The Gilded Serpent presents...


Barbara has always danced. Her father’s boat Wave Dancer was named after her .She began dancing in the waves at her beach home in Rye, on her father’s boats and in creative movement class in New York City at the Jean Erdman Dance studio at age 4. The early years of Ballet, in her home town of Rye, New York, 3 days a week were with Natasha Redel , a devoted student of the famed Michael Fokine family and Madame Swaboda. At 16 Barbara attended the Washington School of Ballet with Mary Day. Senior year of high school found Barbara in New York City attending the Professional Children’s school where she was on scholarship at The Joffrey School of Ballet.

Barbara received her Baccalaureate of Fine Arts in Dance from State University of Purchase, NewYork. At Purchase she studied all the dance arts - Ballet, Graham, Limon and, Cunningham, dance history, composition, improvisation, dance theatre and it is where she fell in love with Modern Dance.

After college she danced in New York City as a pick up dancer for several modern dance companies – Grethe Holby, Asakawalker, Dancer’s Company, Susan Dibble & Co to name only a few. For a year she lived in Boulder Colorado where she danced with Nancy Spanier’s Dance Theatre . But the East Coast, the water and her creative solo dance journey called her home

She moved to Rhode Island where she married Mark Donahue and started their family in Tiverton. Her dance and family have always been inseparable. Adam was born 22 years ago. Three months later Barbara began teaching choreographing for local troops. Jaeke was born 20 years ago. Soon after his birth she started Tanagra Movement Theatre Company with partner Michelle Bach of Brown University. They ran their company for 5 years. Izabelle was born 17 years ago. Barbara then started teaching creative movement, ballet , modern, art and movement classes for children and additional pilates for adults. Her children don’t dance with her but they are all phenomenal dancers and athletes.

Barbara opened a local dance studio called The Dancing Spirit Studio which has become her trademark dance name. She performed, taught and created community shows for all ages of dancers using modern dance, art, theatre and stories until 5 years ago when her father passed away. At that time she seriously considered doing something completely different with her life but on a whim she took a belly dance class and voondebah! – her dance life was recharged and completely altered. Barbara has been reinventing herself and her dance through the intense study of all aspects of the art of belly dance.

For these last 6 years she has had the joyful, lucky opportunity to follow the belly dance path and to study with many great and passionate teachers. She has performed in as many different venues as she could find or create here in her quiet New England town. She was able travel to travel to Turkey, then Monaco where she studied belly dance. Recently she traveled to Mexico where she taught and performed. She includes a list of her teachers on her website. Barbara currently has a studio on the Main Road of her home town in Tiverton, Rhode Island. She is continually trying to learn more about the dance which is an endless study of the world. She is also always trying to spread the joy and knowledge of the dance to all her students. A future project is to to share her journey of this dance in a book and on a video tape. Barbara believes the world needs to joyfully dance much more and if we all did we would be happier and would feel better. Barb’s favorite dance quote is “You might as well dance!”

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Barbara

  • An Inconvenient Body Truth
    Therefore, here I am now, having worked very hard to learn as much as possible to master my body, invest in the costumes, and—Bam!—suddenly, menopause has hit me!