Indiana Daily Student

SomaVibe dance meditation event to be led by Touchstone Wellness Center Feb. 26

<p>The Touchstone Wellness Center will lead SomaVibe, an improvisational dance meditation event, at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 at their facilities on North College Avenue. The two-hour experience will be accompanied by live, improvisational music by local artists.</p>

The Touchstone Wellness Center will lead SomaVibe, an improvisational dance meditation event, at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 at their facilities on North College Avenue. The two-hour experience will be accompanied by live, improvisational music by local artists.

The Touchstone Wellness Center will lead SomaVibe at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 at their facilities on North College Avenue. 

SomaVibe is an improvisational dance meditation event, where guests are welcome to dance to live music.

Tickets for the event are $20. There is a maximum capacity of 25 guests, and all visitors must wear masks during the two-hour event. 

A body practitioner with Touchstone, Amy Burrell, is organizing the event. Burrell, who has a background in contemporary dance, started SomaVibe in winter 2021. She said she wanted to combine dance with live music, and was able to organize the first session in December 2021 after connecting with local musicians. 

Related: [Local musicians perform their original work at Cosmic Songwriter’s Club]

Burrell said SomaVibe is meant to connect people with their bodies and help them enter into entranced states of mind.

“The intention is to go just really deeply into yourself,” Burrell said. “To dance emotions out, to express emotions that might be difficult to express in regular life through movement, to sweat, to alkalize your body, to heal.”

The experience is open to anyone regardless of their background in dance, Burrell said. She said the event could benefit people looking for a healthy way to connect with themselves and the community, or enter into an expanded mental state without using drugs or alcohol. 

Burrell said the dancers should move independently as they feel inspired by the music.

“For the dancers there are no steps, there's nothing that I'm going to be teaching people to do,” Burrell said. “You're kind of trusting that your body is going to be moving in ways that it needs to move.”

Tom Clark, a local musician performing on Feb. 26, said SomaVibe creates a unique dynamic between the audience and the musicians. He said it dissolves the social and physical barrier between them that is common in more traditional performance spaces like concert halls.

“This is very much not a traditional music performance,” Clark said. “It's a very interactive performance that people really won't be used to, but I think they'll be very pleasantly and oddly surprised.”

Local musician Julian Douglas said he coordinated the creative vision for the event. After connecting with Burrell during one of a Bloomington Drum and Dance Circle, which he led as a percussionist with Rhythm Arise, Douglas began to seek out other musicians to participate in SomaVibe.

Related: [Local musician DJ MADDØG creates safe and fun atmospheres in queer spaces]

For this month’s event, Douglas and local musician William Brown will lead percussion, musician Stephanie Heidemann will perform vocals and keyboards and Clark will play flutes.

Douglas described the music as long-form improvisation. He said while the musicians don’t prepare specifics in advance, they’re likely to draw from their various backgrounds playing African, Middle Eastern, Indian and European music, as well as jazz or contemporary Western styles.

“One of the ways that we facilitate dance as meditation is by creating something that is long enough that people can actually kind of sink into it,” Douglas said.

The musicians’ improvisation is heavily influenced by the audience, Douglas said. He said during previous events, he’s been inspired by the people and the silence that punctuates the music.

“The dancers are, in a way, conducting us,” Douglas said. “We're making an effort to connect with what they're doing with their movement and using the vocabulary that they're using in their bodies as inspiration.”

Douglas said the combination of music, dance and meditation is a human practice that dates back thousands of years and is something people still participate in on a regular basis.

“These kinds of practices are what enable us to create a deeper sense of connection with ourselves, with one another, with our community, sometimes with something that feels bigger than all of us,” Douglas said.

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