As a young adolescent, Sonja trained as a competitive gymnast, training over five hours a day, year round. In high school, she stopped training competitively and began taking dance classes. Sonja fell in love with the creative, physical expressiveness of dance.
In college, she joined the St. Olaf Modern Dance Company and danced daily. As part of her junior year abroad, Sonja was selected for an independent study/service program in Bethel bei Bielefel, where she studied movement therapy and worked with people with a variety of physical, emotional and mental challenges. In her study/service proposal Sonja wrote: “I am particularly interested in studying the importance of movement as a means to express oneself and to better one’s self understanding.”
After graduating from college, Sonja continued dancing and worked in a residential facility with adolescents with significant behavioral challenges. Inspired by some of the residents, Sonja choreographed a solo in which she shared stories through movement, words, and song. With this choreography, she applied to graduate school in Dance at UCLA, where she received a full scholarship. She earned a Masters in Choreography & Performance and Dance Education. Sonja was awarded a year-long grant from DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) to study Pina Bausch’s TanzTheater (DanceTheater) and dance at Folkwanghochschule conservatory in Germany.
While she was training at the Folkwanghochschule, Sonja was introduced to the Feldenkrais Method.