About Hannah

The spiritual life is a foundation upon which the material life may rest.
My journey has been one of spiritual wakefulness from the start.
As a child I felt close to nature, saw angels and had many dreams.

Only later did I realise this was unique. At the age of 11 I began researching religion, starting with the Christian tradition I grew up in and then moving on to North American Indigenous systems and the bountiful New Age beliefs surrounding me in California. I began dancing at the age of 13, knowing I would dance professionally, and this was a great joy which anchored me during my years of exploration. I was a part of the contemporary dance scene in New York in the 1990’s where we explored body-mind practices such as Awareness Through Movement, Alexander Technique, Somatics, Tai Chi and Authentic Movement. Through these years of exploration I began to understand that I really needed healing and this set me on the course of my life.

In 2000 I moved to North Carolina where I spent 8 years studying Polarity Therapy. Polarity Therapy is a complete holistic system involving osteopathic manipulation, energy techniques, counseling, nutrition and yoga. It is based on the ancient sciences of the Vedas. When I became certified I opened a private practice and it is through my work with clients that I became aware of shamanism. As the shamanic world began to open I studied from core shamanic knowledge bases including the work of Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman. My work at this point was a blend of Polarity Therapy, Core Shamanism and the body-mind, somatic practices brought forward from my years of dancing. Then in 2008 life changed dramatically. I relocated to the UK where I immediately came into contact with first Sufism and then the work of South American Indigenous peoples. I underwent an intensive Sufi initiation in London and spent several months in the jungles of Ecuador with my family. Before long, despite initial reluctance to accept a life of complete service, I began teaching Sufi whirling and the South American traditions.

Alongside my work in healing I also pursued an academic path. I was able to integrate my interests by writing a PhD on my Sufi initiation. Based in the dance and theatre department at The University of East London, I wrote about my initiation from both body-based and spiritual perspectives. Before I finished studying I  had already begun lecturing and enjoyed 8 years as an academic instructor. By the end of my time in academia I was teaching Tai Chi, body-mind practices, movement analysis and training students in somatic and energy based therapies. Then in 2017 I became sick myself. I developed a skin rash which covered my entire body and spent the next 4 years working with both allopathic and complementary doctors to finally bring my health into a state of complete balance. This period can be seen as an initiation phase of itself. At that time I left university teaching and began to work in private practice once again.

I now offer training in Polarity Therapy, Neutral-Space Relaxation, Somatics and Shamanism to small groups of dedicated students. I run intensive healing retreats and offer one to one healing sessions and support for those ready to commit to a life of balance and spiritual development. My dream is to build The Jewel of Peace Healing Centre, where allopathic and complementary healing serve each other in synergy. As new models of healthcare becomes more necessary, I aim to apply the depth and breadth of my life’s work in co-creating an example that might serve the needs of our time to the fullest.

I hold a BFA in Dance and Choreography from The State University of New York at Brockport. I earned an MA in Dance Anthropology from Roehampton University in London and my PhD in Dance and Ritual Studies from The University of East London. I have lectured at The University of East London, Southampton Solent University and The University of Surrey. I am a Registered Polarity Practitioner, a Certified Relaxation Trainer, and have a green light to teach continuing development hours in Craniosacral Therapy and Somatics. I integrate the shamanic work in the teaching I deliver.

As a professional dancer, I was a founding member of Shen Wei Dance Arts. I later co-founded and artistic directed Open Air Dance, producing 7 seasons of work in North Carolina and 4 in the UK.   

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’ (2017), is a visual publication of documentary/experimental film, screened at The Barcelona International Short Film Festival, The University of Surrey and Liverpool Hope University. My first book for the public ‘Sovereignty and Love: Bright Ideas for a Better Future’ was released in December of 2021.

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 confidence, wholeness and excellence in my students. The medicines I bring ~ dance, 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.