Paekakariki mother of three Kaia Hawkins is heading to France to train in a little-known form of conscious movement dance, known as Open Floor.
Having danced since she was young, Kaia discovered Open Floor at a retreat run by Geordie Jahner in the Coromandel four years ago and is now training to become an Open Floor teacher.
There are no steps to learn, there are no right ways or wrong
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The training takes three years and involves three modules which Kaia has to travel to France for.
Conscious movement is an embodiment practice which allows you to become more conscious and aware of your body, becoming less self-conscious around others.
Yoga and Tai Chi are more common forms of conscious movement, with Open Floor, 5 Rhythms, and Movement Medicine the lesser known forms.
"Lots of people get drunk to dance, and need some sort of intoxication to feel okay with an inhibition to be free in the body," Kaia said.
"Open Floor is about being free in the body.
"There are no steps to learn, there are no right ways or wrong.
"Most important is to turn up — the dance will take you to places and return you home, hopefully a little wiser."
Open Floor is often described as moving meditation, movement practice or transformative dance that transcends just an hour's dance class once a week.
"We make art with people and give you a space to work on you as a human, giving you a space to find your centre."
While it is a growing practice in New Zealand, Kaia's training will make her the first trained Open Floor teacher in Kapiti and one of only a handful in New Zealand.
Despite the form being little known, Kaia is going to Montpellier in the south of France to complete her training.
Having already been once to France, Kaia is visiting for her second intensive training retreat next month.
Kaia is fundraising for the second one by running classes, selling her art and hosting local events to raise funds for the cost of her training, flights and other expenses.
Her next event is the May the Force of Music and Dance get me to Europe Fundraiser: Curry and Kanikani with live music, poetry, dance, play and food on May 4 from 5.30pm to 11pm at St Peters Hall, Paekakariki.
For more information about the event or Open Floor visit www.facebook.com/openfloorwithkaiakindness/