Coalessence is stewarded by two facilitators – Paul Deering & Joanna Cashman. We take turns each week providing the music or hosting guest DJs and holding the container for the dance. In addition, we share a multitude of responsibilities for administrative duties, communications, and other behind-the-scenes work. We come from diverse backgrounds, united by our passion for dance, and a strong vision and commitment to grow the ecstatic dance community in Eugene.
Over the years I have come to feel that dance is not something I do but rather something I am; rhythmic, in motion, curious and striving to express myself as a creative being.
Pauls formal schooling was first in visual arts, attending the Kansas City Art Institute for three years in the sculpture program, then going on to earn a BFA in photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1987. Later he returned to school at The East West College of Healing arts and becoming Licensed as a Massage Therapist in Oregon in 2001. In 1988 he began studying movement arts after being introduced to his first Tai Chi teacher, Gregory Fong and has been passionate about practicing and teaching movement in the forms of Martial, healing and expressive arts ever since, exploring in the U.S., Canada, China and Italy.
Currently Paul is honored to be a member of the Coalessence Dance core facilitation team and continues to teach Chinese movement arts for health, spiritual well being and as a foundation for his explorations into improvisational dance. Staying connected to his roots in the visual arts, he continues to explore the world through the the lens, documenting music and dance with a particular focus on experimental composers, performance artists and the interactive world of contact improvisation.
Movement is my medicine! My friends call me “Our Lady of Perpetual Motion” because of my lifelong promotion of dance and mindful movement. I have facilitated ecstatic dances for over 30 years and co-founded dances in Bend, OR, Tucson, AZ and Olympia, WA. My ecstatic dance roots grew out of the seminal soil of the “Dance Free” community in Cambridge, MA where I mentored with ecstatic dance pioneer, Allison Binder-Marshak. Inspired by the work of Jamie Marich I recently became a certified facilitator of Dancing Mindfulness.
My passionate commitment to investigating dance/movement studies led to a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Arizona State University which prepared me to choreograph and perform in regional contemporary dance companies. I couldn’t get enough, so I also pursued certification in the Bill Evans Laban-Bartenieff approach to dance. My dancing path drew me to remarkable teachers including Anna Halprin, Barbara Mettler, Bill Evans, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Nancy Stark-Smith, Joan Skinner, Ann Green Gilbert and many others. All this and I still can’t walk across the living room without tripping over myself.
It was the holistic, expressive, wild grace of free form dancing that led me to explore inner landscapes of creative, psychological and sacred experience supporting my recovery from grief, loss and trauma. Bringing the healing benefits of dance and yoga to prisons, hospitals, mental health centers, cancer survivorship programs, retreat centers, universities, substance abuse centers and internationally to Russia, Ukraine, Ireland, Canada, Mexico has fulfilled my burning desire to spread the gospel of dance far and wide. As an artist-activist I performed in a Citizens Diplomacy – Arts for Peace tour of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev, and produced an American/Soviet Concert of Contemporary Dance while in residence at Shevchenko University in Kiev, Ukraine in the 1980’s. I received the Bellingham Mayors Art Award in 1993 and my biography is listed in Who’s Who in American Nursing for the therapeutic use of the creative arts in the clinical setting.
As a DJ I aim to create multi-generational, acoustic journeys that include the richness of many genres, time periods, and cultures. These alchemical sound scapes invite you to feel into deep inner terrain along a full emotional spectrum. I love taking musical risks with “wild card” selections that invite dancers to expand their notions about what they think they can dance too. My work is based on the premise that expressive body movement is a basic human need.
My life long dedication to human service is expressed in many other roles, including RN, LMT, Integrative Yoga Therapist, E-RYT 500, Acutonics practitioner, Holy Fire Reiki Master, dance ritual choreographer. I offer workshops, trainings and retreats in Dancing Mindfulness, Integrative Brain Dance, Chakra Dance, Group Dance Improvisation, and Radiant Health Yoga.® Being invited to join the Coalessence Dance core facilitation team is an “over the top” honor that fills me with joy and gratitude. I’ve received so much from the sacred muse of dance. I just want to give it all back! Find examples of my creative work on You Tube Channel “Joanna Cashman Dance” and visit JoannaCashman.com for more info.