About Donya

My Training

I’m a Certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®, a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, and have a BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University. I’ve always been fascinated with looking at the voice and body holistically and have explored many kinesthetic approaches to voice. Ultimately I’m interested in how your voice feels to you, not how it sounds to me, and how you can connect to yourself and your audience.

My Journey of Curiosity and Learning

I come from a very musical family, deeply entrenched in a cappella singing. My first passion was dancing, and I spent 20 years studying ballet, jazz, Ukrainian folk, and Contemporary. In my twenties I discovered Musical Theatre – the perfect marriage of singing and dancing! During that time I also experienced some vocal trauma in the form of a tiny node on one of my vocal folds, which encouraged me to re-examine my vocal habits and technique. I followed my curiosity about body-based voice techniques and discovered Fitzmaurice Voicework® (FV), which changed my life. It had always been clear to me that to sing well I needed to release tension, but no way of ‘relaxing’ ever made a significant difference until I discovered FV, which uses the body’s own physiological responses to release deeply held tensions in order to release the breath, body and voice. To find out more about FV please visit the Fitzmaurice Institute website. Fitzmaurice Voicework led me to Somatic Experiencing, Dr. Peter Levine’s work on healing trauma, which I now believe is an essential study for performers. Techniques for treating trauma are designed to increase awareness of the body and its processes, and to allow us to have a bigger ‘container’ inside which we can experience the heightened energy and emotion of singing or speaking in front of people. This moves technical voice work into the realm of presence work, and it’s the difference between an excellent performer and a breathtakingly authentic one.

What To Expect

A typical hour-long lesson includes some physical activities designed to release tension and allow free, spontaneous breathing (called destructuring in FV) followed by exercises in vocalizing that explore communication, including the decision to use particular muscles to support the voice, awareness of internal sensations, and the connection to self, other and the environment (called restructuring in FV). If you are working through nervousness, anxiety or trauma, regular sessions over time will have the greatest benefit. This work involves movement and floorwork and is best done wearing soft, comfortable clothes. This work is helpful for those who:

  • want greater body awareness, vocal ease, power and presence
  • experience nervousness or anxiety
  • have a history of trauma, especially affecting the voice
  • are curious about the relationship between physiology, breath and voice
  • want to transcend good voice technique (in either speaking or singing) and access vibrant, connected, authentic performance

My studio is in North Vancouver, easily accessible via transit, and I also offer online sessions. Email me to book yours.