Gabriella Campagna Interview
Gabriella Maria Campagna is a native New Yorker, via roots in Cali, Colombia. She graduated from Middlebury College, in Vermont, with a degree in South Asian Studies. Her senior research examined the devotional aspects of Kathak, the classical north Indian dance form she studied while living in Varanasi, India (aka Banaras) and her major focused on Religion, Dance and mastering the Hindi Language. Gabriella's dance training began at the School of American Ballet in NYC, and continued during her high school years at St. Paul's School in Concord, NH where she was a member, and later Captain, of the St. Paul's School Ballet Company, under the direction of Richard Rein, Nikki Milano and ABT's Rebecca Wright. At Middlebury, Gabriella was formally introduced to contemporary forms and composition, and had the opportunity to study with Andrea Olsen,Amy Chavasse, Penny Campbell and Tiffany Rhynard .She was also a member of the student-run Riddim World Dance Troupe. Gabriella has also been a student of Yoga and yogic philosophy for the past 6 years, and was certified to teach through Atmananda Yoga in 2006. She explored the New York dance scene for some time, as a member of the BE Dance Collective and brief video dance stints with JJ Hurvich and Miss Michelle Mola. These days however, she prefers to dance in her living room in Brooklyn, or at minimal techno gatherings with the night creatures of New York. She teaches yoga full-time (www.gabriellacampagna.com) and is working on starting up a film production company, Valhalla Road Productions, with her best friend and left lung, Virginia Cooney. Your inspirations and strongest influences?
- My family, Colombia, Brooklyn, the art of movement, Indian non-dualist philosophy, spices, vino rosso, ayurveda, the Virgin Mary...
- in Yoga my strongest influences are 1. Christine Hoar 2. Dechen Thurman and 3. Stewart Gilchrist.. and lately, I have been really digging Paul Manza's classes both in Brooklyn and at the Shala.
What is Kathak?
Kathak is a truly syncretic dance form—a symbolic melting pot of the various religious traditions, cultures and periods of Northern India. My research was carried out with the intent of seeing how the classical Indian dance forms of Kathak has shifted or evolved in the Western context. With textual background in the religious movements and aesthetic prescriptions that so heavily infuse these art forms, I approached the scenario today to see how these apply to the actual practices of Kathak dancers in America. With what intent is their dance undertaken? How, or on what level, do they connect with the religious texts or aesthetic formulations connected to the classical Indian arts? Is their art purely a devotional practice? A medium for maintaining Hindu unity and tradition in the West? A commercial endeavor? These are the questions I explored.
Yoga योग yóga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox āstikaschools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices.
Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy includeRaja, Karma, Jñana, Bhakti and Hatha Yoga. RajaYoga, referred to in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, is part of the Samkhya tradition. Many other Hindu texts, such as the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras discuss aspects of yoga.
What kind of Yoga do you teach?
Yoga Classes are in the taught Vinyasa tradition, with attention to anatomical honesty and pranayama (breath work). They are modeled to fit the individual student' goals and needs. Intelligent sequencing in a format is used, emphasizing the connection between breath and movement from pose to pose. This practice builds strength and flexibility in the body and steadiness in the mind. For centuries Yoga was not taught in group classes, but as a one-on-one practice. The reason you see so many styles of Yoga classes is that there are so many types of people, all with different proficiency levels. And as our bodies and minds develop and change over time (at different rates!), each person's Yoga practice needs to respond to those changes to remain effective. Ask yourself: Are you so busy, you cannot find time to attend a scheduled class at a gym or Yoga center? or easily distracted or do you feel competitive in a group class? new to Yoga, and you need help to get started? No matter what your reasons for scheduling a personalized Yoga session, I will begin with an assessment of how you are feeling at that moment, both physically and mentally. This provides an opportunity for you to express your goals and desires.
3 things you cant live without?
FOOD MUSIC AND LOVE.
Favorite cultural hotspot?
Varanasi India (aka benares, kashi) or Chango nightclub in Cali, Colombia.