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Ecstatic Dance 2 at The Judson Church- NYC

Six weeks into the month means we’re due for another Ecstatic Dance event! This was the second event in the magnificent Judson Church on Washington Square Park but I almost didn’t go. Running through the day on minimal sleep from the night before, there were multiple opportunities to skip out. After a drive to Hoboken, parking, and a walk to the train, I check my phone for my ticket just to be sure. Turns out I didn’t even have a ticket! More opportunity not to go! Thoughts raced with ideas of alternatives including going home (too much traffic for that), going to a museum (they may close soon), browse a guitar store (I should practice more before I buy another), or I could just buy a ticket and go to Ecstatic Dance. Tickets purchased, board the train.

This is another event where I go in blind. I don’t know the DJs or the opening activity. I’m not sure who will be there aside from some regulars and key volunteers. The wonderful thing about Ecstatic Dance is that it doesn’t matter. I always have a great time even though I’m not well entrenched in this music scene. Maybe I would be more excited if I could anticipate the DJs from experience. That’s not worth worrying about because I’m always already excited.

This month didn’t let down at all. Up first was a movement adventure with Jonathan Angelilli. Jonathan describes himself

as a “Teacher. Student. Movement Specialist. Exercise Alchemist. Cosmic Ninja.” We did energy work, breathing, and focused movements to warm up. Previous warm up events had us interacting as a group whereas this night we were focusing on connecting ourselves. Something about a room full of people all doing this work broadens and raises the energy to the entire room. Halfway through the exercise, I turned around to see the room was nearly full. Ready to go, ready to go! It’s starting!

Up first, my new hero and muse Tasha Blank. There is a line from a terrific movie called Kicking and Screaming (not the Will Ferrell one, the Eric Stoltz one) that always stuck with me. It was a compliment to Eric Stoltz in character as a bartender who would drink and read philosophy behind the bar. “I like a bartender who drinks. Otherwise, I feel like I’m being poisoned.” That brings me to DJs who dance. Tasha Blank already had me when she started her set with Dead Can Dance but running past the rig to join the crowd sealed the deal (bonus points for conjuring Aly Sheedy out of the Breakfast Club). Her set was amazing and I highly recommend you check her mixes out.

After a jaunt to the balcony for meditation, stretching, and water I realized just how hard I was shaking. Full out on the floor for an indeterminate amount of time. The water helps, the stretching helps, the stillness for a moment helps. Meditation in this space comes easily, the music shifts to the back of your eyes. Two welcoming altars, cushions to sit on, and a sea of smiles all help bring you deeper.

Back on the floor! Dance, dance, dance, and more dancing. Joro-Boro is spinning now. The vibe settles and moves into a tribal vibe. It’s easy to forget you’re barefoot out there. After a few hours, you start to remember… Then come the trays of cold fruit. One cube of pineapple provides the chill sugary burst to push you further. Four hours and three more bottles of water later, it is time to say goodbye. I give Joro-Boro one more song before packing up.

I’m smiling the entire way. I can’t believe I may have skipped this party. If you know where I am and know there’s a party or concert happening, don’t let me say “no”. Send me this link. We’ll dance together and we’ll smile, sweat, and fall in love.

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