All my life I had the innate urge to move and to express myself. When I was a little girl I used to dance in my bedroom, flip off park benches and walk on my hands down the pavement. Moving, being physically active was always an essential part of my life. After training in Physical Theatre I was lucky enough to train as a professional dancer at Trinity Laban, Conservatoire for Music and Dance, specialising in performance and choreography.
Since then my choreographic world toured across Wales, Europe and Canada and won various awards. I have been Artistic Director for Dance at The Gate Arts Centre in Cardiff and a visiting lecturer on the dance degree and MA courses at Cardiff Metropolitan University and The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
However, after my late husband passed away having suffered from cancer for 10 years, and loosing my dad to leukaemia in short succession, I started to explore contemporary dance as a therapeutic tool for myself. Dancing in the kitchen would help me to anchor my thoughts, connect my mind and body and feel alive. Moving my whole body in this way helped me to ground myself, release some endorphins and find a sense of contentment and wellbeing.
It is through this personal experience of the power of physical creative self-expression through contemporary dance, that my interest in the connection of arts and health started to develop. Through dancing in the kitchen, I began to connect my mind and body again and I wanted other people to experience the same. I felt inspired to ‘give people their bodies back’. I trained as a Pilates instructor to gain a better understanding of anatomy and physiology and how targeted exercise create significant improvements in the individual. It was a tangible way to work with people through movement and exercise creating greater awareness of the body by working with specific muscle groups and increasing mobility to achieve health benefits in the clients. However, it is the power of creativity and embodied self-expression that connects the creative self with the physical self, which lies at the heart of my love for contemporary dance. Whether it’s working with the young or the young at heart – dance is a powerful tool to enhance physical and mental wellbeing in each and everyone of us.