Yoga

Yoga lessons

NEW: This year, also online! Consult our weekly programme!
Yoga, along with meditation, constitute the most ancient and most complete holistic exercise system (body- mind-soul). They strengthen the immune system and keep the physical, energetic and mental state of the body in excellent condition, freeing the practitioner from psychosomatic pain and mental limitations.

Yoga is an excellent method of preventative medicine and personal development. The non-violent, non-traumatic exercises make it accessible to everyone regardless of age and fitness level: they have a very positive effect on the heart, the brain, the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, digestive and musculoskeletal systems.

The synchronization of breathing with movement and immobility – in the pauses and the poses – gradually leads to a feeling of psychological balance, rest and fulfillment.

At Shantom, we adapt the exercises to the particular needs of every practitioner, taking into account the uniqueness of their personality, their personal difficulties or strengths*.

The lesson includes:

  • Asanas: The traditional exercises/poses.
  • Pranayama: Breathing exercises that control and strengthen the energy field.
  • Dhyana: Meditation – exercise in psychological and mental balance and pause.
  • Theory: We study Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras” as well as related philosophical texts which, with exceptional accuracy, analyze the nature of pain and the root of human anguish.

Free for enrolled yoga students:

  • A monthly 3-hour theory seminar (on Sundays).
  • A weekly 1-hour meditation session, every Friday.

*Before you start your first lesson, it is necessary to make an appointment for an in-depth meeting with Leda (at no extra charge).

Leda ShantalaLeda Shantala

A Sorbonne Graduate in French Literature. Choreographer, Dancer, spiritual master in Yoga, Teacher of Indian Classical Dance Bharata Natyam, Dance movement therapist G.D.T.R. Sr, Creator and Director of Shantom House of Culture.

After graduating in Paris, France ((Dipl. Licence Es Lettres Paris IΙΙ Sorbonne), where, among others, she studied yoga, modern dance, ethnology and humanistic psychology, Leda Shantala travelled to India following a powerful inner call. She stayed and studied in Chennai. For three years she was trained in the art of classical Indian dance Bharata Natyam (dance, expression, music, rhythms, singing) graduating from the Indian Dance Academy «Bharata Kalanjali» and the Indian School of Exression «Abhinaya Sudha» in Chennai, where she still returns for the creation of performances and for artistic collaborations.

She studied yoga, theory and practice -deeply delving into the ancient texts of Indian philosophy- in the most distinguished schools of India. She is a graduate of the “Kaivalya Dhama Υoga Research Institution”, in Lonavla (Pune) and was a disciple of many contemporary yogis and sages.

Her teachers were sri Rocketti, Arnaud Desjardins (France), Leopoldo Chariars, (Argentina), Baba Khan (Egypt), Swami Satyananda, B.K.S Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikatchar, sri Chandra Swami Udason (India). She is still in constant contact with the latter and visits his ashram Sadhana Kendra with every opportunity.

She studied Dance Movement Therapy with Dr. Marcia B. Leventhal (of New York University) as well as the African “Mombwiri” dance therapy of the Mitsogo tribe in Gabon. She is the only Western student who was accepted by the Pygmies to learn with them this primeval healing method.

After her return in Greece in 1985, Leda Shantala brought the Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam to the Greek public. In the same year, she created the Mandiram Centre, the only institution in Greece for Indian dance and artistic/anthropological research in the culture of ancient civilizations, while also offering regular lessons in Yoga, Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam, and later on, Dance Movement Therapy sessions. In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, through which she has been applying her multicultural research to dance-theatre performances.

In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, a unique culturally diverse dance company, which presents innovative multimedia productions combining the art of Bharata Natyam with the art of theatre and the contemporary dance idiom with the ancient Greek art form of the Muses.

In 2003, with her mother Smaro Stefanidou, she created the Shantom House of Culture, which she is still heading. A three-storey modern multi-purpose building in Kato Halandri, of multi-cultural scope, hosting regular courses in yoga, dance movement therapy, many kinds of dance, martial arts and fitness methods from all over the world.

She is the daughter of singer Vassos Seitanidis and actress Smaro Stefanidou.

After 30 years of teaching, she has developed a personal way enabling her to approach her students in a direct and personalized manner enriched by her personal experience and daily practice. Experiences which enable her to see and interpret the above studied system drawing from her personal source of wisdom.

Indian Dance Bharata Natyam

Indian Dance Bharata Natyam

Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam is an artistic spiritual method with deep roots in the wisdom, poetry and colours of India. An enchanting dance which tells stories, poems and myths.

Bharata Natyam is a holistic dance combining art, therapy and communication with the inner and cosmic powers, quieting and purifying the mind like yoga. For two thousand years –before it started appearing on theatre stages– it was danced by temple dancers called devadasis. Just as the ancient Greeks, ancient Indians believed that health and therapy are closely related with the art of dance and theatre, with the cultivation of the soul and with spiritual contemplation.

It’s a demanding theatrical dance that works on three different levels: hands, feet and the expressions of the face. It combines rhythm with melody and the poetic expression of hand gestures (called hastas or mudras) with the art of facial expression (called abhinaya).

Who is it for:

Men and women, relatively young, with a good fitness level, who want to devote themselves to learning an art. It requires persistence and dedication.

The Greek Bharata Natyam Academy, in Shantom, is the only professional school in Greece which can guide the practitioners from their first steps to their degree. The end of the learning period is celebrated by a solo performance, called arangetram, which symbolizes the admittance of the student to the dancing stage of the professional dancer.


Leda ShantalaLeda Shantala

A Sorbonne Graduate in French Literature. Choreographer, Dancer, spiritual master in Yoga, Teacher of Indian Classical Dance Bharata Natyam, Dance movement therapist G.D.T.R. Sr, Creator and Director of Shantom House of Culture.

After graduating in Paris, France ((Dipl. Licence Es Lettres Paris IΙΙ Sorbonne), where, among others, she studied yoga, modern dance, ethnology and humanistic psychology, Leda Shantala travelled to India following a powerful inner call. She stayed and studied in Chennai. For three years she was trained in the art of classical Indian dance Bharata Natyam (dance, expression, music, rhythms, singing) graduating from the Indian Dance Academy «Bharata Kalanjali» and the Indian School of Exression «Abhinaya Sudha» in Chennai, where she still returns for the creation of performances and for artistic collaborations.

She studied yoga, theory and practice -deeply delving into the ancient texts of Indian philosophy- in the most distinguished schools of India. She is a graduate of the “Kaivalya Dhama Υoga Research Institution”, in Lonavla (Pune) and was a disciple of many contemporary yogis and sages.

Her teachers were sri Rocketti, Arnaud Desjardins (France), Leopoldo Chariars, (Argentina), Baba Khan (Egypt), Swami Satyananda, B.K.S Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikatchar, sri Chandra Swami Udason (India). She is still in constant contact with the latter and visits his ashram Sadhana Kendra with every opportunity.

She studied Dance Movement Therapy with Dr. Marcia B. Leventhal (of New York University) as well as the African “Mombwiri” dance therapy of the Mitsogo tribe in Gabon. She is the only Western student who was accepted by the Pygmies to learn with them this primeval healing method.

After her return in Greece in 1985, Leda Shantala brought the Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam to the Greek public. In the same year, she created the Mandiram Centre, the only institution in Greece for Indian dance and artistic/anthropological research in the culture of ancient civilizations, while also offering regular lessons in Yoga, Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam, and later on, Dance Movement Therapy sessions. In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, through which she has been applying her multicultural research to dance-theatre performances.

In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, a unique culturally diverse dance company, which presents innovative multimedia productions combining the art of Bharata Natyam with the art of theatre and the contemporary dance idiom with the ancient Greek art form of the Muses.

In 2003, with her mother Smaro Stefanidou, she created the Shantom House of Culture, which she is still heading. A three-storey modern multi-purpose building in Kato Halandri, of multi-cultural scope, hosting regular courses in yoga, dance movement therapy, many kinds of dance, martial arts and fitness methods from all over the world.

She is the daughter of singer Vassos Seitanidis and actress Smaro Stefanidou.

After 30 years of teaching, she has developed a personal way enabling her to approach her students in a direct and personalized manner enriched by her personal experience and daily practice. Experiences which enable her to see and interpret the above studied system drawing from her personal source of wisdom.

Pilates

Pilates

The Pilates method is a non-aerobic exercise system based on six basic principles: correct breathing, concentration, body stabilization and control, flow of movement and precision in exercising. It is a method suited to anyone who desires a healthy, athletic and flexible body, regardless of age and gender.

Being a safe and mild exercise method, Pilates is also suitable for pregnant women, children and the elderly. It is also excellent for people with chronic injuries, musculoskeletal disorders and neck pain, as well as for people in the post-operative phase.
The exercises can be adapted to the individual needs of each practitioner.

The Pilates method combines its basic authentic set of exercises, with the use of props such as balls, mini-balls, weights, elastic exercise bands or “therabands”, “magic circles” and ethafoam rollers, to facilitate the exercises or to make them harder, maximizing the participation of the muscle groups used in each exercise.

The body parts to be first exercised are the belly, the waist and the buttocks, called the “power house”, as they are of great importance for the proper support of the body during our daily routine.

Benefits of the Pilates method:

  • Increased lung capacity and blood circulation.
  • Muscular fitness, body strengthening, striation and firming.
  • Improved posture, alignment and flexibility, elasticity of the spine.
  • Stamina, balance, harmony, grace, physical and mental welfare.
  • Safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries and generally musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Freedom from pain.

Marios - Serafim GeorgiadisMarios - Serafim Georgiadis

He was born and grew up in Aghioi Theodoroi in Peloponnese. Since the age of 8 he studied ballet, piano, sax (alto) and was a member of the theatre company “Aghioi Theodoroi People’s Theatre”, with teacher Notis Pergialis. He teaches at the Shantom House of Culture since 2017.

Degrees and certifications

  • Nurse (Ioannina Technological Educational Institute).
  • Ballet and modern dance teacher -scholarship recipient- Higher Professional Private Dance School “Niki Kondaxaki”.
  • Teacher of Greek traditional dances, three-year training at the school of the “Greek Dances Theatre Dora Stratou”.
  • Orff Schulwerk teacher ,two-year training at the school of the “Greek Dances Theatre Dora Stratou” with Olympia Agalianou.
  • Pilates Instructor (Mat & Equipment) degree from Giorgos Xiros’ “Studio One”, attestation by Alan Herdman.
T΄ai Chi Chuan – Chi Kung

T΄ai Chi Chuan – Chi Kung

Ancient Chinese martial art which belongs to the “internal” systems. It does not differentiate between the internal, spiritual quality of the exercise and the physical one and for this reason it is at the same time a body exercise, a martial art, a physical and psychological therapy and at the same time a spiritual practice.

T΄ai chi chuan does not require great physical strength and is accessible to all ages. It treats the body as an organism containing vital energy (Chi).

The benefits acquired by its practice cumulate with the years preserving vitality and health until old age: there is a marked improvement in the muscle tone, in balance, the body posture, in the way of walking, the movement coordination and flexibility. Tai Chi reduces stress and depression, enhances mood and helps maintain an emotional and intellectual balance.

In Shantom we teach the Yang System of Tai Chi.

  • Technique: Short form, Long form, Qi Gong energy forms, self-defense techniques, balance poses.
  • Energy work: fundamental principles and rules including the anatomy of energy and the body function.
  • Spirituality: the essence (principles and practices) of Zen philosophy, teaching mental exercises for psychological balance.

Dimitra ZirouDimitra Zirou

Dimitra Zirou was born in Athens. She practices T’ai Chi Chuan (Yang style) and Qi Gong since 1992, as a student of Tew Bunnag, founder of the European School of T’ai Chi Chuan. She has attended workshops of T’ai Chi and Chinese calligraphy with Master Chen, as well as workshops in shiatsu massage: Chinese, Thai and Japanese. She practices meditation as a student of Dhiravamsa. For the last thirteen years she also studies Αikido and the Japanese sword art, Iaido.

She teaches T’ai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong and meditation since 2001. In Shantom she teaches since 2004.

She obtained from the University of Illinois in Chicago a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts (cinema and photography) and a postgraduate diploma (DEA) from the Université de ParisI in Paris(ethnographic cinema). In 2001 she obtained a Masters of Science, completing a postgraduate cycle in Interactive Multimedia/Virtual Reality at the University of Westminster in London. She speaks English, French, Spanish and basic Japanese.

She has taught photography, theory and technique at the Photography Department of the Athens Technological Educational Institute and at the Aegean University in Syros. Since 1993 and until today she has published numerous articles and pictures on African cinema, the European arctic native populations Sámi and the Aurora Borealis. Her photography work has been exhibited at the Goulandris Museum of Natural History (2003), at the Attic Metro (2004), the Athens Planetarium (2005), the Olympos-Dion Festival (2013) and at the Michalis Kakoyannis Foundation (2015).

She has directed numerous documentaries for ET1, the public television channel, and she is currently (in 2019) planning two more documentaries, in arctic Norway and in South America.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu

Kung Fu is a traditional Chinese martial art with timeless value which remains a valid proposition for the modern times. Kung Fu, apart from being an effective form of self-defense, is an integral value system which helps evolve physically as well as spiritually and psychologically. It deters aggressiveness, cultivates self-confidence as well as self-esteem and develops virtues at the expense of flaws.

Kung Fu is an ideal choice for whoever wishes to acquire physical but also psychological strength, flexibility and balance. It takes as its model the perfection of Nature, on which it bases its techniques and draws wisdom. At the same time it explores the path of morality (Tao) as a necessary complement to Nature. All this with the aim of providing a natural, ethical and sensible life model, which does not depend on conventions.

The syllabus includes:

  • Technique: the Tao (forms, war dances), the auto-defense techniques, the acrobatics and the weapons (pole, knife, sword, lance), balancing poses inspired by animal movements (dragon, tiger, puma, lion, eagle, crane etc.).
  • Energy work: basic principles and rules of hygiene and therapy. These include the basics of acupuncture as well as anatomy of the energy-body of the human being and its function.
  • Spirituality: he essence (principles and practices) of Zen philosophy through exercises of the mind for psychological balance, a philosophy which has its origins and was developed in the Shaolin monasteries.

Christos TerzidisChristos Terzidis

Christos Terzidis was born in Xanthi. He started practicing kung fu in 1993, at the school of Andreas Touliatos, where he obtained his black belt in 1997 (Tai Nui school). He teaches in Shantom since 2009-2010.

He practices the Chen style T’ai Chi, after attending workshops with Grand Master Chen Xiaowang the Yang style (short and long form) and the Wudang systems such as: Τai yi, Βa Qua, Ba Ji.

European Swordsmanship

European Fencing

Historical fencing is a unique combination of sports, tradition and martial arts. The historical European martial arts started in ancient Greece through Rome, Byzantium, the European Middle Ages and Renaussance, reaching to the beginnings of the 20th century.

The first study sources are written testimonials from the mid 12th century and later on the instruction manuals of Italian and German fencing masters such as Fiore dei Liberi and Johannes Liechtenauer in the 14th century and Joachim Meyer in the 15th century. The curriculum is based on the systems of those masters.

The basic instruction is done with a Long sword, as well as a one-handed Sword & buckler.

Panayotis Papanikolaou, fencing instructorPegasus Athens Historical Fencing Club

Pegasus Athens Historical Fencing Club is an association of study and practice of the historical European Martial Arts and a member of the Hellenic Federation of HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts).

The group often takes part in related events and sports tournaments.

Instructor: Panayotis Papanikolaou.

Ν.Ι.Α. Alternative Dance Fitness

Ν.Ι.Α. Alternative Dance Fitness

NIA (Now I Am) is a holistic fitness practice, a non-impact, bodymind based movement, the first system worldwide to combine elements of martial arts, dance, and mindfulness/relaxation techniques. It safely exercises all the body muscles and at the same time it cultivates the mind and the soul.

The technique is based on dance fitness but with an alternative attitude, encouraging the students to respect, to love and listen to their body, promoting wellness at all levels.

The dance is inspired by Jazz and develops lightness, the opposites in movement (falling-getting up), expressiveness and freedom.

NIA incorporates the explosive dynamics of martial arts and is inspired by relaxation methods in promoting concentration, stretching and body-mind balance.

For the first time in Greece, a holistic exercise method which incorporates dance (modern dance and Isadora Duncan style), martial arts (T΄ai chi, Aikido, TaeKwonDo), healing techniques from yoga and Alexander Technique, as well as the teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais.

The courses are for those who:

  • Want to achieve stamina, elasticity, good body posture.
  • Want to shed weight.
  • Want to exercise in an alternative, safe way.
  • Want to release the pressure of daily life with an exercise style which offers a sense of body and psychological well-being.

Note: NIA is practiced barefoot, and adaptable to individual needs and abilities. It is done on a wonderful and varied music selection.

Evi PatsiaEvi Patsia

Movement Therapist, Pilates Mat & Equipment Instructor, Nia Black Belt Teacher, Medical Qigong, Garuda.

Evi Patsia is the only active licensed Nia teacher in Greece (Black Belt graduate), trained in London. She has a Bachelor in Remedial Massage and Neuromuscular Techniques and was trained in Pilates Mat at the Modern Pilates School and Pilates equipment at the Polestar school, where she now collaborates as a mentor.

During her 20-year London stay, she was trained at the School of Integrated Health Studies of the Westminster University, while working as Massage Therapist and Aromatherapist at the Harley Street Cancer Clinic. In Greece, since 2016, she attends the three-year postgraduate course in Dance Therapy of the Greek Association of Dance Therapists (GADT).

Oriental Dance

Oriental Dance

Oriental dance was born in the Middle East and its roots go back to ancient times. It glorifies the power and seduction of the female archetype which expresses dynamically the female energy, through the joy of rhythm and movement. It is ideal for modern women, helping them to get in touch again with their nature, which in our times is often relegated to the background.

Practicing this dance has an immediate effect. It is an excellent mood enhancer/antidepressant, improves muscle tone and flexibility - especially in the torso-, promotes harmonious, graceful, feminine movement and boosts self-confidence.

Oriental dance is based on the natural movement of the female body. For centuries it was performed, as a fertility dance, by women for women, in the context of social gatherings and happy occurrences such as marriages. It is believed that in the past those movements were taught to girls because they helped the body prepare for childbirth.

Note: The misnomer “belly dance” given by the first Western visitors of the Middle East, is being gradually abolished as demeaning and limiting, in favour of “oriental dance”, an exact translation of the Arabic term “raqs sharqi”.

It is suitable for women of any age and body type, even those who have never practiced any form of dance before.

At Shantom we teach the Egyptian style, and additional use of accessories such as cane (assaya), veil, tray, zills and sword.


Irene MaradeiIrene Maradei

She was born in Rome. She studied ballet for 12 years with Yannis Metsis, yoga for 9 years with Leda Shantala, classical song and musical theory for 10 years at the Athens Conservatory and the Atheneum with Hero Palli and Marina Crilovici, and for 3 years frame drums and other traditional percussion including zills at the Museum of Greek Traditional Instruments in Plaka, Athens. She holds a degree in Literature from Rome University, a postgraduate from the National Capodistrian University in Cultural Management and a drama school degree.

She worked for 20 years as a dance, music and cinema critic at the “Apogevmatini” newspaper, for 10 years as a theatre actress and assistant director. She has taught exercise, dance, rhythm and choreography since 1982. She started learning oriental dance with Rhea of Athens at the age of 24 and since 2003 she has devoted herself exclusively to it, learning with dancers/teachers as Sabah, Penny Baili, Marina Belba, Maria Aya, and attending seminars with teachers from abroad such as Osama Emam, Yelena, Suha Azar, Ma Prabhu Erasmia, Chryssanthi Sahar, Athena Najat, Morocco of New York and others. In Shantom she teaches oriental dance (Egyptian style) since 2006.

Tribal Fusion - Αmerican Tribal Style Bellydance

Tribal Fusion - Αmerican Tribal Style® Bellydance (ΑΤS)

The lesson in Shantom includes both Tribal Fusion and ATS®.

Tribal Fusion Bellydance

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance is a modern Western form of oriental dance descendant of Αmerican Tribal Style®. It is incorporating elements from various dances from all over the world: Indian Kathak and Odissi, Flamenco, contemporary dance, even Popping and Hip Hop. A mixture of elements that blends traditions and styles and frees the mind.

Αmerican Tribal Style® Bellydance (ΑΤS)

The main characteristic of Αmerican Tribal Style® is improvisation among dancers. Dressed in very wide colourful skirts, beautiful ethnic-style jewellery and holding zills in their hands, they use specific key-moves called “cues”. Accompanied by wonderful folk music, they create choreographic “sentences” in slow or quick tempo, in duets, trios and quarters. The result is a beautiful female improvised dance, a performance full of joy, female solidarity, collaboration and fun.

The lesson

For Tribal Fusion:
We will work on the contrast among “snake-like”, soft movements and staccato, dynamic isolations of different body parts. Be ready for a lesson that will wake up all your senses and will help you control every inch of your body! Come to live a dream-like experience.
The lesson starts with a thorough warm-up for strength and flexibility, breathing exercises. This is followed by technique exercises, isolations, sharp and fluid movements, layering of increasing difficulty, spins and turns as well as combinations. When we advance, we'll work on travelling steps, musicality, fun combinations and choreographies.

For American Tribal Style:
We will learn the strong, fundamental body posture, the ATS® steps and cues. By combining these elements, we will learn to do group improvisation in formations.

Note: The term “bellydance”, which is best not used for oriental dance in the Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish styles, is currently associated with –and should be used for – the American variations of this ancient dance form, such as Tribal. 

This year you can also follow the lesson online. 


Jasmin ΚalathakiJasmin Κalathaki

Jasmin Κalathaki is an ATS, Fusion Bellydance and oriental dance instructor, choreographer, performer, director of Merkabah and Anassa Troupes, producer of “Tribalnatyam Gr” Festival and “Persephone Unveiled” Show in Athens. Jasmin is a Teacher Training Certified in Αmerican Tribal Style® and the first Sister Studio A.T.S.® FCBD® in Greece.

Her love affair with dancing started when she was very young with classical dance and Greek traditional dances. Growing up, her interest for dancing evolved and she became a certified professional Ballroom and Latin teacher. She fell in love with Belly dance which she favoured above all, developing a true passion for it! She has studied for countless hours with some of the best and most famous teachers in the world. In 2011, she became certified by Suhaila Salimpour’s School of Bellydance Level 1, in San Francisco, CA, where she also she took part as a performer in TribalFest 11.

She has been teaching the art of bellydance for the last 19 years in recognized dance schools in Greece and abroad. She has also been a founding member in many oriental dance troupes and has given countless performances. Her latest studies took place in Barcelona, in 2016, where she got certified in the FCBD®General Skills, Teacher Training and the Business of A.T.S.® by Carolena Nericcio and Megha Gavin!

Jasmin is a successful oriental dance workshop and show organizer in Greece. Her love, commitment and true passion for this unique art form is what drives her need to promote, support, help and basically do anything it takes to give oriental dance the value it deserves as one of the most beautiful and unique dances in the world!

Aerial Dance

Aerial Acrobatic Dance

Aerial acrobatic dance gives to the body the chance to move freely on all three dimensions with a feeling of freedom and well-being, psychological upliftment and healing. Through the alignment of poses the practitioner acquires harmonious movement, strengthening of the body and quietness of mind. The lightness, the inversions and the harmonization of movements, set us free from passive weight.

Aerial dance reminds us of our body as children; the body which climbed, which went upside down, which moved freely and unexpectedly. Dancing with the fabric strips hanging from the ceiling, we enjoy the sensation of height, the rapidity of unfolding and the beauty of the image of the body in the air.

The physical preparation –before climbing on the fabric strips– includes muscle strengthening, flexibility exercises and toning the physical condition through techniques taken from yoga, gymnastics as well as Traditional Thai Yoga Massage.

The class takes place in the largest hall in Shantom, near the garden, with a ceiling 5,5 m high and a professional, high-security bar, for an enjoyable and safe practice. You will be taught various ways of climbing on the fabric sheets, feet binds, poses and falls, as well as choreographies.

The class is meant for people who are young and have a good physical condition.

Afro-Contemporary Dance

Afro-contemporary dance

Afro-contemporary dance combines the spirit of African dance and the power of Primitive Expression with improvisation and contemporary dance (Limón -release). The goal is not to learn African traditional dances and choreographies but to achieve contact with our primal instincts and feel our inner primal rhythm through improvisation and free exploration. Afro-contemporary dance, explores, through rhythm, the roots of internal movement, helping us find the personal, free, unhindered flow of energy.

Drawing from the wisdom and the culture of African dance –with its symbolisms inspired by animals and by daily life of human community– practice of this class can lead to an opening of the sternum and the pelvis, a rooting through the bare soles of the feet, release of anxiety and blockages and well-being.

The lesson includes:

  • A structured warming up
  • Strengthening
  • Familiarization with rhythm
  • Playing
  • Improvisation
  • Group creation of choreographies
  • Cooling down

All are welcome, regardless of age or previous experience.

Laskarina FegissaLaskarina Fegissa

She was born in Athens, in 1981, from a father of Ethiopian origin and a Greek mother. She obtained a degree from the Rallou Manou Professional School of Dance in 2003. She has attended several dance workshops: contemporary dance, flamenco, tango, Brazilian, African. Later on, she also studied local East African dances.

Since 2013 she is a student of dance movement therapy through Primitive Expression at the Atelier du Geste Rythmé. She is a teacher of classical contemporary dance and Orff system. She has collaborated with several dance groups and theatrical companies. Her desire to understand better her dual (Western and African) roots, leaded her to combine African dance with contemporary dance, by teaching afro-contemporary fusion.

Contemporary Dance, Release – Limón Technique

Contemporary Dance - Improvisation

The body breathes. The body occupies the space. The body receives information and sends information back to the world. The body moves. And then it feels, it communicates, it’s having fun! The movements are drawings and touches and whispers and narratives. The narratives of our stories. This is dance!

In this class we work with the body as a tool for communication and expression, exploring our relationship with the space and the rest of the bodies around us. Different dance techniques (floorwork, release, contact), accompany us during the process of instantaneous composition and improvisation, while developing one’s personal and unique movement vocabulary.

Every level and age is welcome in the class. The only requirement to participate is to have curiosity, openness for experimentation and the desire for sharing.

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vasalouIro Vasalou

Iro Vasalou has graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2014. Recently she completed her Master’s degree in Dramaturgy at Utrecht University. She focuses on interactive performances, the relationship between the body and the space and finally she studies choreography as a tool for political analysis and praxis.

She is a dancer, choreographer and dramaturg, looking at the themes of gender and representation through movement and dance. She has been working and living in Malaga, Spain where she started her career with the project La Fáctica Danza, co-founded along with Lula Amir (Uruguay). She has collaborated with the site-specific interdisciplinary collective Villapuchero Factory, the dance company Ximena Carnevale and with the music composer Paloma Peñarrubia Ruíz. Her work has been presented at various international festivals like Athens Video Dance Project, 7th Young Choreographers Festival at Onassis Foundation: Stegi, Nuevos Valores de la Danza and MAF in Malaga, Seasoning at Eindhoven, 8th You Better Move at Dansmakersin Amsterdam, Resolutions Festival in London etc. Since 2020 she is based in Athens.

She has taught adults and children of various levels in a regular basis in Spain at dance schools like Jessy Muñoz Dance Academy, EL Taller, Cristina Mesa etc. She has also taught intensive workshops at Het Wilde Weste in Utrecht, at Conservatorio Superior de Danza in Malaga, Escuela Profesional de Arte Dramatico and at NImiku in Santiago, Chile.

The main techniques in her classes are floorwork, release and contact. She also focuses on the technique of improvisation in order to support the unique personal movement vocabulary of each student.

Dance Therapy

Dance Movement Therapy

Body stiffness often reflects a deeper mental and psychological stiffness

Dance therapy is an artistic method of psychotherapy. Through improvisational movement, through dance and art, it offers deep awareness and freedom, regarding our way of thinking, feeling and communicating. Practitioners have the opportunity to explore, extend and release their habitual patterns of movement, broadening thus their range of psychosomatic and mental expression.

Our body, since its embryonic life, records memories, many of which are relegated to the unconscious mind where they reside secretly. Eventually they activate a harmful influence with negative psychological and behavioral impact.

Dance movement therapy helps the body feel, embody and express these unconscious and unmanifest experiences, in a therapeutic process. The manifested expressiveness releases creative energy which unfolds and widens the body-mind range, heals stress, melancholy and pessimism infusing the practitioner with joy, enthusiasm and strength.

This shift allows a deeper understanding , new means of communication and goals in life.

The sessions

The sessions are done in a group. No dance steps or other techniques are taught. Dance unfolds either within the practitioner’s personal space or, at other times, within an expanded space of a small or larger group, where the unforeseen, improvised interactions, changes and exchanges happen.

No previous dance knowledge is required.

Note:

  • Dance Movement Therapy sessions are held once a month on Sundays, as a 4-hour workshop, in set dates, between 11:00 and 15:00. These form a 9-session cycle from October to June.
  • To achieve an in-depth understanding of our psychic structures, it is recommended to attend at least two cycles.

Leda ShantalaLeda Shantala

A Sorbonne Graduate in French Literature. Choreographer, Dancer, spiritual master in Yoga, Teacher of Indian Classical Dance Bharata Natyam, Dance movement therapist G.D.T.R. Sr, Creator and Director of Shantom House of Culture.

After graduating in Paris, France ((Dipl. Licence Es Lettres Paris IΙΙ Sorbonne), where, among others, she studied yoga, modern dance, ethnology and humanistic psychology, Leda Shantala travelled to India following a powerful inner call. She stayed and studied in Chennai. For three years she was trained in the art of classical Indian dance Bharata Natyam (dance, expression, music, rhythms, singing) graduating from the Indian Dance Academy «Bharata Kalanjali» and the Indian School of Exression «Abhinaya Sudha» in Chennai, where she still returns for the creation of performances and for artistic collaborations.

She studied yoga, theory and practice -deeply delving into the ancient texts of Indian philosophy- in the most distinguished schools of India. She is a graduate of the “Kaivalya Dhama Υoga Research Institution”, in Lonavla (Pune) and was a disciple of many contemporary yogis and sages.

Her teachers were sri Rocketti, Arnaud Desjardins (France), Leopoldo Chariars, (Argentina), Baba Khan (Egypt), Swami Satyananda, B.K.S Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikatchar, sri Chandra Swami Udason (India). She is still in constant contact with the latter and visits his ashram Sadhana Kendra with every opportunity.

She studied Dance Movement Therapy with Dr. Marcia B. Leventhal (of New York University) as well as the African “Mombwiri” dance therapy of the Mitsogo tribe in Gabon. She is the only Western student who was accepted by the Pygmies to learn with them this primeval healing method.

After her return in Greece in 1985, Leda Shantala brought the Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam to the Greek public. In the same year, she created the Mandiram Centre, the only institution in Greece for Indian dance and artistic/anthropological research in the culture of ancient civilizations, while also offering regular lessons in Yoga, Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam, and later on, Dance Movement Therapy sessions. In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, through which she has been applying her multicultural research to dance-theatre performances.

In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, a unique culturally diverse dance company, which presents innovative multimedia productions combining the art of Bharata Natyam with the art of theatre and the contemporary dance idiom with the ancient Greek art form of the Muses.

In 2003, with her mother Smaro Stefanidou, she created the Shantom House of Culture, which she is still heading. A three-storey modern multi-purpose building in Kato Halandri, of multi-cultural scope, hosting regular courses in yoga, dance movement therapy, many kinds of dance, martial arts and fitness methods from all over the world.

She is the daughter of singer Vassos Seitanidis and actress Smaro Stefanidou.

After 30 years of teaching, she has developed a personal way enabling her to approach her students in a direct and personalized manner enriched by her personal experience and daily practice. Experiences which enable her to see and interpret the above studied system drawing from her personal source of wisdom.

Yoga for children

Yoga for children

In order to face the challenges of our times and cope with anxiety and phobias, every child needs the tools that will help him or her to stay healthy in body and in mind. Yoga is the ideal method to reach both these goals. It is a precious tool that helps children to cultivate and keep mental and physical flexibility. The discipline and the wisdom of yoga not only enhance physical health but also promote the awakening of mental skills such as concentration, memory, awareness, self-esteem.

Modern lifestyle cultivates passivity, physical and mental inactivity. Children are often confined in closed spaces and lose their natural flexibility at a very young age. Moreover, their mental confinement into virtual reality (video games, TV, computer, smartphones), prevents the expression and the unfolding of their creativity.

Yoga is also wonderful for hyper-active children, to calm down and concentrate.

The teacher gradually leads the child to the discovery of a different world, opening up its imagination and deepening its creativity towards inner wisdom, a treasure which will be available to the child for the rest of its life.

From what age?

Usually, children’s classes are for boys and girls from 5 to 11 years old. After that age, the adolescent is ready to go to an adult class.

marilounikolaouMarilou Nikolaou

Marilou Nikolaou studied business management and communication and worked in that field for more than ten years. In her quest for a more creative way of life, she attended seminars and workshops on photography, ceramics, jewellery and sewing. In 2007, in collaboration with other artists of different specializations, she founded Lu Creative Studio, a space for personal expression hosting workshops, events, themed exhibitions and excursions.

In 2003 she first met and started practicing yoga, while in 2006 she worked for Shantom House of Culture, where she also attended yoga lessons and yoga theory seminars with Leda Shantala. In 2010 she completed the Yoga Teacher Training Course (200 hr) at the Sivananda Vedanta Centre, and in 2013 she completed the Αdvanced Teacher Training (500hr) at the Ghyta Yoga School with Michalis Filinis. Both centres are recognized by the Yoga Alliance International. Since then, she has kept regularly attending Iyengar Yoga lessons, while she continues to enrich her knowledge with lessons and seminars on different yoga styles, with notable teachers, as well as teaching herself both in regular courses and in summer retreats.
She recently completed two courses on teaching children’s yoga: one at the Flower Kids Yoga School (100hr) and Mindfulness for Kids & Teens at Nada Yoga Place (18hr).

Meditation

Meditation

Meditation, when done consistently and with dedication, relieves the practitioner from every feeling of psychological limitation and pain. It leads to realization, to the control and voluntary pause of thinking, healing both physical and psychological illnesses.

Internal silence reveals our deeper self, the core of our existence and comes with a feeling of inner peace. It promotes the functions of neurotransmitters and changes brain frequencies, bringing health and healing on the physical, mental and psychological levels.

Before meditation we perform breathing exercises (pranayama), which calm the mind and prepare it for introspection. These breathing exercises are valuable for the organism. They enhance the dynamics of the energy field and stimulate vital areas of the body and the nervous system. They bring the brain into balance and fight mental weaknesses and illnesses.

Meditation encompasses four concepts:

(briefly)

  • Introvertion of the mind (pratyahara): The mind retreats from the objects of the senses. The senses function according to the mind and not the opposite.
  • Concentration (dharana): The mind remains constant and still, focusing on a specific mental sphere, on a chosen point inside or outside the body. The knower and the known become one.
  • Meditation (dhyana): The chronological and psychological time stop. The intensity of attention in the field of consciousness flows without any movement.
  • Transcendence of the mind (Samadhi): The “disappearance” of the self. The object of concentration “shines” without the intervention of personal consciousness.

Leda ShantalaLeda Shantala

A Sorbonne Graduate in French Literature. Choreographer, Dancer, spiritual master in Yoga, Teacher of Indian Classical Dance Bharata Natyam, Dance movement therapist G.D.T.R. Sr, Creator and Director of Shantom House of Culture.

After graduating in Paris, France ((Dipl. Licence Es Lettres Paris IΙΙ Sorbonne), where, among others, she studied yoga, modern dance, ethnology and humanistic psychology, Leda Shantala travelled to India following a powerful inner call. She stayed and studied in Chennai. For three years she was trained in the art of classical Indian dance Bharata Natyam (dance, expression, music, rhythms, singing) graduating from the Indian Dance Academy «Bharata Kalanjali» and the Indian School of Exression «Abhinaya Sudha» in Chennai, where she still returns for the creation of performances and for artistic collaborations.

She studied yoga, theory and practice -deeply delving into the ancient texts of Indian philosophy- in the most distinguished schools of India. She is a graduate of the “Kaivalya Dhama Υoga Research Institution”, in Lonavla (Pune) and was a disciple of many contemporary yogis and sages.

Her teachers were sri Rocketti, Arnaud Desjardins (France), Leopoldo Chariars, (Argentina), Baba Khan (Egypt), Swami Satyananda, B.K.S Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikatchar, sri Chandra Swami Udason (India). She is still in constant contact with the latter and visits his ashram Sadhana Kendra with every opportunity.

She studied Dance Movement Therapy with Dr. Marcia B. Leventhal (of New York University) as well as the African “Mombwiri” dance therapy of the Mitsogo tribe in Gabon. She is the only Western student who was accepted by the Pygmies to learn with them this primeval healing method.

After her return in Greece in 1985, Leda Shantala brought the Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam to the Greek public. In the same year, she created the Mandiram Centre, the only institution in Greece for Indian dance and artistic/anthropological research in the culture of ancient civilizations, while also offering regular lessons in Yoga, Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam, and later on, Dance Movement Therapy sessions. In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, through which she has been applying her multicultural research to dance-theatre performances.

In 1987 she founded the Leda Shantala Dance Theatre, a unique culturally diverse dance company, which presents innovative multimedia productions combining the art of Bharata Natyam with the art of theatre and the contemporary dance idiom with the ancient Greek art form of the Muses.

In 2003, with her mother Smaro Stefanidou, she created the Shantom House of Culture, which she is still heading. A three-storey modern multi-purpose building in Kato Halandri, of multi-cultural scope, hosting regular courses in yoga, dance movement therapy, many kinds of dance, martial arts and fitness methods from all over the world.

She is the daughter of singer Vassos Seitanidis and actress Smaro Stefanidou.

After 30 years of teaching, she has developed a personal way enabling her to approach her students in a direct and personalized manner enriched by her personal experience and daily practice. Experiences which enable her to see and interpret the above studied system drawing from her personal source of wisdom.