I was born in Berne, Switzerland. Growing up in a multilingual household and traveling the world at an early age gave me a keen interest in different cultural expressions.
As a child, I was expressing myself mainly through visual arts, then music, theater and sports. When I discovered contemporary dance, it became the international language that pulled all of my passions together.
I discovered yoga when I was 16 years old. My mother had enrolled in a yoga course, and she had Asana cards lying around the house. I picked them up and amused myself trying to copy the Asanas. It was the time when the utopian city of Auroville was founded, the Beatles were weaving Sanskrit mantras into their songs and a lot of European youth were drawn to India. I was reading about Hindu and Buddhist philosophies, and the precept of Ahimsa (non-violence) drew me closer. It also was the time of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights and Feminist Movements, as well as the desegregation of the schools in America, all of which instilled in me a visceral opposition to any form of discrimination.
Throughout high school, it was clear to me that I was not interested in pursuing a conventional life. I wanted to explore the world, live abroad, be independent and lead a creative life.
20 years of dancing & Choreography
Madrid, Berlin, Philadelphia, New York
While being immersed in a course about Spanish culture at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, I was accepted in El Grupo Schinca, an improvisational dance company. My path then took me to the Freie Universität in Berlin, where I studied ethnology and theater. Again, I found a home in a dance company and became a founding member of the Tanzfabrik Berlin. Here, I was privileged to meet and work with leading avant-garde choreographers of American Post-Modern Dance.
Encouraged to study dance professionally in America, I ended up at Temple University in Philadelphia and in Seminole Works Dance Company as a dancer. Temple had a strong focus on Contact Improvisation and choreography, which laid the groundwork for developing my own movement vocabulary.
It quickly became clear to me that New York was the place to be, and in 1984, after graduating Magna cum Laude from Temple, I made the transition into the vibrant, international metropolis. The first few years in New York were romantic in their toughness. In complete commitment to our art, we were willing to make all kinds of sacrifices, such as living on friends’ kitchen floors, surrounded by drug dealers, heroin addicts, other experimental artists and cockroaches. It was exciting, inspiring and wild! I was studying at the Merce Cunningham School, doing artsy food presentations at a trendy Soho restaurant and beginning to find recognition as a choreographer. I was co-founder of KOO Dance with Dutch visual artist Erik Schurink.
In 1985, a trip to Jamaica opened me to Reggae Music and the history of the African Diaspora. This marked the beginning of a 10-year immersion into African and Afro-Caribbean Dance, Percussion and Capoeira. Africa’s high-spirited dances and entrancing rhythms went straight to my heart and strongly influenced my movement vocabulary and choreography. To this day, the spirit I found through African Dance is very present in the way I teach Yoga and in my choices of music.
I continued to develop my career as a dancer/choreographer until 1998. Highlights include performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Spoleto Festival, Yale, Dance Theater Workshop, the Swiss Cultural Institute NYC, Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC. In 1988, I was the recipient of the prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Choreography, and in 1998 I graduated with an MA in choreography, dance and feminist sports psychology from New York University’s Gallatin School.
To view my work, please click on here.
Spirituality and Yoga
In 1993, I met my first spiritual teacher, Shirley Sweet. Shirley is a Sun Dancer and a Sweat Lodge Leader in the tradition of the Lakota. Within six months I was privileged to do a Vision Quest under her guidance, which deeply clarified what I had come on this earth for.
I first stepped into Jivamukti Yoga Center on 2nd Avenue in New York’s East Village in 1994. I immediately resonated with the multimedia artistic and activist components of the method, the dynamic choreography of Asana sequences, the mantras, the hip Indian beats mixed with rap and spoken word, and the teachings on themes that were contemporary and relevant to our time and cultural setting.
In 1999 I enrolled in the Jivamukti teacher training. I was taking every single one of Sharon and David’s classes and was on fire. I began teaching full-time in New York right after completing the training and soon began teaching internationally, including the prestigious 300-hour Jivamukti Teacher Trainings. After mentoring several Jivamukti apprentices for their 800-hour certification, I have supported Jivamukti schools around the globe in opening their schools and facilitating teachers in their continuing education.