Turtle Disco Classes

Studio space with hardwood floors, purple wall, a spiral sculpture on the wall, orange chairs, a gong and yoga mats with cushions

Turtle Disco is a community arts space in the College Heights neighborhood of Ypsilanti, Michigan co-created by Petra Kuppers and Stephanie Heit to cultivate creative self-care, communal inquiry, connection, and awareness. Turtle Disco offerings include salons, readings, somatic writing, movement, Olimpias workshops, Kundalini yoga, and more. We are dedicated to providing a welcome and supportive environment, grounded in a disability culture framework. The space is wheelchair accessible.

Sign up to receive emails about Turtle Disco offerings here.

Winter 2018 Offerings

Monday             Tuesday                    Wednesday                   Friday                Sunday
Kundalini          Contemplative          Olimpias Creativity     Queer                  Kundalini
Yoga &                Dance & Writing      Sessions:                        Dreaming           Gong Bath
Meditation         Practice                      Amoeba Dances           Bimonthly          Monthly
7-8:30pm            4-6pm                          12:15-1:15pm                12-2pm               8-9pm

Winter Class Descriptions

Kundalini Yoga & Meditation with Stephanie Heit
Let it Shine!
Mondays 7-8:30pm
January 22-February 19
Suggested donation: $60 for five week series; $15/class
(Upcoming Session: March 5-April 16)

Stoke your inner light and shine in this class series to support your bodymind through the winter months. We will work with meditations, yoga postures, breathwork and live gong relaxation to strengthen the endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Each class will offer simple tools and self-care resources you can take into your daily life to help you thrive.

No experience necessary, all bodyminds welcome, disability culture friendly, gender neutral language.

Community Yogi Tea offered after each class.

To register, email Stephanie: stephanieheit@gmail.com

Contemplative Dance & Writing Practice with Stephanie Heit
Tuesdays 4-6pm
January 16-February 13
Suggested donation: $60 for five week series; $15/class
(Upcoming Session: March 6-April 17) 

In this practice, we will create a laboratory of delight: move together and apart in improvisational play, awaken the senses through freewrites, witness the breath in meditation, tend to self and community. Take a mini-retreat with this practice to cultivate creative self-care and inquiry.

No experience necessary, all bodyminds welcome, disability culture friendly. Bring writing/art materials you desire (journal, pen, colored pencils, etc.). Dress in layers to support movement and stillness. Cushions available.

To register, email Stephanie: stephanieheit@gmail.com

The Olimpias Creativity Sessions: Amoeba Dances with Petra Kuppers
Wednesdays 12:15-1:15pm
January 10, 17, 31
Cost: donate an amount appropriate to you and your circumstances into our entry basket. Once a month, we’re giving what accumulates to a local queer, feminist or anti-racist organization in Ypsilanti and surrounds. Let’s nourish our communities as well as ourselves.

These somatic classes start with a short movement warm-up. Then, we’ll dive into our senses, exploring bodily boundaries on our yoga mats and under colorful blankets. We encounter ourselves and our micro-worlds, response-able to minute shifts, desires, and sensual states. We end on solo processing — writing, drawing, or moving — before we close our time together. Let’s pour our bodyminds across Turtle Disco, and tune up like jellyfish.

Radical access: let’s explore together what works for us. Ramp access, hypoallergenic doggie on the premises, queer/trans friendly, neurodiversity friendly.

To register, email Petra: petra@umich.edu

Queer Dreaming with Petra Kuppers
Fridays 12-2pm
January 12, 26
February 9, 16
March 9, 16
April 6

The Turtle Disco women began this series on the anniversary of the Pulse tragedy, as a way to connect ourselves to wider webs of memory and love. Dreamers engage in a 20 minute journey, followed by open writing time. The practice is queer-led, seeks new kin and new responsibilities, and honors many different cultural pathways to lucid/shamanic dreaming (we do not engage in Native American appropriation).

No experience necessary, all bodyminds welcome, disability culture friendly. No sage or other scents.

To register, email Petra: petra@umich.edu

Sunday Kundalini Gong Bath with Stephanie Heit
The following Sundays 8-9pm
January 28
February 18
March 18
April 8
Suggested donation: $11/class

Join us for an evening of sound healing and rejuvenation to prepare you for the week. We will do a short yoga set to ready the body for relaxation and then sink into the healing power of the gong.

No experience necessary, all bodyminds welcome, disability culture friendly, gender neutral language.

Community Yogi Tea offered after class.

To register, email Stephanie: stephanieheit@gmail.com

Olimpias Practice with Petra Kuppers
Contact me if interested, email Petra: petra@umich.edu

Camille [a fictional entity of the Children of the Compost, a collaborative web of speculative narratives hosted by feminist theorist Donna Haraway] came into being at a moment of an unexpected but powerful, interlaced, planetwide eruption of numerous communities of a few hundred people each, who felt moved to migrate to ruined places and work with human and nonhuman partners to heal these places, building networks, pathways, nodes, and webs of and for a newly habitable world. (Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: 2016: 137)

In these open sessions, let’s explore together how we can connect our collective to the Children of the Compost, using somatic exploration, movement, social sculpture, creative writing, visual work, public markings of any kind.

Open workshop, probably roaming to different sites, all bodyminds welcome, disability culture friendly.

About the Turtle Disco Creators

Two white women in sunglasses leaning on each other and against desert pale rocks.

Petra & Stephanie

Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist and community performance artist. She is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an artist collective, and travels internationally to co-create disability culture worlds. She engages community participants in gentle experimental process work, and dances in women’s centers, hospices, mental health self-help groups, with youth groups, with traditional Weavers and Knitters Guilds, politicians, people labeled as ‘developmentally disabled’, cancer survivors, in National Parks, abandoned buildings, swimming pools, forests, on the beach. In these art journeys, participants use touch, mark-making, sculptural attention to material and space, sound art, installation, writing, and live presence. Petra teaches at the University of Michigan, and is faculty on the Low-Residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. Her academic work focuses on arts-based methods, embodiment/enmindment, and disability culture. Her creative writing engages feminist experimental poetics, and speculative queer/crip fiction.

Stephanie Heit is a poet, dancer, and teacher of somatic writing, Contemplative Dance Practice, and Kundalini Yoga. She lives with bipolar disorder and is a member of the Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. Her debut poetry collection, The Color She Gave Gravity (The Operating System 2017), was a Nightboat Poetry Prize finalist. Stephanie was introduced to Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan in 2005 while in massage school at Crestone Healing Arts Center in Colorado. Since then she has continued her studies while living in Chile and now in her native Michigan and through attending annual Solstice Festivals. She completed her Kundalini teacher training with Harijiwan, Tej and Guru Jagat in 2016. Her lifelong love of dance and poetry enhances her practice along with her training in contemplative and somatic awareness practices at Buddhist-inspired Naropa University. As a queer woman with mental health difference, she creates a welcoming and supportive space that includes people with diverse gender expressions and bodymind experiences. In her classes she offers disability modifications, uses gender neutral language, and invites you to delight in the movement and stillness of your body, mind and spirit.


Past Turtle Disco Offerings

Turtle Disco Salon: Carla Harryman ~ Artifact of Hope
Saturday, January 13
free, please RSVP by emailing petra@umich.edu

Turtle Disco is delighted to host Carla Harryman for our first salon in celebration of her new chapbook Artifact of Hope (Kenning Editions, 2017). Join us for this intimate reading and discussion followed by a reception.

Artifact of Hope is an epistolary essay combined with the documentary remains of a post-Occupy project, one beginning in a wish to situate a collective dialogue in creative readings of Ernst Bloch’s The Principle of Hope. The artifacts that comprise the majority of the essay take the form of daydreams, letters to students, a conference paper, citations, and various writings by those who attended Harryman’s workshops and seminars at the Oakland Public School in 2013 and, two-years later, at the Pratt Institute. Harryman views these venues as aspects of concrete utopias, however fragile and impermanent.

Carla Harryman has authored nineteen books of experimental poetry, prose, essays, and plays. Her work begins in a radical exploration of the sentence and its non/narrative performative capacities, developing in the context of the West Coast Language Writing scene of the 1970s and 1980s as well as in text-based performance and interdisciplinary collaboration. Harryman has received numerous awards including a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Art; grants from the National Performance Network and Opera America, Next Stage; awards in poetry from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and the Fund for Poetry, and the NEA Consortium Playwrights Commission.  She is a Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University, and she serves on the summer faculty of the MFA Program of the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College.

Please RSVP by emailing petra@umich.edu, and join us to celebrate Carla Harryman, Kenning Editions, local collectives and concrete utopias.

Access Notes: Ramp access, hypoallergenic doggie on the premises, queer/trans friendly, neurodiversity friendly, let us know of additional access requirements.

Special Workshop on MLK Day
Kundalini Yoga and Meditation: Creativity in 2018 with Stephanie Heit
Monday, January 15
free (please bring a small offering: an apple, a poem, a dollar…)

Let’s celebrate the power of dreams and creativity and set our intentions for the new year in this special workshop that utilizes Kundalini yoga, live gong relaxation, writing, and drawing. We will practice a yoga kriya to open our creative channels and then map our creative desires for 2018 onto the page. Visualize rainbow colors moving up your spine, chant the mantra for creative consciousness and set yourself for a year of creation and joy.

No experience necessary, all bodyminds welcome, disability culture friendly, gender neutral language.

Community Yogi Tea offered after workshop.

To register, email Stephanie: stephanieheit@gmail.com