This week, we’re bringing you a new Q&A with Jo Schillinger and Annika Ihnat, who will be presenting a workshop on Sacred Dance to awaken your inner dancer:
Saturday, March 12 | 2-3:30 p.m.
Yoga Nook on Cochran
Tell us a little bit more about your background and why you became interested in somatics.
Jo: I taught modern, ballet and jazz dance for LAUSD for 25 years. After retiring, I began taking AIM classes and was amazed by the transformation even a single class could achieve. I’ve also found it to be effective for healing. I wish I knew 25 years ago what I know now.
Annika: I trained in jazz, ballet, hip hop and lyrical dance growing up, and danced professionally in film and television for 10 years. Although I enjoyed my time as a professional dancer, I ultimately found myself wanting something more. That’s when I fell in love with yoga and later, AIM somatic education. I am fascinated by how these practices empower us to heal ourselves.
Why did you decide to present a workshop on Sacred Dance? What are you looking to offer attendees?
Jo: I find there is a strong link between dance and yoga. Early yogis used asanas to prepare for meditation. Early man/woman used dance to transcend and celebrate life. Today we often think of dance as something to watch. If we participate, we must look like someone or something. We have lost the connection to the primal and the sacred.
Annika: Although I’ve been a dancer my whole life, it was only when I began practicing yoga that I gained the self-awareness to move intuitively and express myself freely while dancing. To me, this is what both yoga and sacred dance are about — getting in touch with our bodies and our selves, and moving from that place of awareness. I hope to offer attendees a fun and liberating experience in a safe, open environment.
How have you applied somatics in your line of work?
Jo: There is an organic way of moving for every body. I think it’s important to make individual accommodations to find safe and expressive methods of movement. I’ve also learned the value of gentle movement and moving efficiently through daily activity.
Annika: I incorporate AIM in every yoga class I teach to help students tune into their internal experience and build a stronger mind-body connection. I think somatic education is useful for anyone who dances, not only to heal injuries and move in more functional ways, but also to get in touch with the deepest parts of ourselves, where authentic self-expression originates.
If there is one thing you would like attendees to take away from your workshop, what would it be?
Jo: There is a dancer within all of us. What you did when you were four years old is an offering to the Source.
Annika: There is no right or wrong way to dance. There is only your unique expression of your truth in the moment.