Hello, I’m Susannah. I’m here to help you reduce inflammation, discomfort, and pain by helping you move better.
Movement has been part of my life since I was eight years old. My first love was classical ballet. I was lucky to have solid early training as well as good-humored, dedicated parents, who delivered me to daily lessons and far-away intensives. At 13, I auditioned and was accepted to a unique “magnet” school, excelling in both arts and academics. This afforded me many wonderful opportunities at a young age to perform and to study dance with master teachers and choreographers. This rich, early experience of integrated arts education in a government school continues to motivate me to broaden my teaching practice. I am a believer in the joy and value of life-long learning and I believe that body movement is a primary pathway to learning.
After high school, I sought a non-traditional course of study and found that at Bennington College, from which I received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in dance. With deep roots entangled in modern dance culture, it gave me a sense of being a part of that history. Often called a vanguard of progressive education, it was my first exposure to designing a curriculum, my own. At Bennington, I learned to be an independent thinker, responsible for my own education. Bennington extended my love affair with dance to a ménage ad infinitum, which included, biology, poetry, and technology in art. I still love designing curriculum for well-being that extends beyond just making a body healthy, but that also inspires independent thinking and enthusiasm for learning about our world and the world of our bodies.
After my tertiary studies, I had a career as a dancer working in NYC with many wonderful artists including Daria Fain, Amy Cox, Willa Carroll, Eva Lawrence, Nathalie Jonas, Jessica Dessner, and Heather Kravas.
In 2004, I undertook training to teach the Alexander Technique. It was a 1600-hour training course over three years, after which I received a certification. Teaching Alexander was my first experience as an educator, which suits my temperament. I feel lucky to have been drawn to it, because I identify more as an educator than as a therapist or healer. I enjoy teaching people to be responsible for their own education and health and to “heal thyself.”
When life (well, actually my husband, Padma) led me to Mallacoota in regional Victoria, I took some time to consider in what manner I might contribute to this community and in what way I might continue my life’s on-going passions. One of my friend’s children asked me to teach her dance; I was literally called (by an irresistible six-year-old) to teach dance. I took this request seriously, and began teaching. This, in turn, stimulated me to further self-educate. At that time I completed two very different intensives: one with the amazingly inspiring Anna Halprin, the other was an intensive training for dance educators taught by Anne Greene-Gilbert, a leader in brain-compatible dance education.
In addition to teaching creative dance to various ages, I have also taught dance at Mallacoota P-12 College, private and group Alexander technique classes, as well as restorative exercise and movement education at the Mallacoota Community Mudbrick Pavillion, the Yoga Room, and the Mallacooota Districtrict Health and Support Service Planned Activity Group and Neighborhood House. My dance education work and my well-being work are related in the sense that I aim to promote health as integral to expression.
This brought me to a great question that guides my teaching practice and that, I believe, I will spend the rest of my life finding many answers to: What is health? What is wellness? What is fitness? What is optimal function for a human? What is comfort? Can dance technique and other cultural practices, like sports and yoga, promote biological health?
These questions brought me to study biomechanics a field of physics that applies the laws of physics to a biological system, like the body. Last year I undertook a course of study with Katy Bowman, a master’s level bio-mechanic scientist, author, and founder of the Restorative Exercise Institute which teaches a Biomechanical Model of Preventative Medicine, based on physics, physiology, anatomy, and engineering. Last year, I certified as a Restorative Exercise Specialist – Certified Personal Trainer (RES-CPT). Katy has sparked in me a serious anatomy-nerd itch that will not soon subside.
I have also been studying Yoga for some time with our local teacher Tracey Litherland as well as with Padma Newsome, my husband. When Tracey moved away last year, I decided to try to continue yoga practice here in Mallacoota. I went to the Yoga Vidya Gurukul in Maharashtra, India (earning a diploma in Yoga Education) to experience traditional Indian yoga and learn how to teach Hatha yoga from this perspective, adapting traditional practices for a modern lifestyle.
I am in constant pursuit of broadening my own education and experience in order to enrich my life and the lives of my students. As both and educator and as an artist, I am interested and inspired by transformation, the revelation of imagination and the unexpectedness of both the every-day and the extraordinary.