MEET THE TEAM
Margarita Morales (Venezuela)
My journey towards bodywork began through art, theatre and dance. It has always been my desire to transform society and myself through artistic creation. For this reason, I completed not one but two Bachelor's degrees, the first in "Acting" at the Instituto Universitario de Teatro (University Institute of Theater, Caracas, Venezuela) and the second in “Contemporary Dance Performer" at the Universidad Nacional Experimental de las Artes, UNEARTE (National Experimental University of the Arts, also in Caracas).
Having performed on stage many times and through working with different companies as an artist, life gently showed me the way to become a teacher. I taught "Contemporary Dance Technique" and "Body Exploratory Consciousness" at the UNEARTE (National Experimental University of the Arts) and became a Pilates instructor. As my interest grew I began to delve deeper into yoga and various somatic techniques that have allowed me to develop an approach that has more to do with internal content than with form, more with health than with aesthetics.
I have found that the best lesson from life has been to acknowledge that personal, physical, mental or artistic evolution is a profound process and in order for it to be authentic and lasting, it must come from inside you. I learned that beauty is a reflection of how we really feel and form must start from an important content. Although I continue to work as a stage performer, there is no better applause than the one I receive at the end of a class when my students tell me: “Now I feel much better”.
During a time when we need to particularly support each other, I couldn’t think of a better way to help than by offering the knowledge of art, well-being and health that I have humbly acquired over time so that together we can try to be freer and happier every day.
Isabel Barrios (Colombia)
My work started with the creation of a Pilates studio, which I directed for more than 10 years called Pilates203, until then, I worked as a Pilates instructor in different studios, as a professional dancer and practitioner of somatic techniques, I had International Certifications of the Pilates method, a degree in Contemporary Dance and Special Education and a therapeutic massage training.
It was not until a few years later, that I recognized the desire I had to explore and investigate towards a more human and holistic direction of the moving being, from there, a great window of possibilities opens in that direction and that is when I decide to Do a Doula training and a Reiki Master. However, I was still missing a piece in the puzzle, so I began to delve into the wisdom of shamanism, and it is here with this consciousness, which begins to become, everything I had been doing, more coherent.
Even though I was already creating and investigating a very empirical method of bodywork, it is when I decide to give shape and organization to my ideas, based on what I have learned and the experience of so many years of deepening with my body and as a teacher of sensory detail and motor towards the body of the other.
Based on the integrated knowledge of my experiences and studies, I create a Somatic Movement, which is an empirical and personal body technique of micro-movements to adjust the bone structure and relieve muscle tensions.
Darwin Diaz (Germany)
The day I discovered the dance it was a pure revelation. It was the first time that I was in real contact with my body and when I found out that I could move and be truly free; a feeling that I had never had before in my life. Dance opened to me a world full of challenges, happiness and specially a territory where I could explore my sensitivity.
I studied at IUDANZA, Dance University in Caracas and them I had the privilege to go with a scholarship from German Academic Exchange Services DAAD - Fundayacucho to study a specialisation in Modern Dance in the Folkwang Universität Essen-Germany. From 2009 to 2014, I danced at the Folkwang Tanz-Studio and then I worked for the TheaterTrier under the Artistic direction of Susanne Linke.
I have worked with different Choreographers like Pina Bausch, Rodolpho Leoni, Samir Akika, Urs Dietrich, Marc Sieszkarek, Daniel Goldin, Chikako Kaido, Anna Holter, Fang-Yu Shen, Julio César Iglesias, Alexis Fernandez, David Hernandez, Felix Bürkle and Hannes Langolf amongst others. I have also worked successfully as a choreographer, receiving twice, the first and critic prize in two different dance festivals in Germany.
Parallel with my dance studies, I got close to Yoga and its way of living and thinking. Therefore, I immersed myself in this philosophy which took me to India, where I lived for a couple of months getting close to the Yoga magic and principles and the reality of its fascinating culture.
In my professional life, I mix the Knowledge of Dance and Yoga to explore and create a balance between body, mind and soul. As a teacher, I explore specifically between Hatha-Yoga and Release Technique. Dance and Yoga mean everything to me, which makes me feel happy and connected with myself, the people around me, the entire world and finally with the Universe.
I was introduced to yoga when I was little by my grandma and rediscovered my love for it during my South America travels a few years ago. I am now a qualified yoga teacher with an MSc in Human Nutrition, a BSc in Psychology and a qualification in life and NLP coaching for behaviour change.
Personally, having recovered from disordered eating, body image struggles and inflammation myself - I found a lust for learning and sharing what I know about health and well-being. My grandma told me to ‘Help who I can, where I can, when I can’. So I do this through yoga and nutrition as it’s what I know best and it was my own saving grace! I now pursue my passion, providing guidance for others to become stronger, happier and more balanced, through connecting our mind and bodies - the founding principals of yoga.
Casey Gemma (United Kingdom)
Erika Chavez Bernabeu (Spain)
Since I was a child, I felt the need to become part of the dance world. In my student days, I took courses that brought me closer to this art, but it was not until I was eighteen years old that I fully got involved in this exciting discipline. Many people would think it was too late to start, but I think it never is when you are truly passionate.
And that's how I graduated as a Contemporary Dance Performer at the “Instituto Universitario de Danza” in Venezuela. There, thanks to the wonderful teachers I had, who passed on all their knowledge, I learned what I consider today to be my most valuable foundation in discipline, technique, bodywork and performance. Foundations that drove me to go on searching and experimenting, with the desire to continue to grow and improve. I was part of different dance companies in Venezuela, I took something positive from each one of them which further aided my development.
In 2006 I came to live in Spain, and I began to train as a Pilates teacher. Although I was no longer dancing, I soon realised that both disciplines shared, in my opinion, very fundamental principles, such as the great importance placed on the ability to be mindful of our bodies and the awareness of theirs correct alignment.
I have always attended workshops to keep up-to-date and continue learning with and through what I consider to be our temple: THE HUMAN BODY. Today and for almost fourteen years now, I’ve dedicated myself to teaching Pilates. I have dabbled in different styles so I work both with Pilates machines, with a mat and different equipment.
Throughout all these years I have been reflecting on what I like most about what I do and I have been able to conclude that what I really love about discovering the body is seeing how you can travel to a world of self-knowledge that allows you to be happier, healthier, and more satisfied with yourself. So in my classes, I try to be faithful to this premise, and I try to make sure that the common thread that guides me in each one of them is the passion I feel for the body and everything that involves it.
Sabi Morales (Reunion Island-France)
I have developed my career between Yoga and Dance and in both disciplines, I have developed myself as a practitioner and teacher. Firstly, as a Yoga teacher at the Ashram Fraternity in Maracay, Venezuela, afterwards, I study two specialisation in dance: Contemporary Dance Performer and Contemporary Dance Teacher which immersed myself in a beautiful and deep journey to the movement and art performing with the Dance Company “Sarta de Cuentas”.
However, I was still feeling the Asian movement and philosophy calling, therefore in 2006, I have the fortune to go to Bali, Indonesia, to study for two years specialisation in Dance at the Balinese Theatre, place where I also dance professionally at the Green Peace Festival and Seni Indonesia Festival. After this period, I consolidated my profound connection with the Asian philosophy, so I continued my professional education in the Yoga discipline, becoming a Yin Yoga and Aerial Yoga teacher by the International Yoga Alliance.
At this point my knowledge and principles of dance and yoga fused to my teaching and performing experience, which made me developed my unique vision of the body and its movements. This personal experience took me the Maquerol Associations in Angles as a Dance teacher, Choreographic Association in Reunion, Festival Le temps d’aimer la Dance a Biatritz, Festival Dance Pei a Reunion, Bilbao Festival Antzerkia Dance, and the invitation as a dancer in the Coinidanse Company, Luck Mouton in the company Soul City. Currently I develop my personal work in my own company, Saby Morales “La 7éme essence” Danse-Théâtre.
Gladys Brina (United States)
Dancing has been my favourite way of expressing myself since I was a young girl. But it doesn’t until I was 23 years when I formally studied Contemporary Dance at the Music Conservatory in Maracay, Venezuela. My studies also included Jazz, Tap and basic Classical Ballet.
My spiritual journey of studies and training began in 1999 when I studied acupuncture for 4 years, to learn more about subtle energy bodies. Two years later in 2005 I began a path of personal and spiritual development in Orlando, Florida place where and I learned about human behaviour, belief systems, and modes of consciousness. These were great tools to learn about myself and discover why I am here.
In 2009 I registered in a Hatha Yoga training in Costa Rica and one year later I completed a Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training in Memphis, TN, USA both certified by Yoga Alliance. My passion for yoga grew and the profoundness of these ancient traditions opened my heart and mind to another level.
In 2014 I was certified as Chakradance Facilitator. I have continued expand and study other modalities for healing, became Reiki Master and EFT Practitioner (Tapping). I moved to Chicago IL, USA where I have taught Yoga in small studios and have worked in the Wellness Center of a fortune 1000 company providing Yoga and healing as Reiki Master. My last Teacher Training was in 2019 in The Riviera Maya, Mexico, doing a powerful BreathWork training called Feminine Alchemist Breathing.
My classes are a fusion of all these ancestral technologies, giving the possibility to change, transform, transcend and bring out the highest potential that resides in each of us.
Carlos Penso (Spain)
I’m an experienced Venezuelan Dancer and Choreographer living in Vigo, Spain.
Assiduous to the Improvisation to develop dance skills through spontaneous expression and self-connection, I teach Stretching and Alignment from Yoga and somatic techniques, and Pilates’s method (with Apparatus and Mat) at the ‘Singular’ Women Fitness Club of Vigo city.
Art Director of the Pisorrojo’s experimental dance workshop for over 10 years at the Central University of Venezuela and Municipal Dance Award 2013, I’m a teacher of Flying-Low and passing trough technique taken from the former and creator David Zambrano. Since 2011, I develop Leguras Danza, a Dance Company Project.
“I believe that the body reveals a framework related to time and space. Physical, emotional and mental awareness along our potential growth are in resonance with the quality of our movement. I faithfully trust in a balance created through an intelligent movement to enhance our health”.
Lois Taylor (United Kingdom)
I am a dance artist living in Cornwall UK. After training at the Laban centre I worked as a dance performer in touring companies. I then founded my own company Attik Dance and became artistic director and choreographer for the company for 17 years. Attik Dance developed a national reputation for its work and was supported by Arts Council England as a key dance provider in the south-west of England. I made work for small and mid-scale national and international touring, working with some fabulous dance artists and composers.
I have always shared my own love of dancing and moving with others, much of my work has been about participation and reach. I have worked as a lecturer in dance at Plymouth and Falmouth universities and in 2017 co-founded Dance Centred CIC. Through this company, we deliver a wide range of creative projects in performance, participation and health and well being. We have been so lucky to get ongoing support from Arts Council England, Hall for Cornwall, Pavilion Dance, FEAST Cornwall and others to continue to develop our work.
As an independent dance artist, I have danced for other choreographers including Angela Praed and Saffy Setohy and enjoy engaging in experimental work that pushes the boundaries of what performance can be.
With a deep need to connect with my internal body as well as to let the energy out into the wide open world, I love to play, have fun, be reflective, to groove and move both on my own and with others. I enjoy the soundscapes around me and love expressing music through my body. I don't follow a technique, I have worked with many over the years and draw on them for what I need, when I need it. Without planning it to be this way, my sessions always seem to have an element of freedom and flow and encourage a connection with the core to release the energy out again into the shared space. I am happy to keep exploring and sharing the journey.
Raphael Laya (United State)
Hello everyone, Raphael here! I am Venezuelan, in my early 30’s, my native language is Spanish and I live in Chicago since 2016.
I am a yoga teacher and to be honest, I don’t remember for how long, because one day I was lifting weights in the gym and the next one I was the first in line to get to yoga class every morning. Years later, I started guiding those classes when our teacher couldn’t make it, and then I took it seriously and started my own journey studying the philosophy of yoga.
I am a former University professor, which helped me a lot to be consistent in my personal journey. Yoga switched from my side job to my dreamed job. I was familiar with meditation before I started doing yoga, very inconsistent but it was the beginning.
Life happened and at the right time, I could get my certification when the Universe needed it to happen. Now I teach yoga in both English and Spanish from home. I had the chance to create a program to approach people to meditation, to make it easy on their first steps, just as I do with yoga because I believe that yoga and meditation are for everyone. Since then, I focus on my yoga teachings also for beginners.