Natasha’s Movement Writings



Who left those tiny clothes in the change room?  Why is there an amp by the front window? Did you ever wonder what happens at the Studio when group classes are not taking place?

On Mondays, former dancers of Nesta Toumine’s Ottawa Classical Ballet, use the space for their weekly class.  On Fridays, an eight to eleven year old dance class is currently happening at 11:30am.  Each weekday, Natasha works with private Pilates & Movement clients during traditional work hours. A ballerina nurse comes in over the weekend to do her own movement practice.  On Sunday evenings, a musician and belly dancer create a new dance piece together.

There is a lot of moving that takes place at the Studio outside of the group classes.  Movement and flow seem to be one of the intrinsic patterns of the Studio.  It is a flow that encourages and supports creation and growth of a diverse community ranging from 3 to 85 years.  Each day unfolds Breath, Possibility and many hours of magical Grace.

N.Royka   November 6.  2014



The Studio’s Fairy Classes/Creative Movement Program open a door into a world of potential and possibility.  Not just for the small participants but also for the teachers.  Each week Kristen and I meet to discuss what ingredients will be in the Tuesday 3 1/2 to 5 years old class.  Movement games, songs, locomotor skills, poetry, the seasons, weather and upcoming holidays are all discussed.  How can we get the fairies moving and opening into their imaginations?  How can we best assist them in exploring the process of creation?

Movement and creation go hand in hand for me.   One of my most vivid childhood memories is from my first dance classes.  We were asked to be butterflies.  Piano music was all round me.  The physical walls faded away.  I was flitting about a beautiful garden.  It was my first experience of bringing a world that I envisioned in my mind into reality.

This magical experience, combined with the introduction to basic dance technique, musicality and drawing, is what we hope to present to our eager fairies.  The giggles and smiles that greet each class tell us we are dancing down the right path.

N. Royka   October 9. 2013


Every time I teach Trees at the Studio I send blessings to dancer/choreographer/teacher Mary Anthony.
I met Mary at the 2005 Sacred Dance Festival at Connecticut College.
Her dance studies had been with Hanya Holm and Martha Graham.
She worked in musical theater.  She created dances.
I took her master workshop.  
The first exercise that she presented after the warm up was Trees.
16 pulses down to the earth.  16 pulses up to a tree.
Moving one limb at a time in time to the pulse that Mary beat on her drum.
Then it was 8 pulse down.  8 pulses up.
Then 4 down, 4 up.  Eventually we were reduced to one pulse down and up.
Hard, percussive dance that my Limon trained body enjoyed.
I fell in love it.
Mary’s simplicity of movement and wealth of teaching knowledge captured me.
We gravitated towards one another and spent time together during the festival.
After the festival was over I returned to Ottawa.  She returned to New York City.
We wrote each other.
She wrote of her early dances being mounted at Skidmore College in Saratoga, New York. We shared the idea of her coming to teach a workshop in Ottawa.
I wrote of the possibility of her mentoring me on a dance piece, going down to NYC to work with her.
Our ideas never saw fruition.  Mary grew older – she was in her 90’s when I met her – and my class teaching and studio became more demanding.  Time passed.
Mary Anthony passed away in the Autumn of 2014.   Her knowledge, nurturing and passion for dance was a gift to each of us in the dance world.  Each time I teach Trees in my studio in Ottawa, I marvel how her work continues to be explored, enjoyed and relevant.   How it transcends the borders of culture, time and age.
The trees I see in my studio take my breath away.
From one dancer to the next we pass down the gift of discipline, artistry, musicality and experimentation.  Reaching towards the sky, the dancing trees continue to grow.
Thank you, Mary, for touching my life – and so many others – with blossoms of possibility.

N. Royka   January 31. 2015

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Into every group class I carry a notebook.  Workshops, Adult ballet, Fairy Class, Pilates.  Each class is planned and written down.  The flow of the individual class, session and what I wish to introduce and explore with students is caught in the pages of the current notebook.  The green trunk in the Studio is full of them.

In Autumn 1985 I began studying Legat Ballet technique at the Ana Roje School of Ballet on Boylston Street in Boston.  It was located directly across from the Boston Public Library.  One class a week became two became three became four, became work/study and assisting the children’s classes.  I couldn’t get enough.  The thrill of walking up the narrow staircase to the Studio as the piano music became louder took my breath away each time I went for class.  I loved the Studio, with it’s big windows, narrow length and the antique elevator that passed by on it’s way to the upper floors of the building.

It was there I began my dance notebook.  Dancer/Teacher Anna Myer commented that carrying a notebook and writing down class, no matter what or how you remembered it, would help the dancer memory.

One very special notebook sits on the Studio bookshelf now.  The classes documented travel from Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, Dancer/teacher Margot Parson’s thoughts on Ballet technique, Madame Nora Inrinova’s classical repertoire and the Goh Ballet in Vancouver.  Class combinations and ideas fill it’s pages.  It is dance caught in time, yet moving forward with inspiration into the present day.

28 years later this practice is ingrained in me.  Over the years I have noticed how it moves the students forward and keeps the classes fresh.  It allows me to explore – and remember – patterns, music and artistry, fine tuning each class to the dancer’s needs.

It is a gift.  Thank you, Anna.

N. Royka   March 11. 2015

Hoop Suite Work in progress Youth Link and Anna Myer & Dancers