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Ici Thalmann

Ici Thalmann

Isolde Thalmann

Isolde Thalmann, or as she is called by her friends, Ici, holds a PhD and is Professor Emeritus of Otolaryngology, Washington University School of Medicine. She has published many academic studies on hearing and deafness, and balance and vestibular dysfunctions.

For some 18 years Ici has been trained in Ballroom/Latin Dancing by the Belarus Champion Vassily Lyashenko, competed nationally, and assisted teaching classes with him. For the last six years she spent part of the year in Buenos Aires, where she was trained by masters of Argentine tango, Diego Alvaro, Zoraida Fontclara, Pedro Benavente (“El Indio”), Ivana Smoljanovich, and others. Ballroom dancing provided a valuable foundation for Argentine tango, a dance only recently included in Ballroom/Latin Dance Championships.

She has added ‘lighter’ dances to her  repertoire, such as the Lindy Hop and Night Club 2 Step.  Ici is a member of The National Council of America. She is a native of Oberammergau, Germany, and since her retirement, makes her home in the High Desert of New Mexico.

Kat Stanley

KatsYoga2 copyKat Stanley has been studying yoga for over 20 years. She is 200-hour certified through the Svastha Yoga Institute in Taos, NM. Developed by international teachers A.G. and Indra Mohan of Svastha Yoga and Ayurveda in Chennai, India, the training offers an in-depth study into the art and science of classic yoga as taught by their teacher, Sri T. Krishnamacharya. The word “Svastha” in Sanskrit literally means “to stay as your self” and refers to the state of optimal health and balance in body and mind. Rather than a ‘standardized’ style of yoga, Svastha Yoga offers an integrated approach, wherein each individual’s unique requirements and goals are honored.

Kat feels fortunate to have found this traditional training so close to home. It is reinforcing and supporting her wish to offer yoga practice to many. She sees yoga as an excellent vehicle for improving one’s life, no matter your skill level, age or physical condition. Everyone can do yoga, if they do so appropriately for their own individual body. Kat is committed to offering weekly classes for those in our community who wish to continue their own ‘wellness’, and for those wanting to begin yoga, or take up the practice again. She is excited and honored to continue the yoga culture that Suzanne Snow fostered in Abiquiu.

Svastha Yoga focuses on the elements of body, mind and breath, learning the importance of each, and their interdependence. Yoga is so well suited to helping us strengthen our body, helping our mind to contribute to that strengthening, and using our breath to bring it all together. Not to mention the increased flexibility of all three elements, which is gained with steady practice.

Kat also offers personalized instruction to build a yoga asana plan specific to the needs of the individual, which you may then do on your own at home, or if you don’t wish to participate in public classes. Contact her if you want to schedule a private session, or have questions about practice or cost. Her email is, and home phone is 747-1940.

Joy Nagle

Soulfire Yoga with Joy – a Blissful Heart Yoga Class!

A Yoga devotee for over 20 years, Joy is a Certified Teacher through Lotus Garden Yoga School, one of the first comparative theory Yoga Teacher trainings in the country, and has advanced training in meditation, pranayama, yogic philosophy and restorative yoga through Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts. She also has trained with Veterans Yoga Project in Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery. For more information email Joy (

Susan Dwyer

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Susan Dwyer

Yogah citta vrtti ni rodhaha — the second verse of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras — roughly translates as “Yoga is the quieting of the vacillations of the mind”. How do we do this? Why is doing so valuable? Where do those vacillations come from? And what does this phrase have to do with asana — the physical postures most closely associated with yoga in the United States? These are the questions that inform Sue Dwyer’s yoga teaching and her own practice. She is a certified 200-hour yoga teacher, having taken her training 3 years ago with Meta Hirschl, author of Vital Yoga. Sue holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from MIT, and is on the faculty at the University of Maryland, where she teaches “The Philosophy and Practice of Yoga” and courses in moral philosophy and feminism. Above all, Sue is honored to have the opportunity to teach in Abiquiu, a place she calls her “real” home. For more information email Sue  (


Jeff Nitz (on leave)
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Jeff Nitz  teaches Yang style Tai Chi Chuan via the Chang Man-Ching lineage. He studied with the late Jane and Bataan Faigao of Rocky Mountain Tai Chi in Boulder, CO.

The intent of these classes is to explore and demonstrate the form. He intends to get students ready for their own practice. He states that through relaxation, our bodies will gradually sink into the 37 postures and learn the principles which govern these movements. For more information email Jeff (

Sara Stenson

Sara Stenson teaches Shen Tao Chi Gung.

Awareness relieves tension, which creates a soft, pliable body allowing our waterways to feed our landscape gently – health follows. This class is an excavation to understand how to achieve lively balance and strength through a kinesthetic understanding of true relaxation using Chi Gung as the root. We practice meditation for body awareness and simple stretches that gently align joints by relaxing muscle groups. This class is for anyone regardless of physical restrictions. You can find a way to strengthen and enjoy your physical self without fear of failure. The goal is simply to learn to move with awareness and balance. Together we can figure out what will work best for you and create an enjoyable, simple daily routine.

Sara is a certified massage therapist and T’ai Chi Ch’uan practitioner, teacher, and student with over 40 years of experience in body awareness practices. For six years she taught Chi Gung exercises for the Aspen Club at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and helped many seniors regain confidence through strength and balance.

Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Street shoes are not allowed in the studio. For more information call Sara at 970.481.5857

Michael StensonMichaels picture from ABQ News ad

Michael Stenson teaches Shen Tao T’ai Chi Ch’uan.

A traveler arrived at an ancient well tired and thirsty.  Hastily he lowered the long pole with a shallow clay pot tied to one end down into the well to draw up some water.  The pot had been deeper but years of banging against the sides of the well had reduced it to its present form so every time he raised the pole the pot was nearly empty. Finally he steadied himself, carefully lowered the pot and even more carefully raised it and drew his fill.

It took three things to draw the water: Mindfulness in form to smoothly handle the pole and pot; Awareness to keep the water from spilling out; and Clarity of purpose to draw the water so that the effort resulted in more than just splashing the pot in the water.

These T’ai Chi classes focus on mindfulness, awareness, and clarity of purpose by studying Yang style T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Health, fitness, contemplative, and martial aspects will be taught.

@ Dancing In The Desert Studio – Wear comfortable clothing. Plan to work in flat-soled slippers, socks, or bare feet.

Michael Stenson’s study of Yang style T’ai Chi Form, Animal Forms, Eight Ways, Sword, Push Hands and Ta Lu began in 1972. He has studied intensively with Grand Master Cheng Man-ch’ing’s senior students and taught T’ai Chi at Naropa Institute and the 1997 Dalai Lama’s Conference on Education.

Michael Stenson 970.219.3926 (cell)

Learn more about Michael at


Rúbia Santos

Dr. Rubia Santos and Dr. Beth Vanderborgh, photos for Piano Cello performance

Rúbia Santos

Rúbia Santos is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and has taught the Feldenkrais Method® (FM) of somatic education in the US, Brazil, and Costa Rica. Her practice is called Conn-active Movement – Neuroplastic Healing. The FM is based on studies of human developmental skills, biomechanics, and martial arts applied to awareness in movement. People of any age or skill-level can practice it.

The Method is a guided discovery process for improving body and mind wellness. Among its benefits are awareness of habits, reeducation and ease of movement, balance, and pain relief. The Method’s process of attention to movement patterns makes us realize how we can first change and then improve our quality of life – this is neuroplasticity.

I was introduced to the Method through its application to musicians with the goal of improving performance. Through my performing and teaching careers as a pianist, I have experienced various inhibiting uses of movement in playing and the ill results in many musicians. This translates into great tension, pain, and loss of performance ability. My curiosity and desire to use the Feldenkrais Method to address these issues brought incredible results, and I decided to become a Feldenkrais Practitioner.

In my practice, I address an awareness process that allows people to discover how habits of movement and pain derived from these habits can have a definite impact on the way we feel, think, and move through our daily life. In the end, I believe we all want to have a potent life, which means being well and active!

Steve Duke

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Steve Duke will be presenting a morning workshop in the Feldenkrais® Method at Dancing In the Desert on September 24, 2016. In this workshop, you will be guided through a sequence of gentle movements in the Feldenkrais Method that develop awareness, flexibility, and coordination. You will learn to relax and abandon habitual patterns that create tension and inhibit your movement and help to reduce pain. These classes address how to reduce tension in your shoulders, improve your posture, and improve your breathing.

Steve Duke is a Northern Illinois University Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus where he taught the saxophone and the Feldenkrais Method.   In 27 years of teaching the method, he has helped thousands of people throughout North America learn how to reduce pain and move with greater ease. In addition to his successes as a teacher, Steve Duke is an internationally celebrated saxophonist in classical and jazz music.  His recordings can be heard on Sony/Columbia, Centaur, Equilibrium, Capstone, EMF and SEAMUS.

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Vassily Lyashenko is an International Ballroom/Latin Dance Champion and Teacher with over 30 Years of experience. He ranks in the top five teachers in the USA  “Dance Cup Tour” since 2002. He is an eight times USA National Pro-Am Champion. For over 25 years he has been adjudicating International Dance Competitions. Vassily holds a PhD in Computer Sciences from the Belarus National University. Vassily is shown here with Ici at a Dance Competition.