A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Collective

Percussion, Music and Service Around the Fire: Bright Hawk

There are practical and magical aspects to drumming. As humans we struggle with the tools we are given and the limits of our daily existence. But the magic of the fire and the drum can release us from our earthly bonds and let us rise above our limits.

If we set ourselves on the path of music with an authentic desire to learn and grow, then we will be challenged and our hard work will be rewarded with moments of great intuition. These are gifts of spirit where we leap forward to a new place.

In this workshop we will learn some of the details of how our drums work and how to improve our playing. We will supply a framework and some concepts and ideas from which you can distill your own style and allow you the freedom to explore.

With these tools you can express yourself better and begin to communicate with other drummers and dancers more effectively around the fire.

Bright Hawk is an inspired and inspiring musician and storyteller, sharing her gifts (around the world) for more than twenty years to the delight of all. Her playful spirit and intense passion come through in her amazing djembe playing and teaching, the motivational stories she tells, and the exquisite music of the Hang PanArt drum. Bright Hawk’s recordings include Echoes of the Deep Waters with Jason Cohen, Chris Baum and Eric Freeman; as well as recording the soundtrack to Becoming an Oracle a seven CD meditation series with Nicki Sculley for Sounds True recordings. Bright Hawk lives in Boulder, Colorado, and is currently working on a story book and DVD of her work.

Thai Yoga Massage with Luke Destefano

Luke DeStefano began his journey into spiritual studies at the age of 9 when he was initiated into the practice of Transcendental Meditation at the TM Institute in Providence, RI, USA. These studies quickly sparked an interest in the Healing and Martial Arts and many years of study with various teachers in and around the United States. In 2009, Luke relocated to South East Asia to begin Intensive training in Thai Yoga Massage, Buddhist Tantra and Qi Gong, as well as other modalities of bodywork such as Cranial Sacral Therapy, Reflexology, Osteopathy, and Chi Nei Tsieng (abdominal massage). With a strong foundation in the Buddhist principals of loving-kindness and compassion, Luke’s massage practice is one that is heart-centered as well as therapeutic. Luke continues to travel worldwide and give private sessions and workshops in the United States, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, and Costa Rica.

Moving With A Spacious Heart with Ashley Berry

We notice impulse, story, and the tendency to make meaning… We cultivate curiosity… We orient ourselves toward acceptance and inclusivity. Using authentic movement as a foundational practice for being with self, other, and environment, we enter, open-hearted, into the mystery of what is alive in each moment. The invitation is to be with the light and the shadow, the conscious and the unconscious, as compassionate witness, in the interest of encountering a simple, loving presence with what is. 

Ashley Berry blends her background in yoga, meditation, thai massage, authentic movement, social work, sacred sexuality, Nonviolent Communication, herbalism, spiritual activism and The Way of Council to create containers that facilitate holistic, embodied, heart-centered approaches to sharing and bearing witness to our individual experiences within community. Through her compassionate presence and deep listening, Ashley lovingly invites participants to feel through the sensations, feelings, and stories of their human experience. Her perspective is rooted in a deep belief that inherent goodness exists in every aspect of our humanness, a perspective that gives permission for everything that arises to be worthy of being received and loved by the heart. The role of the witness is a core component of Ashley’s work. Through witnessing each other, we come to know the intimately interconnected nature of our core emotional experiences. By normalizing emotions in this way, we begin to transcend identification with emotion and personal story, and settle into a deeper, more peaceful truth about who we really are. Ashley is committed to the work of learning to love all parts of self, together in relationship, so that we may remember our intrinsic belonging, wholeness, and coherence, as individuals, and as community.

Relax, Release, and Revive Clarity Breathwork Workshop with Kylie Judge and Leah Barsher

Clarity Breathwork is a circular, gentle and powerful approach to healing our whole being—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Circular breathing balances our nervous system, brings awareness to the stress-points in our body, and helps us to let go and open to receiving. In this workshop, we will learn a variety of embodiment practices including expressive movement, stillness, compassion-based communication and Clarity Breathwork. This is a transformative practice of nourishing a sense of aliveness in our body, mind, relationships, and daily life. No prior experience necessary. Wear comfortable, breathable clothes. Please bring a mat, pillow, and water bottle. Kylie and Leah are Clarity Breathwork Practitioners with backgrounds in dance, yoga, and reiki. They have both experienced transformative healing from chronic illness through the practices that they now share in their workshops. Kylie and Leah weave together movement, stillness, heart-centered communication and breathwork into an intimate offering that invites participants to let go and receive. In this supportive space, they empower participants to cultivate deeper awareness, compassion, and self-love that expands far beyond the self and nourishes a deep sense of connection to all that is.

Mantra and Sacred Sounds Yoga w/ Jojo Silverman

Nada yoga, the yoga of sound was one of the earliest practices in Yoga to achieve union of mind, body and spirit! Sound is simply those vibrations we perceive with our ears, but these waves are also experienced by the entire physical body and have unlimited potential for helping us recognize and remember our own divine nature. The ancient yogis, or rishis (seers), uncovered much of the mystery and power of sound in the form of mantras. These mystical sanskrit sound patterns have been used for thousands of years to focus the mind, open the heart, induce meditation, and expand consciousness. Through the all night musical ceremonies at Forest Dance our perception of sound is altered and heightened. What better time to integrate  new sacred sound tools for tuning our psyches! This experiential vocal sound immersion will explore some of the fascinating principles and techniques of nada yoga. We will learn some key classical Sanskrit mantras as well as Bija practices and kirtan. These practices not only assist us in coping with every day stress, but they can be used to access deeper, or hidden, parts of our own potential, revealing our true Identity.
    In this same spirit of sacred sonic sharing JoJo will likely be contributing to the teaching and orchestration of traditional rhythms for the Music Around the Fire session.
Creator of the healing modality Prayerful Resonance, and visionary of the Devotional Music Foundation, JoJo Silverman, has been a student of yoga, meditation, holistic health, chanting, hand percussion, and fire-keeping for over 20 years. Using sound in the exploration of consciousness to connect  hearts and minds is his gift and mission.

JoJo created the Devotional Music Foundation in 1999 to promote the sacredness of music as a force for healing our planet. Since then, he has been leading kirtans, cacao ceremonies and chanting workshops internationally.

    In 2008 he released the album Bhagavan Kripa: A Kirtan of Grace, a kirtan tribute to Swami Kripalvananda. Later that year he developed Prayerful Resonance Chant Activation, a specialized healing modality that uses prayer and sound. In 2009 -2010 he built the Sonic Sacred Star Garden Temple, a hexagram shaped vegetable chanting garden, as a model for creating new relationships to music, the plant world, and our food.
     JoJo believes strongly in the use of prayer and sound for recognizing and remembering our wholeness, and dedicates his life to the practice of these arts. He currently resides in Asheville NC, focusing on his healing work and music-as-prayer

In Service at the Root Fire, Plant Medicine Walk and Farm Tour with Przemek Kowalczyk

Plant Medicine Walkabout: Come take a walk on the wild side and learn about the various healing qualities the land has hidden within. We will stroll with leisure through herbal mandalas, food plots, forest trails, and terraced gardens as we discuss and discover the local flora and fauna medicine. We will identify plants, herbs, trees, fungi, and more, explaining the specific benefits and healing properties of each remedy. Led by tropical permaculture enthusiast, Przemek, we’ll be gathering information for the mind and potent sustanence for the body and soul. Farm Tour: First we will begin with a short history of Verdenergia and a theoretical background of the sustainable land development project. With the theory in hand, we will then journey through the various zones of the farm community. From the forest edge to the unique and creative living spaces, we will be looking at a wide spectrum of permaculture in action, from soil restoration to local and natural building. Come breathe in the fresh country air and fragrances as we experience tribal life and poly crop alchemy at its finest. Przemek has been working with tropical permaculture and herbal medicine for the past 4 years. He has been involved in diverse projects at many different farms, communities, festivals, and gatherings. From reforestation to herbal extracts, from the field to the apothecary, Przemek continues to gather knowledge and experience of mother earth’s bounty with the intention to better teach, share, and learn of the magic nature has to offer. Przemek will work with the other herbalists to prepare and offer wild crafted teas from the Land, on the root fire during the ceremony, which is part of the FD fire circle experience, as we welcome in the subtle energies of the surrounding forest.

Community Drumming with Ult Mundane

Ult Mundane invites us to explore principles of drumming together, to help us bring confidence and sensitivity to our service at the sacred fire. He loves to blend the high energy of traditional African rhythms with the dynamic conversational elements of group improvisation. Together we can deepen our ability to support establishing a rhythm, use call and response to hear and be heard, and add some fireworks when the energy is on its way up. Ult has been studying traditional West African drumming for over fifteen years, playing djembe and dunduns. He has learned from world-renowned teachers such as Famoudou Konate and Mamady Keita. Since 2010 he has been studying with Namory Keita, a master drummer from Guinea. Ult currently teaches a weekly class where he lives in Southern New Hampshire.

Vibrational Yin w/ Natashia

A series of gentle yin and restorative asanas highlighting energetic points in synchronistic association with sound vibrations. The fusion of breath, sound and moving meditation is designed to invite a state of homoeostasis to mind, body and soul. Vibrational Yin aims at cultivating inner awareness, opening the heart and bringing light to a universal consciousness of love, peace and joy. Feel yourself slow down as you move into longer held posses and melt away restrictions within your body’s connective tissue while the sound frequency from crystal singing bowls and live instrumentation assist in the release of tension on all levels.

Tish is a retreat specialist, curating transformational experiences internationally that cultivates awakening and healing.  Originally from South Africa, she now calls Costa Rica her home and for the past 5 years have been co-creating health & wellness retreats, coordinating  YTT programs and plant medicine ceremonies. Tish is an extraordinaire when it comes to coordinating and working with talent and influencers.

She has been fortunate to have lived in multiple countries and traveled around the world exploring different healing practices. She journeyed to Peru where she completed her RYS 200H yoga and meditation certification to deepen her connection to self. She studied ancient healing techniques with elders from Guatemala to Colombia and shares a variety of medicine creating safe containers for a deeper exploration to one’s true Self.

An awakener of the Bliss body and a leader in emerging Feminine consciousness she brings her gifts forward to help humans transcend blocks, balance energy and activate a healthy mind, body spirit relationship through embodiment and intentional living. She reminds her students that personal growth is not only powerful and self elevating, but also has the potential to be fun and joyfully integrated into everyday living.

Founder Of Follow Your Bliss Costa Rica & Mama Africa Medicine

Additional Staff

Hollis Taylor

Hollis Taylor is a Divinely Lead Androgyne that celebrates great joy when they can experience an open minded and diverse community. Hollis lives the embodiment of both male & female in one body/mind/soul and works as a gender activist, constantly. Publisher of DiversiTree.org and Creator of the program used for LetsDanceActivities.com Hollis guides us to the light with inspiration and guidance. Hollis supports a full expression of our deepest and complete selves through counseling and example. Hollis is honored to experience 20+ years experience in leading groups of children and families in a variety of settings including Scouting For All, such as Spiral Scouts. Hollis holds a professional education for psychology and child development as well as a lifetime of experience with their own child and now grandchild. Hollis has also completed a variety of spiritual training, leadership intensives, and has over 10 years experience with children & families around the magic fire circle. Hollis helps ForestDance experience a full children’s program alongside the traditional magic fire circle in a way that inspires the natural spiritual magic that children hold.

Kathy Davidson-Registrar

I discovered Forest Dance Costa Rica in 2014. I decided that it was the perfect gathering for me after having found a flyer in a café on a rainy September day in Corvallis, Oregon. I had never attended such an event, never traveled outside the country alone, and didn’t know anyone else who would be there, but for some reason it really called to me so I went for it. This experiment kicked my personal evolution into high gear. It helped me establish a network of “fire family” from across the globe and opened my eyes and heart to the importance of community. Functioning as a Registered Nurse in the professional world, I had studied the concept of illness and healing from a Western/allopathic/scientific (read: “reductionist”) point of few for several years. But Forest Dance is a whole different approach to healing that brings awareness to both the cause and the symptom, on a collective and an individual level. It extended my concept of myself as a “nurse,” pushing me to contemplate the implications of working as a “healer” in a more humanistic sense. This organic, inclusive, co-created experience speaks to me in a way no other ceremony has. I was raised in, yet estranged from, the Catholic tradition. My connections at Forest Dance have helped me to amend my spirituality and have helped me to see more clearly the intricate web of our human relationships. I come to this space to witness how synchronicity and intuition guide us along our path as evolving, expanding beings. What is it that you hope to discover here? I am pleased to be returning to Costa Rica for my sixth Forest Dance as your registrar. I’ve also attended/staffed other Heartbeat Collective events, including Forest Dance New England and Unifier Festival. I am delighted to be of service at these gatherings, to welcome newcomers to the tribe and greet those returning to continue this journey with us! I currently live in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, although I travel as frequently as possible, often to rendezvous with some member of my “fire family,” which now spans not only the continent but the entire globe! We are global citizens, after all. Outside of nursing, I spend my time dancing, hooping, reading, writing, making jewelry, and practicing yoga.

Jason Cohen

Jason Cohen, the founder of Forestdance, has experienced numerous healing and expressive arts rituals around the world.
His knowledge, experience, sensitivity and training as a ritual facilitator and his life long pursuit of exploring passion and subtlety in music, has led him in service to offering this, the 34th Forestdance Gathering.

These gatherings have taken place in 7 US states and has happened 11 times in Costa Rica. These are powerful transformational ritual gatherings designed to bring
people into their full power through the process of burning off symptomatic energies, coming fulling present, and balancing heart, mind, body and spirit inside and out of the sacred fire circle.

Jason is also the producer of Unifier Festival, the healing and expressive arts transformational festival that occurs in New England on the Summer Solstice in the US in June. This is a gorgeous gathering with ceremony at its core, and a mission that includes using the transformational festival model to cultivate energy and resources for community owned Land to be shared in perpetuity and governed by a council of elders. www.UnifierFestival.com

When not facilitating one of these gatherings, Jason often is composing and performing with his musical project Incus, or directing events for the heARTbeat Collective. Jason is a community organizer deeply committed to creating spaces where people can become empowered and inspired.

Jason is also currently the Vice Chair of the organization that purchased Camp Timber Trails, an old girl scout camp in Tolland, MA. This gorgeous camp is on 417 acres, with a 16 acre lake in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.

Jason has held ceremonial space and studied with many blessed teachers, including Suzanne Rancourt (Abenaki Bear Clan), Mandaza Kandemwa (Shona), and Malidoma Some (Dagara), and takes much of his inspiration from his humble and direct connections to nature and his ancestors.

Check back soon for the other offerings we will be posting here RETURN TO FORESTDANCE CR EVENT MAINPAGE