Below you’ll find an interview with an amazing artist and inspiring human.
We are honored to present the gorgeous Samantha Emanuel of UK/France.
She is of the very first instructors to generously donate an instructional video – titled ‘Happy Hips’ to our Dance4Children online charity movement channel.
The video is part of ‘Spinal Waves 102’ – a course she recently released in collaboration with Jon Yuen.
She is a dancer, a pilates instructor, movement therapist, self-builder, and – as you will see – so much more.
Thank you so much dear Sam <3
Please enjoy Samatha’s interview below!
K: Please tell us a bit about your multi-faceted dance and movement background, and what it is you love most about the work you do.
Sam: Sure! I began late in life (mid 20’s) with Kung Fu, I began this style of training for the weapons in all honesty as I was performing at festivals with fire and wanted to figure out fusing Wushu weaponry with fire swinging, adding wicking to chain whips, broadswords and staffs.
I trained for a couple of years then moved onto belly dance for social reasons really, friends had started going to a local group so I tagged along.
I had tried Oriental Style belly dance as a teen with my mum, but it didn’t really suit me mostly because the costuming was not for me.
When I discovered Tribal Style through Fat Chance Belly Dance on an old VHS video around 2003, I never looked back. The aesthetic, the movement, the group communication, I fell in love.
I would say the Kung Fu practice instilled discipline in my dance practice.
I am Pilates Mat certified and that has been a real saviour for my body while traveling and teaching, and it also helped me through my rehab after serious injury.
I like to cycle and walk, getting outside as much as possible (its very easy to spend hours indoors, in studios for rehearsals and teaching workshop weekends so I try consciously to be aware of hours inside/outside for my mental health!
I don’t feel I can separate personal training from dance as I see it all as movement these days, its all related, one helps the other.
I feel like there is my life pre accident and post accident. Everything was thrown into question. Will I dance again. Do I even want to? I didn’t listen to music for a whole year as it all felt too painful.
There was a lot of pain and trauma to work through. I had to learn to walk again. I had to train in oder to get from my wheelchair onto the floor and back up again.
I feel this experience helped me see how much I love and value my ability to move and to share that with others is my raison d’être.
So I feel my love for personal training came quite recently through my rehab experience and now working at the physio clinic where i did my rehab, with patients.
K: How did you first ‘find‘ your love for personal training? And for dance?
Sam: I love helping people reconnect with their bodies at the physio clinic. This has been incredibly rewarding work.
Helping people with conditions such as Parkinsons, stroke survivors and chronic back pain rediscover a positive connection with their body.
Helping people who have lost balance rediscover their centre. Helping people to work with their bodies and their pain, rather than against it.
In workshops with dancers I love sharing concepts that have helped me dance with more confidence, be that through physical training or theatrical skills.
I love traveling to new countries and meeting new people and I love the rare occasions when I can return to the same place multiple times and see students growth.
I love that my daughter (now 4 years old) has been exposed to movement from in utero to now and is so confident in her body.
She’s always rolling, running, moving and adores Parkour at school. I wish more children could see the same thing growing up.
I believe that would help with all kinds of health issues that are becoming so prolific in our sedentary modern lives.
We were not designed to sit still for hours every day.
K: How did your path to being a personal (and group!) coach evolve?
Sam: My path to online personal coaching came from a basic wish to continue to help people without the need to travel full time.
Technology is incredible now, with conference calls and platforms for sharing video content.
During my rehab I researched how to create on line exercise planning and blended that with my dance vocabulary to create personal programs for people wishing to train with me long distance.
The feedback has been really positive and I’m excited to see where the technology will take me next.
I am currently building an at home studio so I will be able to welcome students at my home for one to one/small group intensives.
I feel this way the work can go deeper than at short weekend workshop style events.
This way I can offer both on line and in person training while still being present as a partner and a mother.
I spent years on the road and in seeking a more balanced work/family life realised that full time touring was no longer sustainable for me.
K: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Sam: I enjoy the challenge the most. I enjoy questions from students sparking questions in me and furthering my research.
I put a LOT of work into preparing my workshops, I want to give the most I can in return for students investing their time and money on me and my work.
I enjoy pushing people further than they think they can go in order to surprise themselves. We are all more resilient than we think we are. Sometimes we just need a guide to show us different pathways.
I am always searching for new ways to teach, new imagery, new training methods.
As no two people are the same, as teachers we need plenty of tools at the ready to help our students/clients/patients grow.
K: Is there any advice you would give a beginner who is not sure where to start?
Sam: Find a good teacher. One who is not afraid to see their students surpass them. One who encourages play and exploration.
Cross train. Multi faceted training will build resilience in you.
If you were to get injured, you would have your own tools at the ready to help recovery and be more in tune with your body to know when to push and when to back off and rest.
K: What is the best movement advice you have ever received?
Sam: Best movement advice ever is anything from Jon Yuen. He has hands down the best movement advice I have ever heard.
Go to his website where you all find many articles about movement, history, training, and more.
K: Are there any misconceptions about movement health and recovery work you would like to dispel?
Sam: See Jon Yuen!
K: How did you come to know Dance4Children and their work?
Sam: Through the lovely Khalida, who’s training and research style resonates with me deeply!
Looking forward to collaborating with Khalida in the future. Watch this space.
K: Tell us a bit about the video you have donated to D4Cs Charity Online Class Channel!
Sam: This video is an excerpt from my Spinal Waves 102 online training program.
The course is designed to compliment Jon Yuen’s Spinal Waves 101 where he has designed and in-depth approach to spinal movement.
Flexion, extension patterns, isolated and sequential spinal articulations.
My course then assists you in taking your practice a step further by studying and experiencing how the spine can support and drive the flow throughout the rest of the body.
This video is a hip mobility sequence that I included in the course to prepare the pelvis for the flow sequences where we integrate the spinal waves though the pelvis.
K: For whom would this video be beneficial?
Sam: Anybody with a body.
Anthropocene humans living in the modern sedentary world! Its designed to be short and sweet so it can be used during the day, when you take a break from your work station to move yourself.
Or for dancers looking to add some quick hip mobility to their practice.
I like to use it at the end of a dance session when Im feeling warm as a way to check into where my hips are at that day, how my previous injury sites are progressing.
If I find tight areas, I know what I will focus on for the next session.
K: What projects are you working on right now?
Sam: Right now I am working on festival preparations, as I am teaching in the UK, Poland and France very soon.
I am also working on our house, which is an ongoing project we have built from scratch. Timber frame and hemp eco house, where the studio will be and where I look forward to welcoming students/clients/movers/friends in the new year.
I am teaching weekly at the physio centre, using multiple movement methodologies with patients, helping them find ease and balance in their movement and every day lives.
I’m preparing a second retreat to Italy with Anasma (incredible movement artist) as the first one we organised this year was such a pleasure to do.
Its called Center 1001 where we spend a week researching the 1001 facets of moving from the center.
The hotel is in a lemon grove on the coast and serves homegrown fresh organic food. Its a beautiful place to explore, and a small group so we can dive deep together!
K: Last but not least – Where can our readers find out more about you both and your upcoming projects?
Sam: To find out more about me, my website is www.dancesynthesis.com
On line training:
- Spinal Waves: https://yuenjon.thinkific.com/bundles/spinal-waves-101-102
- Tribal Fusion technique and choreography (with animation on screen!) https://vimeo.com/ondemand/vagabondprincess
#Centre1001 Movement Retreat with Samantha and Anasma: www.yogadansebienetre.com/center-1001-italy-retreat-2020