Asheville, North Carolina
I was born a dancer, I knew it in my bones by the time I was 3 years old. I convinced my mom to take me to ballet classes where I studied classically with the Royal Academy for the next 11 years. I even had this record that I would play over and over again titled "Tina the Ballerina", it was my dream on vinyl. Yet, because my feet were flat, I was kept from progressing to en pointe(ballet term for dancing on your toes) and my dream felt crushed. Stop the record. I still danced on the pom squad in high school during half time shows at sporting events..not my dream, but still dancing. Eight years later and no formal dancing, I knew I needed more than just my own isolated dance parties. I discovered belly dance, an earthy and sensual movement practice. I loved the articulation, the intricate techniques, and especially the slow and fluid undulating movements that brought me back to life and into my body. I also embraced the opportunity to spend time with other women in my community. Although I loved the dance form, I began to find it hard to feel balanced due to way I was being taught.
Then came the day I curiously walked into my first Qoya class. In the first five minutes I received the essence of Qoya, that the focus is less on how it looks and more on how it feels. That there are no levels in Qoya. No body type or foot shape preferred. I was encouraged to seek my own inner validation and to trust in my own innate ability to move my body. I cried. I felt I had a lifetime of critique and external validation just release from my body in the form of tears. I was guided to deepen my understanding of Qoya and went to Costa Rica three months later where I passionately began my Qoya Teacher Training with Rochelle. I now joke that the record I listened to in my childhood "Tina the Ballerina", was really "Tina the Qoya-rina"and the record keeps playing, the dream continues....
Qoya balances the dances Tina feels matter the most in her life right now. Mothering her two daughters, being an incredible wife, and running the back bones of a successful sustainable building company, Jade Mountain Builders, with her husband Hans Doellgast.
When did you take your first Qoya class? January 2015
What does it mean for you to teach Qoya? Qoya brings me closer to my dreams and my truth every time I welcome it into my day. It is truly a gift to both offer a class and to experience one. Why on earth would I not want to share it?
What is your favorite song to dance to right now? This, I feel, is impossible to answer. I simply love music that MOVES me.
What book has inspired you on the path to embodying the feminine? I feel infinitely inspired by Rochelle's own QOYA: A Compass for Navigating an Embodied Life that is Wise, Wild and Free and by so many books that have been mentioned by the other teachers as well, although right now I am currently reading Pussy: A Reclamation by Regena Thomashauer. please do yourself a favor, do us all a favor...read it
What would you tell someone who is thinking of taking a Qoya class for the first time? Go! Give yourself the gift of remembering your truth, of opening to receive on a deeper level then you could possibly imagine. It's a gift that extends far beyond your time on the dancefloor and moves into all the places of your life, your family, your community, your dreams. How? By following the physical sensation of truth in your body. It is like having a deep conversation with your soul in the form of a kick ass dance party.