Zola Dubnikova Interview on Holistic Dance Language and the Upcoming 3-week Holistic Dance Language Immersion

19 Dec 2022

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In our interview, Zola Dubnikova, mother of the ‘Holistic Dance Language’ explains in-depth this life-changing system which she has developed, sharing a glimpse of what happens during an immersive training.

She also talks about precisely how Holistic Dance Language can deeply benefit those who practice it and what to expect from the methodology. When you start reading this article, you won't be able to stop. She travels the world hosting retreats and now, she is coming to Koh Phangan. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to join her 3-week Holistic Dance Immersion, beginning January 9, 2023.


What makes Holistic Dance Language unique from other dance methods and offerings? How would you describe Holistic Dance Language to those of us who know nothing about it? 

The word ‘holistic’ implies viewing our human organism as a whole - so this particular methodology of dance addresses not only the body and acquiring technical skills to be proficient in physical form, but also develops our evolution as emotionally mature, spiritually connected, confident, soft, strong, expressively developed humans, tuned into a larger perspective which includes community, world view and planetary ideals. The word ‘language’ is included in the title of this methodology because the language of the body is equally complex, and deserving of the same level of attention which would be given to any other linguistic study. Fine-tuning the language of the body, senses, emotions, and subtle energy deeply enhances the scope of communication and expressive skills available to us as human beings. Traditional dance often tends to focus on physical form alone, excluding a more global perspective on embodied intelligence. For more than 20 years I have been developing and teaching Holistic Dance Language to empower women in body, mind, heart, voice and soul. 


What are the main elements of the Holistic Dance Language Curriculum? And what can students expect to receive from Holistic Dance Language methodology? 

Although the Holistic Dance Language developed after years of immersion into specific cultural traditional dance forms, the practices contain a language beyond culture and time ~ Pleasurable embodiment, diverse physicality, subtle body language, ritual movement and inner alchemy are the main elements of the holistic dance language curriculum. Informed by ancient tradition, seeped in contemporary somatic/body science, infused with movement medicine and immersed in sacred dance inspired across time and worlds, the practices revive our hidden (forgotten) abilities, creating pathways of remembrance in the body. 

Through these practices, we have the power of complete metamorphosis and enhanced communication at our fingertips. The earth-based foundational work guides us to trust the ground beneath us more, deepen our roots and “fly” from a supported place. Connecting to our pelvis, to the earth and to our voice gives us deeper roots. Connecting to the heart, we open the sky. 


Through the work we access deep softness, grace and potent strength. We release blocked energy, and build inner power. We learn a unique vocabulary of movement, mudra and subtle energetic principles. Through a combination of slowed inner listening, breath/sound work, focused practice and liberating trance-inducing movement, we bring our prayers to the physical world, planting the seeds of our dreams, our deepest missions, within every cell of our bodies. Through the practices, we learn to trust our inner voice more deeply, we find answers to questions and dilemmas for which we may have previously resorted to ‘expert’ opinions, unable to connect to our own inner wisdom. 

We learn to hear the voice of our inner teacher more clearly and she becomes stronger and more powerful the more we take notice of her. I always say that we are becoming not only more graceful movement artists through this work, but evolutionary humans - not only learning how to master our bodies and the way we move from the outside, but also mastering our energy, our minds, our response to what life throws unexpectedly our way, our discernment regarding what to invite into our reality and our ability to express ourselves through multiple mediums. Learning to move our bodies’ in the deeper sense, is not limited to what might be seen from the outside or from the physical perspective. 



Learning to master our movement, and the way we move others, includes fine tuning our verbal language and how we communicate with words. It includes developing awareness how the sonic vibrations, tones and sounds we release in daily life affect ourselves, others and our environment. It also includes our energetic imprint, our subtle body language and our inner movement, largely invisible to the outer eye. Through these practices, we fine-tune these elements of self-mastery, developing deeper discernment, intuition and communication, giving us a profound connection to our deepest untapped powers, skills for which all women (and humans) should have access. 


Give us some insight into what happens in a typical HDL practice session. 

In a typical session, we have a combination of different elements which are always present: structured specific techniques and movement sequences done in unison with a focus on perfecting lines and geometries in the body; structured improvisational exercises in which everyone navigates from her own space with a focus on listening inside; meditations to cultivate health in the area of our womb and breasts, using different practices to cultivate internal activation and the art of what I refer to as “sexual sovereignty” (or circulating our sexual energy within to benefit our own health and vitality). Most often the practices occur within a circular formation where the altar, at the center, represents the forces bigger than us, who support us unconditionally. 



We participate in regular sharing circles, practicing to articulate what is alive in our bodies, what we are longing to heal, to manifest and to experience. Every woman sharing her truth and her voice in the circle helps to direct where the class will go - meaning the voice of each woman present is considered important and shifts the entire direction of the class depending on what is shared. Empowering each woman to know that her voice is important - what she shares in the group impacts and benefits the whole collective. 

Interwoven with the practices is the art of “Pause” and “Integration” - as it is my philosophy that it is often in the pause after a practice when the deeper medicine of a practice roots into the body - the integration, the moment of stillness following a particular practice, is as important as the practice itself. 
There is always a strong element of physicality - the sessions work out the muscles and develop deep flexibility, agility and strength. There is a highlight on deep physical release - where we shake and free the bones, where the emphasis is to empty our bodies from all stories, baggage and past events as well as physical tensions. 

Within the practices there is a strong emphasis on subtle body language development through seed sounds, eye movements, mudra (hand gestures), internal activation (similar to yogic bandhas), meditations and breathing techniques. At times, we practice in pairs or small groups. 
Another main focus is the deep release of the voice through both specific sounds directed inwards toward the body, as well as a general liberation of subtle sounds which are encouraged throughout the session. There is a strong emphasis on cultivating the “inner smile”, and regardless of how heavy a particular process might be, we practice to look at everything from a wider perspective, with both humor and grace. 



We work with 13 archetypes which I call the “13 Sisters Within” or the “13 Medicinal Priestesses” who each carry different qualities, attributes and medicine. Through working with the archetypes, we learn to draw upon different energies as needed. Depending on the particular archetype(s) with whom we are working, different practices are done to support us in strengthening different qualities, which can later be called upon as needed, in life, supporting us to face whatever comes on our path with refinement, making the waves of life more easeful in body and psyche. 
In longer training we also learn choreographed dance medicine sequences, which support us in learning, perfecting and remembering the practices more deeply. 

There is always a deep combination between structure and improvisation. My initiation in the Temple dance lineage of Odissi, taught me that true freedom also comes from discipline. So while we often leave the session feeling very good, I encourage students to show up for practices when it feels good and when it does not, to find the balance between listening to their own rhythm and also pushing beyond limiting boundaries and beliefs to grow in strength, stamina, power and fully expressed divine womanhood. I often refer to dance practices as life practices, as I have come to see there is really no difference within this system. 



As the mother of Holistic Dance Language, can you tell us more about your background, experience and education? What is your inspiration? 

From a young age, I perceived life, sound, movement, touch and emotion from a deeply sensitive place. My sensitivity has been both a blessing and a challenge, but in terms of my pursuits, it has guided me to interpret information through a very sensorial and embodied lens. Perhaps the devotion, attention and focus I demonstrated early on in regards to learning yoga and dance felt effortless because I discovered that focus, discipline and physical expression helped me to balance my extraordinarily sensitive nature. Movement has been my grounding, my balancing point and my medicine, for as long as I can remember. My fascination with the relationship between Dance and Psychology eventually led me to receive my Bachelor Degree (Mills College, c. 2002) in this rich field, but the pursuit of what would eventually become HDL unknowingly began many years earlier. 

Looking back, I would now define my initial connection to dance as my connection to the sensation of ecstasy. The first time I remember experiencing ecstasy through dance, I was about 8 years old. A friend of my mother demonstrated Sufi whirling to me, and I remember spinning wildly and falling to the ground time and again, laughing for hours, intoxicated by the energy circulating my body through this simple technique. A few years later I joined contemporary dance classes, which I loved - as regardless how challenging, I always walked out feeling more deeply alive and confident. My initiation to yoga at age 12, was life-changing, yet another portal to my discovery of the profound connection between body, mind and spirit. When I experienced African dance for the first time, I remember entering a state of deep ecstasy through repetitive, trance-inducing and healing sensual movements, which were quite foreign to me at the time. It was amazing to me that we could use the body, in a sense, to leave the body, to enter a state of consciousness beyond what I knew was possible before; to replace mundane reality with extraordinary existence. The idea was planted for me that dance practices are actually life practices - that deep transformation in our state of consciousness is available to us through the ways we move in our bodies and through life.



Assisting my first dance teacher at age 14 with the children’s classes gave me confidence later when I started teaching classes of my own. Working one on one with patients healing from chronic injuries as a somatic therapist alongside physical therapists and doctors gave me deep inside to chronic illness, injury and somatic experiencing. Simultaneously teaching dance, yoga and pilates classes over a period of about 8 years, while living in the Bay Area (California) in my 20’s, gave me a lot of foundational experience as a teacher. During this time, being the cultural melting pot it is, I also had the opportunity to experience many different types of movement, dance, shamanic and healing arts in the mecca of California. 

A glimpse of some highlights of my journey include: Intensive yoga studies starting at age 12 with an important female mentor with whom I studied for many years; living in Brazil studying with masters of the Candomble and folklorico traditions; years spent in India learning the ancient tradition of Odissi temple dance in the remote village of my teacher who initiated me into this powerful lineage, living with gypsies in the desert of Rajasthan learning the folkloric dances of the snake-charming Khalbeliya tribe who brought me with them to perform all over the region; immersing in the flamenco lifestyle which guided me to live in the Cuevas de Sacromonte, learning, living and breathing this passionate art in South Spain, where I also gave birth to my daughter… When I learned to dance with fire in Guatemala nearly 25 years ago, I later used this powerful element to bridge my dance experience in rich street shows, which later became large audience-guided experiences at big festivals for hundreds of people. 



During what became a non-stop journey of nearly 15 years pursuing my passions, I opened a traveling School of Sacred Dance where I passed on all that I learned along the way, meanwhile performing with mystical characters and inspiring artists across many lands. I draw much of my inspiration from travels across different landscapes & cultures, the elements of nature, legends of ancient sacred traditions, my dreams and my personal daily practices. Through my experience, I have come to deeply believe in the power of dance to heal and uplift the human spirit beyond walls of any kind. 


What are the foundational principles upon which HDL is built? 

As a young woman, I was always committed to doing what I loved, rather than what society dictated, so having a strong inclination to focus my energy doing activities from which I derived satisfaction and pleasure, has been one of my driving forces. I had a wonderful father and very healthy male role model, who always told me that I could do whatever I dreamed. I came to understand that when we follow sensations of pleasure in our body, we also develop the capacity to choose a life which is full of pleasure and fulfillment, rather than obligation and routine. This concept has become one of the foundational principles upon which Holistic Dance Language is built. 



What drove you to create the practices known as the Holistic Dance Language? 

Although Holistic Dance Language often could be perceived as a deeply enjoyable, even recreational activity, I consider the work offered through this system to contain essential life skills for which we often have been given absolutely no other avenue for learning. In mainstream education, we often receive a high level of education in academics, yet we don’t learn the most basic skills to become deeply human. 

We were not encouraged to cultivate any awareness about our bodies outside of mainstream sports. We were not taught to develop communication skills outside of the box of verbal language, let alone given deep tools to communicate to articulate our own needs and experiences with words, we were not taught to explore the vast landscape of our inner architecture or taught anything about sexuality except for how not to get pregnant and how not to get diseases. We were not guided to communicate in more subtle ways, to refine our emotional intelligence and expression. We were not reinforced with skills to help us channel our emotions into superpowers, guided how to develop our sexual energy to support our health, creativity and vitality; given tools to support the cultivation of our healthy boundaries, we were not taught empowering tools to understand the physical or emotional anatomy of the opposite sex… We were not encouraged to think outside the box to create meaningful lives and we were shamed for feeling and expressing deep pleasure. 



It is my strong belief that the overwhelming presence of psychological and physical imbalances could be largely reduced if we were simply given even basic skills in the art of being Human, throughout our education. The Holistic Dance Language system is my attempt to offer a remedy for what I feel to be a deep gap in the current model of Western education within what feels to me as a rapidly declining system where we humans are a pale version of the creatures we could be. It is a system inspired by my vision to offer empowering tools for human beings that I did not have growing up, and a system which can be taught to anyone at any age, a way of practicing, living and being, to support us in becoming evolutionary human beings. 


How did you discover the practices which you now call Holistic Dance Language? 

The dance and feminine alchemy practices which have called thousands of women from across the world to study with me, were not taught to me by a teacher or a guru, and in fact, were not transmitted to me through an authority figure of any kind. They were not downloaded in the Himalayas during my years in India seeking mystical experiences, or as a young woman, living at a yoga ashram for almost 2 years searching inside for spiritual wisdom. They did not come to me during my years at a prestigious university, while studying the relationship between psychology and dance, or when I worked as a somatic therapist giving treatments alongside physical therapists and doctors, using psychosomatic and therapeutic bodywork approaches I learned after training for years in alternative healing approaches at both St. Francis Hospital and other independent schools in California… I didn’t receive the practices on the sacred mountain where I gave birth overlooking the Alhambra fortress in Southern Spain, nor during the moments when I held my beloved father in my arms as he took his last breaths. They did not come to me during my visits to Turkey participating in life-changing Semas, in Bali during my Balinese Temple dance training, in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil at trance-inducing ceremonies guided by energies of the Orixas, or in Orissa, India where I was initiated in Classical Temple Dance Lineage of Odissi after rigorous training with my teacher living in his remote village. They did not come to me during mind-altering experiences with shamans and medicinal psychedelic plants from the jungles of the Amazon, nor during mystical states I discovered through my studies of Taoist and Tantric sexuality. 



No, ‘the practices’ which have supported so many on their life journeys since I began sharing them with the world, came to me in one of the ugliest cities in Israel, in an old apartment building where the television was often turned on, in a tiny room I shared with my newborn daughter in which I had no space to dance and during a period of complete isolation.

At the time, I had no close friends nearby or even people who spoke with me in English, after a traumatic event occurred in which my then husband went into a coma on full life support and was given only a 50% chance to ever wake up again, during a moment which was supposed to be a brief visit to his native country, Israel. 
Most of the practices were received – in the wee hours of the night when my baby was asleep, between breastfeeding – instead of precious sleep, during a time in my life when I have never felt more alone. I discovered the practices when I fell from a love story which can only be found in fairy tales and my ’travelers’ life traversing between magical realities, amongst a beautiful worldwide circle of incredibly creative and talented humans, where I followed my heart, teaching from my traveling School of Sacred Dance and performing with mystical characters and musicians across many worlds. My then-husband (who I had met along the way in the Himalayas) and I, lived happily from moment to moment, country to country, trusting the flow of life. And we felt deeply supported, abundant, and full of love. 



We conceived our daughter in Sinai, Egypt, gave birth to her in Granada, Spain and a few months later flew to Israel for what was supposed to be a brief visit to introduce our baby to her grandparents. Just a few weeks after we arrived, the dream we had known together crumbled to dust in an instant. From an epic love story – which we considered at the time, simply a reunion in this lifetime, and our legendary life, I suddenly found myself living without a partner, in a lonely, bleak city where I didn’t have a single friend. Alone, in a country where I didn’t speak the language, and in a situation where I had no emotional support for the trauma of losing my life and husband, let alone becoming a new mother - and all of this, with no foreseeable escape from my new formidable reality. 

It was at this moment that I began to wake every night, in the wee hours, and find myself on the small area of empty floor, on the cold white tiles, slowly moving and undulating, receiving the practices. I now believe these practices were a breath by breath, slow-motion Choice of my spirit, to Live, regardless of circumstances encouraging complete abandonment of anything besides pure survival. These practices are the fundamental principles behind the body of work which came through me during these years, which I call “the Earth practices.” It is interesting that I received the earth practices high above the earth, in an apartment building from which only concrete and square soulless structures could be seen endlessly… These practices infused in me a sense of earth and ground, regardless that my ground was pulled from under me, representing my choice, and the human choice - to feel the support that is underneath us at all times. In the simplest terms, these practices cultivate an awareness that support is always here, if we choose to feel it. I see the practices as my Choice to Choose Life, instead of letting my spirit die. These practices saved me from wilting like a flower which had no nourishment, and instead fed me from another source, a source for which circumstances do not determine anything at all. I feel that these practices, received during what I consider to be one of the hardest times of life, literally saved my life. It is easy to feel connected when everything around us is going well. However, when life throws challenges, that is when we are put to the test, that is when the strength of our human spirit shows her true colors. 



Connecting to this source, the flower stays vibrant and fully vital, even if she finds herself in an airless climate, between narrow cracks in a concrete jungle. At the mouth of this source, joy and pain, suffering and sweetness - all have the same origin and the same destination, and all that matters is the ride. Connecting to this source, I was able to stay connected to my heart, to my passion and to my purpose, even when falling from a dream into a complete nightmare. Likewise, this moment began what would be a period of almost 10 years where I was celibate, due to the aforementioned circumstances of my marriage, which were far out of my hands. Those who know me find this hard to believe, as I navigate the world from an extremely sensual consciousness. 

Being a professional dance artist and a bodyworker starting in my early 20’s, with a background in yoga starting at age 12, and a love for movement ever since I could walk, my first and foremost familiar, most natural language, was always my body language. Beyond that, the world of touch, sensuality and sexuality fascinated me from a very young age. Yet, it was during this time when I did not have the same sexual stimulation, connection or release, as most other sexually active women in the prime of life, that I also learned to circulate my own sexual energy, finding new pathways to nourish myself in a way that I felt no deficit. Being in an affectionless, sexless marriage felt largely irrelevant for a long period of time, once I tapped into another reality accessible to me by the practices I had discovered. These circumstances led me to unveil some very deep and life-changing knowledge: 1) our vital energy and life force is in our control 2) sexual energy returned to the body creates deep vitality and energy in the body, from a truly infinite source 3) the ability to be self-satisfied or self-sourced until we are overflowing with life force energy, attracts power to us that is so vast, if we tap in, we can manifest anything we envision. 



The practices which guided me to this knowledge and which I eventually began to teach, initially developed to support me on the personal vision quest that Life threw at me. I had no idea that they would apply to so many other women, from so many different walks of life. I had no idea that the source I discovered was a gift not just for me, but for the entire female race. Interestingly, I did not need to know. Because the universe knew, and effortlessly I began to receive random invitations from women across the world to offer seminars and guide experiences. The work spread like wildfire and was coined ‘the art of reincarnating in the same body’ by one of the first women who hosted me, in her native land of Crete, Greece in a workshop attended by only 6 women! Within a couple of years, and with no marketing strategies and little effort aside from showing up when I was invited, my workshops were almost all sold out, with waiting lists, and I had more invitations across the world than I could accept. 


What is the core belief of the Holistic Dance Language system and how does it support our self development and evolution as human beings in this day and age? 

It's important to note that the system of Holistic Dance Language is not a light ‘new-age’ practice - it's a system which is rooted in traditions of discipline and devotion, a curriculum which was born out of my own deep focus and commitment. Therefore, although one can receive benefits from taking an introductory course, the deeper aspects of this work are revealed over time as a result of commitment and dedication to the practices, as in any deep system. All of my offerings are intended to support students in finding inspiration and commitment to their own daily practices. 

In this work, we practice not to differentiate between shadow and light, and simply focus on allowing the truth of our bodies to surface. Whatever is alive in the body is invited into our space, to be seen and heard. We invite our shadows to come into the light. It is truly miraculous
to realize that when we stop to fear our wounds and to feel ashamed about our shadows, a clear pathway emerges towards the deepest transformation and beauty imaginable. In my role as a witness and guide, I find myself often with tears of gratitude, holding space for the immense transformation, empowerment and beauty that unfolds before my eyes during Holistic Dance Language trainings. 



What emotional process do your students go through during the course?

As mentioned above, shadows and wounds often resurface when we do the deeper practices of this work - emotional release, crying, sadness, pain - it’s often part of the process, just as it is part of this journey of being human. I love to use the phrase “You have to feel it to heal it.” In suppressing our pain, we suppress our power. When we let it move through us, given accurate tools, what we have defined as our shame and our wounds easily becomes the root of our deepest powers. Suffering, old wounds and shame have the potential to become deep self-love, acceptance, ecstasy, realization, humbleness, heart opening, trust, compassion, satisfaction, self-mastery and gratitude. 

What I often say is that the shadows are there, whether we admit it or not - we can feel it through a woman's way of moving through the world, through her body language and her posture. When the shadows arise, they are ready to be seen and released, so although the process can sometimes lead to a cathartic and intense experience, it is a moment when heavy loads can be released. This is a moment to celebrate, no matter how this release may appear from the outside. That said, allowing the wounds and shadows to arise is only a step toward the ultimate goal of the practices, which is truly to move beyond these stories, to redefine ourselves from a more empowered and updated place. 



How did the Holistic Dance Language Immersion gatherings start to evolve into the internationally attended work you guide today and where have they been offered so far? 

When I came back to teaching after this period of profound initiation, effortlessly, the practices I had received started to naturally infuse into my offerings… I was amazed to discover that the same practices which supported me during the most challenging moments of my life, also applied to hundreds of women across the world. Around this time, I wrote a Prayer for the Earth and a Prayer for women, which I recorded in “garageband” from my computer, while nursing my daughter. I performed an improvisational firedance to this recording at EarthDance Israel, the very next day. A few months later, I uploaded a video taken on a friends’ phone camera of this improvisational prayer to YouTube. 

When it was seen by some influential women, my international invitations began to come in, and then word spread solely by word of mouth. For many years I didn’t have almost any marketing support, no professional facebook page or instagram. With almost no effort I found myself teaching sold out women's retreats across the world - solely because the efficacy of these practices spread far and wide. In time, I had many more invitations to teach than I could accept. I have guided workshops in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Estonia, Netherlands, New York, California, North Carolina, Mexico, Australia, Bali and India with more invitations which I have yet to accept in Russia, China, New Mexico, Morocco, Texas, New Zealand, Brazil, Guatemala, Iceland and more! 


What are the newest evolutions and where do you see this work headed?

About 10 years ago a dear old friend, who is also an international superstar and cosmic guitarist, Estas Tonne, having watched my evolutions from afar, shared his deep feeling to support my work with women. So he flew his videographer to Israel to work with me on what became a video clip he produced, to a song channeled by our friendship, “Roots - Return to the Inner Temple”. Later my words “Call to Prayer” was featured on his album, “Mother of Souls”. Last summer we taught a retreat together in Portugal, my first retreat which included men, which is the most recent evolution of this work! I have now been amazed to discover how deeply men need this work as well as women, and hope to find the right avenues to offer more workshops which can include men. 



Finally, I am now searching for an accurate location for Holistic Dance Language to find a home for deeper development and sanctuary. There are other parts of my vision, but I’m not quite ready to share in public yet! 


Why have you focused teaching primarily to women and within woman-only containers? 

While I am a deep believer in the male species, and deeply wish to support men as well as women to come into their fully expressed deepest potential, I have noticed time and again that work done in women-only containers is essential for women. My vision is to support women in coming into their deepest power, and women-only containers provide a very strong place to grow, heal and evolve in an atmosphere of deep safety. Furthermore, women who have experienced trauma (a vast majority), both around their sexuality and relationship to men, feel safer to allow their wounds and shadows to arise within this context. 

That said, I have heard time and again that men also benefit deeply from my women-only containers, albeit if not directly. I have received messages from countless men, thanking me for supporting their women to experience deeper levels of sovereignty, power and sexual freedom. I have heard testimonies that women return to their partners experiencing new levels of intimacy both inside and outside of the bedroom. I have heard that after completing a training, women find pathways of healing in what may have felt like a stagnant relationship for years, experience orgasms for the first time or, finally, have the vision/strength to release a relationship that no longer serves. 



Furthermore, women-only containers are an ideal structure to become aware of our conditioning and subconscious repression, even in my circles where the majority of participants would be considered amongst the empowered “western” woman class. These containers are an immense opportunity to heal wounds carried between women and also in the female lineage, passed down for generations. Facing these shadows supports not only the women who attend the training to step into a more powerful version of herself, but also benefits all those with whom she comes in contact, including her family, her partner, her children and her community. When a woman is living her full potential, all humans with whom she comes in contact undeniably benefit. When the woman of a house is healthy, satisfied and radiates life force energy, the energy of the home flows abundantly. Historically, in matriarchal civilizations where women were at the center of decision-making, economics and leadership, peaceful harmonious societies existed for millenia. On a modern-day global scale; in areas where women thrive, businesses prosper and communities flourish.

When we do not feel connected to our bodies nor know how to express our subtle and strong emotions, desires and intuitive feelings with clarity; when we do not know how to circulate our own energy so we feel deeply satisfied no matter what the circumstances; when we are disconnected from our cycles and the rhythms of nature mirroring the rhythms in our own bodies; when we are cut off from true beauty and prescribe to false standards based on artificial external distortions - this rift between us and who we are meant to be, throws all humans into a state of deep imbalance. The female species carries an immense unrealized power that lies in our own hands - we have potential to heal this world from the inside out - we only need to remember and reclaim our powers. When women reclaim their full potential and remember their deepest inherent gifts, peace & harmony will be at humanity’s fingertips. 



When a woman is open, and radiating health throughout all her channels, the sky opens… Woman is the connection between earth and sky, the bridge between heaven and earth. She is the fierce protectress of all that is sacred, she is the peacemaker and she is the portal to the other side. Through her miraculous body, creation of life is possible. Through her nonlinear, unrepeatable pathways of intuitive wisdom, lie the recipe for deep beauty, alchemy and limitless adventure into the unknown. Boredom does not exist for a fully activated woman. Her abundant sacred waters, known as amrita, are an elixir for eternal ecstasy. Her moontime blood is an opportunity for monthly rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation. Her breasts are extensions of her immense heart and literally nourish new life; her yoni is the source of all creation. Indeed when a woman is full with her own life force, health and vital energy, all with whom she comes in contact, will receive a blessing, a transmission, a healing or even an energetic ‘rebirth’. Every woman has the potential to live and breathe such gifts as she walks through life. Remembering, revering and re-activating the feminine energy on earth - is truly one of the most important missions we have as humans at this time, whether we reside in female, male or other gender-identified bodies… 

The world has come into a state of deep imbalance - a state where linear, patriarchal, oppressive energies are the dominating force controlling our lives. These forces are so ingrained, that we often move through life in a haze of conditioning and unconscious mechanical behavior without recognizing, let alone questioning, our largely military-based societies, nor the harrowing workdays which leave us with virtually no free time. The ‘normal’ daily grind typically causes our sense of purpose and passion to fizzle, leaving only enough energy to exist in basic survival mode. For many, monotonous days turn into weeks, months, years and a lifetime. Restrictive structures often box us into certain roles and identities which define us, making it difficult to change and evolve. 



Normalized ways of navigating time, which restrict spontaneity, our freedom to follow our bliss and the ability to listen to our bodily rhythms, leak into our everyday sense of well being in ways too great to count. We are so conditioned to perceive all of these structures as ‘normal’ that we can't even see how our lives are a mere shadow of what they could be. Standards of beauty which are based on external conditioned value rather than inherent health and vitality have come to be normalized, affecting the health and well-being of girls starting at a very young age, creating patterns of unconfidence and superficiality, which easily develop into illness later in life. Yet there is a counter to these structural systems, which lies in reawakening our dormant “hunger for ecstasy” and remembering feminine energy on a global scale.

Women attending my training often report attracting a lot of attention and energy. Charisma grows exponentially because where vitality and life force is present, there is attraction. Many women report to meet their beloved during my training, and also other women have been drawn to my courses just on witnessing how the women attending my courses interact and navigate in the world. There is no doubt that women-only containers are deeply beneficial for all women. 



How does Holistic Dance Language affect a woman in her daily life? How might the practices affect women in their life after completing a training? 

One of the most profound ways HDL affects women in daily life, is through the practices in which we release shame around our bodies, our sensual nature and sexuality. It is unbelievable the extent to which we are conditioned as a worldwide culture to repress our sexual energy and expression. One of the most profound aspects of the work, is learning to activate and circulate our sexual energy within - to bring more life force and vital energy to our every day lives, rather than focusing this energy for a person - a lover or a partner… The deepest work is often done fully clothed - working with what I refer to as our “internal architecture.” Once we start to open these channels and become more accustomed to turning on our sensual energy throughout our entire day, all that we activate within our container, can also be practiced at the grocery store and wherever everyday life may take us! When we start to circulate the immense natural life force energy in our bodies, we create a deep channel for self-healing, a recipe for enhanced physical beauty and also charisma… Women often report that when doing the practices of this work on a regular basis, they attract more healthy energy and partnership to their lives, feeling self-sourced, energized and self-satisfied. When we cultivate the practices of sexual sovereignty, we naturally begin to attract more healthy energy and magic into our daily lives. 



Why do you feel these “Life Practices” of HDL are important? What are the benefits? 

Known as “the art of reincarnating in the same body”, Holistic Dance Language could be defined not only as an approach to embodiment and dance, but also to life. For me, learning to express ourselves through nonverbal communication, sensory articulation, subtle movement and body language is just as important as acquiring traditional linguistic skills. 

This approach supports women to release old patterns and access new ways of being, allowing for an unfolding which is often reported to feel like rebirth. 

Usually, the first step on this path lies in undoing - releasing conditioning and shame passed down through generations, affecting our daily experience of life in ways which have become completely subconscious. From there, we begin to integrate qualities which invite more accuracy and magic into our daily lives. 

What I love about the longer training is that within a 3 week container, we have time to create good habits and discipline, so instead of the work being experienced as an isolated weekend retreat, it becomes a training during which we can truly cultivate tools to take with us for everyday life. A way of life emerges from which we would hope to never return. When we practice daily together over an extended time, our bodies start to long for the practices - daily practice becomes effortless rather than a chore. Combined with dietary awareness, sustainable lifestyle, strong physical practice and transformative spiritual discipline, within the container of our deeper training, the changes which take place are often long-lasting and deep. 



Benefits of the Holistic Dance Language Practices within our daily life include:

  • Healing and empowerment of our sexual center 
  • Release of unhealthy physical patterns & tension 
  • Improvement of the quality of our existence 
  • Cultivating a deep sense of humbleness, gratitude and surrender 
  • Cultivation of healthy boundaries 
  • Reconnection of wisdom carried within 
  • Deep strength, musculature, grace and suppleness in our physical form - opening the doors of spiritual ecstasy & intuitive power 
  • Supporting deeper vitality, health & empowerment 
  • Attraction of more accurate energy and experience into our lives 
  • Support for us to experience more enjoyment, lightness and laughter 


Further, if there has been a stagnant energy preventing a woman from making a big change or making a step toward realizing her deeper dreams, participating in an immersion might give her tools, support and ground to be ready to make a shift. The practices may support her to make a 
big change slowly over time, give the final push or to finally support her to manifest her deeper visions. 



Through this system, there is also a vast medicine cabinet for which we become more fluent… Through the practices, there exist different remedies for blockages such as lethargy, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, sadness, low self-esteem, pain… Tools to alchemize the very shadows which have weighed us down become a great source of our strength, wisdom, experience and power. 

HDL supports us to shed skins that no longer serve us, update our “system” and find new pathways to improve our experience in body and life. Through strong physical technique, breathwork, vocal opening, movement meditation, sensorial enhancement, internal activation and experiencing deep beauty on a daily basis, we open portals to new dimensions of what is possible during this human experience. Through ceremony and ritual, we reclaim lost parts of ourselves and celebrate the cycles of life and the cosmos. In a safe container, where only women are present, all of our intentions become amplified. 


What phases do women experience while going through this Holistic Dance Language process? What type of women normally attend? 

Through the process we share, the journey of each woman is different, according to her phase of life and need. I have had women as young as 18 years old joining my courses, as well as women in their mid-70’s, women who have attended from all kinds of different economic backgrounds (because of our generous scholarship program) as well as women from deeply varied cultures and upbringings… It is very interesting how the circle becomes a microcosm of the world and therefore the practices also affect women in different ways, according to their own process, background and needs. When we are put in the right atmosphere, with the accurate tools at our fingertips, in the safety of a strong co-created container, it is amazing how the women also affect and support one another's process, joining forces from across such deeply different worlds... Close bonds made in my training often last for years to come; sometimes deep collaborations and creative projects evolve from within our circle. 



Often I witness the depth of these experiences carving friendships which can feel stronger and deeper than relationships built over many years, because the depth of the context and the power of the process is life-changing. It is also incredible to witness how our circle becomes a microcosm of the world. I witness processes of incredible release of outdated patterns, shedding old skins and letting go of past wounds. I have been witness to very strong healing processes stemming from profoundly traumatic life events, extraordinarily moving sharings and opening of hearts. There is often a deep process of recognizing inner power, cultivating self-love, trust and confidence… a metamorphosis. 


Why did you choose Koh Phangan as the right place to host the next Holistic Dance Language Immersion? 

I had a calling to Koh Phangan for many years, and suddenly the door opened from every direction. I am deeply excited to guide this journey on what appears to be paradise on earth. It has been a dream of mine to birth a center for this work to have a home, and truthfully I am also visiting Koh Phangan to explore the possibility! 


What will the Holistic Dance Language Immersion training include? Is this program suitable for beginners and more advanced levels as well? 

The three-week, 80-hour intensive training in healing aspects, ritual sequences & advanced practices of the Holistic Dance Language, Temple Arts Initiation & Mystery School Curriculum is suitable for beginners as well as experienced dancers. Upon completion, students will receive a Certificate of Completion. 



A meeting of sacred tradition, contemporary movement awareness and cutting edge holistic practice dedicated to the empowerment of women worldwide. This is a call for women to return to the temple and to remember the sacredness of their bodies and the power of their expression. 

Through this training, we receive tools to increase awareness, harness our hidden powers, while developing subtle expression, communication and energy. Through a unique combination of rigorous physical practice and discipline fused with exploration of subtle realms within the inner landscape and structured improvisation, we deepen our feminine powers. We cultivate softness and strength, we cleanse the heart and we strengthen the body. We receive benefits of regular devotional commitment and practice. We enter into a collective experience of awareness, pleasure and fully expressed divine womanhood. We taste the exquisite possibilities of what life on earth could look like as we open to our untapped potential within. The intention of this immersion is to empower women in body, heart, voice and spirit to become powerful vessels of divine expression. 

Through rigorous training in various ancient traditional dance lineages fused with contemporary movement science and powerful tools to free and activate the body, we receive important forgotten tools from the past, while experiencing an evolutionary system which addresses contemporary needs of women in today’s world. 



The opportunity to study Holistic Dance Language through a structure and comprehensive program includes:

  • Holistic Dance Language Curriculum daily practices 
  • Initiation into Sufi-inspired meditation, practice and philosophy 
  • Sacred Feminine Teachings, Yoga, Sexual Alchemy, Tao Tantric Arts and Jade Egg practices 
  • Sound Alchemy, vocal activation and release techniques, Kumbhaka, breathwork & Transfiguration 
  • Training in Ritual Sequences and Sacred Dance 
  • Study of the foundational Mudra Language and Seed Sounds 
  • Structured improvisational exercises to cultivate creative and life-force energies within ● 13 Sisters within and the Medicinal Priestess Archetypes 
  • Ancestor, Earth, Divine Mother & Self-Care practices 
  • Cultivation of our Sangha (spiritual community) and sharing circles 
  • Outdoor ceremonies honoring the moon cycles, elements and forces of nature ● Teachings on the Sacred Geometries of the body and Sacred Geometry Configurations within dance 
  • Artistic & Prayer-formance development / Ritual creation 
  • Movement technique drawing from: Sufi ritual, Classical Persian dance, Odissi Temple Dance practices, Balinese Temple Dance, dances of the Silk Road & dances of the Romani Trail 
  • Dance medicine ~ technique and application of Zola’s unique medicine movement system 
  • Lectures on Sufi philosophy, Temple Dance Lineages & Priestess Traditions across time & worlds 
  • Final Ritual Offering & Ceremony 




How can people join your upcoming Immersion? Is the number of participants limited? 

To find out more about the Holistic Dance Language Immersion which will take place 9-27 January 2023 at the Pyramid Yoga Center, Koh Phangan, women can read more on my website zoladubnikova.com/temple-arts-initiation-mystery-school-2023 and the Facebook event link, through the ‘Zola Dubnikova - Holistic Dance Language’ page ~ Three-week Holistic Dance Language Immersion in Koh Phangan, Thailand with Zola Dubnikova 

website: zoladubnikova.com/international-retreats-events/

FB event link: fb.com/events/797950634989291/
FB page: fb.com/holisticdancezoladubnikova
IG: instagram.com/zoladubnikova/
FB group: fb.com/groups/573343703287489/
YouTube: youtube.com/embed/a8sN54kYlEo

To apply for the immersion, women may email Serafina at info.holisticdance@gmail.com to receive an application form and further information. 

There is a limited number of participants upon immersion. Therefore, we encourage all who feel the call to join to apply sooner rather than later to secure their place in the training.

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First lessons are free of charge.

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