May 2015 Teacher Spotlight


Kate Shela

United States


5Rhythms Teacher since 1997

Tribe Member since 1992


How long have you known each other?

Amber and I met at Gabrielle’s first month long in 2000 in Mill Valley, California. I was immediately struck by her deep sweet heart and it was love at first talk.

As a facilitator, what quality does the other bring to Refuge?

Amber offers a deep quality of stillness and loving kindness as a human being. She has an ability to provide a strong container and a fluid depth that can withstand a galvanising process. As an artist/actress, with buckets loads of funky, she also offers a forum for students to step into ritual human theater that enables each participant to bypass their thinking mind and glide into the: right here right now, this is how it is. The muck and the mire, the glow and the flow. Its spellbounding to witness. She brings forth honey bee medicine. And so bestows the sweetness and the sting in right proportions.

What inspires you about bringing people through a transformational/healing process?

For me its the name of the game. And I would go further by saying the work, our work, is all about empowerment. Empowering individuals choices and actions, so that every body knows they are free moving agents that can maintain and hold true to their own power and gifts. Allowing individuals to retrieve lost parts of themselves and plant them in their own body of work. They are the work, they are the body. Thats what I love about the map that Gabrielle downloaded. Its roots are shamanic and yet each dancer is the shaman, each dancer is the axis mundi, each dancer is the bridge that creates the pathway from the what was, to the what could be.

What do you hope the participants take away from their Refuge experience?

A ton of skills that each participant can call upon at any time of day or night. Otherwise its a waste of time and money. Practices that create ongoing sustainable changes and that can be incrementally anchored into their daily lives. And sweet deep laughter that makes the medicine go down. By skills I mean: 1.Taking time for ones self in general. Seems to be the most advanced skill to develop. 2. Developing vulnerability that opens the doorways to courage. 3. Making large or small pledges and having them held accountable by the tribe. 4. Commitment and tenacity and the capacity to yield and soften. 5. To know thyself intimately and so be in appropriate action with the world.

What is a teaching you received in your last dance?

Endless beauty in that department and the one I will pick up for now is the expanding articulation in my dance of these 3 locales of education: 1.Within: The deep inner dance, that place we seek with our inner eye. 2.Without: The deep outside dance, that connects me to you . 3.In-Between: The here, the there, the synchronous.

What do you envision a retreat with Kate Shela and Amber Ryan looking like in five years?

Amber and I are communicators. We excel in the realms of speaking true from the body, the mind and our big beautiful beating hearts. We inspire each others becoming and as we both keep maturing, my vision is that we both meet all our sacred creative appointments and therefore lead by example. We are creative healers. Our forum in the workshop laboratory is about using all the skills we have so that we can encourage deep connected rooted being and endless room for flight and vision.

I see us stepping more and more into deep one on one interpersonal work held within the tribal container. 10 years of therapy in 5 days. Kindness excavations. Having a team that allows for these life changing meetings to happen more and more so people can commit to deep work once a year. Just like a yearly doctors check up, but costing way less than the usa medical business!

I see deep dancing and fabulous music and the use of art and photography and film. I see endless possibility with this lady. Thats what empowered collaboration brings, endless beauty with no end.

*Interviewed by Kevin Courtney



with Kate Shela


30 May 2015 - 05 June 2015

The Costa Rica Yoga Spa, Nosara




Amber Ryan

United States


5Rhythms Teacher since 2008

Tribe Member since 2000


How long have you known each other?

Truly it was love at first sight, yet, my first memory of you was on the dance floor. I remember how fully you breathed and also how vulnerable you allowed yourself to be in the midst of the tribe. I remember your wild abandon and your courage.

As a facilitator, what quality does the other bring to Refuge?

Kate and I create one of those partnerships where we bring very different gifts and medicines to the containers we create, and we meet in the middle with our love and passion for each other and the work. Kate is a catalyst. Gabrielle saw this early on. Kate’s presence alone shakes people out of their norm, in part because she lives so fully who she is each moment. She also has a keen eye for seeing people. Seeing into each person coupled with the courage to say exactly what she sees brings potency to our work and allows for deep healing to unfold.

What inspires you about bringing people through a transformational/healing process?

Yes, for me it is also very much about empowering others to be who they truly are. My desire to share is also to gift out what I received. And to name is simply, what I feel I received from Gabrielle is a map to freedom; a pathway from whatever stuckness I am in, back into my fully blossomed self. I have always wanted to be a of service. This is my way. Dance after dance we have a ticket to move from inertia to freedom and I want to share the gift I have received with whoever wants that sweet and sometimes bitter nectar.

What do you hope the participants take away from their Refuge experience?

A sense of renewal. A fresh perspective on life. To be reconnected to their own inner source, to know how to take refuge within themselves when needed, and ultimately to be deeply connected to all of existence.

What is a teaching you received in your last dance?

Funny enough, after 15 years of dancing this way, I have finally arrived at a place where long, deep and inspiring partnerships are effortlessly emerging. The connections are dropping into spirit-ful and more often soulful dances rapidly. This has arrived in great part by sinking more and more authentically into my own skin and trusting of my own ability to say “No” if needed so that there is much more room for the “yes” to fluidly emerge. I am one of those people who can dance for hours with myself and I am also very comfortable cruising the empty space of the room, connecting with the collective vibe. In partnership, I am learning to be more at ease, allowing the energy of who I am in a moment, surrender to co-creation. Feet, breath, presence, surrender. I am trusting myself more to be in the mystery with the other.

What do you envision a retreat with Kate Shela and Amber Ryan looking like in five years?

The roots of what will evolve in 5 years time are in the here and now. We will continue to offer in places on the planet where the earth’s vibration is strong and the element of sky is vast so that each person has the opportunity to sink in deeply and expand out to their fullest form. Healthy sustainable lifestyle practices like yoga, juicing and superfoods a part of the nuturing container. I also see the ritual and ceremonial aspect deepening and expanding. I see more and more people willing to be absolutely raw and real and turning it into art. I hear the ancient drum there, calling us into a deeper connection to what has been, what is becoming and what is.



31 December 1969




Upcoming workshops in April


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