I just came back from a Shake Your Soul® teacher training at Kripalu, in Lenox, MA. and what can I say…. #bestweekever ! Was it the beautiful souls I danced with? The joy of moving our bodies freely and fluidly? The outstanding music we danced to? The most inspiring teachers? The safe and loving space that allowed for authentic connections to happen effortlessly? The fact we conversed more with our feeling-fueled bodies than ego-fueled words? Yes, yes and yes! The experience was all the more blissful that it unfolded amidst the breathtaking Berkshires. Let me share with you how I ended up there, what exactly is Shake Your Soul® (SYS) and why you’ll soon want to shake your soul too.
I discovered Shake Your Soul® The Yoga of Dance in the mid 90’s at Kripalu. Back then it was called Danskinetics™ And back then I was too fresh out of my professional dance training to be able to appreciate the therapeutic value of feeling-based dance (versus performance-based). Interestingly SYS was created by a former professional dancer, now a Somatic Movement Therapist, Dan Leven. Dan shared that after many years of perfecting his dance technique he had lost the joy that initially drew him to dancing. Oh, how I can relate! Too much technique can kill even the liveliest soul (and ruin your body in the process!) I trained for many years myself and came to NY in ’93 to “make it” as a dancer. But the truth is I never enjoyed performing. Always having to look good was immensely stressful. So when I experienced the gentleness of Yoga shortly after my arrival, I did a 180 and dived right in. Naively, I thought I was done with dance, not realizing that my love for it lived in my soul and was bound to resurface.
Indeed, about two years ago the dancer within rose up from the ashes and came knocking at the door of my conscious mind “Hey! Get off your yoga mat, would you?! I need to speak with you. I need to dance!” The voice was fierce. A little Baba Yaga-ish. I listened. I began taking classes here and there, but something was missing. Aside from the competitive atmosphere, professional dance classes were hard on my body. Hip-hop or ballet classes at the gym were OK intensity-wise, but I didn’t jell much with the tribe there. None of those classes felt nurturing. Then I remembered Danskinetics™. A quick search and a phone call later I was all signed up for my Shake Your Soul® training. Et voila! Twenty years later I am ready to shake my soul and help you shake yours! Timing is everything, isn’t it? From dance to yoga, to the yoga of dance, this feels like coming full circle. Funny, because a lot of our dancing was done in a circle, a set up which invites giving and receiving, a sense of community. There! That was the missing element. To experience the joy, beauty or power inherent in your soul through dance is grand, but to share it all with a group of people who in turn shares their own beautiful selves back with you, that is something else…Divine.
Let me ask you: Do you sometimes feel disconnected from your body? From the people around you? Lost in your head and not sure what you’re feeling? Stressed? Has it been a while since you felt the joy of being alive? Then you’ll love SYS. Shake Your Soul® – the Yoga of Dance is a movement practice that will relax your nervous system, energize your body, and awaken your soul through a powerful, fluid dance repertoire set to world music. SYS is a soul embodiment experience that you get to share with a creative, joyful community of dancers. What I love about SYS is that it is both grounding and elevating, sweaty and sacred. I guarantee you’ll come out feeling deeply nourished. And to be clear, Shake Your Soul® doesn’t require prior dance experience at all. As G. Roth said:
Now where can I get some of that, you’re asking? Well, I am actively looking for the right space in Manhattan, so keep an eye out for another love note from me soon, with details. If you have space suggestions please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime you can experience a Shake Your Soul® class with the beautiful Odelia Shargian at the New York Open Center. It starts tonight!
Looking forward to sharing our souls in motion xo