“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Where do you feel a sense of belonging? Are you part of something bigger than yourself? Do you agree that the sum of the parts can be greater than the whole?
It’s fascinating to witness social organizations or movements for change emerge. They can almost always be traced back to an individual or a small group of people who have a fresh idea or a new approach to some problem or obstacle that society is facing.
Often times it is new inventions or advances in technology that provide the impetus for social change. Gutenberg’s printing press enabled a movement around literacy. The phonograph record allowed pop music to happen. The Internet brought us crowdsourcing and the hive mind.
The closer you are to the hub of a movement, the greater the sense of belonging you feel. Belonging is a powerful motivator, and yet it is often underrated. It can be found not just in lofty social movements, but in sports, small teams, business groups, and social organizations.
It’s the unseen glue that holds so many things together. When it’s amplified by the positive intentions of a benevolent leader, it can be harnessed to do great things in the world. When it’s manipulated in the service of greed or power by demagogues… well, just watch the news.
My recent lessons about belonging come from stepping up to saveDance Jam in Berkeley nearly three years ago. The Bay Area’s original and longest running conscious dance, (since 1976!), was on the ropes and in danger of falling apart entirely. I stepped up to carry the torch and take on the responsibility of bringing it back to life.
I quickly learned the crucial elements in making it tick. Proper promotions to bring in the dancers. Diplomatic skills to keep the peace with the studio owner. Making it strictly organic analog audio featuring 100% vinyl records was my personal touch that sets us apart. But the most important secret sauce is getting our crew of volunteers to show up week after week to do the heavy lifting and make it happen.
Without the efforts of Lynn, Ludmila, Laura, Elaine, Josephine, Victor, Ehmalee, Jerusha, Scott, Lauren, Abel, Sudeepto, and our recent addition Justin, there would be no Dance Jam. I know, one night shortly after taking over I found myself breaking down the entire dance alone which was brutal. They belong to Dance Jam as much as it belongs to any one organizer.
We are all vital moving parts in the Dance Jam machine, and it’s the sense of belonging that we consciously cultivate that keeps us all coming back. I do everything I can to reinforce each individuals sense of value, so that they know they are a key piece to our puzzle. We’re a merry band of mischief makers who keep coming back for more!
So yesterday, during an online meeting with our fledgling ambassador team here at Dance First, we had an epiphany! Sara Earl, who has stepped up into the role of Community Manager, has thankfully been working to empower some global ambassadors for our association, and we were chatting with Samaria Nancy Cardinalin Calgary, Canada, and Erin Whitley in the mountains of France. It felt great to be connected to both coasts of the USA, plus Canada and Europe too.
“How can we amp up the sense of belonging in our community and grow our membership around the world?” was one of the questions being posed, and the answer that spilled forth was simple. “Let’s make an entry level of membership free, and confer it upon everyone who signs up for the newsletter!”
So lo and behold, just like that, if you’re receiving this newsletter in your email inbox, you are now an honorary member of Dance First! (If you’re reading it online, be sure to sign up for the email version to get the weekly member spotlight and global workshop list) We have always considered everyone on our list to be members of theConscious Dancer community, so this subtle semantic shift will start the ball rolling for a whole new level of engagement.
We are brainstorming a laundry list of ideas filled with better ways to serve you. To start, Monday Love is now a “Member’s Only” mailing list, and we’re delighted to have you on it! We’re thinking about making a public registry available to all members. Local meet-ups are in the works. We want to make it easier for ambassadors to serve as regional hubs for the movement, and provide more reasons for people to want to be ambassadors in general. (Interested? Drop us a line!)
We’ll be overhauling our membership structure with new benefits for our entry-level honorary members. And we’ll continue to provide promotional support and MoveMap posting privileges to our supporting members, and professional services to modalities and training programs.
Chances are, if you’re a Monday Love reader, you’re probably some sort of mover and shaker in your local somatic circles. You probably know more folks like you in your neighborhood, and would like to feel a greater sense of belonging to the global conscious dance community. We invite you to join us on this evolving journey to contribute to the growth of a movement! Welcome to the Dance First Association! We trust you’ll enjoy being a member!
Belonging to you until next week, much love and all the best!
Dance First Member Spotlight – Phoenix Onesong and Dancing Freedom!
This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Phoenix Onesong and the Dancing Freedom international community! Long a leader in conscious movement circles, Dancing Freedom has been an innovative modality and methodology since it was founded by Samantha Sweetwater.
Phoenix is a global traveler and well-known mover and shaker who is now based in Australia, where the Dancing Freedom work is being embraced with open arms. She’s in charge of the upcoming 3-weekSoul Quest Retreat and Embodied Leadership Facilitator Traininghappening Nov 11 to Dec 2 at The Living Arc in New South Wales, Australia.
Dancing Freedom incorporates a consciousness raising approach to somatic movement that forms the basis for an integrative lifestyle and whole-being wellness program. Their trainings are renowned for the depth and level of connection that emerges after spending a transformative period of time together.
Another way that Dancing Freedom is innovating in the world of conscious dance and movement is by offering online programs that are available to anyone, anywhere, from the comfort of your friendly internet connection.
Starting this very afternoon, at 5pm Pacific time, is the Embodied Alchemy 5-Week Online Immersion. You’ll gather live to place yourself into the alchemical crucible of purification and transformation, each week diving deeper into the Five Elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.
Each week includes a 60-minute musical wave that you keep to dive deeper into later at your leisure, to invite you to take the lessons shared in the live sessions into your personal dance and life practice. The live sessions include guided elemental meditations, exercises, and questions for group inquiry.
There’s weekly written material on each element and journaling questions to further your inquiry into personal alchemy to create a deeper understanding of the elements in your mind, how they function within your life experiences, and how to implement their healing and transformative qualities into your every day life.
You also get access to an exclusive online accountability community for Embodied Alchemy participants only – so you can continue the conversations on a regular basis, work together, assist, and support one another in this alchemical process.
All of the Embodied Alchemy sessions are recorded, so if you miss one, or don’t get started in time for this afternoons opening session, you can still keep up and make the most of this transformational opportunity.
Visit the Dancing Freedom online portal to learn more!
Embodied Alchemy 5-Week Online Immersion
Sept 17 to Oct 15, Online, Worldwide
Embodied Leadership Facilitator Training and Soul Quest Retreat
Nov 11 – Dec 2, The Living Arc, New South Wales, Australia