ABOUT WILLA AS A TEACHER/HEALER:
"Willa's teaching is grounded, heart-full and alive with spirit. Her subtle, yet profound approach to yoga teaching, informed by her work as a somatic therapist, works on levels deeper than the physical. Being guided by her I felt held within a sphere of kindness and peace, attuned to the universal rhythms present within the bodily system. I greatly admire Willa's ability to reconnect her students with this powerful doorway into silence, presence and healing in the body and mind." Peter Fernando - mindfulness and meditation teacher and former buddhist monk, Wellington
"Wilhemeena is an angel of enormous insight and passion, a true mystic and healer." Miranda Brown - Fashion designer, artist and sustainability icon, Auckland
Wilhemeena is one of the top somatic practitioners in New Zealand and someone at the forefront of combining somatics with creative practice. Her work as a choreographer, somatics practitioner, and teacher contributes significantly to the development of dance and has been inspiring students and audiences for over a decade.
Her centre in Auckland - SOUL, provides a hub for somatics and creative practice attracting artists and body workers from around the world. What sets it apart from other centres for somatic studies is the way in which it nurtures and supports professional creative practice. - Brenton Surgenor - Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Senior Tutor - University of Auckland, Tutor - New Zealand School of Dance
"From the moment I walked into SOUL, I felt it was a very special place. I had been told by at least three or four people that "the lady there is very special" and "they do the best remedial massages I've ever had" so I was aware of SOUL's importance in the Titirangi community. "That lady" turned out to be Willa, the amazing director, and heart and soul of SOUL.
My SOUL journey began with Shin Yoga classes post surgery for colon cancer aged 33, and from there I have been blessed enough to experience deep emotional healing with Willa's transformational cranio sacral therapy sessions; with many wonderful classes SOUL offers (chi kung, dance, yoga) and meeting many other amazing people, healers, artists and making wonderful friends along the way. But the most valuable and precious thing for me has been my learning form Willa, as she graciously shared her incredible knowledge and wisdom with me. I am quite literally a completely different person now, and I can actually say I really enjoy life, rather than just struggling through each day. Willa does an extraordinary amount of things, day in and day out, and keeps SOUL running to be here as a haven and a healing place for people of all walks of life, and yet she always, always has time to answer your questions and guide you in any way she can. She does this in a completely non-judgmental way.
SOUL is an incredible and unique space. I've visited many yoga studios but never been in such a lovely one, with gorgeous surroundings and birdsong. It really is blissful. Thanks to SOUL and to Willa, I am now the person I always wanted to be! Belinda Silk
Willa is an amazingly inspirational person who through her sensitive, open-hearted love, compassion and support has helped me immensely. Her gentle presence, joie de vies, and gratitude for the small things have helped me to reach a more contented state than I was ever in before I met her. By example and leadership she provides a great template for dealing with life’s complications. Her massages combined with the gentle conversation invoke an intense sense of release and well-being. She brings all these wonderful characteristics to Soul and the wonderful retreats. The focus here is the development and maintenance of healthy mind and body, mindfulness and stress release through the different classes and clinics. The approach is entirely holistic and the retreats add another dimension by their combination with a holiday in a beautiful location. Dr M. Empson
ABOUT WILLA'S ART:
It was everything. My heart was blown open and all feeling awakened in floods of tears. Wilhemeena has a rare gift in performance to surrender her ego self and become a vessel of something greater, something that touches all who witness it unfold. We are moved by an immense healing power as she allows herself to be moved. My sense of what it means to be alive is heightened and my faith in the transformative power of dance performance restored. Thank you!
(Response to “The Gods of the Spheres” Wilhemeena Isabella Monroe, Shin Somatics Symposium Performance, February 2nd 2013)
"Aesthetically beautiful and articulately crafted, Wilhemeena creates majestic imagery and breathtaking visages with a gift for the strage, bizarre and extravagantly spectacular" The Human Agency
"Wilhemeena is a gifted artist moving with beauty and elegance. her performances are strong and compelling with satiric wit. She has something to say with a sense of urgency. I believe she has a bright future and will make an artistic contribution to the culture in which she lives" Joan Skinner, Founder of SRTTM
Wilhemeena is the rarest of all dance artists. She is an exceptional dancer, choreographer, improviser, teacher and administrator. She is a professional in every sense of the word with the added extra-attraction of a warm and caring heart. Her studio in Auckland is destined to become a centre for creative development in New Zealand. It is a reflection of her sense of beauty and care for the human spirit and wellbeing of planet earth. Add her youth to the equation and you have the potential of someone who will be a positive influence for many people in the years to come" Al Wunder - Author and Founder of Theatre of the Ordinary
"In her own movement, is a wonderful sense of genuine enquiry and the desire to explore both self and related concepts, which surfaces through a growing mastery of the sweetly lyrical, to the mischievous, to the deeply and sometimes darkly poignant. Wilhemeena takes both the benign and the frightening qualities of our existence - in all its vagaries, provides us with a feast for our perception and allows us to part with the knowledge that in New Zealand today, there is one artist at least, who is not afraid to demonstrate that artistry publicly, in a broad range of challenging situations." Mike Baker - Coriolis Dance Company
"It was one of the best shows - if not the best - I have been to since writing this column" Butterfly Zoo 2008 - Bridgett Saunders, Sunday Star Times
"One of the most superb arts events this city has ever seen. This performance extravaganza that held a very large audience spellbound over the whole evening" Portage Ceramic Awards 2008, Naomi McCleary - Waitakere City Arts Advisor
Wilhemeena Monroe is an internationally reknowned dancer, choreographer and teacher...we are thrilled to have Wilhemeena as part of our festival this year! Monroe's work in the groundbreaking area of arts and ecology is unique for the whole festival.
Monroe is a somatic trainer, movement artist and educator,as well as Director of SOUL CENTRE in New Zealand, exemplifying an unusual and inspiring blend of creative and socially-conscious work.
In order for SEEDS to address global concerns of ecology, we are relying on the expertise of leaders from various regions to come together for dialogue, discussion and education. We have selected Wilhemeena to be amongst this international team of artists, scientists and educators. Wilhemeena offers a unique expertise, and can provide the SEEDS festival with a perspective that none others can share quite as articulately. - Margit Galager Co_director of Earthdance, Massachusetts, USA and Artistic Director of SEEDS (Somatic Experiments in Earth, Dance and Science)
2006-2009 Wilhemeena Monroe has taught several courses and has been invited to
offer several guest lectures within the Dance Studies Programme, The University
of Auckland. Wilhemeena has always brought her expertise, good humour and
genuine enthusiasm into every session. Students and staff have appreciated her
generous spirit and authentic practice and we all have great respect for her
input into the New Zealand Dance Industry.”
- Associate Professor Ralph Buck, Head of Dance Studies Programme, National
Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland
“ She is an artist of the utmost
integrity, both in the expression of her work and is scrupulous in her dealings
with others. She has an innate sense of responsibility and commitment, and
seeks excellence in every aspect of her work and life, the two of which I
believe are closely intertwined. On a professional level, I have rarely
encountered an artist as highly self-motivated and demanding of respect as
Wilhemeena.” Lissa Meridan – Director of Electronic Music Studios, School of Music,
“I have great admiration for Wilhemeena’s abilities as a
choreographer to oscillate between intensely personal solo works to large scale
works dealing with social commentary, and the courage and flair she has in
dealing with her subject matter. Her work reflects very relevant and important
issues to do with the battle of the sexes, within love and sexuality, from a
woman’s honest and incisive perspective. Her sometimes grotesque parody and
intensity is influenced by such internationally acclaimed and revered
choreographers as Pina Bausch, and crosses the borders between dance and
performance art to reflect and parade realities which pure dance cannot reveal.
The importance of this kind of work in NZ dance cannot be enough stressed and
the integrity of Wilhemeena’s work and practice is also rarely found here. The
effortless ability of Wilhemeena to integrate, be it via collaboration or
alone, the mediums of video and sound into her dance work, makes her a highly
valuable and very informed interdisciplinary artist within the NZ dance
Alexa Wilson, New Zealand choreographer, dancer and filmmaker - currently residing in Berlin