Debbie Steingesser is a celebrated Vinyasa Yoga Teacher and Dancer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’ll be teaching Dansa Vinyasa®, her unique blend of Yoga, West African Dance, and Live African Music featuring Rhythm Village at Bhakti Fest 2012 in Joshua Tree, CA.
The Intersection of Yoga and Dance
During the winter of my junior year in college, I spent a month in the below zero wind chill of Omaha, Nebraska interning at my favorite record label. Prior to this move, I’d been a wild African Dance enthusiast living in Boston. My life consisted of dancing five to seven days a week with local African teachers, performing at festivals, and travelling to West Africa regularly to study at the Dagbe Cultural Center in Ghana. I was obsessed, in love, and unstoppable; that is until I arrived in Nebraska.
There was virtually no African Dance in Omaha. I could barely find any dance in Omaha, not to mention vegetarian cuisine or non-alcoholic beverages. But, located on the icy corner of 61st and Maple in the Benson neighborhood was a warm, welcoming studio called Omaha Yoga. I discovered the space on my second day in town and was soon immersed in my very first Vinyasa basics class with two older women, a retired marine, a bendy teenager, and a mild mannered, encouraging midwestern teacher who spoke like Juliette Lewis in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
After my intro three class-pass at the studio, I was hooked. The fluid sequence of movement linked with breath to a soundtrack of music felt like dancing, but better. A month later I returned to Boston determined to unite my great love of African Dance with my new passion for Vinyasa Yoga. It was a match made in heaven…or Omaha. A few years later, I developed Dansa Vinyasa®, an uplifting blend of traditional West African Dance, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and Live African Music.
The combination of West African Dance and Yoga is incredibly powerful because the two disciplines compliment each other like almond butter and blackberry pomegranate jam. West African Dance is dynamic, energizing, bold, fierce, and fiery. Yoga is grounding, relaxing, rejuvenating, centering, and peaceful. The Live African music creates a bridge between the two. In the more yogic sections of a Dansa Vinyasa® class, the musicians play melodic African instruments such as the balafon (African xylophone), Ngoni (African stringed instrument), and flute. In the upbeat dance portions of class, you’ll hear rhythmic djembe and dundun drums as well as other African percussion instruments. When you experience the yoga, dance, and live music blended together, you’ll feel all the elements alive inside of you: energized, grounded, expressive, and free.
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Debbie Steingesser E-RYT 500, is an accomplished yoga teacher, kirtan singer, and dancer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Common Ground Magazine recently named Debbie “An Exceptional Yoga Teacher Under 30” for her creative approach to Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Debbie is the creator of Dansa Vinyasa ® a unique blend of West African Dance, Yoga, and Live music. She is known for her uplifting, playful, and challenging classes supported by eclectic playlists. Debbie holds a 500+ hour certification from Saul David Raye and Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Los Angeles. She has also completed trainings with Erich Schiffmann, Denise Kaufman, Rod Stryker, Seane Corn, Baxter Bell, and Jai Uttal. For more info visit: www.debbiedancer.com