I first found Talulah on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her daily offerings of beautiful dance. Then earlier this year at Spirit Weavers I had the pleasure of meeting her in person. TFW you meet an Instagram girl crush IRL!!! She’s everything you could imagine; kind, funny, cute, impeccably dressed and moves as though she’s floating. I took two of her offerings at Spirit Weavers and loved every minute. I’m now taking her Moon Circle eJourney (with a group of gals that were all in my Lotus Bell tent with Baby Stone and I) and it’s a fascinating class full of so much deep wisdom. Talulah is a mother, Doula, Childbirth Educator and Women’s Mysteries Teacher. She also loves dark chocolate peanut butter cups as much as Laura and I do. In this interview I wanted to hear from her about the way she weaves movement into her life and her stories and insight doesn’t disappoint. Also, she made us an unbelievably wonderful playlist to get your feet moving as well. Thank you Talulah! We love you!
Can you tell us about your journey with dance and movement (how you came to it, any rites of passage related to it etc)?
I was raised in a family void of art, really. In small country towns in Australia. My parents weren’t into music, only the local commercial radio station and a few Hits of 1981,1982 kind of albums in the record collection, we watched commercial TV all the time. I spent my childhood weekends on the side lines of football fields bored and cold as my dad played all day and socialized into the night at the bar with his friends.
Yet my mum tells me, from about the age of 4 I asked, and begged and annoyed her about letting me do ballet. I don’t even know how I knew about it.. probably from watching TV. I didn’t have any friends that did it.
My parents have always said I was different from the moment I was born, and have only got more different the older I got!
Ballet seemed like a fantasy land of beauty. I craved beauty so badly.
I’m sure it was more a financial reason as to why they didn’t allow me do ballet earlier. They were teen parents, so we were really just getting by until I was a teenager.
I am so touched and grateful that somehow they managed to pay for lessons by the time I was seven years old.
Although ballet was a lot more work than I anticipated, and a lot more strict, it fed my craving for beauty.
When I began we had a piano player every lesson. I remember loving the slow, minor tones that she played to adage, feeling the music move me, cracked open pathways in my body and mind that I only reach through dance and music.
We moved town every year or two, so I was always the new kid at school, trying to fit in, catching up on things I missed or scraping my way through.. but with ballet, it is all the same language. Even if I changed methods of ballet it still consists of plies, port de bras, grand allegro.. I could adapt quickly and felt at home there.
Dancing got serious in high school and I was going almost every day and teaching some baby ballet classes. I adored my ballet teacher in high school, she was a whacky, arty, out there, edge walking ex Australian Ballet ballerina who did not care what anyone in our conservative country town thought of her. She inspired me so much and encouraged me to continue with dance.
I went on to study dance at university and met my people there, I was no longer the different weird one! After uni I performed in a few independent contemporary dance works and taught ballet, contemporary, jazz, funk and tap for many years after in dance schools in Sydney.
I finished teaching after I had my second baby, though I continued to dance at home and occasional performances at parties and events.
My dancing ended abruptly when I had chronic psoriatic arthritis after my fourth baby. I was unable to walk 50% of the time, it felt like a special kind of torture for a dancer, though I also felt self indulgent thinking that. I know there are people living with much worse. I healed my arthritis through foods and deep listening to the messages of my body.
Dancing is even more of a joy now I can do it again, as long as I can dance I will. Even when it’s not a joy, it’s always good.
As far as rites of passage, Ballet has it’s own. When you work hard and reach a certain level you get to do new, amazing things.
When you reach a certain age you can wear a tutu on stage, when you reach a certain level and strength you get to move on to pointe shoes, when you do a solo you wear a tiara.
All this has changed a lot now, with tutus being worn every lesson in baby ballet.. but in those days tutu’s were hand made and expensive, you had to earn it.
There were also many wounding aspects and rites of passage in dance, mainly regarding body image, comparison, competition, not getting chosen. I did not escape unscathed.
There was healing in becoming a teacher myself and not repeating those themes with the kids I taught.
On the whole, it was one of the foundations of my life that formed who I am today.
How does movement affect/enhance your mothering?
I have found it tricky to play with my children, it does not come naturally to me. My parents never played with me as a child.. we just played on our own or with the neighbourhood kids. I think that was pretty normal, but I have memories of my aunties playing games with their kids and being surprised that adults played.
When I had my own children I was kind of baffled by having to play with them, I found it hard to engage.
My husband plays board games with them easily, his Mum always played board games with him.
So I found our play time in dancing. I have almost every day of mothering, when I was physically able, put on music and had a big dance session with the kids.
When I couldn’t dance I would play music, and sometimes they would dance anyway.
Some days it’s the whole family, some days it’s just 2 of us.
I use it as a tool to shift energy, if it’s a bit manky we have a dance and move it all around. Or if one kid is having a hard time, a dance and the right music can really shift things.
It’s where we connect without words.
We still dance everyday, and sometimes I video it and share it, always with their permission.
It is one of my favourite things to do, dance with my kids.
Any funny or real life mothering story you’d like to share?
There are a thousand tiny moments that don’t really amount to a whole story but snippets of mothering life.. and so many of them are a snort of laughter, followed by someone crying and an accident or fight! Or at once hilarious and horrifying!
At the peak of the mayhem I had a newborn, a two year old, a four year old and a six year old. I don’t know how that woman, me, survived!
I birthed my last three babies at home, and my big boy who was born in the hospital, was six when he saw his baby sister be born.
He was really present and knew what was going on, an experienced birth attendant!
When she came out her cord seemed really short and I was having trouble getting her up to my chest and holding her awkwardly.. little mister six ran outside to the gardening tools and came back in with a rusty old pair of gardening shears to help me out and cut the cord. I saw the shears open and coming towards us!
I can’t remember the words we said, but the feeling was hilarity, pride, sweetness, horror and awe at this most responsible and caring little boy, our first born. And he was fast! The first one to see and act, we had two midwives and two doula’s, papa and grandma present!
Makes me cry writing and remembering that.
So, that’s what the stories in my memory are like.. a bit of everything. I laugh a hundred times a day with this mob of mine, and all the other emotions possible just as much.
What are some of your self care rituals?
My rituals are simple, daily and must do’s to keep operating at the level I want to.
Eating well, hydrating, going to bed early.
Honouring my cycle, that can mean resting and dreaming in my bleeding time, or creating in my fertile time, letting go in my pre menstrual time.
I go through periods of saying yes, and then say no for a while. Both are nourishing in their own way.
Making the effort to meet up with friends in real life takes organisation and planning, and I often feel overwhelmed to organise another thing.. but it is really important for me to make the effort every few weeks.
I give myself the day off work every now and again. Working for myself, I feel like I always have something I could be doing, but it can all wait sometimes.
Dancing every day, of course!
We are so excited about your new online offering “Blessing the Maiden.” Tell us more…
I hold Mother and Maiden Moon Circles where I introduce the pre Menarche (first period) girls and the Mum’s to the wisdom of the cycles and the womens mysteries.
This circle is really healing for the mama’s, most of whom were told very little about the menstrual cycle before they began, and want to offer something different to their girls.
So carrying on with that thought I have created a simple guide to creating acknowledgement and celebration in different ways when their daughters time comes.
‘Blessing the Maiden’ is a sweet guide for welcoming the maidens to the altar of womanhood at her Menarche.
I share three kinds of ceremonies, a group gathering for one or all of the Maiden’s in your community that have come of age, a ceremony for two and ideas for a special gift you can give your Maiden who is not at all keen on ceremony of any kind.
How our Maiden’s are received at their Menarche shows them how their culture values them in their womanhood. It’s really important! As are all rites of passage.
There are stories, information, MP3 song recordings, run sheets, checklist and invitations included in the guide, and some beautiful photographs for inspiration.
‘Blessing the Maiden’ will be available soon at www.makingsacred.com
I’d love to offer your readers a discount on Blessing the Maiden, if they enter the code Birdsong at the checkout they will receive a 10% discount.