Val has lived in Greece since 1974 and moved to Corfu in 1977 with her husband, Dennis, who restored both Lucciola Inn and Casa Lucia. They ran the two locations together until 1987 when the business moved exclusively to the self-catering cottages of Casa Lucia. As manager she has dealt with all aspects of the business: bookings, reception, purchasing, accounts, personnel, maintenance, publicity and correspondence.
After initially concentrating purely on the regular tourist industry, she diversified into t'ai chi workshops and classes inviting teachers from Thailand, China, Greece and all over Europe. These gradually expanded to include yoga, walking tours, painting holidays, writing and poetry etc. She was at the same time practising t'ai chi as well as co-leading classes for local residents, eventually qualifying as a certified teacher in the European School of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. The regular local classes continue and expand; and she also co-teaches some of the workshops.
Alongside this, as her children were growing up, she was involved in setting up and running educational projects in Corfu, in particular the Guilford Youth Centre which provided extra-curricular activities and sports for children of all ages as well as foundation courses for University entrance abroad; and the SOS environmental group made up of several local families whose main activity was cleaning beaches and stretches of countryside, and campaigning for correct rubbish collection and disposal. She is proud that all the children involved in these projects have either gone on to become environmental officers, organic farmers, and ecological activists; or are positively leading their lives in the most environmentally friendly ways possible. Local authorities also took note and responsibility for cleaning up the island and now even have a recycling unit.
An alternative, ecological way of living and conducting business is therefore second nature to her; and she is well qualified and keenly disposed to expand into a new ecologically built studio on land that she bought next door to the Casa Lucia – an ideal site to allow the existing accommodation and event room, gardens and swimming pool to support the new studio.
Zoë Valerie (nee Androutsopoulou)
Zoë grew up in Corfu where Sotiris Bouhayar and Angeliki Pouli were her dance teachers and she danced with the Kerkiraiko Ergastiri Horou. She completed her postgraduate degree in Choreological Studies, Choreography and Education in 2002 at the Laban Centre, London. From then until 2009 she lived, worked and studied further in Amsterdam. Some of her more recent teachers are: Frey Faust, Julyen Hamilton, David Zambrano, Kenzo Kusuda, Lily Kiara, Michael Schumacher and Katie Duck.
Since 1999 she performs, choreographs and teaches in various projects with children and adults with and without special needs (mental and physical). Her dancing work includes Ekphorize, performed in London, Portugal and Spain and MEMO (Memorable Moments) in nurseries and schools in Amsterdam. She teaches courses in dance technique, creative movement and improvisation for all ages. Some examples of her teaching projects are:
- creative movement workshops in Special Education Centres for children and adults culminating in public performances
- 'jumparound workshops' and 'alaloom': creative movement workshops with live music for families, focusing on the expansion and development of the creative relationship between parent and child
- 'score opening workshops': workshops for movers and sound makers developing active and responsive performance behaviours in flexible and adaptive composition and score opening games
She has choreographed and directed various performances involving both able and disabled performers in London, Amsterdam and Corfu. A few of these are:
- 'pocketful of people' in 2002, an open work developing flexible, adaptive compositional and performance strategies involving musicians, dancers and a writer. This was performed in non theatre spaces in London
- 'negombwe' in 2005, an open score piece for three dancers, a singer and a musician, performed in Amsterdam
- in 2009 she co-directed and danced in 'if' an open score piece for three musicians, two dancers and an artist, performed at Casa Lucia
For over a decade now she has worked (individually and in groups) with people of all ages with various conditions such as quadriplegia, autism, degenerative neurological diseases, Down syndrome, Myo-skeletal Atrophy Werdnig-Hoffmann, injuries and more. She also teaches 'Bodylistening', an amalgam she has developed from various therapeutic methods, movement techniques, improvisation and choreological study. 'Bodylistening' cultivates detailed perception, awareness and management of the bodymind, re-connecting with the precious wisdom that we embody naturally and its innate tendency towards health and self-healing.