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April 19th - 25th  -  2018
May 20th-26th
June 24th-30th
July 22nd-28th

Overview and Aim of Course

Spend 6 days in beautiful surroundings, immersed in dance and movement. Develop strength, peace and a deep love for your body and it's movement expression and potential. We aim to have an amazing week with you and a huge, positive impact on the quality of your life and dancing after your retreat.


Skill Level

All you will need for this retreat is a strong desire to develop your movement and dance potential.


A wide variety of dance and movement techniques will be studied and drawn upon.

The main styles are Contemporary Dance (using Graham and Cunningham techniques), West African dance, Salsa, Qi Gong and Yoga.

Free-styling and fusion will be explored, such as blending Celtic folk with African dance, Salsa moves with Flamenco arms, Ballet moves flowing into Hip Hop body rolls!

Moving in Nature and Improvisation, using  a myriad of themes and ideas to unlock your inner dancer and increase your enjoyment of your body through movement.

Safe opportunities to explore your pain and heal from trauma, using movement.

Sharing ways in which you can incorporate 'Dancing Movement' into everyday life activities in order to strengthen your mind, body and spirit.

​​What's Included

6 days full board accommodation .

3 meals a day plus snacks and drinks

25 hours movement sessions

1 hour personal massage treatment

Dedicated, qualified and experienced staff.

River view and swimming

Nature walks


Local Village Cafes

Dance Movie evenings

Jamming and singing round the fire

Tour and Activity advice

Local shuttle service

Abundant hot baths


Price €549

Depending on the dates of course: Local Live Music, Local Artisan Market































Typical daily schedule

07:00-09:00     Preparing for the day e.g. Breakfast, cleanse, river, walk, read,meditate etc.(or just coffee and silence!)

09:00-10:30     Strengthen, lengthen and alignment sessions (using Tai Chi, Yoga, Dance and Pilates)


10:30-11:15     Juice/tea break


11:15-12:45     Dance Style development . e.g. West African, Salsa, Contemporary  Dance and Fusions.


12:45-15:15     Lunch, and free time for siestas, river dips, hot herbal baths, chatting, reading, massage,reflection, notes etc.

15:15-17:00    Warm up and Improvisation/Movement in Nature/Dance Hacks..etc.. movement expression development, wide and varied.

17:00-20:00    Evening meal, bathing, massage, movies,etc.


20:00-21:00    Strength and Flex session or/& Relaxation through Movement session

These times are a flexible guideline. We will be a small group and can find a natural rhythm.


Three meals a day, produced by two wonderful chefs (also talented gardeners), both passionate and excited by healthy, wholesome,well-sourced and above all delicious food.

We are happy to discuss your personal dietary requirements and cater for them as best we can. Please discuss when booking your place.

Optional Extras

Pick up from Coimbra Train Station 

Healing sessions: We have a selection of professional local practitioners in different areas of healing such as herbalist, cranial sacral therapist, acupuncturist... If you'd like to have a session with them we would be happy to arrange it for you.

Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Accommodation and Surroundings


Nestled close to the friendly traditional Portuguese village of Barril de Alva, the retreat is held in a big stone house beautifully built with natural materials and very high ceilings. All details have been thought so that beauty is felt in every corner whilst comfort of modern life fully respected. The indoor open dance space is surrounded by stone walls, whilst offering a beautiful wooden floor. The wide open kitchen is perfectly integrated to the dining  area. The wooden stove provides a central heat space and a fully equipped stone bathroom with a beautiful bathtub and shower offers great relaxing and rejuvenating moments. The luxurious dormitory spaces, at the top of the house will provide a cosy spot to rest quietly after the day. 


The many openings of the house lead to beautiful views over the river Alva bordering the land, ideal to take a refreshing dip at any time of the day.  Nature is present all around with the surroundings hills, bird songs, water sounds and great sun exposure. Some of the green terraces provide ideal spots for outdoor practice. The house is surrounded by delightful spaces to relax alone or within the group. 


This area of central Portugal is still very authentic. The villagers are very welcoming and traditional markets, restaurants, and natural wonders are all very nearby. Walking along the track that leads to the house can provide beautiful views of the surroundings and the possibility to immerse fully in nature. The village has a few cafes, a good family restaurant, alternative school, beautiful river beach and little local shop. Small vans deliver freshly baked breads and other goods daily. 3kms away is the main village of Coja which has everything one could need, small supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries stocked with fresh traditional treats and a choice of pleasant cafes and river beaches...The retreat is located on a track a short distance from the village offering full peace and nature whilst still in close distance to village life. 


You might be aware that a vast area of central Portugal suffered from a forest fire last year, leaving the scenery changed. The last months have been the opportunity to see how nature grows back, and enjoying the green areas more than ever. The areas around the house were largely untouched and it is our joy to observe the butterflies, spring buds  grasses and more coming to life again after this winter. 



Gaynor Stanley

Gaynor graduated at London Studio Centre in Ballet and Contemporary Dance Performance in 1990. She then went on to train with members of Les Ballets Africaines, which led to 15 years as a performer and workshop leader with West African dance troupes Kakande, Abeng and Wukulu.

Gaynor has also trained in Creative Movement with  Brighton's 'Carousel' and The Sherbourne Foundation which led to many years experience leading movement classes for children and teenagers with moderate to severe learning difficulties.

She is an R.S.A. qualified fitness instructor, a keen Salsa dancer and also trains in Tai Chi and Chi Gong.

Since moving to Portugal 10 years ago, Gaynor has continued to teach regular Dance classes to children and adults.

"I possess a commitment and dedication to dance and movement and the universal exhilaration and liberation that it brings to human kind.  My life’s passion is dance and the transformation that rhythm and movement can bring to each one of us. 'The Bela's De Alva Dance and Movement Retreat' is founded on 30 years of experience of diverse dance cultures, rhythms and learning styles. Just as importantly though, it is also founded on the past 10 years, challenged with keeping in shape mentally and physically, whilst bringing up my 3 beautiful daughters, building our own home and developing our Quinta in Portugal. I have discovered a myriad of diverse ways in which to incorporate dance and conscious movement into my everyday life, no matter what I am feeling or doing. I am so excited to be able to spend 5 days immersed in sharing these experiences which so enrich my life. I am also extremely blessed with the team of people who are supporting me in this project and making it possible. Love."


Tamzin Hale Hurley


Tamzin trained in Contemporary Dance at Chichester University and London Contemporary Dance School with teachers such as Kerry Nicholls and resident Richard Alston. Her dance training was complemented by training and working as a Fitness instructor, practicing Yoga and enjoying the jive social dance scene. She developed a specific interest and passion for Improvisation and Contact Improv and sought out workshops and residencies with teachers such as Rick Nodine, Charlie Morrisey, KJ Holmes and Katie Duck. Tamzin has taught for over 20 years in various environments, schools, youth centres, fitness centres, festivals and taught on courses at Sussex Downs College, Brighton University and Chichester University. In 2015 Tamzin became a certified Yoga teacher after completing a YTT with YHM in Scaravelli inspired yoga and went on to teach yoga movement, meditation and breathing practice in Brighton. Last year she moved to Portugal with her family and is currently establishing a quinta with her family, home educating her 3 children, teaching dance for children and yoga and dance on retreats and workshops

Getting There

A flight to Oporto (closest) or Lisbon airport, followed by a bus journey with Rede National de Expressos, via Coimbra, to Vendas de Galizes, where we’ll collect you from, is the recommended way to travel. However, if bus times aren’t compatible with the flight,  it’s also possible to get a train from either airport to Coimbra, which would have to then be followed by a 50 minute car ride. It’s also possible to rent a car from the airport, if you’re more comfortable with independent travel, just ask for directions.

If you have any queries about getting to the retreat, don’t hesitate to ask anytime.


Please contact us by email if you have any queries about how to pay. The ready options we have are by bank transfer, using NIB if you are in Portugal, or BIC and IBAN codes if outside Portugal - or by PayPal. If these are not easy for you, please ask about other arrangements - we will find a way to make this work!


Our address for Pay Pal is  Please, when paying by Pay Pal, make sure you pay their commission (about 3.5%) yourselves, thank you.

Also please pay the deposit of 50% only in advance, not the full amount.


Our Bank is Credito Agricola  In name of Gaynor Mary Stanley

Our Bank NIB which is for use in Portugal is 0045 3451 40293377740 30  

If you are outside of Portugal you need the international codes which are

IBAN: PT50 0045 3451 4029 3377 7403 0


Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.

  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.

  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

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