Beach Dance is an extraordinary dance experience where music, movement, mother nature and you merge. It was created by Lila Danielle out of love for the ocean, ecstatic dance and community. It began in June 2008 on a cool and cloudy day along the north Oregon coast with fifteen dancers. During the past ten years, over two thousand people have participated in Beach Dance events. For the first four years, weekend events were held during the summer months in Cannon Beach, Oregon. In January 2012, Beach Dance began in Maui, Hawaii and events are held year-round.
Website photography by Richard Marks unless otherwise noted.
During events, each person is equipped with a waterproof iPod and headphones that have been synched with an identical playlist of songs. After turning on the devices simultaneously, participants dance to an hour of music that’s been especially created to include different rhythms, beats and genres of music.
No previous dance experience is necessary. The only steps you need to follow are your own. Before every dance, a comfortable and welcoming space is created for all participants through brief introductions and a bit of inspiration. While safety considerations and technological tips are provided before the event begins, minimal instruction is given. You move your body the way it wants to move. You create your own dance.
At the conclusion of the event, iPods and headphones are returned and a brief closing circle takes place in which participants are welcomed to share their thoughts about the experience if they'd like to. Altogether, the event is approximately 90 minutes in length.
Beach Dance events are kept at a maximum of fifty people and iPods are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Due to the unique listening experience, participants are encouraged to arrive 15-30 minutes prior to our start time of 9:00 a.m. to insure receipt of an iPod. After 9:00 a.m., late-comers are welcome to join us in the dance, however iPods will not be distributed after this time. You are welcome to bring your own device and dance to your own music. Events are open to men and women of all ages and children over the age of twelve are welcome with parents’ permission. The dance is free of charge and donations are happily accepted.
While each person has their own unique experience of Beach Dance, every event is created with the intention for participants to thoroughly enjoy themselves and experience a wide range of emotions and other human encounters of the mind, body and spirit. What follows are some of the "most-likely-to-occur-happenings" in attending a Beach Dance.
Having fun and playing with your own innate creativity and imagination.
Listening to a variety of music designed to move your body and your being.
Enjoying the beauty of being in nature.
A great physical workout from dancing on the sand and in the water.
A sense of belonging to the group and being a part of a compassionate and caring community.
A feeling of utter joy and delight.
A sudden urge to laugh out loud or burst into tears.
A feeling of freedom, oneness and love.
A deep connection to something greater than yourself.
Really seen and heard by others.
You have a profound emotional or spiritual experience during the dance.
You think Beach Dance is one of the best things you've experienced while visiting Maui.
You spend a morning dancing with strangers who become amazing new friends.
You come back to Beach Dance every week (if you live on Maui) or as often as you can (every time you visit).
We are the ecstatic movers and not-so-silent shakers of the world.
We are the ones who meet you with our hands held up and our hearts wide open.
We welcome in our fierce and fragile natures, honoring the human and holy beings that we are.
We listen and speak with our whole bodies and hold presence for each other.
We cherish the space of creative expression and belonging we create together.
We are dancers.
We are the dance.
I believe creative self-expression, imagination and improvisation are key ways to tap into and allow one’s true nature and spirit to be set free. Twenty years ago when I was first introduced to ecstatic dance, I had no idea then how it would change my life and impact the lives of others. I’d always loved to dance, but had never taken formal lessons nor made it a habitual practice. The more I danced, the better I felt and it soon became something I wholeheartedly embraced. Dance is no longer something I do. Dance has become a part of who I am.
I am… a passionate advocate for speaking one’s truth, being kind and playing a lot.
I think… there are four things most people want out of life; to feel loved, to feel free, to be seen and to be remembered.
I envision… a world where love of self and others, honesty and integrity, and peace and joy are common daily experiences not once-in-awhile events.
I know… life is short and more often than not, is exactly what we choose it to be.
I have danced and/or studied with Gabrielle Roth, Vinn Arjuna Marti, Anna Halprin, Ann Randolph and many other incredible teachers of conscious movement, theater arts and creative expression over the last two decades. I owned a free-form dance studio for a year along the north Oregon coast. I’ve facilitated movement-based retreats for the last ten years and have put the Uninhibited Retreat I lead twice a year on Maui into hibernation for awhile.
I love to inspire people to move. I especially love seeing and hearing about what happens when people are moved by the experience of their own dance. As a facilitator, I provide guidance and support that’s encouraging, inclusive and real. As a movement artist, I participate as deep and as wide as I facilitate. I am both teacher and student and there is much we can learn from each other and our interactions. As a writer, I use words to ponder and provoke, compliment and criticize, and to understand myself and the world a bit more through curiosity and acceptance.
I live on the beautiful island of Maui where my body and soul were meant to be. I share my daily life with my husband, a wonderful mix of people from all around the world and a myriad of orchids in a house overlooking the ocean that we’ve turned into a lovely bed and breakfast. I enjoy creating extraordinary experiences for others in my home and on the beach. I relish social gatherings and solitude. I write with my body first and my pen second.
I trust if our dancing paths are destined to meet, they inevitably will.
Isn't dancing on the beach just simply dance? Well...yes, and no. We can move our bodies and dance our physical selves silly and absolutely have a great time doing just that. This is what most people might consider 'dancing' and that, in part, would be true. And the truth is...dancing in this way is what the majority of us are completely content with doing and that's grand. Beach Dance is a fun, music-loving, body-shaking time and...it offers more.
There is also another part to dancing that goes beyond just moving our physical selves into a state of pleasurable bliss. People who make dance a daily or weekly habit, a steady practice or a life-long exploration know there's a lot more to dance than just moving our bodies and feeling good. As multi-layered human beings, there is a vast amount of territory we can delve into and dance with. We bring not only our bodies to the beach, but everything that is held within our bodies; our stories and histories, our previous experiences and future dreams, our personal and collective beliefs, our broken hearts and mended bones. We bring all of this and more not only to our dance, but to our daily lives. With all of this "stuff" to dance/live into, dance/live with and dance/live through, there is much we can learn about who we really are from how we move in the world.
What if every time we danced, we discovered and remembered that beyond all that "stuff" we carry within our bodies, we really are joy, freedom, compassion, presence, light and love? Perhaps your dance might change. Perhaps your life might change. Perhaps even the world might change. And so we dance.