Ana Dancing in Kuwait

Ana Dancing in Kuwait

Ana Otero (Madrid, Spain)

Ana Otero (Madrid, Spain)

PHD Dance Ethnologist

As long as Ana can remember, dance has always been a part of Ana’s life. At an early age she started studying classical ballet, Flamenco and Spanish Dance in Madrid. Ana Otero later went to University in Miami to study Dance and Literature.

At university she met Miriam Eli and enrolled in her Middle Eastern Dance class at Florida International University. Ana considers Miriam as her soul teacher because not only did she learn the beautiful and complicated technique of this dance from her, but also its history. Miriam also taught her the importance of folklore in the Arab world and introduced her to sufism and Persian Sacred Dances.

After University she went back to Madrid, Spain. She immediately was hired to perform in Poland with the Theatre company Lomvriz. After touring Poland she decided to settle in her home town Madrid and focus on teaching. She taught in Escuela de Baile El Horno in Madrid. In her journey as a dance teacher and choreographer, she taught Flamenco and Middle Eastern Dance. She eventually developed a style wich she called Duendel Dance which was a fusion of Contemporary, Flamenco and Oriental/Gypsy Dance forms. She later met Shokry Mohammed (Egypt) and studied in his Middle Eastern Dance School (Escuela de Danza Oriental Pirámides) for 4 years. There she studied Classical Egyptian, Raqs Sharki, as well as Turkish styles and Persian Sacred Dances. Shokry and Ana began a journey which they called Al Andalus, having Ana a Flamenco backround, both of their passions became to reinvent the dance of Al Andalus, the dance in Spain as danced by the muslims, jews, christians and gypsies living together in perfect harmony. Ana soon became a dancer in his company and performed in Shokry Mohammed's theatrical shows throughout Spain. Her interest in Oriental dance has taken her to Turkey to study Turkish Gypsy Dance and to Cairo.

Ana slowly started working towards her PHD in Dance Ethnology, which she happily finished, and soon realised that inside of her dance studios, her students found a home, they found a comfort, and she started to teach dance on a more spiritual level. Ana believes that through dance not only do we acquire a sense of wholeness and happiness, but we also become more aware of our bodies. She started incorporating a yoga (Ana is a certified yoga instructor) based workout, breathe and movement synchronization exercises and meditation. Soon, her dance class was more than technique and choreography, it became a spiritual awakening for her students and herself.

Ana has lived and taught in Egypt, Kuwait and Dubai. She has learned from many masters from the Arab world and from India.

Flamenco Arabe Workshop Hollywood Florida Agosto 2008

Contemporary Flamenco

Many of Ana's masters: Cristiane Azem, Eva Chacón, Julia Salmerón, Gloria Alba, Tatiana, Mahmoud Reda, Rakia Hassan, Nabil Mabrouk, Fátima Fontes, Myriam Szabo, Souhaila Salimpour, Tito and Ansuya, Bettinal Castano, Manuela Reyes, Belen Maya, Faruk Mustafa, Mona Mustafa, Nasra, Freiz, Sameh el Dessouki, Ashraf Hassan, Chua Alba, Manolete, Judea Maya, Isabel Bayón, Rafael Campallo, Raquel Molina.

Ana and yoga:

Ana Otero received her first certification with Swami Sivananda and lived in the Sivananda Ashram in Zaragoza, Spain, for three months. She later received the European Association of Yoga Degree (3 year degree). Her great Masters in Spain have been Ramiro Calle and Margot Paccuad, and she has studied with many other Masters from the United States and India. She has also taken workshops with different masters around the world. Ana teaches a variety of styles: Hatha, Iyengar,Ashtanga, Jivamukti (a mix of these 3), Vinyasa and Kundalini. She has also created a new yoga philosophy which she calls Kundalini Shakti Dance, which is a fusion of yoga and dance, the main objective being to wake up the Kundalini energy which lies dormant in the base of the spine and to balance out the chakras. This Dance, just as in yoga, is centered in the breathing. Movement and breath synchronizing to create the state of a moving meditation.

Ana's yoga classes focus on Mind, Body and Spirit working in unison throughout the practise. Her warm up exercises in class consist of Pranayama Breathing and Kundalini practise to warm up the spine. At the end of each session she places great importance on savasana, relaxation, and offers a reiki message to her

In addition to my artistic vision of dance and to my artistic needs as a performer, I am now keenly interested in the therapeutic and life-saving powers of dance and I want to help dancers and people in general to “Dance the Dance of Life!” I work with students, not only to improve technique and skill, but to travel into their inner spirit to get to the ‘soul of the dance’ . I use dance to express emotion, have fun, build strength and confidence, to improve physical and emotional health and ultimately, send out positive energy and beauty into the world.

Ana Otero

Emiratos Árabes Unidos 2008

lunes, 15 de noviembre de 2010

Yoga Dance Therapy

Yogadance Therapy is a teaching method based on the systematic application of yoga principles in the art of dance, combining a movement-oriented sequence of asanas and purification techniques. It is inspired by world dance traditions and contemporary dance – and is an integrative art form based in the philosophy of Kundalini. The postural patterns are combined with dance to create body-mind awareness and craft movement patterns for therapeutic choreography. Yogadance Therapy is the ultimate body-mind therapy and is open to all.
As stated by Bharata’s Natya Shastra (circa 200 c.e.), the great Indian sacred treatise on dance and drama that contains the complete revelation, these arts were defined as: “The disciplines of contemplation to acquire higher knowledge and attain peace” and “the dance actor was an accomplished yogi expressing his mastery of the performance as in a yogic trance-like state.”
This is evidence that these two arts and disciplines were intimately united in the ancient past. Today, this direct link of yoga and the arts of dance and drama appear to be lost. Nevertheless, dance and drama continue to be potentially highly spiritual arts, even if in the actual existing practice there is almost no evidence of that yogic link.

Dance is par excellence; it is a devotional activity that purifies, as does yoga. You can experience discipline, perseverance through constant practice, repetitive effort and discrimination between the objective phenomenal and the subjective non-manifested spiritual “subtle energy”. I work constantly with the invisible forces, transforming the contrast of duality into unity. As in hatha yoga, one begins with the basics of body mechanics and gradually moves towards the subtler aspects of the art.

Another important similarity between dance and yoga is that it helps with the experience of “stopping the automatisms of the mind – yoga chitta vrittris nirodha.” Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. PYS 1: 2). This is achieved through regular practise to draw the mind away from worldly attractions and back into the focus – “your own nature”. Yogadance is a sublimity of action, penetrating the sacred space of extra-quotidian experience, which means, entering your body and space with spiritual comprehensive awareness and protecting it from the influences of disintegrating forces.