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MMF Presenters May 2020

Lauren Slater, founder of MMF and HIVE Wellness, fell in love with the catharsis of movement at a young age, and throughout a decades-long career in ballet, modern dance, and yoga, began to realize the limitless ways our bodies can move. Her desire to hone biomechanical prowess, and learn the secrets of her core self came from a need to safely move through injury, and how to process the emotional impact of the body’s decay. Her study of Pilates came naturally next, as a way to gain insight into the impact of repetitive stress on the spine and joints, heal gut and pelvic dysfunction, and learn further about the interconnectedness of all parts of our being. 

Her mission with MMF is to provide a safe space for movement artists, new and established, to share their teachings. The festival is an invitation to inspire curiosity into the limitless ways we can move (internally and externally), be healed by our amazing bodies in motion, and discover peace within stillness. The element of SEVA (selfless service, giving back), is paramount to this mission, of giving to others in need, as means to feel the universal connection of life as sentient beings on this planet.

Brooke McNamara, MFA, is a poet, dance-theater artist, zen monk, and mother. She has practiced intensively in the Zen lineage of Diane Musho Hamilton, Roshi and is empowered as a Dharma Holder. Brooke’s first book of poems, Feed Your Vow, was published in 2015, and second book, Bury the Seed, was published this past February 2020. 

Eunice Embodiment is both the collaborative identity and umbrella organization of performing artists Lauren Beale and Brooke McNamara. Brought to life in 2010, Eunice Embodiment catalyzes potent creativity, dynamic aliveness and personal evolution for kids and adults through two tracks of engagement; 1. cutting edge, interdisciplinary performances and 2. inquiry-based movement education, creative practice laboratories, community performance salons and emergence mentorship.

Lily Dwyer Begg has been practicing yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2005. Her healing work is a labor of love. Troubleshooting students’ handstand practices, helping students have massive “aha” breakthroughs on the mat, and building solid game plans to carry forward into your daily training to feel incrementally more confident going upside down are a passion of Lily’s as your yoga teacher! It was her experience postpartum of reclaiming her center and accessing subtle yet powerful deep core muscles she had previously overlooked that helped her learn to handstand for a good long hold away from the wall for the first time. Handstands did not come easily or naturally for Lily but the tools, teachings, and insights from her journey taking this posture off the wall form the content of this workshop that she is so excited to share with you!

Jose Ozuna who lives in New York City, is a renowned Fitness Instructor and an Off-Broadway performer whose credits include West Side Story, In The Heights, and many others. He works at the world-famous Alvin Ailey School and is a Certified Medical Assistant.
Within the marriage of his medical and performing backgrounds, Ozuna has found the perfect way to combine all these tools to offer his students a safe, dynamic environment to learn and enjoy his classes.  He is deeply driven by purpose to teach, train and transform lives for joy and longevity.

Alexandra Zepeda first came to yoga during her time as a public school teacher, but really fell in love with the practice once she moved to Seattle, WA.  Her background as a former gymnast/contemporary dancer heavily influences her movement patterns on the mat and is where she draws a lot of her inspiration for classes. She loves to get her fellow humans into their bodies through intentional movement, breath practices and good music.  Flexibility hasn’t always been natural for Alexandra but it has always been a discipline of self love and acceptance. Alexandra looks forward to meeting each of her students exactly where they are and providing the inspiration they need to continue on their journeys as they live their stories.

Christin Call is an assemblage artist living in Seattle, WA and making work primarily at the cross-section of dance, film, installation, and poetry.  She received her BA in Painting and Art History from Wichita State University and has been Co-founder and Co-artistic Director of Coriolis Dance for 12 years.  Her creative work is fueled by a semiotic interest in the movement from arbitrary images to rich meaning-making and uses a process of transforming the ephemeral complexity of reality into objects and experiences that can be seen, touched, and handled with the safety that the “artifice” of art affords.  She is also a certified Pilates Instructor through Dorothee Vandewalle’s classical apprenticeship program with 10 years teaching experience and is currently the Pilates Director at Seattle Athletic Club.  

Lela Michel has been a believer in movement since childhood. Teaching in Marin County for over 8 years, she has developed a style that incorporates dance, Yoga, and the principles of Pilates.

She feels passionately about the benefits of moving our bodies as a means to being healthy and vital, and considers it a blessing to call this her work.  

Rachel Gourd is a classically trained ballet dancer with a deep interest in the benefits of meditation. She also performs as Lily Verlaine, and is the Artistic Director of two Seattle- based dance companies, House of Verlaine and Verlaine and McCann Presents. Through her many years as a vivacious performer, she’s developed an equal reverence for the inner calm of the meditative arts.

Paula Now is a certified sound practitioner with Sound Universe International/The Complementary Medical Association.  She is also a reiki practitioner with 300 hours of yoga teacher training in her body. She has studied in London with master Yantara Jiro and has offered sound meditation at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Seattle Sound Temple, and various locations in Europe. 

Together, Rachel and Paula have developed a rigorous moving meditation with live accompaniment that embodies the connection between body and soul.

Sara LaStella came to Yoga by accident, and realized that moving on the mat was for her an expression of dance; a place where she felt free, strong, balanced and graceful. Her teaching career began 2 years later in San Francisco in 2008.  She credits all of her teachers for her practice but most of all – Jane Austin, Lauren Slater, Elise Lorimer, Seane Corn, & Janet Stone. She currently teaches in the teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center and is the co-director/owner of the Asheville Yoga Festival.

Sara’s specialty is Slow Power Flow, which combines breath awareness, deep stretch and strength building, with clear and slow explanation of poses and body alignment.

Born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, Carolina Czechowska (Carro) is a San Francisco- based professional modern dancer and Classical Pilates teacher.

At the young age of eleven, she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis and embarked on a journey of body/mind exploration. A firm believer in the power of self-discipline and correct guidance; she is certain that the mind is capable of retraining and transforming the body from the inside out. Owner of Body Bottega, she has taught classical Pilates for over fifteen years and has studied under well-renowned teachers such as Brooke Siler, Jay Grimes, Kathy Ross-Nash, and many more.