Early childhood exposure to various cultures, along with the engagement in the moving arts of Theatre and Dance, stimulated Gabrielle’s inspiration as a young adult in college to study Indian Yogic traditions, Chinese Martial/Internal Arts and the Anthropology of Dances around the world. She resonated deeply with these meditative movement practices, finding that they helped promote mental clarity, maintain focus, support the healing of past injuries, offered an integrated fitness regimen, whilst helping to bring balance to her demanding lifestyle as a full-time undergraduate student and self-employed artist.
In 1999, Gabrielle immersed herself in Taoist Internal and Martial Arts with the Spirit Wind Internal Arts Society, while earning her B.A. from Temple University’s Department of Theater (with exploratory concentration in dance, music and voice) in Philadelphia, Pa. She received many transmissions of study in practices ranging from Pa-Kua, Tao Yin (Taoist Yoga/Chi Kung) & Medical Chi Kung, to Tai Chi, and Kung Fu. After demonstrating skill and an aptitude for teaching, she was offered to apprentice with the schools’ founder, Master Chik Quadir Mason. This offered her opportunities to participate in group instruction, demonstrations, and collaborative performances as part of Spirit Wind locally, nationally & internationally.
After graduation from college and with Sifu’s encouragement, she began a teaching career in the internal/martial & moving arts whilst touring as a performance artist. Gabrielle’s first teaching experiences began with a focus on working with women in community while living, dancing, practicing with and teaching as part of a performing arts collective known as The WOMB in Toronto, Ca. She came to be involved in a similar communal capacity after being scouted out to join the Archetypal Dance Theater troupe known as Archedream, originating in South Africa but based in Philadelphia, where she instructed the other performers in the internal/martial arts as a core member / performer / choreographer / assistant artistic director. Her vested interest in community branched out and into working with at risk youth and young women’s empowerment programs, thus serving as a mentor/mindful movement and theater instructor for several years with Moving Creations Inc. and the Multicultural Youth eXchange.
Her presentations as a performance artist have been featured on stages ranging from nationally recognized venues such as the Kimmel, Annenberg, Kennedy & Times Square Performing Arts Centers to Alex Grey’s Chappal of Sacred Mirrors, along with being featured at numerous Arts/Music/Dance Festivals across the U.S. and abroad between 1998-2018. She has received Awards for this creative work and has a successful performance arts residency in her hometown of West Philadelphia with The Rotunda for her series Poet-tree En Motion in University City which is now going into its 12th year. This stage work also led her into the studio on indie projects to record 3 albums of music/poetry in collaboration as the live band Plum Dragoness & the Elements with Emmy Award Winning Music/Film Producer Rodney Whittenberg and through the collective mystical words, song & dance of The Femme-Mynistiques with Multimedia Producer Gary Dann of the Worldtown SoundSystem/Boom Room Studios.
Gabrielle’s work as a Movement & Healing Arts practitioner and instructor continues to meld with her work as an inter-disciplinary performance artist and arts educator; many of her performance projects sister together the internal/martial arts forms (ex. Yoga, Kung Fu, and Old School Hip-hop) with other World dance, spoken word poetry and movement theater presentation (www.theplumdragoness.com). Many of the communities where her work was presented in as a performance artist, is where she also taught mindful movements steeped in the roots of Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi moving mediations.
Gabrielle holds Teacher Training certifications in Tao Yin Lung Shen (Taoist Yoga/Chi Kung), Pa-Kua Chang (Circle Walking), Lin Zi (Medical Chi Kung), T’ai Ch’i C’huan (Grand Ultimate Boxing) and Animal Kung Fu from the Spirit Wind Internal Arts Society. She is a Yoga Alliance certified ERYT in Vinyasa Yoga and considered a Level II Radiant Lotus Women’s Qi Gong Instructor as taught by Daisy Lee. Additionally, she studied Ashtanga Yoga with Miko-Doi Smith [From the Heart Yoga], Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers [Insight Yoga Institute], Yang style T’ai Ch’i C’huan with Master Yang Jun [Yang Family Tai Chi], Yang & Chen style T’ai Ch’i C’huan with Master Jing Shan Tang of the Oriental Fitness Institute, Yin Yoga with Master Pauli Zink [The Yin Yoga Institute], Thai Bodywork with Michael Buck and Debbi Philpotts [Vedic Conservatory], Anusara & Acro-Yoga with Justicia Friese [Maha Yoga Studio], Yoga for At-Risk Populations with James Fox [The Prison Yoga Project] and Capoeira with Mestre Doutor [American Society of Capoeira + Arts from Brazil]…
She has had the opportunity to share her work as an instructor of nearly 20 years through Group Classes and Private Lessons, Workshops and Continuing Education Courses, Retreat Experiences and in more recent years, as Founder of the Dragon Spirit Arts Yoga School, leading Teacher Training Programs in the style she calls “Vinyasa Fusion Flow.” The venues have ranged from healing arts studios, women’s shelters, public & private schools, dance/music/arts/health & yogic minded festivals, university programs to nationally recognized performing arts centers, mental health facilities & hospitals.
In 2017, just after starting a family, Gabrielle and her long-time friend/husband partnered on another level to open the NUE Arts Gallery & Dragon Spirit Arts Studio Space just outside of West Philadelphia, in Lansdowne, Pa.. They support local/international crafts people and indigenous artists through their art gallery and empower people to dive deeper into an engaged personal practice of the internal/martial arts that have created a community-based studio space that’s inviting and accessible for all to practice. Gabrielle is the Founder/Lead Instructor/Program Director of Dragon Spirit Arts, which offers Group Classes/Private Lessons, Workshops/Retreats & Teacher Training/Continuing Education in Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong & other Moving Meditations (www.DragonSpiritArts.com).