Dance your anxieties away at benefit |

Dance your anxieties away at benefit

John HartMichael Stone dances with his wife, Saskia, during one of his classes at the South Yuba Club in Nevada City July 19.
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Michael Stone is the first to admit he doesn’t have all the answers.

An organizational development consultant and dance therapist, Stone suffers from anxieties just like everyone else who has a job, family and/or are in relationships.

But for 10 years, Stone (aka Deejay Divine) has released his anxieties through Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms spiritual dance, which began in the 1960s. His dance work today is based partly on Roth’s work.

Stone has taught spiritual dance every Friday at South Yuba Club in Nevada City and elsewhere on weekends for two years. Stone will lead a 21/2 hour introduction to the five rhythms Friday as a benefit at and for the nonprofit St. Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley.

“This dancing is my form of yoga,” Stone said Friday.

He says he woke up one day and realized he worked with “talking heads.”

“I was a talking head,” he said with a laugh. “We live in our heads and not our bodies. Mostly we’re not present; we’re living in the past or future.

“I was Mr. Serious. When I wasn’t working, I was working on working,” Stone added.

He finally decided it was time to work through his own doubts – like “Underneath, I’m a bad person. They don’t like me. I’m stupid. I’m too busy” – by dancing.

“I’ve worked in the areas of personal growth for 35 years, including yoga, EST, Gestalt, any practice that came along,” Stone said. “Dance helped me to accept, to forgive, to love.”

He knows dance as therapy might sound farfetched to the general public. But he says it should be given a chance.

“People are often skeptical,” Stone acknowledged. “At first, they’re self-conscious. Then they get in the beat. Everybody has their own dance. It’s moving meditation.”

In his classes, dancers go from dynamic steps to brisk movement to a gradual slowdown.

“We dance to get to the stillness,” Stone explained, “to get to the inner dance, the heartbeat where we are completely intuitive, where we are in the present. We bring in whatever we’ve encountered all week, dance with it, come to terms with it, and let it go.”

Non-dancers and dancers alike can participate. Students range in age from 7 to the 80s.

“Dancing for thousands of years has brought humans back to the big intelligence, to God, to their spiritual connection,” Stone said. “In dance, we can turn our suffering into art and our art into awareness, which leads us to a state of natural thriving in the present.”


WHAT: “From Suffering to Salvation, A Dance Wave” benefit

WHEN: Friday from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 410 S. Church St., Grass Valley

ADMISSION: Donation of at least $10

INFORMATION: 265-9119 or 265-3032

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