TRENDS Diary: Conscious Dance


TRENDS Diary, a project of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, is a place for Boulder County residents of all ages to share personal experiences that relate to a pressing community need. The focus, for now, is on our shared need to connect and solve problems, despite the increased isolation we’re all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dear TRENDS Diary,

Each week for nearly 20 years, I have helped put on a free-form community dance gathering, called Conscious Dance Boulder. Until March, we rented space every Thursday night at Alchemy of Movement, a local dance studio, creating a habitat there for everything from contemplative movement to all-out tribal romps.

But then COVID came along and Alchemy closed its doors. The studio has reopened, but our Conscious Dance model didn’t really work with the limited numbers now allowed inside. We were wondering how to continue these sacred and necessary gatherings. We thought about moving them to the parking lot, but rejected that idea because of the aesthetic vacuum that it presents.

Then we learned about portable speakers that work on internal batteries and still have great sound. We bought one, experimented a bit, and then bought another, along with battery packs to power an audio mixer, a laptop and lights, and started dancing again.

Since May, we’ve danced in a downtown park with a local DJ every Saturday and Thursday evening (check Conscious Dance Boulder on Facebook for locations), and each week our setup gets more exacting and dialed-in. It’s 100 percent-battery-powered, 100% bicycle-transported, and 100% free. We invented social distancing hoops—6-plus-foot diameter PVC hoops—to give folks a greater sense of safety and protection, and provide a hand sanitizer station, asking that folks wear masks and respect social distancing. A team of 5 people share responsibilities setting up, taking down, and monitoring the vibe to make sure everyone stays safe. We’ve had no community complaints about the group gathering or the noise. Everybody is just out there, under the sky, dancing.

COVID’s arrival was a mixed blessing. Obviously, it upended everything, but it also pulled us outdoors—and personally, I hope that we can make the outdoor ecology of these dances permanent from spring into late fall. (Come winter, we are looking to rent a large indoor space where we can spread out and be safe.) It’s just so important to keep dancing.


– Dave Weil