Use your smile to change the world. Don’t let the world change your smile. ~Anonymous

Are you someone who hosts a dance? Do you teach classes or DJ somewhere? Maybe you’re on a team of volunteers that show’s up every week to make a gathering happen?

If you’re like me, there’s something ineffable about getting together with a group of people to move and feel good together on a regular basis.

There’s lots of reasons to do it, some of us do it for fitness, some of us do it for spiritual reasons, for some folks it’s just a straight up business proposition. For some, it’s all of the above and more.

For over two years, I’ve been carrying the organizers torch for a long-running weekly event in Berkeley California called Dance Jam. We are one of the oldest continuously running barefoot-freestyle type dances on the West Coast. Our roots go back four decades to the late 70’s.

I discovered Dance Jam back in the early 2000’s, it was one of the formative events that started the mental wheels turning and led to the launch of Conscious Dancer, which has become the namesake of the conscious dance movement.

Many great acquaintances have formed, and a lot of long-lasting friendships have developed on our dance floor. We take great delight in holding a special kind of space — warm, friendly, and not too woo-woo.

Today is my birthday, and this past Friday night was my birthday dance. Where were you in ’62? I pulled out a special set of records and played the whole night, celebrating with a lot of my all-time-favorite tracks, everything from Bohannon to Bowie, Lorde to Little Feat.

I was pleasantly surprised to see about 30 of our most devoted regulars show up, with all the smoke and haze in the air from the North Bay fires it was looking like we might cancel for the evening. Fortunately the fires are starting to get under control, and with rain in the forecast later this week we hope to put them behind us soon and start the long road to recovery.

Often when I’m DJ’ing, I’ll put on a long record and come out from behind the turntables to bounce around the floor and join in the dance. I love to soak up the joy and movement and feel the texture of the movement. Last Friday I realized what it is that makes moving people with the music on my records so special.

Simply put, it’s the smiles! The looks of absolute joy people get on their faces when they’re deep in the groove is priceless! I get to see expressions on folks that rarely appear in day-to-day life, and it’s such a blast to know that the records me and my other DJ’s mix at Dance Jam are the catalyst that takes them there.

Next time you’re dancing or moving with a group of people, (especially to live music or analog vinyl), notice the radiant expressions that emerge on people’s faces, including your own. The dance is a special place where you can share feelings that go beyond the ordinary, in depth, range, and emotion.

It’s worth it to feel more, give more, and open up more. Whether you’re someone who makes a dance happen, or simply loves to move, share your brightest smile and feel the joy that you generate.

All the best and much love till next week!


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Dance First Member Spotlight – Amara Pagano & Azul, Pierpaolo de Angelis & One Dance Tribe!

This week’s Dance First member spotlight shines on Amara Pagano and Azul Conscious Movement and her partner Pierpaolo de Angelis and One Dance Tribe!

The Path of Azul is her brainchild and moving inspiration, it’s a dynamic modality and philosophy all in one. Amara is one of the leading lights in the conscious dance world, and together with Pierpaolo de Angelis they are the driving forces behind the One Dance Tribe gatherings that happen annually in Hawaii and Europe.

This is a big month in the world of Azul, she’s leading Module Two of the Azul Teacher Training from Oct 18-27, followed by the 6-day residential Azul Trilogy Workshop “Three Portals of Healing” both happening on her home turf of Maui.

For folks in the Northeast region, you can make plans for the Azul “Threshold” Workshop happening over New Year’s from December 29th to January 1st in Greenwich, Connecticut, followed by“Transforming Suffering into Joy” in Camden, Maine from Jan 5th to 7th.

And the next One Dance Tribe International Conscious Movement Gathering takes place January 18th to 24th in Hawaii on the island of Maui. These gatherings are well-known around the world as the premiere place to gather and move with the leading lights of the conscious dance world.

If you haven’t gone to the Path of Azul website and joined their mailing list, do so at once. You’ll get all the latest updates, plus you’ll be notified in advance every month for their free guided movement session, the Azul Online Offering.

Take a look at the Azul calendar too, and see where you can experience the magic of Amara Pagano and the Azul tribe, all over Europe, the US, Hawaii, and more.

Thank you so much Amara and Pierpaolo! You do so much for the conscious dance field at large, and have created such a deep practice with Azul. We’re delighted to support your work though the Conscious Dancer network and with the services of the Dance First Association.

Path of Azul Website
Azul Calendar
One Dance Tribe