Moving Archetypes

The beauty and wisdom of Indian dance and philosophy traditions made accessible and relevant to our times.

Classes designed for adult learners

  • My mind and my inner worlds are filled with joy.
    — Anonymous, Australia 2019
  • It was a life changing experience for me.
    — Anonymous, Australia 2018
  • What you shared with us through word, image and movement was/is a unique melding of cross-cultural theory, practical skill, and personal experience – all presented with passion...
    — Anonymous, Australia 2018
  • My experience of Moving Archetypes was like exploring a hidden cave of delights. Through Padma’s generous sharing of her dance artistry, I uncovered new insights about my own creativity and, with her generous encouragement and patience, I had fun experimenting and tapping into the source of my dance and story. Needless to say, I look forward to more!
    — Anonymous, Australia 2017
  • I found the after affects of the class quite powerful. For the first time in ages I felt that emotions weren't annoying, useless interruptions to the frenetic pace of life and its incessant demands, but empowering, emboldening and useful to experience the fullness of life. You create a judgement free space which is feels both enriching and serene. Thank you!
    — Anonymous, Australia 2017
  • Padma has an amazing gift of helping you to find what you need, she steps back and guides you to find yourself and helps you to focus when you get stuck. She offers a supportive, safe space to enable you to fully immerse yourself in this work. Padma has a deep knowledge of archetypes and shares her knowledge freely.
    — Anonymous, Australia 2016
  • What I loved about the dancing was that I now have shapes or postures that embody certain aspects of the archetype that I want in my life. I can practice those poses when I need a reminder, and I found that I can also imagine the pose and feel it in my body for that added boost when I need it!
    — Anonymous, Australia 2016
  • My story is very different to the stories of the archetypes, but the emotions are the same. And I could express myself with the archetype’s story, without telling my own story. This started a process of personal healing. She (Padma) taught me how to let negativity go and embrace all that is positive.
    — Anonymous, Netherlands 2006
  • My classes made me confident and happy with myself. I started to like myself for the first time in my life...It has helped bringing me back to life...Through the classes I have peeled off the accumulated layers and every day am a new person.
    — Anonymous, India 2008
  • The movement process made me go deep into myself. Whether I was searching my body or mind I was not sure. But expressing what I felt was a liberation.
    — Anonymous, India 2008
  • ...she (Padma) has surprised me by being completely in tune with my own thought process. ...deeply educative and empowering...Padma’s long years of experience...has gifted her with a rare insight and intelligence in working with dance.
    — Anonymous, India 2008

Moving Archetypes is a response to the need in our times, to find ways of living and being that lead to harmony at all levels—with nature, with ourselves and with all of life.

Classes draw on Indian spiritual practice and philosophical traditions to facilitate experiences of connectedness with larger archetypal stories and themes than our limited personal ones. The approach reclaims ancient traditions that emphasised a lived experience of unity within and without. 

Moving Archetypes offers an accessible and current approach to the inseparable fields of traditional Indian dance, philosophy contemplation. Dance, as one of the most joyous, feelingful and dynamic of Indian spiritual practices, provides the basis for exploring this new approach. Archetypes refer to the practice in Indian tradition of using deities and/or symbolic figures and emotions (Rasas) to facilitate transformation of our lives. The aim is to help us embrace complexity and the unknown and to find connectedness from a space of inner strength and wisdom. 

No previous experience of dance or knowledge of archetypes is necessary.


Classes and Events

There are four different classes which draw on the above approach:

1.     Rasa classical Indian dance classes: Indian dance theatre style of Kuchipudi in an open and accessible format. It is a fun way of getting to know Indian myths and philosophy.

2.      Dance contemplation classes: focus on a deity or a theme and facilitate a reflective experience through dance and guided improvisation. This is for those looking for dance as contemplation or meditation.

3.      Karana dance meditation classes: offer a ‘dhyana’ or simple, quiet, meditation approach to dance through the 108 Karanas or dance movements of Siva, the deity of dance.

4.      Philosophy classes: talks designed to introduce Indian philosophical teachings with a focus on practice and non-dogmatic approaches.

Masterclasses or Intensives are also offered which are a ‘deep dive’ into various aspects of Indian dance and philosophy.

No previous experience of dance required.

More information about the approach is available at Padma’s blogs.

Upcoming Classes & Events


About Padma

Padma Menon has over 30 years of international experience as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and facilitator. She has performed in hundreds of venues all over the world and created numerous contemporary and traditional Indian dance productions for high profile festivals and venues internationally.

Padma enjoyed a successful career in India performing professionally as a soloist since the age of nine. In her early twenties she founded one of Australia’s first professional multicultural dance companies and established a national and international reputation for cross-cultural work. She has worked in Europe in the renowned Korzo Production House as house choreographer and her work has been showcased in international festivals such as Cadance and the Holland Dance Festival. The centre she founded in India in 2006 was part of the arts activism movement in India, working closely with human rights and social justice organisations to raise awareness of issues such as women’s rights. 

Padma is an exponent of the Indian dance theatre style Kuchipudi which she studied from masters in the traditional lineage. She has also studied Bharatha Natyam and Mohini Attam styles of Indian classical dance. Padma also holds post graduate qualifications in Choreography specialising in Laban Movement Analysis from the Netherlands. She has also studied contemporary western dance, yoga and the Indian martial art form of Kalaripayattu.



+ What do the classes offer us?

We live in times when all wisdom traditions have been reinterpreted to suit consumer paradigms. Moving Archetypes is an offering of a rich tradition in dance, contemplation and philosophy that seeks to reclaim spaces that can offer an alternative to our current ways of being. Through the dance, contemplation and philosophy classes, the invitation is to come in touch with expansive freedom from limiting paradigms that do not offer a full and congruent experience of our reality. Moving Archetypes offers spaces of richness, beauty and dynamism drawn from an ancient tradition that had deep insight into the interconnectedness of all life. The aim of all classes is to allow the experience of living in harmony within and without.

+ What does a dance contemplation class look like?

In dance contemplation classes, we learn to use our body and mind to engage with the chosen archetype/deity or theme through dance set to music from all over the world, guided improvisation and reflection. The dance style combines specific techniques from Indian and western dance and includes:

  • Dance theatre styles from India which have traditionally been used to embody archetypes for dance contemplation
  • Laban Movement Analysis based movement from contemporary western dance
  • Guided simple movement improvisation There is also time for reflection and feedback in the classes.

+ What does a typical Rasa class look like?

Rasa classes teach classical Indian dance through choreography that is designed for adult learners. It focuses on dances of different deities such as Siva, Lakshmi and others. The choreography is carefully broken down into simple sequences for learning. Usually each term focuses on one dance related to a specific deity.

+ What is the approach of the philosophy classes?

The philosophy classes take a non-dogmatic approach to Indian approaches to interpreting life, our relationship to reality and why different practices are suggested. It focuses on how Indian philosophical traditions are paradigm shifting spaces. The classes are influenced by Padma’s own teaching lineages in philosophy which sought to overcome the drive towards ‘translating’ the traditions for modern consumer needs and go to the heart of the teachings.

+ Why does Moving Archetypes use dance and movement?

Moving Archetypes uses dance because dance is the language of our bodies. Recent neuroscience research (please see Judith Hanna’s Dancing to learn: the brain’s cognition, emotion, and movement) affirms that dance functions in our brains as a language. But dance is more than simple verbal language because it can express complex feelings and emotions in symbolic and metaphorical ways. When compared to spoken language, dance is poetry.

Indian dance theatre traditions are sophisticated and powerful symbolic languages when accessed through contemplative practices. They offer a transformative practice that embraces feelings as its domain. Many contemplative practices struggle with the domain of emotions, often suggesting withdrawal or denial of them. The Rasa practice in dance is a way of ‘meditating’ through feeling.

+ Do I need to know dance to participate in the classes?

No. Padma will introduce you to bridging movement sections and also guide and facilitate more open, creative explorations of the archetype through movement. The classes are designed to encourage a non-judgemental approach to our self, our movement and to others.

+ Are the classes same as creative, self-expression dance?

No. Dance contemplation is not designed for a cathartic process where through self-expression you ‘purge’ your emotions. The aim of contemplation in the dance contemplation tradition is to expand from a sense of individuality towards a more connected experience of life and feelings. The archetypes provide powerful and empowering frameworks that can facilitate this process.


Free Come and try classes

Visit the new studio on our next Open day: Sunday 20 October 10.30 am to 12 pm.

Bookings essential at or 0447643646

Located at Unit 10 / 19-25 Kembla Street, Fyshwick

Introduction by Padma Menon 10.30-10.45

Come and try Rasa classical Indian dance- Bhakthi dance 10.45-11.15 am

Come and try Dance Contemplation Bhakthi: When the heart leads 11.15-11.45 am

Come and try Karana dance meditation class 11.45 am-12.15 pm

Enrolments/ information 12.15-12.30 pm

No previous experience of dance required.



You can enjoy Padma Menon's regular radio program on Indian philosophy- Conscious Conversations.

Please visit Living Arts Canberra to listen to all previous episodes.

Hosted by Padma Menon, the program invites people to take time out of the busyness of their lives to reflect on their own philosophical approach to living.

Padma draws on her Indian philosophical lineage to draw attention to the paradigms which influence how we live, and provides a space to consider whether these serve us well in these times.

Padma also shares beautiful contemplative music from around the world as part of the conversation.

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