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Blog: 2x7 - 14 years of Holistic Dance Institute

Updated: Apr 21

Gratitude. Awe. Surprise. Joy. Curiosity. Gratitude.

This February the Holistic Dance Institute celebrates its 14 years in existence. It was founded with the onset of the first Holistic Dance Teachers Training in Zagreb, organized by the couragous Tatjana Miklesevic. I had been teaching 4 or 5 open workshops within two years in Zagreb, after one of which a participant asked, wether she could learn this method to become a teacher of it. On my train ride home I wrote the concept of the Teachers Training, Tatjana said "fine, we'll do it", 21 participants signed up and off we went. In 2011 I organized the first TT in Austria and I will be offering the 18th group starting this March. The Teachers Training has since then been held in Croatia, Austria, Germany and Russia and is currently being offered in collaboration with Tanzfabrik Berlin in Berlin.

The Institute began out of a need and curiosity to see if it was possible to teach these intertwining, method-crossing forms, which I call my home: Authentic Movement, Contact, Improvisation, Somatics, Contemporary Dance Improvisation and Dance in Nature. Basically I wanted to teach what I had experienced and felt valuable, to create a container for the continued exploration of the BodyMind. 14 years later, more than 400 Teachers Trainings graduates have finished the training, more than 50 have or are in the process of graduating from the Advanced Teachers Training and an average of 250 people study with me every year.

Gratitude. Awe. Surprise. Joy. Curiosity. Gratitude.

Many people ask me, how I do it and I often say" I don't know". I love working with people, I love working with movement, the dance that emerges, the wisdom of the intuitive body, the unfolding of the psyche and the magic of people creating together. That's not hard to sustain at all, I offer what I feel to be nourishing, continue to be interested in, to hopefully create a safe(r) container. This is deeply satisfying and self perpetuating.

Of course there is another side to this, as many of you know, which is the business and administrative end to this and honestly I am still curious how it works. I am an artist, a creator, an educator, a bodyworker, a person who loves dancing and teaching. I don't identify myself as a business woman, but many of you have given me the feedback that I am. My tax accountant tells me proudly, that my books are in order and my business coach, who has helped me greatly over the years to gain confidence in the decisions I make, continues to smile at me. Okay.

Of course there was Covid and there is still an utter disbelief of how I and the Institute could have survived that. Again deep gratitude to my long standing, trusting participants who continued to support and trusted me through the process.

There have been many coteachers along the way, that have helped shape the offerings of the Holistic Dance Institute: foremost my dear friend and most beloved dance therapist Martina Mückler. She not only was the first coteacher in the Teachers Training, but helped me set up some of the structures of the Institute, she is a partial co-owner of the business and is my most valued Intervision expert. Her intuitive wisdom, skilled eye and big, open heart have complemented my teaching. I sit across from her during Authentic Movement sessions (and often when she is not there, I imagine her sitting across from me) and we simply are witnesses of the greater space together. What an honor.

Another long standing collaboration has been with Alicia Grayson, which has taken on a whole new expansion in the last year. Alicia and I met in 2008 in Hungary at Eszter Gal's Festival and have been coteaching since 2018. Last year we embarked on a new format called "Coming Home to Ourselves through the Body", a two week Intensive combining all of our various training modalities into one beautifull in-depth exploration. Alicia is an incredible dancer, teacher, body-psychotherapist and we keep on inspiring each other with new ideas.

And many more have supported me in the teaching process during the Teachers Trainings: namely contact and shiatsu magician Ray Chung, dare devil and precision queen Eszter Gal, wordsmith and dancer Oliver Schrader, Feldenkrais expert and somatic poet Malcolm Manning. Gratitude. Awe. Surprise. Joy. Curiosity. Gratitude.

This year also marks the first year, that both of my children are on their own. My daughter Anna, 22, is studying occupational therapy and moved out in 2021; my son Jakob, 20 a graduate of culinary and patisserie school, moved out last summer. I am a super proud lion mom, who has been supporting my children through rather rough times as a single mom since 2005. They have given me so much purpose and clarity in pursuing this path, supporting me with their magical, creative and curious young minds, both of them warriors of peace and justice, deeply committed to social change and compassion. And yes having the main financial responsibility for them was definitely not my preferred choice, but it gave me reasons to be even more structured, even more clear about what it is that I want to offer and how to take care of myself in all the care taking that I have been doing.

This is by no means a good-bye blog, but it is a marking of a time. The last 14 years have unfolded in a beautiful and remarkable way. I am shifting into a different life phase, both personally and professionally. I don't know yet exactly how these changes will manifest themselves, but as I continue to teach I can say - more depth, more lightness, more simplicity. My body is also changing and so are my interests in some of the aspects of the methods. I am learning new techniques and approaches. I feel truly blessed to study Visionary Cranio Sacral Work with Hugh Milne and Shadow work with Robert Augustus Masters, and more new information is coming my way.

Thank you all for this incredible ride, your incredible beauty unfolding while you dance and sense and connect with yourself, your peers and the universe.

Gratitude. Awe. Surprise. Joy. Curiosity. Gratitude.

(c) Olga Berdykan

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