See & Be Seen

A Fusion Dance residency with Irina Akulenko

See & Be Seen:


Fusion Dance Residency with

irina akulenko

Join us for a 6 day fusion dance intensive which focuses on exploring the creative process and guiding perception at Villa Shakti Crete, situated in a breathtaking Greek landscape!

GROUP 1 – Sunday, July 16 – Saturday, July 22

GROUP 2 –  Sunday, July 23 – Saturday, July 29

Stay on or offsite.


Applications now open

Applications now open: Email Irina to apply...

The Program

A Dance Residency with Irina Akulenko


This six day retreat is a unique blend of fusion dance technique sessions, creative process exercises and outdoor group video projects, facilitated by Irina Akulenko, set in a secluded location in Crete, Greece. Equal parts dance classes, fitness and fusion belly dance technique drills and choreography will be mixed with downtime at the beach and in beautiful mountains, all designed to feed your muse, and help widen your perspective for both how you create your art and how you will choose to experience your performances and be seen by the audience. 

We will tap into a large variety of techniques needed for both intimate and large-stage performances, use veils, fans and other props in unconventional ways, explore unusual sources of inspiration, work on developing your personal creative process, do collaborative and solo fusion dance presentations as well as record several outdoor group performances, in breathtaking settings. This will be a deep dive both within and without, as we tap into what is necessary in order to find your unique voice as well as how to guide others to witness it. You will be given a lot of creative challenges and it will be up to you how much to do, and how much to reflect. Discussions and development will continue both inside and outside the dance studio, for the duration of the entire time we are together.

About 1.5 months before the program will begin, supporting materials and costume requirements (group video outfits will need to be color-coordinated) will be shared with the participants, through a private Facebook group where you’ll be able to meet your new friends and prepare for this adventure. This years’ theme is “Lucid Dreaming” and we will dive into the theme through dreamy and surreal prompts, ideas and exercises. We will work on capturing that elusive feeling both in performance and in daily life.

Due to the intimate nature of this program and the amount of feedback that will be offered, this group is limited to only 14 participants. Registration is first come: first serve. 

Group 1:  July 16 – 22

This program is open level! Understanding belly dance basics is required – so a minimum of 6 months of belly dance practice is necessary. Performance experience is not necessary. Bring an open heart and an open mind. This group will record one group video performance project.

Group 2:  July 23 – 29

This program is aimed at intermediate to professional level dancers, eager to dive deep and explore their own creative process and who enjoy collaborative team work. Performance experience is required. Recent performance video submission is necessary in order to apply to this group. This group will record a minimum of two video performance projects.

For further questions regarding this dance program, please contact Irina directly:

For questions regarding accommodations at Villa Shakti Crete, please contact:


Please read our updated Terms & Conditions Page before you register, which includes: *School Cancellation Policy, *School & Villa Shakti Policies, *Health & Safety in Covid Times, and *Assumption of Risk. 

About Irina:

Irina Akulenko is a New York City-based artist, with a burning passion for arts of all genres. Since 2001, Irina explored both Egyptian Cabaret and American Tribal Style belly dance, Classical Indian (Odissi), contemporary, and Flamenco and now enjoys fusing these art forms. Today, Irina performs on various New York stages and tours nationally and internationally as a soloist fusion dancer; offers numerous online classes in a variety of styles: is a teacher and principal dancer with Bellyqueen Dance Theater and choreographer and Assistant Director for NASA-powered multimedia show Bella Gaia.

daily schedule

(Approximate Schedule – Subject to change)

  • 9-10 am – Breakfast
  • 10:15 – 1:30 pm – Dance Session in Studio
  • 1:30 pm – Lunch
  • 2:30 – 5:30  pm Beach time/Day trip
  • 5:30 – 7:30 pm – Site specific work
  • 8:00 pm – Dinner (Dinners off-site are not included)

AccommodationS & PRICES

(2 per room, shared bathroom, includes meals and transport)

The rooms at Villa Shakti includes bath towel set, Greek beach towel, bedding and blankets, table fan, WIFI, access to apartment kitchen, spacious living room and dining area, cable TV.  Places are limited.  The house is strictly vegetarian.


  • 20+ hours Training in 6 days
  • Double Share Room at Villa Shakti
  • 12 Healthy Vegetarian meals (dinners at local tavernas are not covered)
  • Transportation (All Day trips, Airport Pick up and Drop off shuttle)

*Village Apartments are a 10-15 minute walk from Villa Shakti through the beautiful countryside.

(up to 4 per room, single beds, shared bathroom, includes meals and transport)

These traditional restored apartments are a 10 minute walk from Villa Shakti on peaceful a country road. The apartments are in a rustic traditional village with a plentiful organic garden, traditional orthodox church, goats, a fresh spring fountain and many flowers!


  • 20+ hours Training in 6 days
  • 12 Healthy Vegetarian meals (dinner at local tavernas are not covered)
  • Transportation (Day trips, Airport Pick up and Drop off shuttle)

*Transportation NOT included to/from Villa Shakti.  This option is for those staying offsite, and want to rent a car.  You will be responsible to drive yourself on our daily nature trips and to arrive/depart Villa Shakti from Airport. We do offer transportation option for a package fee (email us for details)

Includes 4 lunches, as well as our Welcome Dinner and Farewell Brunch.

If you are looking for more privacy, you will find many other villas, Airbnb and rentals nearby our village of Aikirgiannis (Topolia).  We suggest you have a look at Airbnb or We recommend looking in the Topolia area and no farther than Kissamos so travel time to classes are not an issue. You can use the FB event page to post if you are looking for others to share a villa with you. You will need your own rental car for this option to get to/from your accommodations. Greece is a very popular summer destination so book soon!


  • 20+ hours Training in 6 days
  • 6 Healthy Vegetarian meals on site per week 


We enjoy offering a healthy Vegetarian take on local Cretan recipes. Cretan and Greek cuisine is full of roasted vegetables, rices dishes, cucumber salads and of course, a decadent selection of homemade local cheeses! Occasionally we change up the menu by preparing mild Ayurvedic Indian food or Italian pasta, etc. All meals are served buffet style – all you can eat! Special dietary needs such as vegan, gluten free, and allergies can be catered to with prior notice.

*Our villa is strictly Vegetarian in celebration of life! Yet we can offer you local goat, sheep and cow cheese and a range of farm to table dairy products.


Breakfast: Coffee/tea, fruit, toast and spreads, yogurt, granola, porridge, smoothie.

Lunch:  Main dish,  2 salads, bakery breads, spreads, vegetable side dishes, local olive oil/olives, ice teas infusions.

Dinner:  Main dish, salads, bakery breads, spreads, bean dish, vegetable side dishes, local olive oil / olives, and desert!


Check IN Day (July 16 or 23) – Welcome dinner feast served at sunset on the veranda!

Daily Breakfast served for all participants staying onsite

Lunch and Dinners provided most days – 1 lunch and 3 dinners will be off-site 

Off-site guests are provided 6 meals (welcome dinner, farewell brunch and 4 lunches)


Guests will want to arrive to the closest airport: Chania (CHQ).  Airport it is a 1 hour drive to the villa.  Heraklion is 3-4 hours drive. We will have an orientation dinner on the evening of July 16 (open level) or July 23 (advanced level)

Most visitors on Crete rent a car to enjoy exploring the wild nature and beaches. This is what we always recommend to guests since there are many secret beaches and isolated trails to discover on the Western side of the island within an hours drive.

The cost of transportation  is now included in your tuition. Villa Shakti is in a rural location, so please be aware buses are not an option and taxis will need to be booked in advance.

Scheduled Shuttle Transportation Includes:

(Times are fixed, no exceptions.)

ARRIVAL DAY (July 16 or 23):

  • Chania Port Pick up at 5 pm
  • Chania Airport Pick up at 5:30 pm

DEPARTURE DAY (July 22 or 29):

  • Chania Port Drop off at 12 pm
  • Chania Airport Drop off at 12:30 pm 


  • Daily nature trips: each day we will discover new beaches and landscapes

Please meet our driver at the scheduled times, the driver can not wait for late passengers.  If your flight arrives or departs at another time than the scheduled shuttle pick up/drop of times, you can easily get a local taxi to/from Airport to Chania Port to enjoy some time there and then meet at the scheduled time and location to catch your ride to Villa Shakti.

Please Note: No late arrivals allowed after 9 pm on check-in day. 

If you wish to have your own car, we recommend booking online. Prices are approximately €25-45 per day / per vehicle.  Non EU licensed drivers will need and International Driving License to drive in Greece.


Program fills up on a first come, first serve basis!

Please see cost breakdown in Accommodation & Prices section (above).

Please read our updated Terms & Conditions Page before you register, which includes: *School Cancellation Policy, *School & Villa Shakti Policies, *Health & Safety in Covid Times, and *Assumption of Risk. 

registration open

Applications now open: Email Irina to apply...

Official Cancelation Policy

The Shakti School of Dance /Shakti Summer School cancellation and refund policy is in place to guarantee the fair allocation of slots in the program to students who have been accepted and are ready to commit.

Your registration payment to SSD/SSS is not refundable, returnable or transferable to a future workshop or to another person. No exceptions. Even in the case of medical or family emergencies, etc.  Because there is an application and selection process, students can not ‘sell their spot’ in the program to another person.

Please register with full awareness of the agreement you are entering into. Payment (via Paypal), as well as this ‘Mandatory Waiver Form’ must be completed upon acceptance in the given time period to guarantee enrollment in the Intensive sessions.

Health/Safety: Student agrees to inform SSD/SSS Administration of any health conditions or important medications they are taking. Student assumes full responsibility for her/his safety and all risks of participating in this training and while enrolled at SSD/SSS. We hold no responsibility for any such illness or injury that a student sustains while enrolled in the program.

Students who cancel will not be eligible for refunds as per our official cancellation policy.  *By completing your payment, you have agreed to our refund terms and conditions already.

We look forward to welcoming you to
Villa Shakti Crete!

For questions not already answered on this website, please contact us