Interview with Anya Grace- on Diving Deep, Surrender, and Freedom

When I first heard Anya Grace speak on YouTube, I felt her authenticity and passion come through right away. She was sharing her insights on the dynamics between men and women in a way that really impacted my view of relationships- not just the romantic kind, but also relationships with friends and family, with our surroundings, but especially with ourselves.

I then listened to a series of ten interviews she conducted with coaches and speakers who shared their expertise on various subjects around love, healing, abundance, the power of our beliefs, and manifestation. I was blown away by the profound knowledge and vulnerability imparted in those interviews. I thought “Others need to hear this!”

I couldn’t help but to reach out to ask Anya to share more of her wisdom with the Dance Me Free community. It is an honor to feature Anya Grace, spiritual mentor and feminine energy coach, in this interview below. 


I was really impressed by the interviews from your Elevated Woman series.  What values do you think all the speakers you chose shared? They seemed have a connection in their messages.

I think what you’re feeling is my intention of diving deeper in the interviews. Part of our power and beauty as women is really in our depth – the deeper feelings, the deeper insights, the deeper wisdom we hold.

We’re living in a culture and society where things are very superficial. The superficial exterior has been what’s valued. But that’s only about ten percent of our power as women. I want women to understand, and tap into, the other ninety percent. Once we start going into that ninety percent, we really unplug from the masculine paradigm that’s draining our power.

Why is this important?

When you have that intention, as an individual, to open to that depth within yourself, and you unapologetically bring that depth into your relationships and conversations, other people will go there. I always say that the Elevated Woman is an activator and initiator for higher potential on the planet. Part of that higher potential is this depth- going deeper, really connecting at a heart level, not just a superficial mental level. And that’s when we really access feminine power.

Beautiful.  I know Surrender is another aspect of feminine power that you hold really high in your life. I shared with you that my name- Tasleem- means surrender. I used to think that surrender was a weakness- a giving up, a giving in. But over the past few years, I’ve been learning how surrender is such a strength.

What does surrender mean to you?

I’m glad you asked about this. I’ve been doing a lot of talks about submission and surrender recently. The difference between the two ultimately comes down to frequency.  There are a lot of women who are resistant to the word surrender because I think they’re really mixing it up with the frequency of submission.

How would you describe submission?

To me, submission doesn’t feel good in my body. Submission feels like I’m giving my power away and I’m not being honoured for the elevated, sacred energy force, goddess power that I am. I am talking more in terms of sex.

Submission in life, in general, is really being in the victim energy. It’s being a victim to money circumstances, not recognizing that our reality is based on our own inner thoughts and feelings. This leads us to not taking responsibility for those thoughts and feelings, and then therefore, not creating the change that is necessary.

How does this compare to surrender?

Surrender is the energy of recognizing that we are human beings and we are not in control. We will never really be in control for as long as we’re alive in this life. It’s about dropping into trust and receptivity. Those are frequencies of the feminine energy.

When we live life with trust and receptivity and surrender, we are letting the universe or source energy, really come down and penetrate us. The idea is that universe and the divine are guiding us every step of the way. And when we drop into the frequency of surrender, magical things can happen. Whereas, if we stay in energies of submission, which is trying to control everything or being disempowered, then we’re not allowing the greatest gifts of the universe to come to us.


Do you have any examples of how you use surrender in your life and work?

It really is a daily practise for me, on a small and large scale. For example, I’m about to lead a training called Whole Body Beauty, which is all about body image. It is about helping women get out of feeling like they need to be in discipline and control over their body and their exercise routines. Instead, they learn to move more into letting go and going through a longer process to ultimately arrive at their ideal body. But it’s not going to be through control, which is about masculine energy.

What is an example of how you use surrender on a daily basis, or on a smaller scale?

An example of how I practised surrender today was that I slept in a little bit. I don’t love sleeping in because I like to get up and start the day early and do all the things I want to get done in the morning. But I know that I drop into submission when I beat myself up for not getting up early.

When I sleep in and let my energy stay elevated, by just accepting whatever is happening to me, I allow myself to surrender. I recognize that in the long run, I will have more control over getting up early versus not getting up early this way. But it’s not going to come from me being controlled, disciplined and forcing myself to get out of bed in this masculine energy way. I could do it, but it doesn’t feel good to my body.

I guess we can often let the worry of what we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing take us over.

We all have things that we’re worried about. Right now, there might be something that you’re unsettled about. There might be something that I’m unsettled about. But living a life of surrender is just working with those unsettling feelings and choosing to not let them grab a hold of us. Instead, it’s about replacing the anxiety, worry, tension, control, or contraction with a deep breath and literally choosing trust. We can choose to let go in the very moment we want to grab hold and control. Choosing to let go, to relax, to lean back and to trust is powerful. Because in that energy, the universe brings us exactly what’s meant to happen, not what we WANT to happen. And that can work out way bigger and better than we can ever imagine.

I love that. The idea of trust and letting go reminds me of some words that came up when I looked up the meaning of your name- Anya. Rhythm, melody, and grace were linked to your name, as well as  the word inexhaustible. Do those words resonate with you in terms of what you value and who you are?

I love that you love names. I love them too. It’s part of what contracts us into this physical form. When we have a name, there’s a contraction of energy around our soul. And whatever that form is, it helps to define our soul, really.

I talk about letters as building blocks. Letters are shapes and lines, and those shapes put together in words, is ultimately holding an essence. So the word grace, and the word surrender are created by different letters, different shapes, different lines, different structures, and they hold different essences. The structure is the masculine, the essence is the feminine.


That’s beautiful. It makes me love words even more. 

Yes, so our names are defining us literally into physical form. It’s one of the first things that happen when we are born. We are given a name.

I didn’t use to like the name Anya because I wanted to be normal and I thought my name wasn’t. But now obviously, I like it, because it’s my essence. I think it’s funny that I’ve heard that Anya means graceful, and my middle name is Grace. But I love inexhaustible. I’ve never heard that. That’s really powerful to hear.

Yeah, that really stood out to me too. I think there is something to be said of the universe almost calling us something to guide us somewhere.

I love how you talk about how other labels that we get- whether it’s being a mom, or being a lawyer, or a brother or an entrepreneur, etc- are amazing roles we take on. But that’s not who we truly are.

I agree. So instead of asking someone What do you do?, I like to as What do you LIKE to do? I want to know who the person really is. But before I ask you that, you’ve mentioned a few times that some of the things you used to do were for a specific outcome.

Yes, and some of those things I used to do, I don’t do anymore.

I used to play guitar because I thought that being able to play a musical instrument would make me somehow more attractive. I thought the skill was hot. It was just the beliefs I had around what these things meant about me. I have a degree in neuroscience. I pursued that path because I felt that from the outside, I’d be more valued by having that degree and career.

Exercise was another huge one too. I used to run. I loved it and it made me feel free and healthy. I still love it for those reasons. But I had also attached the belief that I needed to have a perfect body. I thought that would keep me at this level of attractiveness that I wanted to be at. So in my orientation and my why for exercise, and even the food I was eating, there was an outcome- to have a perfect body.


How has that changed now? What do you truly like to do now?

I still love to exercise or to move my body. I still love to trail run, I still love to do yoga and dance, but I have one hundred percent removed any expectation of what that is going to create for my body. And when I go running now, I never bring a watch. I don’t care how long I go for. I don’t care how many miles I run. I don’t care if I stop twenty times. I just do it however it feels good in that day.

Some days, I push myself because that feels good to me. And other days, I just go very gentle because it feels good to get outside. But I’m listening to my body. And I’m moving and exercising from the goddess within me, rather than the mental mind, or from the external masculine force telling me I need to arrive at this certain place in order to be valuable and worthy.

I still do all of the things that were part of my identity before, but I don’t need to brag about them. I don’t need to tell people about them. They’re just part of my experience of life, they’re part of my essence, but it’s not my worth.

That is really inspiring how you became aware of this and how you turned it around. You mentioned that you love to dance. Do you have a background or training in dance?

I used to do ballet at quite an intense level when I was younger all the way until seventh or eighth grade. And then I switched over to running. I didn’t really dance for awhile after that.

But now, my favorite dance is called S Factor. It’s pole dancing, but it’s not the pole dancing that most people think of when they think of pole dancing. You close your eyes and go deep within your body. You let the movement arise from being turned on by the music and really dropping into sensations, the rhythms, the twists and turns, pulsations and curves, of your own body.

It’s really about activating sensual, sexual energy through diving deep into yourself. And the pole acts as the stable, secure, rigid, upright masculine presence to play and spin around on. It’s actually quite a safe feeling to find the pole throughout the dance… it grounds me! This is one of the ways we can honor the masculine energy in a man — appreciate the stability and security his presence brings to us amidst our more wild, feminine, free-flowing nature. It’s all quite divine.

Oh wow! I’ve never heard of that dance. I love the way you connect it to the beauty of the masculine and feminine dynamic.  

The essence of it is that the more I drop into what feels good in my body, the more magnetic I am. And that applies to the core teaching of Elevated Woman which is that when you drop into your presence or your essence, inherently, you’re magnetic. It has nothing to do with how you look or what you’re doing on the outside. It’s just going to come naturally.  


The short video clip of you dancing on your Facebook page was definitely magnetic. I thought you must be a dancer!

That video clip created a lot of tension for a moment. Someone that’s close to me reacted to it in a way that I perceived as full of judgment and criticism. It was really painful to hear their thoughts on it.

And for the feminine to feel shame for her sexual energy is one of the core wounds that we hold. Instantly, in that moment, I felt I was being shamed. That expression of my self in that video is the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest, TINIEST little fraction of my true self-expression. And for that to be too much for someone, to the point that they would want to suppress me and push me down that much, was so intense to feel in my body.

I’m so surprised to hear you got that kind of reaction. It was such an inspiring video to me.

Thank you. Yes, it’s upsetting to get those kinds of negative reactions because I think do we choose to stay quiet, and hide the beauty and sexual energy that is our nature, to make other people comfortable? Or do I choose to just share whatever feels authentic to me, and in that present moment, listen to the goddess within me? Do I say well, if it’s too much for some, it’s too much for some, but it’s not too much for me and follow that?

On a transparent and vulnerable level, it’s scary to share what I really want to share. I’m not fully sharing because it’s a lot. I’m working on that in my own personal life. I found this information wisdom that is my work now, but this work chose me. And it’s scary, to put myself out there. But it ties into what I teach. Because so much of what I teach is supporting women to be set free.

Thank you for having the courage to share what you do and for teaching us how to be courageous ourselves. Your talks have really inspired me towards more freedom and surrender in my life. They have made a huge difference in my life already, reminding me of the depth, connection and truth I want in my own interactions with others, myself and my surroundings.  

To find out more about Anya’s workshops, training, and her Elevated Woman Movement, click here:

Anya Grace


Dance Connects Cultures- Interview with Masanori Fujita

Masa8Where did you learn to dance? And which style of dance did you start with?

I started breakdancing nine years ago in Osaka, Japan.  From the first time that I saw the amazing technique put in the dance, I was totally hooked.  So, the next day, I went to a dance school to learn and I also practised on the street.

After I came to Canada, I just practised breakdancing first.  I didn’t know Hustle at that time. But at some of the events, some of the dancers were doing hustle. I saw it and thought I really wanted to learn to dance it. Everyone looked like they were really enjoying it. So that’s what made me start dancing Hustle. Continue reading

La Época Interview- Part 2

Part 2- Josué Joseph- On Family, Freedom and Inspiration

(Click here to read La Época Interview Part 1- Josué Joseph- On Faith, Music and Talent)


In Part 1 of this interview, you talked about growing up with the influence of your father- the great bassist Alfonso Panamá. You mentioned how he was always practising and surrounding you with music, making it just a part of your everyday life.   But did you ever go through that stage of NOT wanting to be a musician BECAUSE your father was one?  Often, kids try to purposely get away from doing what their parents did.  Did you ever go through that or was it always just something that you wanted to do?

I feel like I’m in that movie Slumdog Millionaire, because every answer that I give you comes from a story (laughs).  So here’s another one:

When I was growing up, my parents did not force any of us to study music.  But when I was four years old, we moved to a new house. And in this new house, there was a piano already there.  So music just came to us.  Taking piano lessons was just normal. My brother did it, my other brother did it, and it passed down to me. It became something that I thought was just something you do.

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New Photo Feature- Marilou and Alessandra Quaglia!


“When I dance, I forget the bad times and I feel free.“- Marilou

Dance Me Free has been on a bit of a hiatus over the past few months. But we are so happy to be back, not just with some new and exciting interviews, videos and events, but also with an outstanding young dancer as our new photo feature for this season!

All the way from Provence, France, the beautiful Marilou caught my attention with her stunning features, her passionate poses and the way she makes dancing look so effortless and freeing. Continue reading

Help Send Ryan to Italy!

Ryan2 - 2015
Ryan Morissette is truly an inspiration to us all. This young dancer not only
rips it up on stage when he performs, but he spends time sharing his art through teaching other kids. He also helps raise money for various charities, AND, what a powerful role model he is to guys who might want to dance but are not always encouraged to because of old gender stereotypes.
Ryan dances at a very high level, competing, training, performing, all the while battling a disease that he has had since he was a child.  But Dance, for Ryan, is healing. It is his medicine.
“I have tattooed on my arm ‘Music is my cure’ and that’s exactly how I feel when I am dancing,” says Ryan Morrissette.
[When I am dancing], “I feel like I don’t have CF. I can just be myself.”

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What Dance Teaches Me

live to danceI have been so lucky to have some of the most inspiring teachers  come into my life.  Little did I know that Dance would be one of them.

Dance has influenced the decisions I make, the places I go, the people I meet, the perceptions I have about life, the values I cherish the most, my awareness of myself as a body and a soul, as well as how I interact with others and the world around me.

Someone recently asked me why I dance, and the first thought that came to my mind was, ironically, NOT thinking.  Dance, as I explained to this person, is one of the first places I learned not to lead (or follow) with thinking, but to feel.  With Dance, I shut off my brain, and engage, or turn on, my senses.  This is huge for someone who is constantly thinking and processing and analyzing like myself.  And wow, what it has done for my writing.  As a writer, I need to be much more in touch with my senses, and to be able to capture moments when my senses are really heightened. Dance makes me much more aware of those moments and plants the images of them deep within my memory.

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Kwenda Lima- “To me, dance is a kind of freedom”

“To be honest, I have never seen you dance.  But what I heard you say in a youtube interview- not just about dance, but about Art and life-  told me everything I needed to know to assure me that I would be learning from a great teacher.”

That was part of the email I sent to Kwenda Lima before I met him in person. 

As I explained to Kwenda, for the past few years, I have been writing about the power of dance to inspire, to strengthen, and to heal.  But I knew I was missing something – someone who could speak deeply about the spirituality aspect of dancing- someone who lived and breathed it.  And I knew instantly- I felt it through his energy actually- that Kwenda would be one of those people.

And I was right.  Not only did he respond very quickly to my message with a few heartfelt words of his own, but he made sure to keep his word by making time, in the middle of his workshops, to discuss with me some of the issues around health, dance and teaching that I had brought up in my email.

Insights into how to live a fuller life were cleverly woven into, and sometimes just outwardly stated, in Kwenda’s teachings during that weekend.  The kizomba movements and exercises we learned were just one aspect of the lessons.  There was such emotion and purpose in every one of Kwenda’s actions, including the moments where he just fell silent.  It was hard not to be captivated by this man’s spirit. 

And for those who stayed until the last workshop—when Kwenda introduced us to Kaizen dance- we went from jumping in utter happiness, holding hands in gratitude, laying on each other’s shoulders in a clump of bodies on the floor, letting our tongues hang out, freeing our inner child, and forming a tight spiral around Kwenda, which reminded me of his belief that we are all in fact one. But it was the final exercise about forgiveness that seemed to have been the most impactful for some. Every single person in that room was moved to tears from it.  But it felt more like a long awaited, giant, collective exhale, a letting go of something heavy, rather than tears of sorrow.  We may not forever remember all the details of the dance steps learned that weekend, but I am sure the depth of feeling through dance that Kwenda left us with, will remain with us for a long time.

Thank you Kwenda, for proving my instincts right, and being that great teacher I felt you would be. And special thanks to Emile Carter for doing an amazing job in organizing Kwenda’s first visit to the U.S. 

The beads on your hand – around your wrist and fingers- are they spiritual or religious or have any particular significance?  You wear them all the time, it seems.

Yes, I wear this all the time (skims his fingers over the beads).  It is a spiritual thing. And it’s something very personal for me.  It reminds me of things that are important to me.

I was curious about that because you have this spirituality about you which was evident well before I met you.  I could feel it even when just watching you in another interview on the internet.  Where do you think that spirituality comes from?

It’s a mix of everything, actually, but it’s not a cultural thing or anything like that.  I would say it comes from my ‘education’.  When I talk about education, I am referring to my parents, I’m talking about my friends, I’m talking about the books I came across, I’m talking about the movies I’ve seen, I’m talking about the situations that I went through.  For me, that is my education.  And it is what has taken me to where I am now.

Have you always been that way? That depth that you convey- has it always been there? Or did something happen in your life to instil that in you so strongly?

As I said, it’s a mix of everything.  Nothing happened to make me change suddenly.  But I’ve always behaved in a different way, even when I was a child. I was different.  My friends would always say to me “You’re complicated,” or, “You’re different”.  They would say, “Okay, you’re talking too much,” or something like that (smiles).  I was the kind of child that would spend a lot of time in my room alone.  And so all of those things- EVERYTHING that surrounds you- of course, will kind of guide you to what you’re supposed to do.  That’s what I believe.

I believe there is a mission for each of us, something we are meant to do.  So probably, those things- the people, the books- those situations, were taking me to where I’m supposed to be, what I’m supposed to do.

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