About Hannah, PhD, RPP, CRT, ART
A little bit about me. I came to healing first through dance, where I learned to feel, to observe myself, to express the inner world. Through dance I discovered an abundance of healing and alternative methods including yoga and tai chi, body mind centering, massage, reiki and energy balancing. I became certified in Polarity Therapy, a complete system of bodywork, yoga, nutrition and counselling, and held a private practice in the United States alongside my dance career. Later, I became certified in reiki and then shamanism showed up. As I worked with clients on the bodywork table profound journeys into the subtle dimensions began to take place, with great results. Seeking supervision in this area, I learned from colleagues, books and through practice, always observing the quality and results, and with a great love. Then my life changed and I moved to England, where almost immediately I discovered Sufism and then traditional indigenous paths. Eventually this led me to Turkey where I connected with Dr. Rhami Oruc Guvenc, and with his profound guidance and inclusivity, experienced the full sacredness and deep beauty of a truly lived Sufism. It is from the experience of fullness and inclusivity that I share the Sufi path. The shamanic work I do is grounded in compassion, tradition and a deep well of femininity.
I hold a BFA in Dance from SUNY Brockport, an MA in Dance Anthropology from Roehampton University, and a PhD in Practice as Research from The University of East London. My doctorate thesis ‘Actualising the Contents of the Heart: the practice-based journey of a female Mevlevi semazen’ analysed the Mevlevi initiation process through three seasons of performance making. Both performance and analysis interrogated healing in the psycho-spiritual body, metaphor/archetype and feminine healing processes.
I have taught movement analysis, somatics, energy therapies, research skills, dance, movement and performance making at The University of Surrey, Southampton Solent University and East London Dance as well as given guest lectures and presentations at universities internationally. I have been an invited speaker at The University of Surrey and Oxford University and an invited performer at Wake Forest University and The American Dance Festival in the United States.
I am a Registered Polarity Practitioner, Certified Trainer of Neutral-Space Relaxation and Reiki Master Teacher. From 2002-2008 I maintained a clinical practice in North Carolina focusing on women's issues, bereavement, movement and journey work. Since 2017 I have been offering individual and group support sessions as well as training practitioners/healers.
As a professional dancer, I was a founding member of Shen Wei Dance Arts, New York. I later co-founded and artistic directed Open Air Dance, producing seven seasons of work in North Carolina and four in the UK. I have taught dance and awareness methods to children, adults and professionals since 1998.
Publications include ‘Sufism and Performance Philosophy’ in The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy 2019 (book chapter), ‘Dervish Dance’ in Critical Muslim 2018 (article), 'Transmodernity and the Heart' in Dance, Movement and Spiritualities 2016 (article), and guest editor of ‘Global Journeys of Sufi Whirling’ for Dance, Movement and Spiritualities 2016 (journal issue). ‘The Woman Who Whirls’, is a visual publication of documentary/experimental film, screened at The Barcelona International Short Film Festival, The University of Surrey and Liverpool Hope University.
Current interests include the establishment of an Arts/Healing/Education Centre in the UK and writing towards my first monograph. I am also learning to grow food!
With profound respect for indigenous and ancient lifeways ~ peace, healing and beauty emerge as the foundations of my work. In all avenues, I seek to facilitate wholeness and inspiration in my students. The medicines I bring ~ dance, arts, healing and Sufism are not something I do, they are something I am ~ a universal love flowing through. One-to-one or in a group, the work that takes place is a compassionate celebration resulting from the integral, basic, profound purpose for which we have been born. We are born to love and be loved.