Gaby Albornoz

About me:

I guess it was just inevitable, after my first class of Indian Classical Dance, that was it. Something resonated in my brain and my body, both at the same time. I felt connected, full and free.

Slowly but surely I started a process in which dance became a healing tool capable of providing the balance between the mind and the body. Challenging as it was, it became the centre of my day to day life, a source of passion and joy and the inspiration to constant evolution.

I was lucky to be able to apply my previous academic background as well as my work experience to the world of dance and so I began my professional development in the dance field in Buenos Aires in 2014.

Photo credit: Estefani Correia (It's the Key Photography)

When I moved to Scotland in 2015, I began to work as a freelance artist and performed alongside various established artists within the local scene and collaborate on the production team of various projects developed localy.

My training in Indian Classical Dance is in constant evolution, I am priviledged to be under the guidance ofJai Kishore Mosalikanti (Shivamohanam, Chennai) in Kuchipudi and Viraja Mandhre (Kalakshetra alumni, Chennai) in Bharatanatyam.

Karen Watts

About me:

I’m a lifelong dancer - I was that little girl who started ballet at the age of 4. I think there was only one moment when I hesitated about dancing – when I was 6 years old, I told my mum I didn’t want to go to class anymore because the teacher was a scary man with a stick, who smoked cigarettes in class! But both teacher and mother were having none of that.  Despite this, the dance class became my happy place. I was never the best, but I was the enthusiastic one, the one who never missed class, and who practised in her free time. Dance has been, and continues to be, my life-long passion. As a child, my very secret dream was to be a dancer professionally, but I never saw that as a realistic option – wrong body shape, not good enough… etc.

Photo credit: Estefani Correia (It's the Key Photography)

But you never know what life has in store. Moving to Edinburgh set me on the unexpected path to realising this childhood dream and somehow here I am, 20 years after that move to Edinburgh, and 19 years after stepping into my very first Bharatanatyam class, dance (albeit it Bharatanatyam instead of Ballet) is the focal point of my life. I feel so fortunate to have had the possibility to learn Bharatanatyam, to have had the access to teachers here in Scotland, and in India. Under the guidance and teachings of my past teachers Priya Shrikumar in Edinburgh, and Jayan Bharatakshetra in Trivandrum, and now currently Viraja Mandhre in Chennai, I have been able to continually learn and develop as a student and teacher of this dance form. There was, and still is, so much to learn – happily that journey never ends.


My passion is in respectfully sharing this dance form with audiences, and in teaching to the next generation of dancers. I love sharing my enthusiasm for this dance form, supporting, and guiding my students in their development as dancers and their appreciation of the arts in general.  I am also passionate about bringing Indian classical dance to a community setting and making it accessible to people of all ages and abilities.


As Dance Development Officer with Dance Ihayami from 2007 to 2018, and now as co-founder and director of Theiya Arts, I have been part of Indian classical dance performances and touring productions since 2007 – productions that include collaborations with Dance Base National Centre for Dance and Edinburgh Festival Fringe amongst other important organisations as well as renown artists such as Sarod Maestro Usted Amjad Ali Khan.


I have also been developing and delivering community outreach projects for the past 15 years – projects that include collaborations with Sense Scotland (Glasgow), BBC Scotland and Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Edinburgh) as well as various council departments and community organisations around the country.