About us

Theiya Arts comes from the hearts of Gaby Albornoz and Karen Watts. We are passionate about Indian classical dance forms, both as teachers and performers. Karen and Gaby teach Bharatanatyam, Yoga and Meditation in Edinburgh, and around Scotland.

The word Theiya is a combination of different cultural concepts that resonated with Gaby and Karen at the inception of this organisation. 

In Greek mythology, the goddess Theia, the eldest daughter of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky) is regarded as the mother of the Sun and the Moon. She is referred to as the “wide-shining one”. Inspired by the idea of the contrasts and opposites that are ever-present in our daily life, and acknowledging that only when these two halves come together can our existence be whole, the name Theiya started to ring true. We sought a name that would stand for unity in diversity and that celebrated difference – the one thing we all have in common. The sun and the moon in our logo are the visual elements that help us represent this. 

Finally, ‘Theiya’ is a nod to one of the first sets of steps we learn as Indian classical dancers – and represents the art tradition that brought Karen and Gaby together in the first place.

It became clear that this should be the name of our organisation, a combination of the most basic part of our dance practice, and word that would also remind us of the fundamental truth of our respect for diversity and the unique imprint of every individual.

The green Tara mantra at the top of our logo represents the goddess of compassion and promotes healing, regeneration, and growth. We knew from the start that we wanted our organisation to also focus on these concepts and that this would be one of our guiding principles throughout our work.

Both Gaby and Karen have a background in Indian classical dance and a passion for using their skills to support the health and wellbeing of others. They each also come with their own addition strengths and skillsets.

- Gaby Albornoz -

Gaby has a background in journalism and work experience in the business sector.

After moving to Scotland she applied her work experience to the arts by starting to work as a project and event manager and she is currently involved in different projects as a producer in the arts. She has also been working on different outreach projects and teaches dance classes regularly.

'I guess it was simply inevitable,  after my first class of Indian Classical Dance, that was it. Something made sense in my brain and my body, both at the same time! I felt connected, full and free.

Slowly but surely I started a process in which dance became a healing tool capable of providing the balance between the mind and the body. Challenging as it was, dance became the centre of my day to day life, a source of passion and joy and the inspiration to constant evolution.'

Gaby joined Güngur Indian Fine Arts Buenos Aires in 2008 and began my training under the guidance of Natalia Salgado  in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam becoming part of Güngur's dance company in 2011. 

In 2015, after moving to Scotland, she joined Ihayami School  and soon became part of the  Dance Ihayami School teaching regular classes and touring with the dance company. 

She regularly travels to India to train with renowned  Kishore & Padmavani Mosalikanti (Kuchipudi) as well as Viraja & Shiyamjit Kiran (Bharatanatyam).

Our Board

- Karen Watts -

Karen has a background in community development and is a qualified yoga teacher, and has extensive experience of working in the charity sector. She has managed and delivered a vast array of community engagement projects over the past 20 years, and has worked with thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

She began her training in Indian classical dance (Bharatanatyam) under Priya Shrikumar and Jayan Kumar in 2003, undertaking her Arangetram (a dancer’s first solo performance) in January 2009 at Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, Tamil Nadu, India. Prior to Bharatanatyam, Karen trained in classical ballet (Cecchetti method) for 20 years. Karen was a company dancer with Dance Ihayami for 12 years and administered and taught at Dance Ihayami School. As a dancer with Dance Ihayami, Karen has been involved with various creative projects and collaborations with other artists and art forms. She initiated Dance Ihayami’s outreach programme in 2006 and for the following 12 years coordinated and implemented an array of outreach projects throughout Scotland.

Her learning process in yoga started not long after she moved to Scotland in 2003. She really enjoys how yoga has changed her for the better over the years, mentally and physically, and helped her think about life and how she would like to contribute to this world.

Passionate about being able to help people through yoga and to find comfort and peace in their lives Karen completed her Yoga Teacher Training with Sunshine Yoga on the Chandra Yoga Teacher Training course in 2019.

Dr Martin Reijns


Neeta Mathur


Nithyashree Vijayakumar

Jayanthi Santhanam

Lucas Ziccardi

Our Partners

We are lucky to have found just the perfect partners for our projects. They inspire us to keep growing and continue the work in our best capacity

'We are dedicated to fulfilling his legacy by inspiring, empowering, and supporting people of all ages, cultures and abilities, as an expression of his compassionate social values. Our mission is to be at the heart of the community; enhancing health and well-being and improving peoples’ lives.'

'We believe that nothing should get in the way of being a child. We exist to transform the experiences of children and young people in hospital so they can be a child first and a patient second.'

'We are a community-led arts charity and social enterprise, set up by local people in 1992. Our mission is to be the creative heart of a vibrant, thriving community.'

Scottish Indian Arts Forum (SIAF), a registered Scottish charity (SC033214) , had been promoting Indian culture and arts, in and around Edinburgh, through different music and dance events around key Indian festivals since its inception in August 1994.

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