Originally from Pennsylvania, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Empowerment and Grassroots Social Development from Penn State University in 1995. After college, I continued my education by traveling to 21 different countries in 7 years, often spending time in remote and tribal areas.
I studied kundalini and hatha yoga in Japan with Akiko Ueda. Akiko blessed me to teach yoga in 1997. The idea of combining movement with a spiritual practice inspired me to pursue studying Sacred and Healing Dance.
Later that year, my travels in India lead me to a beloved teacher, Neelam, of the Ramana Maharishi lineage. Neelam was integral in awakening me to the unity of all life and the Divine Source as a loving consciousness available to us in every moment. I learned the art of sitting meditation, and discovered that I was much better at meditating when I combined it with movement!
In 1998, I studied healing dance in Washington DC with Charmaine Lee, who introduced me to dancing the 5 natural elements (water, earth, fire, air and spirit). This framework helped me to understand how dancing through the elements brings activation and balance of the elements within us. Charmaine also introduced me to the art of belly dance, how to circulate the Life Force energy within us and direct its flow for healing. Charmaine blessed me to teach healing dance. My journey as a teacher began.
In 1999, I was living in West Africa and studying traditional dances. I was recognized by the Ashante tribe as a Spirit Dancer, one who can dance into trance to communicate with the ancestors and channel healing energy. The neighboring villagers there sent for a renowned Spirit Dancer to train me in the art. I also studied ceremonial West African drumming with master drummer, Clemente Abrokwaa, an Ashante elder. He helped me to deeply understand rhythm in prayer and the importance of combining drumming and dancing in ceremony.
In 2000, I traveled through North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East, belly dancing with people wherever I could – in the desert and in their living rooms. Women were ecstatic to share the dance with me and encouraged me to share the dance with my people at home.
I moved to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina in 2001, where I studied intensively with medicine woman Sally Perry (She Who Dances). With Sally, I did years of drumming and dancing in Native American style ceremonial dances. I also received the tremendous blessing of joining in ceremony with Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow), a shaman of the Pueblo and Ute tribes.
In 2002, I dove deeply into the art of belly dance, studying with Mizilca who patiently taught me the correct posture and fundamental movements to release energetic blockages and cultivate healing ~ transforming ourselves simultaneously on the physical, mental and spiritual levels.
In that same year, I apprenticed with Corinna Wood of Red Moon Herbs. I learned the art of plant spirit communication, harvesting wild plants and making herbal medicines. After my apprenticeship, Corinna hired me to become the herbal medicine maker for Red Moon Herbs. Each year, I made hundreds of gallons of medicines, serving hundreds of clients.
In 2009, I studied with Stephanie Larsen of Dancing for Birth, learning how dance eases and facilitates the pregnancy and labor process. I combined that knowledge with the wisdom of belly dance, and began teaching Birth Dancing in 2010. Since then, I have also attended births to dance with women in labor.
In 2011, I was hired by the SE Women’s Herbal Conference to coordinate the teenage program at the Conference. Teaching the teenagers herbal medicine, dance, expressive art, drumming, healthy teen sexuality, self-awareness and self-love has become one of my most rewarding jobs. The Conference inspired me to begin a coming of age circle for neighboring girls in 2013, conducting monthly Girls’ Circles to educate and support tween and teen girls as an auntie and mentor.
I currently live off-the-grid in the Appalachians with my beloved and our 3 beautiful children ~ homeschooling my daughters, gardening, making medicine, dancing, continuously teaching and learning~