Andy and Jen are passionate about contact improvisation as a modality for social change and personal liberation. Andy's exploration of physical movement includes Aikido, Judo, Capoeira, Morris Dance and Theatre of the Oppressed. Jen's inspiration includes Acroyoga, Aerial Silks, Clowning, Capoeira, Theater of the Oppressed, and Wilderness Exploration.
Anna is passionate about creativity and expresses this through her own dance practice and choreographic works. Anna has a background as a dancer and choreographer, creative arts teacher, and is a Certified Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) trainer.
Born in the cathedral city of Exeter in southwest England in 1980, Bex’s life has revolved around personal growth since she was a teenager, when she also discovered African drumming and dance at the age of 15 – and she has been passionate about music and movement ever since.
Since the age of 19, Bex has managed to integrate her passions – for exploration and discovery, nutrition, permaculture, natural parenting and conscious events to celebrate– with business savvy and for the past two decades has made her livelihood doing things she loves.
Bex has taught Nia for 11 years, a functional movement dance modality and also is a trained 200hr Yoga & Pre Natal Yoga Teacher. She co runs Kindred Studio and Evolve Festival in sunny Nelson with her husband.
Chloe Loftus has been creating mesmerising choreographic work that engages the public eye for 14 years. Italian born and New Zealand bred, Chloe Loftus emigrated to the UK in 1997. Alongside working internationally as a freelance dancer, she founded Chloe Loftus Dance in 2005. Her work is routed in contemporary dance-theatre with a passion for creating work outdoors, social connection, ventures into harness aerial dance, contact improvisation and Mass Movement Direction for large-scale events.
Chloe has received many distinctions for her contributions to the dance world including nomination for a Theatre Critics of Wales Award for Best Small Scale Dance Production and winning Welsh Independent Dance's 'Dance Bytes' choreographic competition. She has been fortunate enough to create work for Cultural Olympiad events, numerous music and arts festivals and collaborated with National Theatre Wales and the Welsh School of Architecture. Chloe returned 'home' to Aotearoa in 2016 and is excited to be unleashing her creativity here, being named Auckland Parks Artist in Residence 2017, choreographing on Touch Compass Dance Trust and touring new works across Aotearoa. She is co-producer/director of Conscious Dance Aotearoa/NZ.
I love tending to communities of creative practice. I especially enjoy creating beautiful messes in the spaces between poetry, dance, visual arts and theatre.
I am a poet and my first collection of poetry titled Second Person was published in June 2020 with Victoria University Press. My poetry has also appeared in publications including Best New Zealand Poems, Landfall, Sport, and The Spinoff.
I have been practising using ‘movement as medicine’ for 12 years. I am an Open Floor dance teacher and I am in the final stages of my Masters in Arts Therapy through Whitecliffe College.
My movement practice feeds and is fed by my writing practice: the art of connecting to, and amplifying our strange and wonderful 'inner voices'. I am currently running online movement and writing sessions.
Hester is dedicated to liberating the creative spirit in others and is passionate about how creativity and most especially dance can support and empower people and communities. Since dancing on the dining room table when she was a child, Hester has always loved to move to a good rhythm but it was not until her mid-twenties when Hester suffered a long term health condition did she truly appreciate the transformational power of dance.
Hester holds healing spaces for people from many backgrounds including the growing and vibrant conscious dance community in Nelson, people with chronic and medically un-diagnosed illness and people living with a variety of mental health challenges.
Hester holds a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and is a professional Arts Therapist, educator and an accredited Open Floor movement meditation/dance teacher. She has a private practice in Nelson. Since 2005, Hester has facilitated regular conscious dance classes and workshops in her home community, the Nelson/Tasman region and further afield. Hester is the co-director and producer of Conscious Dance Aotearoa/NZ, New Zealand's festival of Conscious Dance.
Damara Sylvester is a director, teacher and performer of movement-based theatre. She has trained and performed in Canada, New York, Japan, Ghana, NZ and Australia over the past 24 years. She is the director of InsideOut Circus and Physical Theatre based in the Moutere, supporting adults and children to embrace challenges, open to play and nurture a deep sense of empowerment through movement.
Caybin’s passion and purpose lies within awakening present moment awareness in all areas of life. With a desire to spread this love to all those he is fortunate enough to come into contact with. Thus, Igniting a passion for Nada Yoga and the realms of sound vibration as a tool for surrendering into all that is, as it is with each breath. Caybin explored methods of sound healing in Nepal and India, with a background into Kriya Yoga, movement therapy and Intuitive Nutrition. Caybin believes these are all forms of medicine to unite the body, heart and mind. Harnessing this wisdom for truly living in the fullest alignment with ones self moment to moment. Originally from Australia, Caybin has spent the last 6 years travelling internationally sharing various forms of sound therapy and holistic living. Before landing here in New Zealand, to finally settle his roots. He now continues to share sound baths, and breath-work journeys throughout the Nelson region, Golden Bay and festival scene across Aotearoa.
Sybille Feint is a dedicated edge-worker and movement lover, passionate about the power of group work. She weaves her skills into Open Floor movement workshops and retreats to create transformational medicine, helping people to grow physically and emotionally within a community.
Laya Schaetzel-Hawthorne’s career in the Arts has spanned 45 years as dancer, choreographer, and movement facilitator, as well as in documentary film and alternative healing arts. She studied with Allen Wayne, a member of the Ballet Russe, Human Movement Potential with Drid Williams, and various artists in movement studies, improvisation and composition. She studied and worked with Jungian therapist Marion Woodman, a leader in the process of psychological transformation and author of “Addition to Perfection” and “the Pregnant Virgin.”
Based in New York City, she developed SomaSoul, a way of working that explores the art and dynamics of the human body and psyche. This ongoing discovery process lead to an international career of choreographing, performing and teaching in NYC, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Cardiff, Paris, Munich, Geneva, cities in Britain, Provence, and on staff at the Banff Center for the Arts, Canada where she taught movement, improvisation and storytelling thru dance. At the Banff Center she co-developed with Michael Ashman the new opera “Tornrak” and set the production on the Welsh National Opera for its premiere and grand tour. Tornrak won the 1990 American Opera Association award for best production of a new opera.
At Prem Anadem ashram, Laya and Ann Petrie, film maker of the award-winning documentary “Mother Teresa”, conducted a series of multi-day workshops based on tales and myths that illuminate life’s journey and the questions in that journey. She keynote spoke at the USA National Holistic Nurses Association’s convention -“Ritual and Movement in Healing”. Playwright, Carlyle Brown and Laya created a theatre production at the Tucson State Theatre with adjudicated teens of the Buffalo Soldier program. She worked for Hospital Audiences, NYC to bring dance, music and visual art to persons with chronic illness. Laya has facilitated multiple workshops with counselor therapist Deborah Allen creating the embodying experience of the workshops’ content.
Laya wrote and directed the documentary film “WorldTeach- An Extraordinary Journey”, a winner of the Cine Golden Eagle award presented by the National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.
Laya is delighted to be living in the Nelson region for the last 15 years.