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

Meditative Dance

Dancing is a great way to let off steam and to travel deep in one's creative side. Pairing it with meditation provides an opportunity to reduce stress, while reaching a deeper state of consciousness.

It has long been associated with religious rituals all over the world. However, meditative dance does not have to be associated with any religious denomination. It's all about feeling the music and allowing the body to naturally move to the sound.
Choosing Music for Dance Meditation

First, decide what type of dance meditation is desired. If looking for something calm and relaxing, choose some type of melodic, instrumental music. This could be in the form of an acoustical guitar or flute CD. If looking to do more trance-like dancing, it's best to pick something with a repetitive beat like a CD with drum music.

Dance Meditation for Relaxation

Find a place to move about freely without bumping into anything. Be sure to have on comfortable clothing. If possible, go barefoot. Turn on some soothing meditative music and close your eyes. At first, just breath calmly and focus on the music.

When ready, allow the body to move as desired. Don't try to force anything. It could be as subtle as gentle swaying. Just let the body flow with the music while allowing all tension and stress to leave the body. If a desire to twirl comes into play, go ahead and twirl. Just enjoy how light and carefree the music makes the body feel.

Continue to let all of stress make its way out of your body. Once it feels like all the tension is gone, continue moving to the music while envisioning a bright, pure white light surrounding your body. This light is bringing in positive energy to rejuvenate both the mind and the body. Bask in this light as long as desired, then stop dancing and take a minute or two to just listen to the music. When ready, end the meditation.
Trance Dancing Meditation

Before attempting the following meditation, if suffering from epilepsy or severe cardiovascular difficulties, please consult with a doctor as this can be quite a strenuous meditation.

Trance dancing can bring about a euphoric state of altered consciousness. It can be practiced alone or with a group. As with the above mentioned meditation, pick an area where there is room to move about freely. Unless someone if playing music live, put on a CD that plays a steady beat such as a meditative drum CD.

Begin to let your body move to the beat. Put all thoughts out of the mind, except for focusing on the sound of the drums. It is natural for the body to fall into a repetitive movement pattern. Continue to let the music flow through the body. Please know there is no wrong way to move during trance dancing.

If possible, try to do this meditation for half an hour. This will give time for the mind to achieve an altered state of consciousness, which can bring about spiritual enlightenment. When finished, allow the body a cooling down period before resuming the activities for the day.

Always remember with dance meditation, there is no right or wrong way to dance. It's all about letting the body flow to the music. This can empower both the mind and the body to alleviate all stress and allow for relaxation.