With a background in African Dance and 5 years of practicing Yoga, Theresia is a recent graduate of the certification program at the BhaktiShop Yoga School in SE Portland. Also a recent transplant to Portland, Theresia is looking forward to moving with you.
Shireen has pursued her lifelong interest in movement arts through training in yoga, dance, circus arts and aerial dance. She has been dancing with fire since 1999, and is known for her fluid style, innovative movements and mesmerizing performances. An accomplished teacher as well as performer, she has taught circus skills, object manipulation and aerial arts to students of all ages, come learn with Shireen!
Denise Johnson (she/her) and Hernandez Williams (he/him)
Lead instructors, Denise Johnson and Hernandez Williams have been on their Chicago-Style Steppin’ journey since 2010 and 2008, respectively. Teaching since 2012, they travel extensively to attend workshops and take lessons from some of the current leading Chicago Steppers in the nation. Learning the art of Chicago-Style Steppin’ is a journey. A true Stepper knows the more you learn, the more you recognize you have more to learn! With that in mind, Master instructor (with 30+ years of experience) and Groovin’ High Steppers’ mentor, Keith Hubbard, makes monthly visits to Portland, Oregon for special lessons and workshop activities.
Our philosophy is simple: “Approach the dance with humility”; “Practice, Practice and Practice some more”, and “There is a leader and a follower in the dance. One person cannot be both within the same dance!”
I was born in California, and moved to Southern Oregon when I was almost 13. When I was 20, I decided to move to Portland to finish my undergrad. I found my passion for yoga while in graduate school. It was an outlet that assisted me with staying physically fit, and helped to manage the stress of working full time and going to school. Following graduate school, I felt that the next natural step was to become certified to be a yoga instructor. One of my passions is to find creative ways to bring yoga to those who don't typically think yoga is for them, and to those who may not have the means or ability to practice at a studio.
My job is working full time at Legacy Health; driving their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. In addition, I volunteer on many community boards, and I am a state appointed commissioner. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to teach at Firelight and now at (com)motion. I also teach weekly at lunch for my co-workers, and at a non-profit in downtown Portland.
I am originally from New Orleans, now living in the beautiful NW and I love teaching fitness stateside and internationally. The reason is simple: Every class/clinic/session feels like a party! I am a Certified Group Exercise Instructor, Fitness Nutrition Coach & Personal Trainer. With years in the fitness industry and dance, I am here to provide an energetic and fun experience.
Jose has over 50 years of teaching experience in Okinawan style Shotokan Karate. Hailing from Puerto Rico, he represented his country at the 5th World Traditional Karate Championship in Lima, Peru in 1990. He was also recognized at the Latin American Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 1997 and at the Karate Voice's Hall of Fame in 2001. He holds an International Instructor License from the International Martial Arts Federation of Japan. Following is a short list of some of his training accomplishments:
-Black Belt 8th Dan, Kyoshi Karatedo
-Black Belt 7th Dan, Kyoshi Okinawa Kobudo (Okinawan Weaponry)
-Black Belt 3rd Dan, Shidoin Nihon Jujutsu
-Chief Instructor United Alliance of Shoto Karatedo - UASK
-Chief Instructor Okinawa Budo Kenkyukai - OKIBUKAI
-Chief Instructor Okinawa Kobayashi Shorinryu Karate Kobudo - Puerto Rico Shorinryu
Brandon Harrison is the father/founder of the Kiki House of Flora in Portland, OR. He has been training in vogue since 2016. He has travelled to major ballroom scenes in New York, LA, and San Francisco to gain additional knowledge and history about the ballroom community to share with the growing kiki ballroom scene in Portland.
Kelly is a freelance dancer and teacher in Portland, Oregon, with a passion for cultivating community, making dance accessible for all, and helping adults find joy in movement. Ballet is an art form that has been traditionally very exclusive and she wants to change that. Her goal is to bring the joy of ballet to everyone in an environment where underrepresented communities feel safe and valued.
Mia O'Connor started dancing in 1996 under the instruction of Judy Marsh in Portland, OR. By 2000, Mia was doing dance competitions and beginning more intensive ballet training with Sarah Riggles at Classical Ballet Academy. She also learned from Claire Olberding, Kristen Brayson, Julana Torres, and Tracy Durban at Da Vinci Arts Middle School. From 2008-2012, Mia was a part of the pre-professional dance company, The Jefferson Dancers. She studied with Melissa St Clair, Kristi Bacon, Durante lamber, TJ Yale, Alexander Dones, Kasa Wilhelmi, her peers and more. With the JDs she took workshops, taught, performed throughout Portland, and toured nationally/internationally under the artistic direction of Steve Gonzales. in 2012, Mia spent a year in NYC to study Ballet, Horton, Graham, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Yoga in the Ailey School professional division with Leslie Journet, Robin Dunn, Milton Meyers, Pedro Ruiz, Ana Marie Forsythe, Marianne Bachmann, and Melanie Person. Currently Mia is based in Portland, freelancing and finding creative ways to get support and engage with her community.
Marcus Stanback has been a dedicated student of yoga since his first exposure to the physical practice. Originally beginning yoga to relieve back pain, he saw benefits from the connection of breath to movement and the mindfulness the practice brought to his life. Marcus moved to the area in early 2018 and completed his 200 hour certification in Portland, OR at Yoga Bhoga. He aims to embody and share subtle aspects of yoga through pranayama and a sharper understanding of the asanas. Marcus sees the practice of yoga as an opportunity for us to cultivate awareness of our own experience as well as the collective experience of society, while fostering unity as we learn and grow. As a black male yoga teacher, I tend to shock people as a rarity in society. Living my life as a yogi is a radical action that supports the uplifting and inclusion of people of color in healing practices of movement like yoga.
I’m a wellness, movement, and self-love enthusiast!!! Yoga has exercised my intuitive wisdom and fluency in the language of love. It has also replaced habits of excessive self-pressure and going hardcore on myself, with habits of complete self-compassion. May the same be transferred to you in our practices together. I've completed 200 hours of yoga training with Jim and Lynea Gillen in Portland (https://www.yogacalm.org/certification/), 300 hours of Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy in Beaverton, Oregon with Susan Bass (http://www.theartofdigestion.com/), and continue to immerse myself in yogic education. Beyond what I have studied with mentors and in books, I'm of Persian descent. My ancestral lineage infuses all that I am, and all that I teach, too. Find me virtually via Facebook as Persian Medicine Woman, or simply show up for the live felt experience of yoga together. As an instructor at Commotion I hope to offer representation and leadership to People of Color in the community. I also would like to offer yoga as an ancestral cultural practice that is revered, enlivens us ALL with a socially just consciousness, and as a practice to improve mental health. My strengths to share with the community are cultural and social justice, and providing yoga as support to improve mental/emotional health and wellbeing. Humbly and joyfully I look forward to being of yogic service to... YOU!!
I first experienced Somatics during a Practicing Justice retreat in upstate New York when I felt the freedom of not fighting my body in meditation. After some research, I discovered Hanna Somatic Education and began the three-year course Clinical Techniques of Hanna Somatic Education Training at the Novato Institute near San Francisco. I currently have 200+ hours of training, classroom study, and private session experience as a Somatics Educator in the tradition of Thomas Hanna. I am also a member of the Association of Hanna Somatic Educators. In Hanna Somatics, we learn through our subjective experience if brain and body to rest muscles and reorganize ourselves for efficiency, pain relief, and somatic freedom. I have deep habituations in my own body. The soma-to-soma work that I do has brought pain relief and deep joy to my life.
I have danced and performed for most of my life! I started as a performer in the Bahai Youth Workshop when I was 8 years old. I am a former memeber of the NW Afrikan American Ballet, the Fisk University Orchesis Company, Uhuru Dance Ensemble of Nashville and currently dance with Sebe Kan (Serious Sound) West AFrican Dance and Drum Ensemble in Portland, Oregon. I have taught toddler ballet classes, served as dance coordinator and instructor of the Global Education Center in Nashville, TN, and the Dance Coordinator for the High Steppers Dance and Drill Team in Portland, OR. I was a fitness instructor at the YMCA located in Baton Rouge, LA.
Hey Beautiful Souls! My heart is in supporting women in the journey to healing and transcending past pain, traumatic experiences and self-sabotoging mindsets through transformation of the mind, body & spirit. I walk with women on the path to realigning with self, reawakening to the wisdom of our intuition and our bodies, and remembering our creative feminine power through soul work. As the creatrix of Ascension Well Body & Fitness I teach the purpose of the spirit-mind-body connection, share self-investment tools, and help define what having a "well-body" means and how to achieve it. I believe our bodies are the most sacred, sensual and magickal conduits between worlds that has limitless potential...And I use movement as one of the tools to tap into this potential. Teaching at Commotion is a complete blessing that allows me to hold space for women to heal, express themselves through their bodies, build confidence and revive their feminine energy in a safe, loving & supportive community.
Leina’ala started dancing at an early age at her local community center. She fell in love with Tap and has not looked back since. In efforts to get more active she pursued her love of dance into teaching dance fitness with U-Jam Fitness in 2015 and recently GROOV3 She danced hula for ten years under her na Kumu(teachers), ‘Aukai La’amaikahiki and Ka’aumoana Ahina. Dance has always been important to me as a way to connect with others and build relationships. Through the power of dance, we are connecting, supporting and creating classroom community which can go far beyond the walls of a dance studio.
Rajah (she/her, they/them, he/him)
Rajah has been a long time lover of dance, and has been performing in theatre for over a decade. She has attended intensives for theatre, dance, and singing with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, from where she hails. She trains everyday for her own dance exploration, and has experience in ballet, modern techniques, and improvisation. In her free time, she works to better understand body awareness, movement, and what ties us to dance. You can find her thinking of these with a glass of cava in her hand, likely with pomegranate juice. :) My whole approach to dance and teaching is to spread movement throughout all communities and allow those from disenfranchised communities an opportunity to explore their expression through dance. Even as a mixed race genderqueer person, I still recognize my privilege and honestly, just want to dance and spread dance and elevate our community past the ballet blanc lines we’ve been taught.
I am an acupuncturist, yoga teacher, and personal trainer. I have been practicing yoga since 2004, and teaching since 2012. Yoga makes me feel like my body is mine, in a culture that wants me to believe it isn’t. I am constantly learning new things about my own body and what it feels like to be a person. My practice is alignment focused, which means giving your joints space to move through their full range of motion in a healthy, functional way. Everything I teach is grounded in living anatomy and building long-term health. It is important to me to create spaces where queer and trans people can show up as their full selves. A lot of queer groups have moved online, and it is harder to find physical spaces to connect with the community. That isolation makes people less safe. In my classes as well as in my acupuncture practice, it is important to me that people feel seen and don’t have their experience minimized or discounted because of their race, gender, or size.
KAYLA BANKS (professional choreographer, dancer and actress) is from Denver, Colorado where she received her BA in Performing Arts and Business Administration from Colorado State University. She has danced professionally with Impact Dance Company in Colorado, performed with local artists in Portland, and received a scholarship to train with NW Dance Project. She recently performed in an original work in New York City at The Public Theater under the choreographic direction of Emily Bufferd. She has choreographed and danced for events in Colorado, The Portland Musical Theatre Co., Anya Pearson: Shaking Tree Theatre, and led original projects. She currently teaches dance at studios such as The Portland Ballet, Multnomah Athletic club, and Laurelhurst Dance Studio. She is also the Program Coordinator for Kúkátónón African Dance Troupe. She is a recipient of the New Expressive Works residency program where she will debut an original work in March 2019. She is in the certification process for the Ellové Technique and is so excited to be part of an innovative health and wellness practice. Her focus is wellness and her heart is for children. You can take her Ellovè and childrens’ dance classes here at (com)motion!!