All You Need is Love.

~ Lennon – McCartney

Are you the kind of person who seeks out unique experiences? Would you say that your friendships and community are really important for you? Do you ever go out of your way to find novel activities?

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “you can’t take it with you.” The Beatles sang about love being all you need. And the question of whether or not money can buy you happiness remains open.

It’s an interesting question, and a recent study suggested that there are actually two forms of happiness: day-to-day contentment (emotional well-being) and overall “life assessment,” which means broader satisfaction with one’s place in the world.

Apparently your satisfaction level with your life increases along with your income, but your day-to-day contentment plateaus at around $75,000 per year. In other words, beyond that level of income, you don’t increase your emotional well-being.

The reason I’m bringing this up this week is because of a conversation I was having at Dance Camp. I just returned from the Northern California Dance Collective’s annual summer gathering at Camp Hye Sierra where I was DJing a special set of 60’s and 70’s records for the Summer of Love 50th anniversary theme.

We were sitting around the dinner table discussing the ‘conscious dance’ phenomenon and speculating on what makes it different than other social or cultural movements. Why does it continue to fly under the mainstream radar year after year?

What occurred to me is that conscious dance is not a consumer movement. There’s very little in the way of products or trappings that are required to participate. It’s a social and personal experience, not an acquirable commodity.

There’s so much less to buy in the first place. Forget footwear, we dance barefoot. We don’t need designer carry-bags and the accessories are minimal. There’s nothing to wear as a badge of honor that marks us as conscious dancers when we walk down the street. Cool clothing certainly compliments the practice, but no one frowns on folks who shop at the Goodwill.

It’s the social dynamic that provides the glue for so much of the conscious dance world. We were joking about it at Dance Camp, it’s the health food stores and salad bars that are raking in the revenue from conscious dancers, all those post-dance picnics in parks around the world are where the money gets spent.

The thing is, experiences can be transformative, while possessions rarely are. When a transformative experience is repeated or developed into a practice, it builds up resonance and becomes woven into the fabric of life. Experiences are the ineffable content that builds our character and creates our life stories.

Things, i.e. consumer products, can represent milestones, and certainly bring their own form of satisfaction, and indeed many are necessary for day-to-day life. But ‘stuff’ is always subject to decay and entropy, requiring energy for upkeep and maintenance, or at the very least storage. We often see people flaunting their excess in the form of status symbols.

Stuff collected in the name of creating experiences for yourself and other people sits in a special category. I’m thinking about things like musical instruments or my vinyl record collection. We are metaphysical beings inhabiting a three dimensional world. We need our tools to shape our world, whether it’s knives for a chef, sage for a shaman, or tongs for a blacksmith.

But the most valuable thing that people identify when it comes to conscious dance is a feeling of shared energy and flow that happens when a group of people are moving together with a shared intention. This ‘field’ isn’t something that can be bottled up and sold or put in a box and shipped somewhere.

This is one of the reasons behind the big shift in business models we made with Conscious Dancer a couple of years ago. When we were trying to play the ‘consumer-magazine-on-the-newstand’ game, my job as publisher was to convince the marketing executives at big companies that conscious dancers would buy lots of their stuff. It put me in the impersonal role of selling our demographic to faceless corporations.

For me, it’s much more gratifying and valuable for the field in general to focus on helping the facilitators and modality founders grow their practices and build their audience. Working directly with the leaders is far more satisfying than convincing some CEO that you all are going to buy their shoes. The Dance First Association serves you directly to become more successful doing what you love.

So there may never be a chain of retail stores catering specifically to conscious dancers. But that’s not the only way to measure the importance and value of a social movement. More and more, the younger folks growing up in todays world are placing greater emphasis on experiences. Our field of conscious dance is there to innovate as the thirst for real transformation and human connection continues to grow.

Thanks for being part of this positive trend in today’s world. You’re making a huge difference with every dance and moment of embodied presence, so keep dancing and making waves of positivity!

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

Dance First Member Spotlight

Dance First Member Spotlight

Adelle Brownlee Brewer & The Synergy Studio in San Antonio!

Today’s spotlight is shining on a long-time Conscious Dancer community member who has been bringing joy and movement to her corner of the world for many years.

Adelle Brownlee Brewer is a savvy movement entrepreneur who is the driving force behind The Synergy Studio in San Antonio Texas. She’s put together more than just a studio, it’s a community hub and destination for embodiment that’s become a valuable resource for the entire Texas region.

The Synergy Studio offers a range of conscious dance and movement modalities such as Nia, JourneyDance, hoop dance, Pilates Mat, African dance, drumming, massage, bodywork, and teacher trainings. A wide variety of Yoga forms such as aerial, Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Restorative, and Yoga for Athletes all play a part as well.

Located under the big beer can in a revitalized part of downtown San Antonio, Synergy plays a big part in creating a local buzz. Visitors for teacher trainings enjoy a range of great food and friendly local accommodations nearby.

Adelle is a well-loved member of the Nia Technique Somatic Education training community, as well as a JourneyDance facilitator, Transformational Breath Certified Coach and Trainer, Reiki Sensei, and professional Fiber Artist. That’s a lot of credentials to pack on to one business card!

More recently Adelle has been one of the strongest advocates for Nia FreeDance, a barefoot movement form designed to “awaken the artist within and to stimulate an individual’s Art of Conscious Dance.”

Check out The Synergy Studio online and learn more about Adelle’s San Antonio movement community. And if you’re planning a trip through Texas, be sure to make a stop at The Synergy Studio for a class or workshop!

Thanks so much for all your hard work and dedication to the field Adelle! You’re an amazing leader and contributor to the world of embodiment and we really appreciate your membership in the Dance First Association!

Join Adelle and co-facilitator Joanie Brooks for an upcoming Nia FreeDance Weekend!

Nia FreeDance Weekend
July 15-16, Lewisville, TX

Nia FreeDance Weekend
Sept 9-10, San Antonio, TX