Gypsy Caravan Teachers Australia Part 1

Meet our beautiful teachers from around Australia! These women bring you an amazing class every week, teach from the heart, to share their passion and joy of Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance. I am so proud to call these women my friends, my dance sisters, to share their stories and journeys.


RICHELLE SPENSER
Free Spirit Gypsies Fremantle

Where do you live and teach Gypsy Caravan TB?
Hi I am Richelle Spencer, I live in Fremantle Western Australia and teach at a local studio the Mata Hari Studio (aka My Dance Sanctuary) in Bibra Lake, which is run by the Free Spirit Dance Community Inc. a not for profit community dance group empowering women to become more motivated and add dancing as a fabulous form of exercise to their routines, invigorating mind body and spirit.

I am 50 years young, married to Mathew my partner of 28 years (we have actually known each other since we were 5!!!), we have an amazing 22 year old son who has recently completed his 4 year teaching degree in High School Physical and Health Education and is working in Jerramungup, a small rural District High School in south west WA about 4½ – 5 hours from Perth and we have a black brindle staffy called Axel.

What inspires you as a teacher and dancer?
Funny enough dance and teaching are my inspirations……these are my life passions… it makes me feel alive inside, I go to a place within that is so soul nourishing, physically and spiritually fulfilling. I feel very blessed that I get to live and work my joy.
Music inspires me… my house, my car, my head, the studio is full of it!! All different styles and genres, recorded, live, contemporary, world beats, classical, tribal, percussive sounds using drums and zills, if it’s got a danceable beat well hey it’s on my playlist,

Women inspire me; I love when they begin to find themselves… their inner light and beauty shines so brightly. It’s a privilege to watch these beautiful butterflies emerging from their sleepy cocoons!
Our GCTB family inspires me: it’s worldwide… I feel so blessed to have Nina and the Queensland, Tassie and WA gypsies in our Aussie backyard and was fortunate to have met Cinzia from Italy in Milan last year, Misha from Florida in Freo this year and Paulette on several occasions, but adore how we can still keep up to date with our other global dance sistas whom we might not have physically met but cyberly have ! Its pretty darn fine. And what a great source of inspiration is this big extended tribal family.
I take inspiration from Mother Earth
Whether from energising beach walks, stepping out in nature, peaceful bush strolls, driving, cycling, or sitting on the back of a motor bike taking in the stunning vistas, landscapes and views, laying under a star filled indigo sky, I especially love the power and energy of lunar cycles: yes I am an avid moon gazer and follower, flowers, plants and trees are natures works of art from the Goddess Gaia such incredible works of art you can learn so much from their shapes, colours, textures, patterns that they are made up from ……..so yes…. so much inspiration
In art…..admiring stunning ancient masterpieces, or a 3 year olds finger painting… everyone sees beauty so individually, so just look more with an open heart, open mind and appreciative eyes J

What is your GCTB history?
I started bellydance in 2001 or 2 cant remember now, it was fun but when our teacher invited Paulette Rees Denis and Jeff to our regular class where she introduced us to GCTB well…. we were captured hook, line and sinker! So we moved over to this new earthy fun gypsy style.
We had many teachers, made lots of mistakes, needing numerous corrections and then eventually was asked to take over leading and teaching the group.
Hence, the formation of the Free Spirit Gypsies.
I have been very blessed to attend many workshops with Paulette over the years; I can still remember we invited her to teach in Fremantle and it was the hottest January ever! Lol!
I have completed CS1 & CS2 Innisfail 2014, CS3 Fremantle 2016 and about to undertake CS4 in Innisfail July 2018 Teacher Training 1 in 2014 online, TT2 in 2016 with Paulette and will be studying TT3 on line next time it is offered.
Tribal Grooves Teacher Training Cairns 2016
In 2016 while Paulette was in Cairns she invited me to lead: Caravan Project Western Australia. Which is comprised of Free Spirit and Junk Room Gypsies. We have performed at numerous local haflas and WAMED events and looking forward to performing at many more and growing our troupe.
I was also thrilled to be invited to become a member of the Gypsy Caravan International Troupe.
This was a life long dream come true. A fabulous sense of recognition, from my mentor, my teachers and peers of the hard work I have put in over the years.
I am still a little overwhelmed and extremely delighted and very proud of this honour.

How does being connected through dance make you feel?
Dance connection feels like a great big warm embrace…a giant hug!
Its like being part of a great big family: where you are connected to like-minded, soul driven sistas, to me it’s a safe haven, a sanctuary.

What do you do when you aren’t dancing?
Well I teach seven dance classes a week so dancing takes up a fair bit of my time in reality.
I work at Mother Earth aromatherapy a small Freo business and creators of beautiful natural skin and body care products, so I like to dabble in essential oils, love to cook when the urge hits me, hanging out with my dance and moon sistas and facilitating Red Tent Temples were once a month we gather to honour the new moon, the cycles of the moon and women, the womb and beautiful you. An opportunity to: talk, share, connect, laugh, cry, rest, replenish, be loved, hug, dance, all in a safe sacred space. Allowing for everyone’s differences and sameness. It’s simply beautiful.

And hanging out with the love of my life, my hubby, travelling, chatting, eating out eating in whatever takes our fancy x

What makes you happy?
Well apart from dance and my family…there is my friends, my dance sistas, a good belly laugh, yummy food and great wine, a G&T, a great cup of tea, unexpected gatherings, when someone has that ‘a- ha moment’, or just gets it, observing dancers just being in the moment moving and flowing in synchronicity with the music and beat, watching live bands/music that make you move or just move you, seeing a magnificent sculptural tree, delicate patterns on an orchid flower, watching baby birds learning to fly, cloud formations that are here one moment gone the next, just take a look around you…..Mother Nature is seriously beautiful…. breathe it in….soak it up …..Let it penetrate you….

And simply smile :)
richellespencer@westnet.com.au


WENDY CLARK
Nomadica Townsville

I live in Townsville and teach Gypsy Caravan at the Wulguru Community Centre on Tuesday nights.
As a teacher and dancer I have been inspired by the amazing teachers that I have had the privilege of studying under. I usually fall in love with them as performers and then can’t wait to learn their mysterious ways.

I am also inspired by the beautiful music we dance to.

I began my Gypsy Caravan journey when I moved to Townsville from Adelaide. I had my very first taste of GC in a workshop with our fabulous mentor Nina. I was then lucky enough to be invited to classes with the exquisite Jordan Galliott.
GC has since dominated my dance time.

I try to spend as much time dancing and performing as I can but when I’m not dancing I am spending time with my dance sisters socially and hanging out with my precious children. I also work in Disability Support and as a CTA at James Cook University.
I am loving my life as a dance teacher and performer in the beautiful tropics of Northern Queensland.

Wendy has completed her Collective Soul Level 1, and hopes to complete her Teacher Training later in the year.
wclark8@live.com.au


LISA NEWTON
Kuranda Dance Kuranda

In 2003, I discovered Tribal Style Bellydance, when I met Nina and from then I have studied with Nina of Gypsy Rain, Paulette of Gypsy Caravan, Alaine from Perth and Sienna from Tribal Zest.

I have completed my Teacher Training level 1 certificate and Collective Soul level 1-3 certificates and continue to grow as a teacher and student of dance. In 2011, I opened my own studio and brought Tribal Style to Kuranda as Kuranda Dance.

In 2015, we closed our doors to make space for the next evolution of dance in Kuranda. This appeared last year, when Magnolia, one of my dance students, took the step to become a Tribal Grooves Certified Teacher trainer. I love going along to Magnolia’s Grooves classes and thoroughly enjoy being her student and supporting her with collaborative workshops.

I love the feminine energy and strength I get from dance classes with Magnolia each week and with Nina at her monthly workshops at the Temple. I feel so privileged to be able to dance alongside my tribal sisters all over the world.
lisakuranda@gmail.com


BECKY FORSTER
Evocation Dance Albany

From Albany, southern WA, a land of rugged coastlines, wide open expanses and the wonders of the bush, Becky loves to dance, celebrate, connect, journey and play with her sisters from around the world.

First introduced to Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance in the late 1990’s when Paulette braved the distance to travel ‘down-under’, the dance whispered to her heart and wove its magic. The alchemy over the last 20 something years has seen Becky combine her love of dance with her profession in somatic and therapeutics to create spaces for healing and restorative practice that nurture the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Becky is the founder of Evocation Dance, offering dance, movement, meditation, mindfulness and creative/expressive arts to women in her home state of Western Australia and further afield.
Becky has attained certification in CS6/ TT4/ Tribal Grooves.
ziva@omninet.net.au


LAURIE MACKENZIE
Lunadorn Ipswich

Where do you live and teach Gypsy Caravan TB?
Living & teaching in Ipswich, SE Queensland. We have a fantastic band of women, dancers, performers and friends.

What inspires you as a teacher and dancer?
My fellow teacher and dancer and friend, Sue McGee. We have an open & supporting relationship that works so well together, being able to share the load of teaching and dancing with another like minded person if truly extraordinary. We keep each other on track and pick up the slack if one of us is not running on full capacity.
My dance-sistas who are always work together with sometimes crazy ideas, sometimes fantastic ideas but we respect and appreciate what each of us can bring to the creativity of the dance.

What is your GCTB history?
I am a Certified Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® Teacher Level 1, and happy to have achieved the Gypsy Caravan Collective Soul Levels 1, 2 & 3. 
Plus Certification in American Tribal Style -ATS® General Skills – Classic & Modern Certificates.

I can thank my niece and her daughter who are beautiful dancers, when I saw them perform at a christening for one my great-nieces and again at a festival – fell in love with their movement, colour, connection, and ability to dance at any age for any age. So I explored Bellydance classes in my area.

My 1st dance experience (ever) with Dancing Tiger in Ipswich and Tribal Blossoms (Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance®) in Brisbane late in 2009 – I had just turned 50 that year and was looking for an interest that provided exercise while being enjoyable. I also started to learn cabaret (oriental) style bellydancing at the same time.

I had no idea I would be learning not just about how to belly dance but also about music, rhythm, style, movement, connectivity, fantastic costuming, new avenues of music, history, and glorious women from many differing backgrounds, many of whom are now good friends.
 
In 2013 I needed to find alternative dance opportunities due to changed circumstances, so I asked the principals of Dancing Tiger in Ipswich if they would be interested in me running tribal classes in Ipswich, for manly oriental bellydancers! And thankfully they were very supportive and so I started teaching Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® to a group of enthusiastic dancers.
 
I continue to expand and explore my dance form and attends workshops & intensives, these have included world reknown Australian & US dancers : Paulette Rees-Denis(USA); Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman(USA) and Megha (USA); Nina Martinez (Aus), Sabine (USA); Hilary Cinis (Aus); Jill Parker(USA), Madonna Teitzel(Aus), Oliver Kissel (USA), Devi Mamak (Aus), Alice Knox (Aus) and Sian Bhala (Aus).

How does being connected through dance make you feel?
It’s a magical feeling dancing with your dance sistas, the shared connectivity and understanding, interpreting each others body movements, the energy of the circle of women, the delight of rhythmic movement to the beat of the drum. I have made so many friends through dance, from all walks of life that I am so blessed to share my life with.

I love the constant changes, moves, spur of the moment shifts, the ability to get up and dance with others to the same flow and rhythm is spectacular. The vibrant costuming, music and interaction between the tribe of dancers. Even after a tiring day at work I can go to a tribal class and leave feeling energised and rejuvenated. It connects me to others, the earth, it takes me to a happy place on a regular basis.

What do you do when you aren’t dancing? My paid role is working in Human Resources for a national scientific research organisation. Which is about working with people and helping them with their working life and experiences, some days are a struggle, other days are brilliant.
And I love travelling and seeing other countries, cultures and sights and sounds and smells – smells always take me to particular spots around the world.

What do you do when you aren’t dancing?
My paid role is working in Human Resources for a national scientific research organisation. Which is about working with people and helping them with their working life and experiences, some days are a struggle, other days are brilliant.
And I love travelling and seeing other countries, cultures and sights and sounds and smells – smells always take me to particular spots around the world.

What makes you happy?
I love spending relaxation time with my pets, my friends, my family, and connecting with the earth, the sea, outdoor fires in winter, breathing in lungfuls of fresh clean air.

My best relaxation time is lying on the grass at home in winter with all my pets beside me looking up to the sky and large trees above, so blissful, no people around (I live on acreage so neighbours aren’t close).
I love sitting on a balcony on a cruise ship in the middle of an ocean in the middle of the night watching the ocean and the stars cruise by – that is so awesome.

Where do you live and teach Gypsy Caravan TB?

Living & teaching in Ipswich, SE Queensland. Our hall is a beautiful, heritage listed building with a wonderful warm energy that’s nurtured by our students.

What inspires you as a teacher and dancer?
Watching our students succeed and the joy that comes with the sense of achievement. I love learning new things and testing myself. Sharing the teaching with my wonderful partner Laurie Mackenzie as we balance each other well and are not frightened to challenge each other to allow ourselves to grow.

SUE MCGEE
Lunadorn Ipswich

What is your GCTB history?
I have achieved the Gypsy Caravan Collective Soul Levels 1, 2 & 3 (and booked in for Level 4 )

I transitioned into GCTB some 4 years ago from Oriental and never looked back. I loved the earthy, grounded feeling of tribal and relished in the connection that is essential to this dance form.

I love how much I learned about myself as a dancer in those first two years being a student of GCTB. It was a wonderful way of rediscovering myself and the joy of simply dancing. Beginning GCTB allowed me to delve into new passions such as learning to drum and zill, experimenting with all sorts of different music, learning the history of GCTB, and creating dances and formations with my dance circle . Now that I am teaching, it has cemented my love for this dance style and continues to provide me with wonderful opportunities to be challenged and grow.
 


How does being connected through dance make you feel?
Happy and squishy and all levels of awesome. Being an “energy” person, the connecting to another dancer’s energy through shared joy is beautiful. It makes me incredibly happy to be with my dance sisters and I squish in all close and comfy – just ask Laurie .

What do you do when you aren’t dancing?
My full-time work is Student Support Co-ordinator at USQ which is rather full on and mentally challenging. I look after a number of employees across 3 different campuses and am constantly learning. My down time is spent with my close circle of girlfriends – preferably somewhere near the ocean, catching up with family or spending time with my cat – oh and my boys at home.

What makes you happy?
Sharing time with my friends without any plans. Spending time in nature –bush or beach – and just being. Camping – anywhere. Dancing with wanton abandon to 80’s music . Learning new stuff. Sitting under a full moon recharging and rebalancing.
lunadorntribal@gmail.com