This week’s Dance First Insight is from Brietta Leader & WildCore!

My story highlights the memories, travels, communities and studies that led me to my path as a healing artist and conscious dance pioneer.

Some of my earliest memories were choreographing dances and bossing all my little cousins around to perform a Thanksgiving show for our family. Followed by being on High School Drill Team, Jazz Dancers L.T.D. in Spokane, WA and an Emphasis in Dance at The University of Idaho.  Dance has been that consistent place to funnel emotions, unwanted thoughts and tons of creative energy. As a young girl I sensed the sisterhood, the discovery of my body, the art and intuition that naturally occurs when one dances.

Having Melanoma on my leg at 22, which required a skin graft and 4 weeks of a wheel chair, woke me up and inspired a lifestyle outside the box.  Living out of my truck for 4 years as a guide for At Risk Youth I developed a deeper sense of living with the elements and brought witness to the greater range of imbalances that many grow up in.

In my late 20’s, tired of Western thinking & working with at risk youth I set out for a 6 month trip to Thailand and India.

Having never received a massage myself, I arrived in Chaing Mai ready to study Ancient Thai Massage.  Basically jumping in with two feet, I was led by strong intuitive energy and a desire for change. These 6 months abroad is a story in itself and proved to be a doorway into my life calling as a Healing Artist. Thailand and India included intense study with 2 different Thai Massage Masters, a 10 day Vippassana, a month within the Maha Kumba Mela spiritual gathering in India, Yoga and countless moments filled with adventure, friendships and inner awakenings.

Upon my return I settled in Sandpoint, living in a cabin with no running water or electricity and birthed my nomadic business Moondance Movement and Massage. Right away I began researching healing movement forms, took the Nia White Belt was introduced to the 5 Rhythms Practice and followed Vinn Arjuna Marti the creator of Soul Motion™ for several years. I began teaching a month after my Nia training, feeling like my dancing soul was finding it’s voice. My offerings were rooted in my love for dance, the framework of Nia provided my inner dancer to shine and Soul Motion offered moments of deep healing and exposure of my truest gifts.

The journey of being a conscious movement pioneer had begun.  I met my husband at this time, which took Moondance to Alaska.  (Again another story within itself.)  My 5 years in Alaska truly ignited my apprenticeship to Mother Nature, I became a Mother, developed my understanding of living in community and I stepped in as a leader for a Candle-dance Troupe, called the Eternal Flames.

Moondance in its nomadic ways was headed back to Lake Pend d’ Oreille and the Mountains of Idaho. We have been back for 15 years and Moondance has a 30 ft. Yurt Sanctuary to call home.  This yurt has been the temple of my heart and has held space for countless Dance Rituals, Birthday Celebrations, and Therapeutic Massages. Many doors of healing have opened here in Sandpoint.  Some of my highlights have been the countless tools I received within the Medicine Wheel, which is a Peruvian Inca Shamanic Practice that taught me how to tangibly shift energy through breath-work and fire ceremony.

I received my Brown Belt of the Nia Technique, studied Soul Motion™, receiving my Teacher Certification in 2014 and was a mentor for the 2016 and 2017  Teacher Apprentices. I am currently enrolled in a 500 YTT with Shiva Rae and will be offering Prana Flow next winter (2023).  My leadership continues to grow as the Founder, Director and Co-Choreographer for Gypsy Diva’s Dance Troupe.  We are beginning our 15th year as a revolving troupe, offering performances for local Festivals, Follies Fundraiser, Special Events and our own Collaborative Shows that use the Elements as themes. I have termed these shows ‘A Performance Art’, as they included ages 3- 63, Live Musicians, Acro-Yogis, Silks and other creative beings. Since 2011 I have been an integral part of NW Yoga Feast and have owned and operated Embody Studio for the Healing Arts in Sandpoint for the past three years.

There is an amazing Tribe of dancers here in Sandpoint and continues to build as my offerings broaden.  Teaching 2-10 classes a week for the past 21 years, plus workshop offerings, co-creations & performances is a reflection of my dedication, love, passion and understanding of energy and our abilities to self-heal through movement. I want to honor the teachers that inspired my own inner awakenings & influenced my offerings; Vincent Arjuna Marti, Ya’Akov & Susannah Darling Khan, Michael Molin Skelton, Shiva Rea, Debbie Rosas, Ann Christiansen, Berta Kuhnel, Cosetta Romani and Carlos Rosas.

In the Spring of 2016 I retired from 15 years of teaching Nia and directed my energy into my own movement form called WildCore.  This form was developed within the walls of my yurt, Moondance Sanctuary.  All my years of studying the body, energy and healing through all the movements forms I have mentioned melding with my years as a Massage Therapist, Apprentice to Mother Nature, Energy Enthusiast, Shamanic Student and Yogi blossomed into a new style of class being offered with my own choreography and creative ways to express oneself in a safe container. The Wild within the WildCore represents what Gabrielle Roth termed ‘Wilderness Within’, when you think of the Wilderness there are parts of it we know and understand and other parts that are unknown and all of it holds the edge of mystery.  I found over the years of teaching that giving permission to let go a little and open to our innate wildness in the dance may surprise us and shed light on a dormant seed living within. The word Core references the actual physical core of the human body, along with the core of who we each are as light beings, our belief systems, the Chakra system and all that we hold sacred.

Today, I continue to nurture WildCore in the many ways of new music, choreography, curiosity and exposure.

As WildCore grows, I enjoy balancing it with being a mother of an 18 year old son, a wife, friend and community lover. Each year I support the creation of NW Yoga Feast as a Ceremonialist, alter builder, performer and teacher. My dance troupe ‘Gypsy Divas’ is celebrating it’s 15th year as a performing group.

My well-spring of energy and ideas to continue my path as a conscious movement pioneer is full, and I am deeply grateful.  As we all learn to love at deeper and deeper levels I sense the gradual shift of the ancient art of dance inspiring self-healing across the globe.

Learn more here!

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Weekends through Dec 18 at The Cow Palace
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