The Crew

River

I first discovered that I loved to dance while in drunken nightclubs in my late teens. From there I moved on to raves and outdoor parties, and then at Confest one year, went to a dance workshop called “Dance, Stretch, Groove”. It was my first ever dance class and I loved it! After that I went to contemporary classes at Chunky Move for a couple of years before discovering ecstatic dance in the form of 5Rhythms. I still love choreographed dance, but for me, dance is so much more about self-expression and freedom than about physical or aesthetic perfection. It is an almost pure expression of the soul and spirit, and allows us to see each other in our essential selves.

Dancing Ground began in 2010 because I wanted to have a party whose focus was on dancing, supported by a beautiful environment, healthy food, and a strong sense of community. I wanted to see a space where people could dive in and explore the healing aspects of dance in a safe space, as well as have a damn good party with old friends, and new ones. It is inspired by the many festivals I’ve been to over the years, especially Confest, Stamping Ground, Folk Rhythm and Life, and Rainbow Gathering; all those festivals where community and personal growth are valued more highly than commercial success.

Dancing Ground has been such a teacher for me, and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s been involved at every level, but especially the amazing team that puts it together each year. It’s such a joy to work with such smart, motivated, passionate, and honourable people. Thank-you all, I’m greatly looking forward to watching Dancing Ground grow and evolve along with us and our community!

Pippa

WEB-PIPI feel dance as a life force inside me, lighting me up – it is like threads of golden light that dance through my body creating movement. These threads of loving light dance me, I don’t dance them… They move through me – through my limbs, my heart – as the most profound, connected and emotive experience I know. It is an explosion of joy from the deepest part of my being, emanating from my soul, to touch the world around me. It is my greatest love.

I first fell in love with dance at 4, when I discovered what it was to leap! I was leaping across the floor at calisthenics and thought I might just be able to fly! From that moment, movement, flight and seeing what shapes body was capable of became my love. I didn’t really think of it as ‘dance’, it was just what my body loved to do most.

When I was 17, I discovered contemporary dance. It gave form and structure to the movement my body had loved all along. I was hooked. Dance became an integral part of my life and I dance dance danced!

One day, the circus came to town! I watched an aerial silks performance and I thought ‘THAT! That is what I need to be doing!’ It was the perfect blend of elegance, strength, grace, courage, flight and flexibility. So I dove in and was soon performing silks and teaching at a circus school. It was my new love.

I moved away from circus due to an injury and now, dance is very much at the core of my life again. Any kind of dance – contemporary elegance, wild ecstatic, sexy zouk, connected contact, dubstep grinding, african krumping, jamaican booty shaking… whatever form it takes, I LOVE IT!

I feel so honoured to be a part of the Dancing Ground team! It is such a gift to work with this team of dedicated, heart centered and uniquely talented creatures, each bringing something special to this melting pot of goodness. I am in awe of you, beautiful team and in awe of this wonderful creation that is Dancing Ground. I love that my soul’s deep love of diversity in dance is met in my role as Facilitator Co-ordinator. I love that my role involves calling in an incredible variety of talented facilitators to shine and share their gifts with a dance hungry community and that the community’s hearts and bodies light up through diving into this smorgasbord. Our energy combines and we all light up – threads of golden light dancing through us.

Kate

WEB-KATEDuring Confest 2010, I danced for 4 hours in the pouring rain through the night and my life changed from that moment on. I didn’t know I was a dancer (pssst… yes, we all are) but that night, for the first time, I simply gave myself permission and the world opened up in ways I could only have dreamt of. I truly had found myself and my nearest and dearest through dance! I am so grateful for the art, practice, and lifestyle that it is.

My journey with Dancing Ground began on the side of a creek as River shared with me his ideas of creating a family friendly, drug and alcohol free, dance festival and I was instantly interested. I went along as a participant to the first festival and experienced the magic of River’s ideas manifested as something wonderfully unique to the festival world. People were there for community, the gorgeous bush setting, awesome food and of course to dance!

I relocated to Northern NSW in 2012 whereupon River approached me to gauge my interest in being involved in creating Dancing Ground in the Northern Rivers region. So, with no event management experience (I was previously a Paediatric Nurse), I joined an incredible Dancing Ground management team, we gathered the dancers of Northern Rivers and together created a stunning festival in the hills… I was hooked!

This year will be the 4th time I will event-manage a Dancing Ground Festival along with other smaller Dancing Ground events and I am so grateful to have been a part of this magnificent community creation. Never have I worked with such a sensational group of people, so full of integrity, generosity and passion. Dancing Ground has been an absolute gift in my life and I thank the dancers without whom, there would be no festival, the volunteers who show up with joy and enthusiasm, and of course the crews I have worked with. I simply adore all that is Dancing Ground!

Ostii

WEB-OSTIIMy early introduction to dance was through my brother, a professional in the Australian ballet. Dance was his thing, not mine. This began to change in my early twenties when I began learning Jive and Cha Cha. Free form dance was still confronting and it wasn’t until I attended Family Dance with my infant son, and through that, found licence to be silly without fear of judgment, that I began to allow my body to move in new ways.

Through dance I found a community of crazy cats who were also exploring authentic expression and deeper embodiment. Since then dance has been a core part of my expansion process, and more than any other movement practice, has helped me unbuckle rigidity in my mind and body.

As a yoga teacher and bodyworker, with years of exploration of tantra, sexuality and connection practices, I have come to believe that breath, sound and movement are the keys to emotional freedom, with dance a powerful conduit of that. With a few friends I have recently opened ‘Pulse’ – a venue in Brunswick dedicated to dance, movement and sexuality events.

Previously at Dancing Ground, with an encouraging smile, I have corralled festival attendees into their 2 hours of volunteering. This year I have moved into the role of coordinating the 70 odd volunteers required to make this festival happen, but you will still find me rounding up all you other dancers to help Sun in the kitchen or some other task to ensure everything runs smoothly. Luckily, I’m a great delegator and get ridiculous amounts of pleasure from designing and implementing systems that work well. Come night though, and you will probably find me hanging out in the hot tub (foot massages welcome!)

My intention for Dancing Ground is to introduce as many people as possible to dance and joyous movement, to bump and grind my gorgeous partner Claire on the dance floor as much as possible, and to support volunteers in their journey as part of the creation the Dancing Ground Festival.

Look forward to bossing you around, I mean, dancing with you, soon!

Jaes

WEB-JAESI feel that dance has profoundly opened, healed, awakened & enlivened so many aspects of who I am. I first discovered dance in this way shortly after a major tragedy had occurred in my life (in Jan ’09) when a dear friend suggested I consider attending a 5Rhythms class to help me process my overwhelming grief. WOW… what a cathartic and releasing experience… & I was deeply delighted to meet such a connected, conscious, diverse & supportive community. I now wholeheartedly consider ecstatic & free dance to be my main form of self exploration, addicted to this means of exploring my connection to self, ‘other’ & my preferred form of meditation.

At a time not that long after discovering dance, I also found myself being ‘invited’ by the universe to contribute to festivals & events… soon discovering a deep passion in this direction. Significantly for me, my involvement as a founding member of Dancing Ground has been a major contributor to the fullness of this discovery. When River suggested we put together a festival ‘all about dance’, I was easily convinced to jump fully on board. My involvement with DG feels to me like the most delightfully satisfying gift I could give back to the community that held me so deeply over a very trying period in my life.

These discoveries of the power of intentional dance, workshops, festivals & events has led me to (or graced me with) a very clear personal mission statement… simply put: “to create transformational spaces”. Dancing Ground is by far at the top of my list of endeavours that deeply satisfies this mission! 🙂

While I have to admit that find my main role of managing & installing most of the infrastructure for DG a significantly overwhelmingly overwhelming overwhelm… I do so very much love it! 😉

I look forward to playing with you on the dancefloor!

Phillip

WEB-PhillipAfter training in contemporary dance and being frustrated with performing and choreographed work, I looked for years to find a dance practice that was authentic yet spirited, then I discovered ecstatic dance. After dancing 5Rhythms for many years I really learnt the richness of community connection through a practice where I could be met in play and meditation.

I was quite a latecomer to festivals and my first Dancing Ground experience brought all the elements of movement, community and festivity together in one concentrated dose that deeply satisfied me. I felt like I finally belonged!

For the 2014 festival I eagerly jumped on board the Dancing Ground crew as Sound Manager and Performer Liaison, which had me learn much about the mechanics of crewing a festival. So in 2015, sharp with experience, I’ll be sure all elements of sound will keep your ears tickled and your body moving the whole weekend.

Alee

WEB-ALEEHi, I’m Alee, also known as info@dancingground.org or the ‘Registration Manager’. I’m the one who signs off emails “With Dancing Ground love” or says “See ya with your dancing shoes on”

You will find me at the information desk upon your arrival at the festival. On that fateful Friday, I’ll probably be the slightly frazzled, yet cheery brunet, trying to ensure that you are ticked off the registry and set up for an amazing weekend!

After Friday you will find a far more relaxed version of myself at the information desk. If you need assistance, myself or my fellow crew members can be found here. Just think of me as your Dancing Ground spirit guide! 😛

I started working with Dancing Ground in a volunteer capacity in late 2012 and was delighted to be adopted by the crew the following year!

I’ll never forget my first Dancing Ground. A fellow festival goer asked me “Are you a Dancer?” I thought it was a weird question. I recalled my days at the Victorian college of the Arts where I studied voice. The ballerinas in the studios across the way, they were the dancers; perfect postures, perfectly toned tiny bodies, turned out feet, point shoes, impeccable pirouettes.  I certainly wasn’t one of them, not me, with my big ass and chunky thighs and subpar turn out.  Yes, as a performing arts student I studied dance but it was a grueling process of not good-enough-ness.

“No, I’m not a dancer” I replied

“But you dance right?”

“Well yes, I love to dance”

“Well then, you’re a dancer”

Whilst I’ve always gotten lost in the arts, I wouldn’t call myself a dance enthusiast, instead I would say that I am passionate about freedom and self-expression and dance is the perfect platform – involving the expression and freedom of the entire body.

I am all heart for this festival and its “dancers”

So what ever you need to get yourself here, I’m the person to talk to, OK?

From my big “dancers” heart to yours,

See you at the festival!

Lena

WEB-LENAI feel so lucky to have been gifted the position of Marketing Manager for Dancing Ground Festival 2015. I’m inspired by the tender, honourable crew of community leaders, that share my love of dance and have tirelessly built the vessel to share it with their beautiful community.

Ice-skating lessons from the age of 8 introduced me to creative and technical dance expression. I stepped onto the Melbourne dance floor in my late teens, exploring the many tribes that honored and grew their chosen beat, worked in community focused arts, music and dance events in my early 20s, chased the moving beat around the world and haven’t stopped dancing since.

I discovered my first 5Rhythms at Dancing Ground 2014 and started a healing journey of conscious dance that moved me through challenging moments in life and has taught me so much about myself and the world. I am grateful to be able to promote and share the amazing gift that dance is through the Dancing Ground platform and to help enrich as many people’s lives as I can.

My dance journey continues…