Maureen Atkins

Maureen discovered the Bay Area Circle Dancers in 1993. In 1995 she began teaching dance with a friend. Over the years since discovering dance many changes started to happen in her life:

In 2004 she decided to return to college.  Having always wanted to get a college degree, she decided to get a bachelors degree in Liberal Studies and chose do to have a concentration in dance which was inspired by the idea of “Follow your Bliss” from a Joseph Campbell documentary.  It was in a theater class when she led a dance called Meditation on a Vertical Axis that she realized the healing properties of Circle Dance.

In 2007 she graduated from Cal State East Bay in Hayward California and transferred to John F Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California to pursue a masters degree in counseling psychology with a specialization in somatic psychology.  As part of her master’s thesis she led a weekly dance group for a women’s residential program for women with drug addictions. 

In 2010 Maureen got her masters degree and in 2019 got her license as a marriage and family therapist.

Over the years as she developed academically and changed careers, Circle Dance was always a part of her life.  Concurrently Maureen worked in the field of substance use disorders changing her career from being a phlebotomist at a methadone clinic to becoming a counselor. 

Maureen became one of the Bay Area Circle Dance teachers in 2000.  In 2008 she started her own group in San Leandro, CA.  In January 2022 she started a group in Ben Lomond, CA. 

Currently these groups meet regularly. 

Independently she has organized dance retreats and has been invited to collaborate in other venues, i.e. schools, churches and other local groups.  Reclaiming Personal Power through Music, Movement and Dance was the theme for her workshops in 2022 and 2023.

She currently works as a therapist for adults at a local agency in Santa Cruz, CA.  Prior to this she led a dance group for another agency’s residential program with positive feedback from the residents.  “I see Circle Dance as a great option for those dealing with addiction as well as other psychological issues”.

Maureen is one of the contributing teachers in Stefan Freedman’s book Dance Wise, 2020.  In the spring of 2020 she was interviewed for Stefan’s project  DanceWise, which shows how movement arts, especially dance and music can help with trauma release.   In June, 2023 she traveled to Greece and was one of the contributing teachers to his workshop, Trauma Release through Dance.

“I see much potential in offering Circle Dance as a way to feel better and help people have healthy relationships.  I am extremely grateful to all of the dance teachers and others, too numerous to name, who have taught and inspired me along the way.”

Maureen lives in Ben Lomond, California, a small town in the redwoods and works in nearby Santa Cruz.  She has family in Auburn, CA and many wonderful neighbors and friends as well as people in the San Francisco East Bay that are near and dear to her heart.