bachannalI loved the observation in Daniel Levitin’s book Your Brain on Music that in tribal cultures there are usually not two different words for musician and dancer, because there is not this division between performer and audience.

Instead, everyone is a dancer, everyone is a singer, everyone is a drummer, we are all in the experience of music and movement together….

By contrast, we often learn to think that only certain people have the right to sing or dance in front of others.

This reminds me of the #1 reason so many people never take the plunge into the power and beauty of dance as a community experience and transformative spiritual practice:

They feel too self-conscious.

Learned shame.

Also called: Fear of looking silly.

A sense that it is just not possible to let go and enjoy music, movement and being openly expressive and playful in community.

But this is not true! With practice, so many things that seemed impossible can change…

I had these obstacles too.

Dear friends invited me to my first ecstatic dance class with Jo Cobbett and Michael Skelton almost weekly for about 8 months before I gathered up the courage to actually walk through the door!

Once I did, I never looked back —and I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long…

I found a community of respectful, supportive, playful people, and a practice that provided a rich opportunity to experience myself and others as vibrant, alive, powerful, beautiful and inspired works of art.

Seriously. Works of art. 

Imperfect works in progress —yet whole in our incompleteness…

The flow states we enter together, the moments of insight, healing and liberation from self-judgment, the poignant, fierce and flat out ecstatic moments of transcending the narrow habit patterns, limiting beliefs, and just letting the walls fall down, are revelatory, profound and life-changing for me.

Now, facilitating, DJ-ing, holding space for that magic is such a honor, so much fun, and it feels like coming full circle to give back to a community that has meant so much to me over close to 20 years.

We meet every Tuesday night at the Church in Ocean Park and every Thursday night at Full Circle Venice.

What a privilege it is! On Dance Tribe days, I walk in an hour early to set up my equipment and prepare the room, and every time I have the same moment as I enter the empty room.ecstatic dance too

Stopped in my tracks, a smile on my face, taking in the empty space, the high ceilings, the stained glass windows. Knowing that the room will soon be transformed:  filled with sincere, playful, passionate dancers, resonant with music, colored by night and soft lighting — that a journey will unfold in the sacred space woven by support, permission, breath, movement and rhythm.

One thought always echoes through my mind: “Wow, I get to do this, here, tonight….”