Jim’s Bio

About Jim (Or How I Came to Facilitate Chakradance)

Learn more about Jim, his journey in Chakradance, and a conversation about facilitation with Christine Renee of Reiki Cafe University (who happens to be one of Jim’s Chakradance students)

However, I should say a few things here in the context of the bio that led me to be a Chakradance facilitator, which I have now been for several years, and particularly my life story as it relates to dance.

For that, you can safely skip my childhood as a minister’s son in Ohio, my graduate studies and degrees in philosophy, and the vast majority of my years as a radical street activist. You can save my year living with the buffalo near Yellowstone, the birth of my child, and most of my life.

I must confess that I was not a dancer all my life, even though dancing is the most human thing in the world, something we are all born with.

I mean, yes, I am exaggerating a bit. In my private moments, I would dance in front of a mirror or in my own company. I danced a lot more than the current me is often willing to admit.

But to really dance such that anyone who knows me first thinks of me as a dancer (or a wild, colorful fashionista – an even more recent journey than the dancing one), you need only go back about a dozen years (or perhaps a little further). Naturally, I fell in love with a woman, and she was a dancer, and so I figured I had better try this out if I was going to really show how much I liked her. Well, the woman is long gone from my life, but dancing never went away. I will forever be thankful for her strident belief in dancing and the influence, perhaps for not the best reasons on my part, that got me dancing in the first place.

She introduced me to 5Rhythms dancing, which is commonly thought of these days as a type of ecstatic dancing. In ecstatic dancing, you generally start with slower, more flowing music, gradually rise the energy to a crescendo, and then crash into music that wakes up the stillness within us. It is dancing without pre-defined moves, and where you are free to move however your body wants to move. There are clear similarities with Chakradance, though some differences, too.

I might have first fallen in love with a woman, but I was forever in love with dancing. And once I started down that road, I can’t stop won’t stop.

The fallout of that relationship with this incredibly lovely person was the discovery that I had a lot of growing up to do. A lot in me was out of balance. I had a tortured relationship with myself, one where I had not truly learned to realize I was whole and complete as I was. I honestly had never heard of a chakra. I also was not grounded in my body, and really I would have no idea what “grounded in my body” even meant.

Around this time, an incredible healer came into my life, a local rolfer. Without going into all the ways body work helped me, she suggested that I study tantra. For some reason, this resonated with me when before it never had. To this day, tantra is an extremely integral part of my life, particularly the writings of Margot Anand and her SkyDancing Tantra Institute. However, it was in tantra that I discovered the chakras. During my first ever tantra workshop, we did a moving meditation called a “Chakra Wisdom Meditation.” During it, I had incredible visions, had intuitions about my life that subsequently came true, and had the most soulful dance experience because though this was a moving meditation, I was dancing.

Skip ahead a couple years, and I began to wonder about this meditation that I mistakenly remembered as a “Chakradance” meditation, and I wondered whether there was such a thing as Chakradance. Out of this mistake, I discovered there indeed was such a thing as Chakradance. I eagerly sought out a class, only to discover that there were no classes. A woman who had been a facilitator in Bozeman moved away just as I was discovering it. She suggested that I become a facilitator myself. After sitting with it, that is what I did. I went through the most beautiful training program with many other lovely people (almost entirely women – I am one of only a few male Chakradance facilitators in the world), several of whom remain close friends to this day.

At this point of my life, I was a fully transformed person, in love with myself, in love with dance, able to hold space so much better for myself and others. I felt that the magic of life was all around me. It did not necessarily mean that life did not throw incredible curve balls and challenges, but now I danced through the vast majority of things gracefully, in a way I could not when I was first discovering 5Rhythms.

In Chakradance, I facilitated a local class, and I provided private sessions with others. My real opportunity came when I continued to develop my friendship with the founder of the Chakradance modality, Natalie Southgate. In 2020, she hired and asked me to help her co-facilitate a seven-month Deep Dive class, one I had taken with Natalie and a dozen others the year prior. In that role, I had the opportunity to hold space for others on an intense Chakradance journey. Besides dancing with everyone, I held monthly phone calls with participants to check in with them while daily responding to all of their online shares. I participated in monthly video calls with everyone, too, and of course, I continued my own dance experience. It felt good to be so trusted by Natalie, but even more so by the people I was sharing the journey with.

And dance for me has been a lot more than Chakradance. You will find my best friend Aly and I dancing in public regularly (at this point, weekly outside at Soroptimist Park in Bozeman every Sunday at 1PM). The vibe is different and gets at my activist roots, but in some ways it is the same. We are creating a space where everyone who is friendly to others is welcome to build a dance and art community organically. Besides that project, any intimacy workshop I offer has a heavy dance component. The goal for me is to have a community of people interested in topics related to intimacy, practicing Chakradance as one modality within this larger practice I am developing.

Besides all these things, some other things about me not shared above: I have a regular podcast, perform improv sometimes at Last Best Comedy (and improv is another feature of my intimacy workshops), I love to bake cheesecakes (even vegan ones), I am vegetarian, and I am also in love with Death Valley (second only to Yellowstone in my heart). As far as dance, besides Chakradance and ecstatic dance, I enjoy swing dancing, a little bit of tap, and continue to dabble in contact improv. I also love to act, and we hope in the near future to announce more backyard community theater like this one. I have myriad other interests that we can discover as we get to know each other.