Elaine Gale

We Were Together: I Forget The Rest

Now the dark windowless room where we dance seems perfect—it’s like a sensory deprivation tank.

At first, I couldn’t get used to it.

I moved here after living and dancing in Sacramento for years in a big room with butter oak floors, big leaded-glass windows, the light streaming in from all sides.

It felt funny to me that in Santa Barbara, the most beautiful town I’d ever seen—beauty wafting off the people and the place—and we all danced together in a dark cave. But the dark cave included incredible music, mats for stretching, hula hoops, altars, colored dots of light bouncing around, two floor floodlights--one green, one red--and ducts and wires off an exposed ceiling, exposed like all of us.

Living here with blinding beauty and consistent sunshine, it seems somehow perfect to dance without any of that distraction, to dance in a dark box of sweaty humans.

Lucky for me, I found Dance Tribe right away when I moved here a few years ago. I live in the same neighborhood as the Gail Towbes Center for Dance.

Sometimes I dance with others.

Mostly I dance by myself.

Usually it’s a mix of the two.

When I go, I have no idea what will happen there or what I’ll excavate in myself.

Last week when I danced, I hit an unexpected pocket of sadness in my body—not attached to any story—that left me broken open and weeping. 

And I’ve gone to Dance Tribe and been like an Easter Island statue, barely making any expressions at all.

And I’ve just swayed in the corner with my eyes closed, my hands over my heart.

This dance practice is some of the most potent medicine I've ever swallowed.

I'm grateful to everyone involved, to the founders, all the teachers, all the ministers of music, all the dance floor companions, all the people who handle admission, create stunning altars, mop the floors.

For me, it’s a place to be joyful, to be sad, to be playful, to be serious, to be reverent, to be irreverent, to be pretty, to be ugly, for connection, for solitude, for wild abandon, for micro-movements and for silently stretching on a mat in a corner. 

It all feels like a prayer.

For me, it’s a place to interrogate the dark—the darkness of my own shadow. It’s a place where I can track my grief, investigate my sadness, quiet my mind, celebrate my growth and show up in community. Dance Tribe a place where I leave for my car in a sweet, sweaty, salty surrender and walk out into the light.

There are times when the veil rips off and it’s just an unadorned medicine field—a place where a cosmic consciousness is almost visible to the naked eye, where everyone’s ancestors are  practically lined up in the parking lot to cheer them on.

What would they say? “This movement is the medicine” or “Move through your fear, your sadness, your pain” or “Don't worry--you'll move through it."

 Maybe they'd just quote Walt Whitman: “We were together. I forget the rest.”

Dance Tribe
Nicola Gordon

My Church, My Temple, My Tribe

Dance Tribe has been my church, my temple, and my tribe. You know that place that people talk about where one feels an  ecstatic feeling of oneness with all life?  Dance tribe is where I experience it; not just once, but on a regular basis... What can I say?  Thank you.

- Nicola

Dance Tribe
Sarkis Love


The simplest answer as to why I love it is contained in the name itself.  First, it's Dance! It's a space where my own authentic movements and funky expressions are fully welcomed, encouraged, allowed, and supported.  I get to dance silly and playful, big and wild, quite and inward, laying down and being still, stretching in the corner; anything goes!  I get to move my body in a space that is free from judgment and welcomes all bodies and their movements.  To move in a way that feels good to my body, heart, and mind; this is the essence of dance for me.

Second, it's a Tribe.  Which means, I get to be my authentic self in CONNECTION with a community of people.  Witnessing and being witnessed in my authentic expression while being in connection is so deeply healing for me.  For a person who did not do well sitting in classrooms and being quiet/still all throughout my developmental years, Dance Tribe is like a never-ending factory of healing, corrective experiences.  And the only prerequisite for entry is showing up in a body!

I also really love that it is a shoes-off event that is free of drugs and alcohol.  I get to feel my feet on the ground, and I get to feel me; I get to listen to me.  Dance for me is a form of prayer, and I value being able to pray in an environment free of drugs and alcohol because too often (not always) I find that people who are intoxicated are actually trying to run away from their experience.  I don't want to run away, I want to celebrate myself by being with myself.  

This is why I go to Dance Tribe. To be with myself.  To be with other people. To pray and have fun. 

Thank you,





Karen Barranco


I first arrived at dance tribe about 8 or 9 years ago. It had been a while since I had danced regularly, and I was looking forward to shifting some of my energy.  I was feeling sad and a bit isolated, and a bunch of other emotions were turning in me.  I knew I wanted to let go of some baggage.  

When my feet touched that dance floor, I opened myself up and began to let my fears and inhibitions go. I walked into the present moment, the dance of this moment, body, mind, and soul.  

The music was so good. I breathed that music right inside and let it fill me up.  It is a place to go where you can close your eyes and just listen. 

To make it even more interesting, I felt delightedly that strong sense of community I was building. Little did I know I was building one of my tribes people. I have danced both alone and together, and with that dance floor,  countless numbers of times. I have seen many relationships blossom, bloom, and ripen on that floor.  I have made partnerships, friendships, plans, dances, and performances on and off that dance floor.  

I cannot wait for it to be Sunday every week, I fear it is contagious!  And the music is out of this world! It just keeps getting better and more diverse with the many talented DJ’s that play. Come and enjoy!