Sue Rickards

Sue is a book reading, dog loving, wild swimming, clay squashing, word smithing, human being, wool knitting, day dreaming, allotment digging East End gal residing in North London.  Her passion for conscious dance began in 1990 after years of disco dancing and parties.

 

~ Trained as a Sesame Drama and Movement therapist in 1990

~ Trained by the late Gabrielle Roth to teach 5Rhythms® in 1994 and has been holding classes and workshops wholeheartedly since.

~ Studied humanistic counselling and psychotherapy, bringing a greater depth to her dance teaching.

~ Ongoingly touched and inspired by Movement of Being.

~ A Founding Member of Open Floor International 2014

~ A member of IMTA.

"I find this world of conscious movement so fascinating and enlivening.  I've been wild and free, and flown with soaring happiness.  It shakes me when I’m avoiding something and comforts me when I’m unduly disturbed.  In a good way.

I work hard so its not surprising that I find this world of dance a sweet relaxing relief, reminding me how to open, to laugh, to despair – or anything - and not get too stuck for too long.

 

I loved disco dancing (I know - don’t laugh!) when I was young and partied pretty much every weekend, unless I was off on the road hitchhiking or camping with friends, or curled up on a sofa unable to tear myself away from an imaginary world.  I love how reading lets me see and feel into so many nooks and crannies of life.  How I discover things about myself by being told a good tale.  Reading therapy!  Reading recreation.

 

And I travelled a lot – saving money like crazy from a daytime job in offices, working in pubs in the evening – and as soon as I had enough (not much) I’d take off on a whim for as long as the money lasted.  I travelled through Scandinavia in an old transit van with my first boyfriend and hitched around the perimeter of USA with 2 girlfriends that I’d met whilst working in the YMCA in New York.  I worked on kibbutzim and volunteered in Bangladesh.  I hitched round Europe with 3 girlfriends.  I worked in Canada as a nanny with the most generous and kind family.  I felt like I was dying of sickness in Cairo (but didn’t) and marveled at markets and miracles in Luxor.  I slept on beaches and behind service stations, on people’s sofas and in huge sweaty trucks.     I couldn’t see why anyone would ever want to live any other way…….

 

And yet at about 30 I noticed my attention turning inwards and homewards.  I studied childcare and loved that.  I trained as a Drama and Movement Therapist (Sesame Institute) and that nudged my life in a direction I had never even known existed.  I worked in hospitals and schools and charities and then began offering open Dance and Movement sessions. 

 

In 1991 I discovered 5Rhythms®, finding myself on a dance floor with Susannah and Ya’Acov Darling Khan and knew immediately that dancing with them was absolutely what I wanted to do.  For the first time in my life I borrowed money – at the end of a weekend workshop I signed up for their first year long group.  I had no idea how much it would come to mean to me.

 

So I studied and danced and in 1994 trained with Gabrielle Roth.  And later trained further with her to work with emotions, which after all are on the dance floor all the time anyway.  I’ve been teaching for 24 years or more and loving almost every moment.  Whenever I’m holding the space I fall into a sense of being in love with us humans, and that’s a great feeling.

 

I keep learning (and forgetting) and I like challenging myself to be a new student.   So I’ve trained as a Humanistic counsellor (with the Centre for Personal and Professional Development), studied (but not trained in) psychotherapy at Spectrum, learnt about (but not trained in) Non Violent Communication from many teachers (mainly Gina Lawrie and Cath Burke).  I get to Helen Poynor’s  workshops when I can, which isn’t often enough.  Her work with moving with the land is so specific and nourishing.  She’s a phenomenal teacher.   I’m endlessly and slowly learning Spanish, muy poco a poco, and with my sister have walked El Camino de Santiago, which is a deep learning by foot. 

 

For the last 10 years or so I’ve been taught and nourished, challenged and nurtured by Fanny Behrens, Colin Harrison and Joanna Watters.  Their dedication to helping people wake up in a body in the fullest, richest, humanest way has subtlely and radically and completely affected me. I am grateful every day for their love, care and intelligence in the widest wisest sense.   It’s infused my life and work life so radically and simply that I can’t begin to explain it.

 

Most recently I’ve been involved in co-creating Open Floor International.  That has stretched me emotionally, mentally and relationally in ways I couldn’t have anticipated and together we are bringing out the best in one another to continue to offer work we can all be proud of.  We all challenge and support, make mistakes, learn and try again.   How we are creating it matters as much to me as what we create and it heartens and encourages me that so many people are moving toward this growing organsation, finding exciting new ways to offer what has love and meaning in the world.

 

And of course I learn from my dog, who effortlessly, endlessly, forgivingly lives in the moment and reminds me to too.

 

Well this is a long biography. If you've read this far it's probably time for a dance..."

Kind and crazy things people have said:

 

Sue brings threads of wisdom from many years of experience and study of different practices, which she weaves together into something simple yet powerful. She has the courage to teach from a place of vulnerability, which inspires me to accept my own. And she teaches straight from the heart – although she is adept at coaxing us into relationship with our bodies, for me, ultimately her teachings are about love. 

Francesca Mitchell

 

Sue is the Eddie Izzard of 5Rhythms®! She is well loved by freaks and friends, shy dancers and shaggy dogs. She brings warmth and humour to her teaching and to everyday interactions with strangers. She opens the doors to love, looks truth in the eye, catches the perfect moment for intimacy and dares to disagree. She takes time to find the essence of the moment and follow it into the tender and outrageous...

Alex Mackay

 

After Sue's workshop I seem to be in touch with my drive, vitality, power, strength and spirit! I almost can't believe it! :) 

Els, Antwerp

 

The high spot of the evening was going to the loo laughing hysterically...

Lawrence 

 

Thanks for your class, if I lived in London I'd be here every week.  You teach with such grace and intelligence.

Student visiting London

Sue says things so lightly and in such depth, and there's no nonsense.  

Sue Kuhn

 

Sue has a a softly surprising creativity that enables her to flip the rest of us around to places and insights that from anyone else we might resist or rebel, but with her it just feels good. 

Adam Barley

She teaches from behind, from underneath, her piercing subtle humour cuts through pretence like a hot knife through butter - no cliche here. She meets those she teaches as though ocean at full tide and then withdraws to give space for the medicine in her students to wake itself in their body and systems of their body.

 

The work she offers is beneath mind and under the cellular, it comes in essences and shifts created by her 'seeing' and by her humour, through her own particular pace and out of her own sweet experience. She tiptoes over us and over to us, then asks us to dive headlong off the cliff into the ring of fire disguised by simplicity and distance.

 

If the 'room' sleeps' she tells us so, the picture painted so clearly that sleeping becomes done and sleeping becomes wakefulness and tenderness within a breath. She asks us to breathe into places that have almost died, places that we have almost forgotten, she allows us no escape, for she will name it whatever it is and it will change shape.

 

I dance amongst her love and her fierce fiery humour, and as I dance with her, I dream with her about making things and sheds and about new pictures of old age.

Hilary Kneale

 

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A Call to Dance

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Header Image: View From The Bottom Of The Well', Gloria J Burk