This week’s Dance First Spotlight is from Kristen Mangione, founder of LÎLA – Dance Alchemy for the Soul.

Dear Dancers,

This year has been anything but business as usual.

If I had to choose one word to describe my experience of 2020, it would be transformation. I have come to love this word because it’s about radical metamorphosis.

It’s not about fixing, changing, or making something better. Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly – it’s not an upgraded version of itself- but literally a NEW self.

I have spent the majority of this year transforming LÎLA – Dance Alchemy for the Soul. And, like a caterpillar to a butterfly, this transformation has become the perfect metaphor for what this practice actually is.

Previously, I had led LÎLA workshops and programs in in-person group settings in my small (but cozy…) studio. My home away from home, the studio is tucked away in Hoboken, NJ, just outside New York City. I adored the small and deeply committed community we built during LÎLA’s conception and infancy stages. Seeing the incredible transformation taking place in each of my students’ lives was riveting. The radical shifts in their lives, as a direct result of their discovering limiting patterns and fears in our classes, were staggering.

LÎLA’s foundation is actually rooted in transformation. In it, guided movement, inquiry, and the imagination are used for discovery. We work with the eyes mostly closed, and the movement is found from within. Concepts from the Chakras and Eastern philosophy are explored through the body with awareness. Students discover something hidden, like how they approach safety, courage, trust, or intuition. This discovery extends from the studio and into their entire lives. What they get in the studio they take back into their life. That’s where the real magic lives.

Much of my response to this pandemic has been to create. LÎLA’s transformation and sharing it with others has kept me busy and, quite frankly, sane. One of the silver linings of this pandemic was the forced shutting down of old structures making way for four new programs this year-

A reclamation of Life Purpose through the Chakras for Women (Dance Your Way to Power & Purpose)

A falling in love with Dance and Self again for Professional Dancers (The Dancer’s Path to Clarity & Confidence)

A recalibration of Reality to hope, safety, and connection during this COVID pandemic world (Recalibrating Reality)

And the upcoming, Casting Light, for releasing the challenges of 2020 by bringing light, ritual, and inner divinity back into oneself through Dance Alchemy©, meditation, and energy awareness.

Creating and sharing each one of these programs has been a metamorphosis for me. What I am most struck by is that there is always possibility, even in our most challenging times. It calls us to be, beyond our old ways of being and circumstances, to discover what COULD be possible. “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…” I marvel at this with my virtual communities of students, now all over the globe.

To learn more about LÎLA and the upcoming “Casting Light” workshop visit:

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