"Whether you participate in ILLUMINATE ™ and experience club culture grooves meeting spirituality; the gift of a GateKeeper greeting you. Or at "Get Your Dance On" at Urben Zen, attend a Dance of Liberation with a trained teacher or retreat with us to the deserts for 7 days! I am blessed to work with profound carriers of wisdom!"
Elders and Wisdom Teachers
Wilbert Alix has earned international recognition as a contemporary healer and teacher of progressive psychology and neo-shamanism. A prominent figure in the emerging science of body-centered psychology his presentations are accentuated with intellectual depth and a unique insight into the relationships between traditional shamanic healing, progressive psychology and modern science.
Wilbert Alix is a 5th generation native of New Orleans... born into a culture rich in ritual trance, sacred music and ecstatic dance. Musically influenced by his community's Black Indian culture, Wilbert spent his formative years experimenting within the vibrant worlds of rhythm and rituals that originated in a complex marriage between Caribbean, Afro-Cuban and Native American Indian traditions. Also a trained academic, he explored eastern transformational mysticism, contemporary psychotherapy, western medicine and cross-cultural shamanic ritual healing techniques... all beginning in 1968.
Wilbert continues to explore the professional application of Trance Dance and other contemporary shamanic techniques as legitimate healing and therapeutic tools. He conducts annual trainings and retreats around the world. Wilbert frequently appears at professional conferences as well as teaching educational mind/body science programs to individuals and corporations.
"My intention is to bring into simple and clear focus the enormously complex worlds of mysticism, psychology, shamanic spirituality and science for the purpose of clear direction and achievement".
Vernon Foster, Wakia Un Manee
Vernon Foster, Indian name, Wakia Un Manee (Thunder he Walks With) is a national Indian leader and works with many tribes across the United States helping to develop cultural and educational programs as a teacher and lecturer. He has been an activist for the native people since 1968 and is the Southwest regional director of the American Indian movement. Vernon has turned his focus on the spiritual ways of the Native people. He is a healer who uses the methods that have been used by Indian people for centuries.
Joan Henry - Composer & artist Joan Henry, traditional Song-carrier, hahesh’kah (lead drummer) and t’shomah (guardian of knowledge) is on call year-round to run women’s ceremonies, counsel youth & families and provide care to First Nations communities in New England, New York, the Northwest US, British Columbia and Winnipeg, Manitoba –Her ‘other life’ embraces dancing for stage, film, & television, nearly 30 recordings in native traditional, contemporary, classical and jazz venues, and directing Arts for Healing, a therapeutic initiative for pediatrics & oncology patients in upstate NY. (79) Joan Henry, a ha’heshkah & song-carrier of mixed Tsalagi/Nde’/Arawaka descent, has spoken on Native American approaches to women’s healing at the UN’s International Conference on the Status of Women and recently for Vassar College’s new Native American Studies program; she sings "everywhere." She is most beloved, however, for her Coyote stories… (50) T’shomah (guardian or keeper) of original ways & knowledge, identified as a youth by elders who guided her training, picking up where her grandparents began. counsels adolescent youth at-risk and teaches leadership, life skills & arts using an indigenous model; works with women & families. "In Tsalagi there’s no real word for art–it’s your life."
Dr. Gabriel Cousens
Gabriel Cousens, M.D., M.D.(H), D.D. (Doctor of Divinity), Diplomate American Board of Holistic Medicine, Diplomat Ayurveda, a physician of the soul, teaches and lives the sevenfold peace. To the process of awakening and healing, Gabriel Cousens, M.D., M.D.(H), weaves a background as a holistic physician, medical researcher, world-recognized live-food nutritionist, psychiatrist, family therapist, homeopath, Rabbi, acupuncturist, Ayurvedic practitioner, expert on green juice spiritual fasting and detoxification fasting, ecological leader, Reiki master, internationally celebrated spiritual teacher, author, lecturer, culture-bridger, world peaceworker, to give a unique holistic approach to nurturing the hungry soul. He is the author of the books Spiritual Nutrition: Six Foundations for Spiritual Life and the Awakening of Kundalini; Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine; Conscious Eating; Depression-Free for Life; Tachyon Energy; Sevenfold Peace; Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet; Creating Peace by Being Peace: An Essene Sevenfold Path, and There Is a Cure for Diabetes. Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, M.D., is the founder and director of the Tree of Life Foundation, which trains Essene priests and priestesses, and coordinates international humanitarian programs benefiting indigenous and disadvantaged families, children, and cultures through holistic education and the development of high-yield, high-mineral, low-water veganic farming methods. He is presently working with the support of the Panamanian government to set up eco-health-organic villages for the economically disadvantaged and with LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and Save the Children in Mexico to bring the nutrition and anti-diabetes message to the Spanish-speaking world.
David "Avocado" Wolfe
David "Avocado" Wolfe is considered by peers to be one of the world’s leading authorities on nutrition. David is the author of Naked Chocolate, Eating For Beauty and The Sunfood Diet Success System. David works, in conjunction with www.rawfood.com, to develop, market and distribute some of the world's most wonderful and exotic organic food items. David and www.rawfood.com were the first to bring raw and organic: cacao beans/nibs (raw chocolate), goji berries, Incan berries, cacao butter, cacao powder, powdered encapsulated mangosteen, maca extract and cold-pressed coconut oil into general distribution in North America. Known for extraordinary quality control and ethical production, these products and many others developed by David and www.rawfood.com lead the field.
Since 1995, David Wolfe has given over 1,000 health lectures and seminars in the United States, Canada, Europe, the South Pacific, Central America and South America. He hosts at least six health, fitness and adventure retreats each year at various retreat centers around the world. You may view his current schedule at: www.rawfood.com/events.html. David is the founder of the non-profit Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (www.ftpf.org) whose goal is to plant 18 billion fruit trees on planet Earth. David is also the founder of, and leading contributor to, the internet’s only Peak Performance and Nutrition online magazine: www.thebestdayever.com.
Dr. Dan Engle, M.D.
Dr. Dan Engle, MD is the Medical Director at Grace Grove Healing Center in Sedona, AZ. He is a holistic psychiatrist who teaches his clients the foundations of rejuvenation medicine, energetic psychology and integrative spirituality. His latest programs are the Brain Acceleration System, facilitating healing from traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer's dementia, and the Freedom from Meds Program, assisting in the wean from psychiatric medications while resolving the underlying core issues. He is a Dance of Liberation Teacher and offers ceremonies monthly at Grace Grove as part of the Full Body Rejuvenation Retreat. He has trained with Parashakti and facilitated the Dance with her around the country over the last several years, and they are scheduled to co-facilitate a Dance of Liberation Teacher Training at Grace Grove later this year.
Ran Baron, a spiritual seeker and a public speaker in the field of theology, eastern philosophy, and mysticism. Baron has instructed numerous meditation workshops, Yoga retreats and has given hundreds of talks and lectures about the nature of spirituality and self inquiry. He has lived through many different paths and was ordained as a Hindu priest (Brahmana), was certified as a Yoga Instructor, a Tai Chi instructor and has been studying and practicing Buddhism, Zen, Hinduism and Yoga in many of its different flavors, sharing and teaching of his own views and vast experience in his talks. Ran emphasizes a non-dogmatic approach which allows for personal growth and an honest thirst for truth, all through an individual experience, where all spiritual paths are different colors and hues one utilizes to paint their own life's story.
To learn more abour Ran Baron and his teachings, visit SoulBound.me.
Zohar Zemach Wilson
Zohar is board certified Holistic Health Counselor through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) and member of Psi Chi, the American National Honor Society in Psychology. He is the primary contributor for the monthly Alok Holistic Health Newsletter. In his workshops and retreats, Zohar Zemach combines nutrition and health with spirituality, meditation, and life celebration.
Doug Evans is the owner of Organic Avenue; a New York based Organic Lifestyle Collective dedicated to serving the local and global community by providing: Hemp & Organic Fiber Clothing, Fresh Raw & Organic Produce, Organic Lifestyle Products & Consultation, Holistic Retreats, Lifestyle Classes, Gourmet Organic & Living Food Dinners. Doug creates and oversees all of Parashakti’s Juice Cleanses.
Samuel L. Sharmat, M.D.
Samuel L. Sharmat, M.D. a board-certified psychiatrist with a subspecialty in addiction treatment, most recently practiced at New York's prestigious Mt. Sinai Medical Center on their premier Madison East unit. With a Family Practice background as well as involvement in a diverse range of both clinical and non-clinical interests, Dr. Sharmat has built a reputation for treating the patient as a whole. His integrative approach to treatment and his experience with a wide range of people in the entertainment, corporate and creative communities have characterized Dr. Sharmat as a preeminent physician able to relate to a wide variety of patients and people. Dr. Sharmat also spends his time as a psychiatrist for an outpatient HIV practice, on the Executive Council of the New York County District Branch of the APA and has volunteered with the mental health service at Burning Man.
Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of Breaking Open the Head and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. A speaker at many conferences and festivals, he has appeared on The Colbert Report and the History Channel, and is a regular guest on Coast to Coast AM. In 1994, he was chosen by the New York Times Magazine as one of "Thirty Under Thirty" destined to change our culture. Daniel is editorial director of Reality Sandwich (www.realitysandwich.com), codirector of evolver.net, and executive director of PostModern Times (www.iclips.net/2012). He has written for many publications, including Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, the Village Voice, and Rolling Stone.
Dance of Liberation - Teachers
Jenevi ~ Jennifer Varriano
Jenevi is a Dance of Liberation facilitator since 2010. She is on board as Dance of Liberation faculty leading and assisting students toward their successful completion of the curriculum. A student of yoga since 1997, she spread her roots in Hatha Yoga to Ashtanga and Kundalini, absorbing teachings from California to India and back to NY. Jennifer Jenevi Varriano is the founder of New Faith Yoga and creator of InspiringOm.com. Her programs fuse the teachings of Dance of Liberation; yoga, dance and nutrition to create a sacred path of wholeness. Her degree in chemistry and experience in the health industry led her to now coach on the Yoga of Conscious Nutrition and Spiritual Cleansing. She supports the NYC community, both youth and adults, as a Dance of Liberation practitioner; bringing natural teaching into urban spaces.
Carol Marie Fiorito
Carol Fiorito, aka Karuna, is a mom, holistic health coach, Reiki Master teacher, Sivananda yoga instructor and has been facilitating Dance of Liberation since 2010. Her journeys led her to study and facilitate wellness workshops across the globe and her family now grounds her roots in their homeland of NYC. Carol spreads her love for dance, music, yoga, and high vibe food with families who share similar passions at her family dance parties. She can be found leading Dance of Liberation at festivals, yoga studios and workshops throughout the NYC area.
“The invitation to Dance of Liberation was like a wake up call for me. The dance itself was like nothing I’ve experienced before. You safely led me into the darkness to witness my real self and I’m so grateful for the experience. Thank you for your compassionate guidance through this journey!” Mike S. NYC/Montreal
“I pray anyone seeking a healer find Carol” Anna A. Staten Island, NY
Frances Aiom, B.A.
Frances became a facilitator of the Dance of Liberation in January 2012, and has since lead the dance in NYC, Florida and Prague. A Portuguese-to-English translator by profession, in July 2009, she incorporated holistic therapy studies into her life while living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her initial inspiration came from Native North and South American cultural and spiritual practices. Ever since, she has pursued an ecumenical spiritual path, further including, principally, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as yoga, meditation, spiritual singing, sacred feminine dance, holistic nutrition and community service. Frances currently resides in her Florida hometown where she offers therapeutic dance, yoga, nutrition and education services. She can be reached at Frances.Aiom@gmail.com.
Sam Lipton, founder of Steeped in Spirit: a Practice Without Borders, creates the space to safely explore the many ways Body, Eros, Heart, Mind, and Spirit can coalesce. ~ Serving men-who-love-men and the LGBTQ community in exploring, healing, and deepening intimacy, loving-kindness, pleasuring, and sacred relationships with ourselves, and each other within the embrace of Spirit. ~ An ordained Interfaith Minister through One Spirit Interfaith (NY), a current member of Spiritual Directors International, a Body Electric Sacred Intimate, student of Core Energetics, Shamanism and the arcane, and a multi-talented artist, Sam uses his diverse background to support his clients and students in being in the moment and asking for what they want. Sam embodies a spirit of hospitality and nurturance for his students and his various communities throughout the United States.
Dance of Liberation GateKeepers
Alokananda; production manager and gatekeeper, is a Healer, Yoga / Qi Gong Instructor, Spiritual Counselor, Wellness Coach, Musician, Poet and Visionary. His deep commitment to building authentic community in NYC started Unitribe Productions in 2009 along with Sri Kala. Aloka's intention is to assist others as they journey through their own unique process of discovery, on their personal path to empowerment, healing, growth, creativity, joy and peace.
Neal Borowsky "Steel Neal"
Poet, Sculptor, Performance Artist, Furniture Designer/Fabricator, Union Ironworker. Graphic Design BFA from SVA (School of Visual Arts) in 1988. Traded T-square for TIG welder in 1990 working for Rohner Furniture. Created poetry video for Public Access. Steel Neal € Wordsmith € ©1993.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Desiree set out for New York City in 2007 to pursue a career as a fashion journalist. Two years, 20-something internships/jobs, and an Associates Degree in Advertising and Marketing later, she realized how "dead" and depressed the industry made her. 19-years-old and already worn down by life, she fueled her depression and struggle with eating disorders by taking multiple medications, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, and drinking the pain away every night.
In the summer of 2010, Desiree decided to train at Yoga to the People for Power Vinyasa certification, thinking teaching could be a side job. Little did she know, the experience would change her life. Three months later, she left her jobs in the fashion industry, quit smoking, drinking, all medications, and began to follow the call of her soul. Yoga brought her back to life. Now, she has dedicated hers to Yoga, Ayurveda, earth-based medicine, ecstatic dance, and many more healing treasures that will come across her path.
Dance of Liberation Musicians
Resident DJ Fabian Alsultany
DJ Fabian Alsultany has carved a unique niche in the aural realm, compiling the world's great traditional and electronic ritual music into a comprehensible whole. A major figure in the international music community, Alsultany's insightful ears lend a forward-thinking dynamic to modern ceremony: the DJ as an inner vehicle. "Ritual music has been around since the beginning of time," says Alsultany, "since people started beating drums around the fire and chanting. What I do is bring both ancient and modern forms of music into a ceremonial setting as a soundtrack to a ritual."
Multi Instrumentalist / Composer / Producer - As a musician versed in many musical styles and cultures, Ray has found himself in the roles of performer, teacher, producer, band leader, arranger, music director, composer in the US as well as Japan, Brasil, Nepal, Venezuela, India, and BURNINGMAN. He has performed and/or recorded with such renown artists as: Jai Uttal, Krisna Das, Wah!, Shyam Das . Dave Stringer, Michael Franti, Mickey Hart, Yungchen Lhamo, Angelique Kidjo, Richie Havens, Baba Maal, String Cheese Incident, Baba Olatunji, The Spin Doctors, Dr. John and the Blues Travelers
Under the name, "Duke Mushroom", David has played on well over 50 records and remixes in a diverse amount of styles-from N. African/ African to Brazillian to Rock to Hoome Made – including work with such Artists as Gloria Estefan, Nelly Fertado, Janet Jackson, Cher, Ministry, Dave Eggar, Die Warsaw, Incognito, Static Revenger and numerous Film Scores – as well as working with such notable Producers/Remixers as Tony Moran, Roger Sanchez, Erick Morillo, Hank Shocklee and Masters at Work. David was also the drummer for legendary Detroit Techno Group, "Inner City" and has toured the world with multiple other artists as a percussionist. As a session musician he has also lent his talents on Keyboards, Bass and Vocals to a multitude of recordings from Pop to Ethiopian World Music.
AJ Block & the Didge Project
Didge Project is a music collective that combines the sounds of the didgeridoo with jazz and world music influences to create meditative sonic environments for dance, yoga, meditation and more. Founded by didgeridoo player AJ Block and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Sussman, Didge Project aims to elevate human consciousness through the power of the didgeridoo and its vibrations. To hear and find out more about Didge Project, visit www.didgeproject.com
Bob has been drumming since age 13. He brings elements of Latin, African, reggae, Middle Eastern and other tribal musics to his drumming. He plays in a variety of settings such as dances, ceremonies, and drum ensembles, using Djembe, Dumbek and Conga. He loves to share music with audiences of all ages and believes in the power of music to bring people together.
Toni Bergins, MEd
Toni Bergins, MEd, is the creator and founder of JourneyDance™, a movement for spiritual practice, embodiment, energy, and flow. She believes that movement has the power to transform by bringing people back in touch with their innate energy and creative wisdom. Toni Bergins’ light sense of humor and deep authenticity makes JourneyDance™ accessible to all. She's best described as a live-wire and her signature practice is a hotline to unlimited energy. She has a popular instructional CD, JourneyDance, and a line of Love Your Body, Love Your Life cards. Bergins has been featured in Yoga magazine and FitnessRx, and spreads her joy and passion for life through creative and powerful workshops offered worldwide. She also leads a growing team of more than 200 JourneyDance™ Teachers.
Jeanine T. Abraham (The Dancing Chef)
Jeanine T. Abraham (The Dancing Chef) is a Certified JourneyDance™ facilitator, Professional Chef, Actor and Certified Holistic Health Coach . Jeanine has been led JourneyDance classes and workshops in NYC at Jivamukti Yoga School, TheaterLab, Atmananda Yoga,The Alvin Ailey Extension, and leads regular classes at Pure Yoga in NYC. Her movement background includes, West African Dance (Ivory Coast Dances) with Fanzy and she has studied in NYC with Djoniba, Babacar, Maguette,The Ailey Extension, Mark Morris. Capoiera with Mestranda Edna Lima, Swing Dance, Salsa, Afro-Haitian, and a 15 year on going practice of Vinyasa flow Yoga and meditation. In addition Jeanine graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, and is founder of her own private chefing, catering and events company, Mélange Internationale. Her mission is to get New Yorkers to Dance,Cook, Eat in community...and move out of our minds and into our divine funky bodies for true food for the soul.
Natasha Blank, CHHC, AADP is a dancer and community catalyzer who loves connecting the dots between our authentic selves, creative potential, and radical self- expression through movement. She is the creative director of Get Your Dance On, a Holistic Health Counselor and Reiki Master, and builds green roofs in her spare time.
Joey Levine is a shamanic practitioner and teacher. He is one of the leaders of the New York Shamanic Circle, organizing and facilitating circles and workshops with teachers and healers from around the world. He is founder of Earth Spirit Walks, outdoor shamanic workshops connecting people to the rhythms of the Earth and themselves; and DreamLab, a workshop inspiring people to live in a fully alive state of joy, peace, and well-being. He does shamanic coaching and journeying with individuals and groups as well as leading rituals, ceremonies, and rites of passage. His work has also led him to integrate shamanic work with music and sound creating participatory, transformative sound experiences and gatherings.
Michael St. Gerard
"Elevating Minds with the Healing Power of the Drum. Aho!"
Michael St. Gerard, founder of Black Panther Drumming, began his rhythmic journey 28 years ago in the NY/NJ metro area. The focus from entertainment to healing was transformational and Michael soon tapped into his talents as a catalyst for those on a spiritual quest, using the medicine of the drum, to awaken and induce a trance-like, hypnotic state-of-mind, where communication with the Spirit realm, allows one to receive the "Divine Download".
Brian T. Carter
Having previously made his living as a public school music teacher … is an “all rolled into one” drummer/percussionist, drum circle facilitator, music teacher, singer/songwriter, that's been performing in NYC and Brooklyn since the turn of the century (a.k.a., 2000).
As a singer/songwriter, Brian has played at The C Note Café, The Sidewalk Café, The Baggott Inn, Pete's Candy Store, and other such noted pop/rock clubs.
Having developed a passion for Middle Eastern music, Brian has toured nationally with the renowned Middle Eastern rock group, Raquy and The Cavemen, with whom he played dumbek and riq. He has also played and recorded the album “The Middle East Side” with the band Djinn, who are known for their unique and eclectic style. His easy-going nature has also made Brian a favorite among the NYC Middle Eastern dance community, with whom he plays at all sorts of diverse engagements.
Currently, Brian is the drummer for the "KidDult" band, The FunkeyMonkeys. Their show is part theatre, part multi-genre music, and it incorporates funny sketches and improvised bits -- along with their unique brand of truly funky, heartfelt, quirky, and always fun kid's music. He also plays drum set regularly with WorldJamRoots band, Sidecar Agogo, and "Dylan meets David Byrne" style band, Shoot The Messenger. Presently Brian's focus is drum circle facilitation. His Brooklyn Drum Circles Meetup group has met regularly for three years. Brian gives opportunity's for people to de-stress, invigorate, build immunity and community through group drumming. He's currently a Teaching Artist with Global Arts to Go, facilitating the REMO Health Rhythms program with 4th grade students in the Bronx.
Kevin Nathaniel Hylton
Composer, percussionist, mbira player and ever-present force on the African and World music scene in NYC. Kevin worked closely with the late mbira legend, Ephat Mujuru, for 16 years building and playing traditional and contemporary mbira music. As a founding member of the Spirit Ensemble, Kevin collaborated with the late mbira master Zeleka, and is now one of very few players of the Zeleka mbira stlye. Kevin composed and recorded for several projects including the audio version of Alice Walker's POSSESSING THE SECRET JOY, Ali MacGraw's YOGA video, and the movie BELOVED. He has produced several group and solo recordings (check CDbaby), and his music is featured on the Narada Collection, "African Voices", and the Ellipsis Arts production, "African Dreams".
Giancarlo Luiggi has been teaching traditional Himalayan Hatha Yoga in NYC since 2001. He apprenticed at the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy in New York under the guidance of Yogacharya Nishit Patel. His approach to spiritual practice aims to gently train the body, breath, and mind to prepare for meditation. He presently studies meditation under the guidance of Swami Jñaneshvara Bharati. As a shekere (beaded calabash) player, Giancarlo is a founding member of the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, with whom he played, recorded and internationally toured from 1999 through 2003. Since its inception in 2000, he has been a a principal member of Amayo's Fu-Arkist-Ra, a performance project that creates music at the rhythmic, dance and folkloric crossroads of Nigerian Afrobeat and the Chinese Lion dance of Kung-Fu. He is an active member of Afro-Caribbean folkloric drum and dance circles in NYC, and alongside Kevin Nathaniel Hylton is a founding member of Brooklyn Shekere, a community of percussionists committed to playing and preserving the art of shekere.
Michael Scotto is a multi-instrumentalist from the Asbury Park area of New Jersey. He has performed and recorded with hundreds of musicians from around the globe, and consistently looks for new and interesting creative challenges. Michael’s work with Black Panther Drumming is one aspect of a life-long journey to explore and create meaningful art with likeminded, positive people.
Philip Joseph Restine III
Philip Joseph Restine III (AKA PjOE) is a musical alchemist, vibrational scientist, multi-instrumentalist and music producer. Transforming the moment with music has been a life long journey. In his vibrational studies he is blending quantum physics and esoteric knowledge by researching the frequency of Ohm. Through this research he is searching for insights into the original vibrations that brought fourth creation. As a charting music producer he has remixed major label recording artists, produced original compositions and brings a live house set to the dance floors of NYC and beyond by manipulating computers and playing analog instruments to create a sonic pallet that is expansive and eclectic. As a musician he plays a verity of instruments including, upright & electric bass, guitar, keys, drums and didge. He feels that music is a service to the community and a gift from the soul. Philip is at your musical service.
John O’Connor inspired in his teens by Quantum Physic sand an early fascination with the laws of the natural world, John O'Connor cultivated an intuitive nature and fascination with energetic principles which he applies at his New York City practice, Rhythm Massage Studio. In 12 years since graduating the Swedish Institute of Massage Therapy, John has incorporated deep tissue, Thai, Swedish, cranio-sacral and a plethora of other energy and massage skills he's picked up along the way to formulate an integrated approach to massage, healing and wellness, rooted in his unique ability to listen to the body and spirit. Holding a space for clients to shift toward balance and freedom, he gifts himself and lucky recipients, from vast and varied backgrounds in business, dance, sports and celebrity, with the witnessing of and shared experience of shifting and healing, meeting individuals where they're at to facilitate a uniquely individualized experience for each client.