This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight is from Cathy Ryan, creator of Humans-Being, an embodied movement meditation provider and collaborative organization based in Ireland.

Dear Dancers,

I live on the edge of Ireland in the eye line of a lighthouse.

Today is Solstice, Winter and Summer, as the Earth’s North Pole tilts furthest away from the Sun and it’s South Pole tilts fully towards it. The word Solstice comes from the Latin solstitium, which means ‘Sun stands still.’ At the Solstice, there’s a cosmic invitation to mirror a deep planetary stillness – wherever you are.

Caught in the furthest lean of its tilt toward or away from the Sun, the Earth rests a moment. It stands in place for a day or two before continuing its orbit. The seven or so hours of light in the Northern hemisphere and fifteen or so in the Southern hangs in the ether, just being. Like the lighthouse across the water from my home. Still, ever-present, sending signals of information. It’s red pulse flashes warmth and presence every ten seconds as darkness falls – each lighthouse along the island’s coast has a slightly different interval between its light beams.

They begin their slow heartbeat ever earlier in these beautifully dark, short days here in the Northern Hemisphere. As we learn further and further from the Sun, we reach for the light in other ways. There are extra candles, lights in windows, trees, and hedges, strung up across city streets and village crossroads. Beacons lighting the darkness.

Somehow, the light they give accentuates the darkness even more. I feel them as a reassurance that it’s ok to go into the dark. It’s ok to light the fire a little earlier, pause a little more, sleep a little longer. Listen a little deeper. Reach for the company and community you can be quiet with – your own company and the community of others. In the extraordinary times we are living through, the falling and the crumbling, there is excavation to be done and much to listen deeply to. There is work to be done, layers and layers to move through, dance with, express, be in community with. 

And so the world turns…

I see our conscious dance community of so many wonderful modalities and maps as beacons of presence, light, and community – like lighthouses. Each offers a beacon of potential and possibility in this largely online spider web of connection – the world wide web.

Each offering an exploration of who we are as humans being – creative, alive, essential.

I am learning and loving so much about working online in these times, as well as drop-in classes. I run cycles of six week, closed, committed groups that have proved to be deep resources of movement, creativity, and community. Working with Open Floor, 5 Rhythms, Art in Motion, Shamanic practice, meditation, and inquiry. The next three groups start in Jan – you are very welcome:) See and for more details.

Have a wonderful Solstice and holiday season – the best you can have…

About Cathy:
Cathy has been working in embodied movement practice for over 20 years, with a background in theatre, writing, and shamanic practice. She trained as an actor at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Dublin, and is currently on the MA in Creative Writing at UCC. She is a member of Northern Drum Shamanic Center and is a founding member of Open Floor International, working extensively in Europe, the UK, and further afield – loving this ongoing exploration of how and what it is to be alive in these moving, humans bodies of ours…Moving into online spaces at present. For more details about her work and background, visit

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