…gives you an idea of who I am. Reading this with my professional bio (at the end) you’ll understand why I’m so passionate about
I began dancing as a child – my mom was my first dance teacher.
I also loved horses and had a great pony named Shebang when I was a kid.
As I got older it became evident that I’d need to get a larger horse. I wasn’t able to deal with selling my “friend” in order to have money to buy a bigger non-friend horse. I had no idea what to do.
About this same time I attended a touring performance of Revelations by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In the middle of that show, I knew I wanted to dance like the dancers I saw on stage – I still have the program from that performance in my journals.
Twenty years later, I knew, in the same total-body-knowing way, that I would join a women’s creative study group and travel to Egypt when I saw a flyer announcing the program. By this time, Shebang had gotten old and died, I’d become a professional dancer and lived in NYC for seven years, performed nationally, and achieved one of my major life goals – touring in Europe as a dancer. I have journals from all these adventures, also.
I was choreographing and collaborating with composers, and had started a small alternative performance venue in a gallery called Among Friends, bought and flipped several houses on Staten Island and a three-unit apartment building with a carriage house on Canal Street with my husband and brother, began teaching journal writing workshops for homeless women, and was generally pretty frustrated with life as a dancer. After a certain age when someone says, “jump – because I said so,” you just say, “no.”
A dancer friend began taking Alexander Technique lessons and had such a powerful experience that she insisted I attend a workshop with her. During the workshop, my body felt wonderfully light and I was moving so easily that I felt like I was 10 years younger!. I began studying the Technique with Mio Morales – this changed my life (along with that trip to Egypt!)!
It’s been a long and winding journey, out of dance, back into dance, to Europe performing with composer Philip Corner, back to KS teaching with my mom in her studio, off to grad school for an MFA in dance, grant writing and arts admin, admin in academia, writing, and public art projects. Along the way I’ve taught dance in almost every venue imaginable: private studios, large and small university programs, as a guest artist in the public schools, as part of after-school programs, and for professional dance companies.
My experiences in Dance, Movement Fundamentals, Body Knowledge (Somatics), the Alexander Technique, studies in psychology and healing along with Mio’s friendship and mentoring create the foundation for my teaching and allow me to live with Grace and Ease and Joy!
Mio, a student of Frank Pierce Jones (who studied with F.M. Alexander and his brother A.R. Alexander) and Marjorie Barstow (one of the first teachers trained by F.M. Alexander) is a percussionist and a composer. Mio is also a gifted Alexander Technique teacher and founder of a process called Primal Alexander. I chose to work with Mio because I knew if he could learn to play percussion and drums easily, he could teach me to dance easily. And, Mio was one of the few Alexander Technique teachers I met at that time who didn’t say to me, “Why do you want to do that!?” when I brought ballet steps to work on in class.
The next 30 years or so have been a journey of studying, exploring, and applying the Alexander Technique to all areas of life – relationships, work, writing, the study, performance, and teaching of dance-specifically classical ballet. This has been a wonderful learning adventure of discovery. I’m excited to share the transformative experience that comes from allowing Body-Brain Balance to guide your life.
I’ll stop here with two quotes by H. Havelock Ellis that describe the intersection of dance, life, and the Alexander Technique. These ideas are why I have developed the Body-Brain Balance Method for learning to Dance with Ease through all of life’s adventures.
“Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself.”
“The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
Laura Donnelly has been teaching the Alexander Technique privately, in community classes, and at the university level since 1992. In addition to workshop intensives with Marjorie Barstow, Donnelly trained extensively with Mio Morales.
Donnelly, MFA Theatre Arts/Dance – University of Arizona, is a choreographer, teacher, writer, and self-employed business consultant. She has taught dance in universities, public schools, and private studios. Donnelly has incorporated the Alexander Technique into her life since 1987.
Director of Dancing with Ease – Body-Brain Balance, Donnelly teaches online and in-person classes and 1:1 sessions helping people who are experiencing physical, emotional, or mental pain to move into healing in all aspects of their lives.
Donnelly toured nationally with the Court Dance Company of New York and presented her choreography internationally with composer Philip Corner. Her performance experience encompasses Contemporary, Improvisation, Modern, Ballet, Renaissance, and Baroque Dance.
Publications: Meditation in the Dance Studio is published in Teaching with Joy: Educational Practices for the Twenty-First Century, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Long-Distance Choreography, Learning, and Student Engagement A Model for Connecting Students and Faculty Despite Geographic Location – with Heather Trommer-Beardslee, in Dance Education in Practice, Taylor & Francis Group; Dance Technique – a Basis for Lifelong Learning in All in One, Chinese/English magazine.