Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

~John Dewey

Have you ever had a craving to learn more about something? Or studied so hard you thought your head would explode? What about teaching, does that help you understand something better?

It’s a funny thing about learning, you’d think that at some point we would reach our fill, but really we seem to have a pretty much infinite capacity to keep going. And one of the real keys to being happy in life is the feeling of making progress. Progress is the secret sauce of fulfillment, without it we start to stagnate and go round in circles.

And the word ‘education’ is certainly a big one. It can mean anything from a full-fledged university degree, with all of the credentials and lofty acronyms that can follow a name to the oft-mentioned ‘school-of-hard-knocks’ that gets bandied about so often. The shape of education is sure changing in this modern technologically driven world we’re living in.

It used to be that classrooms and lectures were the only way to get an academic foundation in a topic, now we’ve got online learning, tele-seminars, and eBooks, not to mention internships, mentorships, and field studies. And as I’m sure you’re well aware, just because someone has a shingle on their wall and the hours under their belt, it doesn’t mean they have as firm of a grasp on a subject as that passionate person who devoted themselves to self-study and first-hand experience.

One of the things I do here in my role as Director of The Dance First Association is help some of our members or my one-on-one coaching clients develop their training programs and curriculums. When it comes to teaching people about the philosophies of embodiment or movement in general, I like to help people understand that this field is more non-linear and intuitive than something clearly sequential like mathematics or programming.

So the approach is less of a masculine “identify the goal or target and take the steps to get there” than it is a feminine “create a magnetic container for exploration and expansion.” Helping people craft programs that expand their field of care beyond the face-to-face and toe-to-toe environments of the dance floor is particularly rewarding.

Another thing that is a well-known phenomenon that I have found to be very true over the years, is that if you want to get really good at something, start teaching it to someone else! It’s really the magical stage on any path to mastery when the student becomes the teacher and completes the cycle. 

If you take a good look at all of the different teacher training programs, workshops, immersive retreats and intensives offered by the members of the Dance First Association listed in the lower section of this newsletter, you’ll see a wide variety of innovations designed to help people advance along the path of embodiment education.

In my own life and practice, I keep a foot in both the movement/dance world and the realm of art and makers. On one hand I serve a vast community of movement leaders and modality founders, on the other I teach folks young and old how to weld and do metalwork. There’s something about having a physical craft or trade under your belt that gets in your blood. It’s a great alternative for me to balance my work online with high voltage and molten metal.

That’s why it was a real treat this past week for me to get invited along on a tour of the new metalworking training center that Kennedy High School here in Richmond California is bringing online. They’re looking for a new instructor and curriculum developer, and since I’m already on the faculty at The Crucible in Oakland I was notified. Turns out it was a press tour, the photo of me above with the principal was taken by the SF Chronicle.

Beyond the opportunity for high school kids to learn about the world of metal arts, it was super inspiring to see the other labs for 3-D printing, wood working, and learn about their dance program. Seeing how the teachers there are bringing out a real desire to learn in the students is a great harbinger for the future.

One of the most inspiring teachers I met there at Kennedy High wasDr. LaRue Moore . According to the principal, he’s easily one of the most well-loved and respected faculty members, teaching about computers and information technology. Apparently, he was a 10th-grade high school dropout, who went on later in life to complete his education and earn a Ph.D. I’ll leave you with this quote from him: “Education is a life-long process that should develop a person through the stages of childhood, adolescence, working life and beyond leaving some aspect of good or transcendence for future generations.

So always know there is more to learn and more to give! Our heads may not grow in size as we get older, but we never run out of room for more knowledge and the ability to keep making progress!

Keep on teaching on! Until next week, much love and happy learning!


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

Dance First Member Modality Spotlight :: Soul Motion!

This week’s Dance First Spotlight shines on the Soul Motion family, from founder Vinn Arjuna Martí to all of the devoted facilitators around the world and their home base for trainings, the Madrona MindBody Institute. Truly one of the most influential and well-regarded modalities in the realm of conscious dance, Soul Motion has been setting the standard year after year, with Arjuna’s path as a teacher starting nearly four decades ago.

Soul Motion is more than just a movement practice, it is meant to be woven into an embodied lifestyle, a philosophy and way of being that permeates your entire existence. The entire universe of life lessons that one could learn can all be found in the metaphors provided by the human body in tandem with the poets and visionaries who have endeavored to articulate them.

Arjuna is more than a guide, his role is that of a translator of the great mysteries, and he has placed himself in the center of a web of service that spirals out from the center of every floor where he leads. It’s an ineffable type of mojo that he imbues into all that share space with him, and many who encounter the Soul Motion practice dive into the depths of the training path to become leaders in their own communities.

From humble beginnings with just a few regular classes in the Pacific Northwest decades ago, Arjuna has followed the desires of the many he has inspired and with the help of Aletia Alvarez, one of the founders of Madrona MindBody Institute in Port Townsend, Washington, and many others, he has guided the co-creation of a comprehensive teacher training and leadership development program.

Many of the people that have been mentored and graduated from the lengthy and immersive training have gone on to build successful practices and vibrant Soul Motion communities around the world. Arjuna himself is in constant motion, touching down for workshops, retreats, and trainings with the extend Soul Motion community across North and South America, Europe, Asia, India, and The Pacific as well as regular appearances at the One Dance Tribe gatherings.

We’ve long been fans and supporters of Arjuna and the extendedSoul Motion family here at Conscious Dancer and very much appreciate their continued membership in The Dance First Association ! You’ll always find links to the main trainings and workshops in the big list below, and you can always plan ahead for a destination retreat or a movement experience near you.

Visit to learn more and see their complete calendar and workshop and teacher training schedule.