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Meet the CDA Team

Our mission is to create an opportunity for those on a moving path, or those interested in learning more about Conscious Dance to gather together to share knowledge and live and move in community for a time.


In an age of high tech saturation where speed and end goals are the currency, we’re inspired to gather, earth ourselves and connect. We hope deep nurture and inspiration will result and who knows what wonderful things may unfold from here!

Hester Phillips

"My deepest self speaks through movement, dance is my native tongue.”

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.

Hester holds a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and is a professional Arts Therapist. Hester has a busy private practice where she specialises in working with clients living with Trauma using a wide range of embodied practices evolving from the field of Somatic Psychology. Hester is an accredited Open Floor movement meditation teacher and co-founder and director of Conscious Dance Aotearoa. Since 2005, she has facilitated regular conscious dance classes and workshops. Hester has a passion for Social Justice and has an enduring interest in how collective spaces facilitate or not personal liberation. Hester holds a degree in Political Science and facilitates Conscious Dance spaces that embody the liberation she longs to see in the wider world. Hester is a mother and in her spare time she likes to DJ.

Hester Phillips (Image by Karaena Vincent

Jade Ferriére

Jade is an intuitive and authentically present embodiment facilitator who likes to dive deep. Her happy place is in the dance between shadow and light, tender and bold. She is willing to meet her edge and create a safe space for others to do the same. 


Jade likes to unearth the mysteries of the human experience and unfold the dimensions of Soul wisdom through embodied movement, breath, art and ritual. Her work as a Holistic Therapist in Aotearoa/New Zealand, research into the nature of Self and ancient healing modalities spans over two decades. She is currently training to become an Open Floor Teacher which is revealing another dimension to her transformative inner work. Personally and collectively.


Conscious dance has long been Jade’s source of inspiration and medicine; a connection to Spirit, to Soul, in ways that words cannot describe. She relishes in the deep revelations, the unbridled curiosity, the fervent inner dance that unfolds on the Open Floor; and is excited for all of the ways that this potent practice can remedy a world living from the shoulders up.  

Jade facilitates cacao ceremonies, embodied movement workshops and retreats, and also offers one-on-one holistic healing journeys for women, both online and in-person. When she is not holding or creating sacred space she is resting into a simple life, in Wakatu, Nelson.

Gary Smith

Gary has a background in Social Anthropology, Psychology, Subtle Energy Bodywork and over a decades experience in event production, including working in various capacities with organisers of a number of heart-based events throughout New Zealand.


A life long journey into an embodied understanding of the human condition, Gary's heart centred approach means he is able to engage with both people and spaces on multiple levels.


He is excited to be building on his four year relationship with CDA and the potential of the event into the future.

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This event is generously supported by many members of the Conscious Dance community. We extend our heartfelt thanks for their contributions and encouragement.

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