We shared her chops in letting you in on how we chose the experts of Fancy Camp Sp2020, but we’ll repeat the key piece: Tasha Blank is a DJ, Producer and Dance Catalyst; a kinetic force of glee and fury.
I fell in love with her gift the minute I stepped onto her dance floor at The Get Down, “NYC’s wildest evening dance party” that, like Campowerment, is inclusive, freeing and community-building. Their rules: no drinks on the dance floor, no phone anywhere, all love all the time.
In 2018, we had the privilege of bringing Tasha to Campowerment’s East Coast camp retreat to lead not only a dance party but also ecstatic dance and radical movement sessions. Now she’s all-in on Fancy Camp, with more dedicated sessions than she’s led before. But what is radical movement? Ecstatic dance?
We’ll let Tasha tell you…
Campowerment Crew (CC): By trade and at heart, you’re a DJ (one of our all-time favorites) and a Dance Catalyst. How do you make people move?
Tasha: Well, I definitely don’t make people do anything 😉
What I do is create spaces that are safe and welcoming (and fully saturated with highly groovable beats) ~ and invite people to move however they feel. No matter how “good” or “bad” of a dancer anyone thinks they are, regardless of whether someone thinks they have rhythm — every single one of us was born with bodies that respond naturally to rhythm. It’s just how we’re built.
I think the deeper question is what makes people NOT move?
I feel like my biggest job is to create a space where folks can let go of whatever’s been holding them back, so they can enjoy the birthright of a good shake + sweat.
CC: How did you get into dance as a modality?
Tasha: I trained as a classical dancer until the age of 17, and stopped because my relationship to that particular dance culture felt oppressive and unhealthy. It wasn’t until I found electronic music, festival culture and ultimately the 5Rhythms dance practice when I was in college that I realized dance could be a force of liberation and healing. After that, I was completely hooked. It’s been my life ever since.
CC: At Fancy Camp this Spring, you’re leading both Radical Movement and Ecstatic Dance. Let’s break this down…What is Radical Movement 101?
Tasha: Radical Movement is a process I created, first as a 12-month transformational program that combines several disciplines to create massive, paradigm-shifting change. I then pulled some of the principles and practices from the program to weave a workshop that can be experienced in a short amount of time, over the course of an hour, afternoon, or weekend.
We move through multiple mind-body modalities in quick succession to move through limiting beliefs, stuck patterns, and mental blocks. We get things moving, so that our natural brilliance can sort us out.
CC: What is ecstatic dance?
Tasha: Ecstatic Dance is a broad term for freeform, sober dancing with intention. “Ecstatic” can be a misleading term – because it doesn’t always mean experiencing some kind of exuberant, peak state.
It means releasing our habitual ways of planning, controlling, over thinking and achieving — and then giving ourselves over to feeling, instinct, sound, sensation. My job is to facilitate (through words and music) a journey that moves you from one way of being (the one you’re used to) to an entirely new one — beyond all the layers of stuckness, headiness and limitation — where you get to reconnect with all the parts of you that are most alive, inspired, and at home.
It’s the kind of thing that’s tough to put words to – and one I hope every single person on this planet gets to experience in their lifetime.
CC: How does radical movement differ from ecstatic dance?
Tasha: Radical Movement 101 uses multiple guided modalities to create a mind-body breakthrough around a specific issue. You’ll be writing, dancing, talking, receiving guided somatic meditations — it really is a workshop.
Ecstatic Dance is a purely embodied practice where my facilitation helps your body’s natural genius unlock and lead the way.
CC: What can campers expect to do and feel from moving with you?
Tasha: First and foremost: permission and safety to feel and be exactly as you are. Bring it all! This is the place for it.
It’s totally normal to feel a bit anxious if you’re new to these practices. Those feelings are welcome, too.
What’s great is that the moment we grant ourselves permission to be and feel however we’re at, we create a shift towards wholeness, healing and freedom.
Beyond that – expect the unexpected! That’s the point. We dance to get out of our strategic minds, so that we can go BEYOND what we’ve previously known or predicted. We get to go beyond our limiting ideas and trauma-based fears into the infinite territories of our bodies and hearts.
Sound a little out there? Good! Isn’t it a little boring inside the box of what you already know?
CC: Dance and movement as catharsis: let’s talk about it…
Tasha: We are SO much more than what we think we are. There is SO much more life that wants to move through us than we generally allow while moving through our daily lives. On top of that, we have so much coming at us through our inboxes and screens that we’re on totally information overload. Our systems are at capacity.
Setting our bodies in motion gives our system a chance to process, move and integrate everything we’ve been holding in. Often, setting all that stuck energy in motion unlocks stored emotions that release through sound, breath, movement or tears.
Once we unlock those places that have been stuck, we get access to ALL that energy – which means a huge burst of creativity, aliveness, bliss – and yes! – ecstasy.
CC: For anyone intimidated, who thinks they “can’t dance” or “don’t know how to move like that,” wisdom to share?
I don’t want to see you “move like that.” I want to see you move like YOU.
And really, it has nothing to do with how it looks, and everything to do with how it feels.
I am here to give you permission to release ALL your ideas about right and wrong, good and bad. To drop into a space that’s a million times more true than what someone told you about how you’re “supposed to” be. On my dance floor, you get to drop all the expectations you’ve picked up from other people and feel into how liberated your body already is.
CC: What does this kind of work and facilitation unlock for you? Aka why do you love what you do?
Tasha: It’s the greatest pleasure to share something that has given me so much with others. And watching folks wake up to themselves as their minds, bodies and hearts reconvene to unlock their latent joy is SO MUCH FUN!
When people approach me after an experience to say they’ve never danced like that before, or share a breakthrough they had through the Radical Movement process – I just get so excited, because I feel so deeply that we all deserve that level of clarity and connection.
CC: Anything else you’d like the community to know?
Tasha: We are the culmination of 14 Billion Years of existence evolving itself through ever more complex and creative expressions of life. You are a miracle. And I can’t wait to dance with you!
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Join Tasha at Fancy Camp Sept 10-13, 2020 in Asheville, NC. S’more info & to apply, click here!