The Spirit of Dance
By Jerry Brownstein. Photos: Sofía Gómez Fonzo, IbizaPhotoStory
Most of you who are reading this have at some point heard the call of Ibiza... the call to come to this place of freedom... to leave your past behind and discover who you really are. This call often expresses itself through two of the key aspects of Ibiza’s magic... music and dance. The reason that this small island has been the dance music capital of Europe for over 40 years is because the special Spirit of Ibiza naturally sways and flows to the rhythms of music and movement. The freedom that you feel here on Ibiza comes to life when the music sets your heart free... and your body begins to move... and you dance like you have never danced before.
Here are the stories of three beautiful people whose lives have been transformed through their experience of dance, music... and Ibiza.
Zinnia Gupte’s love affair with dance began at the age of three when she started her training in both Indian Temple Dancing and classical ballet. Dance was a huge part of her life, but at the end of her teenage years the family had practical concerns about her career choices and urged her to pursue a less artistic path. This led Zinnia to enrol at a prestigious US university where she earned a degree that led to a lucrative career in digital marketing. Dancing was on the back burner as career and marriage absorbed all of her energies... and then it all came crashing down. The marriage ended and her career met a dead end... she felt lost in the world. She was searching for help and guidance in this dark period... and then heard the call... in the form of Ibiza music from Cafe del Mar. This music spoke to her and inspired her to express her feelings in the most natural way... through dance.
She travelled to Ibiza - knowing no one but driven to find herself on this island that was calling to her. She settled here and followed her heart by creating a new life based on dance... in clubs, at events, etc., and then she was invited (by me) to do a dance workshop at the Healing Festival. Unsure about how to teach so many people she just let go... surrendered... and as if by magic her body flowed with a soft natural energy that got everyone swaying as if in a trance. This was her true awakening as she realized that by freeing her pure feminine creative power she could spread that energy to others. On that day Shakti Priestess was born.
Newly energized and focused, Zinnia returned home to the US and began to cultivate the ancient teachings that resided deep within her soul. Her persona as Shakti Priestess has grown rapidly through books, TV & radio appearances, podcasts, priestess trainings and sacred dance retreats. Every year she returns to her Ibiza roots to be part of the Ibiza Spirit Festival and teach the way of the goddess. This year right after the Festival she will be hosting her Sacred Sensual Retreat here on Ibiza. The retreat will explore and celebrate the different facets of the goddess within all women - power, beauty, abundance and sensuality... all woven together with sacred dance. In her darkest days, Zinnia was searching for love and direction... and then she found her true path through dance and the magic of Ibiza.
From the first moment that she can remember Giulia Campinoti was expressing her joy and freedom through dancing. Her love of dance and great natural talent led her to classical ballet school at a young age. When she was 19 she visited her brother on Ibiza and discovered that here on this magical island you could dance all day and all night! To Giulia this was the closest thing to heaven... so she moved here. Soon she was absorbed in the club scene... not involved in any drinking or drugs... just the joy of being able to endlessly dance. This made her so happy that she was named ‘The Smiling Girl’ by DJ Mag and became known as “Reina de la Noche” (Queen of the Night). The clubs recognized her special energy, and also that she was organized, reliable and straight. As a result she was given work as a dancer, art director and public relations manager. Life was good but... something was missing... she felt trapped in the caricature and ego of her nightlife image. Giulia felt a strong emotion that something deep within her was trying to emerge... and then she discovered tango.
Tango allowed her to express her love of dance as a one to one experience of moving with the other person, and feeling where that interaction takes you. She was so enthralled that she moved to Argentina to be at the heart of tango... totally feeling the power of Mother Earth through this dance of compassionate connection. It seemed like this was the answer to the yearning she felt inside... but it was only the first step. After a while she once again felt trapped - this time in the ego/nightlife of Argentinean Tango... and Giulia heard the call of Ibiza... a call to return and evolve to a deeper level of awakening.
Here on Ibiza she was drawn to a form of dance therapy called Inner Dance of Love (IDOL) that uses body movement to free your emotional blockages. Traumas from our past are locked in the body’s memory, and they are hidden by the stories that we have created to cover them. IDOL uses movement to reveal the blockages and transcend the stories, opening the way for the guidance that will heal them. Giulia is working with this therapy as a way to use her love of dance and her intuitive sense of movement to help people find their inner beauty. Of course she still loves to dance, and she performs in shows throughout the island... including at the Ibiza Spirit Festival where her breathtaking performance and dance workshop are featured events.
Dancing always came naturally to Kareem Raïhani, and by the time he was 17 this talent had led him to concentrate his studies on contemporary dance. He rapidly worked his way up in that world, but somehow it felt too restrictive... something else was calling him... it was the music. His love of dance was evolving into a love of making the music that inspired people to dance. Kareem was fascinated by some of the new Acid House DJs and sought out the best ones to learn from. Soon he was making his own music and before long was a fixture at the big clubs in his native Holland.
He was very successful as both a DJ and producer, but once again he felt that this was not all that he wanted... that there must be something more. He had learned from his mentors that the way to create magic on the dance floor was to set the tone of a musical story throughout the night. But the club scene was not conducive to this kind of full expression, so it was time for Kareem to evolve to another level. He began to experiment with Ecstatic Dance - a deeper dance experience that mixes exotic rhythms and styles which free the body to go on a journey within... and it ends with a meditation to fully embrace the experience.
The same inspiration has led Kareem to create his own style of Conscious Clubbing called SHINE. This is an alternative experience featuring an eclectic set of deep club grooves mixed with sacred music and tropical rhythms. It moves you to dance not only from the body, but also from the heart... to dance like nobody’s watching... Kareem performs over 100 times a year throughout Europe sharing his unique dancing adventures in a variety of events ranging from conscious clubs and festivals, to deeper sessions at retreats, ceremonies and rituals.
Several years ago Kareem moved to Ibiza with his wife Unna to create a lifestyle that is in synch with his evolution as a DJ. Kareem brings his special energy to create the Sunset Dance Celebrations at the end of each Ibiza Spirit Festival, and the next one will be on Sunday 1 October at Atzaró. He is always reaching for that moment when the trance kicks in and the dancer becomes the dance… celebrating life through rhythm, sound, movement and expression. He is living his dream with family, friends and animals on a beautiful mountain here in Ibiza... and spreading the Music of the Heart to thousands of people. •