A musician herself, she has been playing in venues across Southern Ontario since 2005, Robin hopes to add an Expressive Arts Therapy diploma to her education and combine all of her experiences and teachings to promote the empowerment of women. If you wish to check out Robin’s music, go to: www.reverbnation.com/robinbyrdmusic
Caro Cloutier, B.A., dipl.EXAT, Past Facilitator
Caro is a practicing expressive arts therapist, energy medicine practitioner, and past Board Member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists. She invokes sacredness and healing experiences by engaging participants to rekindle their sense of play, creativity and self-expression. Caro's expressive arts therapy is inspired by drama, visual art, movement, toning or sounding, storytelling, text, symbolism, mythic mapping and ceremony. Caro offered a 6-Week DOWH Series, Dreaming in the Dark, 2010.
Tabitha Kot, Writer, Website copy-editor
Heeding the call from her distant tribe, Tabitha danced into the circle at Dance Our Way Home. At the centre of the spiral she found much needed succour, a sense of community, endless Love, and, ultimately, her Self. A passionate student of life, Tabitha has had the great privilege to study Social Work, Sociology, Reiki, Feminist Theology, and, while in India, yoga and meditation. Tabitha is now a Certified Yoga Teacher through Yoga Therapy Toronto and plans to bring the beauty of yoga, meditation, and breathwork out into the community. Wherever there is rhythm and beat, Tabitha will follow the sound and she will dance. Follow her journey, as well as the journeys and wisdom of others, on her blog, Twisted Positions. Read Tabitha's article "Dance Our Way Home: The Divine Dance" and her poem "Awakening".
Brenda Clews, Writer, Poet
Brenda Clews is a poet and painter living in Toronto, Canada. Born in Zimbabwe, and having spent a childhood in the jungles of Zambia, she embraces the dance of shamanic healing that DOWH offers. She is a developmental editor, a tutor, a certified Kundalini yoga instructor. Published in literary journals, her work shown in art shows, she is developing an aesthetic of multiplicities, of our beings as prisms, in which dance is a central metaphor for living and understanding our lives. Read Brenda's poem "Bramble Rose" and writing "Erica's Dance Our Way Home". A small videopoem she created after the Solstice Ecstatic Dance in June 2009 may be seen on her Celestial Dancers page of her website, Art & Writings.
Gina Silvestri, Copy-writer
Gina found Dance Our Way Home in 2005, during a period of serious illness: walking into her first class, she had 17 medical diagnoses. Each dance since has nurtured unimaginable healing and beauty that continues to bloom, a process captured in her piece "Dancing Home". Shining with vibrant health, she now writes with the fluttering leaves and dancing waves of Lake Simcoe, paying forward the inspiration she found here internationally, as The Raw Muse.
Gina Catenazzo, Photographer
Gina is soulfully passionate about creating and self-expression, be it through dance, graphic design, photography or life. www.ginacatenazzo.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Tad Hargrave of Radical Business, Our Marketing Guru
Now 34, Tad is one of North America's younger (and more unusual) marketing consultants. Since 2001, Tad has been running Radical Business a mission based, socially conscious marketing consulting business for "green", locally owned, sustainable, holistic, life-affirming and otherwise conscious entrepreneurs. Early on in his career he stumbled across the notion of doing most his workshops on a pay-what-you-can basis so that they could be affordable to all. www.tadhargrave.com email@example.com
Click here for more information or to enrol in a DOWH session or workshop
"So the body is where the dancing path to wholeness must begin. Only when you truly inhabit your body can you begin the healing journey. So many of us are not in our bodies, really at home and vibrantly present.” - Gabrielle Roth