Putney Dancer Launches Groundbreaking Workshops For Women

Kush is designed to help women “find their natural rhythm”




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Putney resident and renowned dancer Melisa Yavas is launching Kush (Turkish for ‘bird’), a unique series of workshops designed to help women “find their natural rhythm” through bellydancing and complementary activities. At an event last week to introduce the concept, founder Yavas and her Kush team of experts, yoga instructor Alex Hanly, sound therapist Laura Valenti, meditation specialist Elif Clarke, and percussionist and dancer Guy Schalom, shared their expertise and demonstrated how the sessions will help women to improve their understanding of, and relationship with their minds, bodies and other people.

The new women-only Kush workshops will be running monthly in Studio B at London’s home of dance Sadler’s Wells from 26 February 2013. Centred around bellydancing and fused with complementary activities such as yoga, meditation and sound therapy, each two and a half hour session will address a specific aspect of a woman’s life, helping to enlighten, invigorate and empower them.

Melisa Yavas said:
“At the core [of Kush] is female wellbeing. We start by focussing on a woman’s relationship with herself, her feelings about her body and her ability to deal with her different emotions, as well as the wider world. We are all different, yet bellydance can energise us all, so we can let go and express our feelings. This ancient art has been used by women through child birth and to celebrate their femininity. If we can become more relaxed and accepting of ourselves and others, we are in a better position to aim high and reach our full potential.”

Middle East musical and dance maestro Guy Schalom added:
“Kush is ground-breaking. It’s about giving women the knowledge and the techniques to help them find their natural rhythm. It will impact on their lives in ways they cannot imagine, from the way they walk to how they breathe, and even sex!”

The launch gave media and guests a practical insight into how the Kush concept will work through short demonstrations from the team of experts. Playing his darbuka, Guy Schalom got guests to experience how simple Middle Eastern rhythms can help locate “the pulse in our feet”. Melisa Yavas then showed guests how bellydance helps to connect with various parts of the body, to improve control and co-ordination, while helping women to lose their inhibitions as they shake their “boobs, hips and bums in public.”

Former lawyer Laura Valenti shared her personal story of how cancer transformed her life. Through holistic therapies and the mantra “I want to live”, she found her own voice and now uses sound therapy to help others. Her session involved evoking calming emotions through the power of different sounds, as well as singing using sounds that connect directly with the heart.

Alex Hanly specialises in yoga linked to the lunar and women’s menstrual cycles. She drew gasps from the females present when she described menstruation as “a gift for women”, saying “those who experience pain should see this as an example of imbalance in their body”. She explained how Kush will hone in on a woman’s sensual zone, encouraging women to “get the belly out” through bellydance and yoga, so they can move beyond the pain to “enjoy what it is to be a woman, finding more balance and comfortableness within and outside of themselves”. Cognitive behavioural therapist Elif Clarke ended the session leading the guests in meditation.

Women of all ages can attend the Kush workshops, as long as they are in reasonably good health and open to the benefits of alternative therapies. Kush currently only runs in London. Melisa Yavas and Guy Schalom feature in all the sessions, together with a different expert therapist for each workshop. The first three are titled ‘Relationship’ (26 February – meditation with Elif Clarke), ‘Acceptance’ (26 March – sound therapy with Laura Valenti) and ‘Naturally Balanced Female’ (23 April – yoga with Alex Hanly). Each workshop is priced at £30 or £35, with a £10 discount if all three sessions are booked together. The number of attendees is limited to 25 persons per session. More information and bookings are available on www.kushproject.com.

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January 31, 2013