Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariana Bates.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a newer yoga teacher in 2012, my friend Mary took me to a yoga festival in Santa Monica, Tadasana Festival, for my birthday. We went into a big white tent for our first yoga class of the day. I was in for a major awakening of all sorts! It ended up being Yoga Trance Dance®️ with Shiva Rea and live Moroccan music by Hassan Hakmoun and Dj Cheb I Sabah. I can’t even begin to explain to you how they all looked space age and old world at the same time, cool AF! The music blew the roof off the tent; live drums pulsing and string instruments and electronic beats.
There was probably three hundred people in that tent. Shiva connected us all around the center with moving mediation and launched us into the ecstatic movement experience. I danced so joyfully I felt like I was floating above the tent. After that day I knew that I wanted Shiva Rea to be my next teacher.
The next month, I began studying advanced yogic studies with Shiva Rea and the rest is history. This also led me to train with Shiva in the art of Yoga Trance Dance. I instantly knew that this was my calling. Every cell of my being loves this experience from the moving meditation to the prana vinyasa yoga and the free from dance into the peak of bliss! I truly consider Shiva to be a mystic teacher with ancient knowledge and I am blessed to continue to learn with her, work with her and call her my sister friend.
In Jan 2014, I began the journey of leading Yoga Trance Dance. It has become my dharma, my gift, my offering. I love creating space and leading communities through a journey of self-expression. I share Yoga Trance Dance in the greater LA area, festivals and internationally.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Every dance is a learning experience. Sometimes I get to dance with 200 people like at Ecstatic Dance Los Angeles and sometimes it is a more intimate group of ten. What I have learned is that it only takes two people to have a dance. I show up and hold space no matter what. Some of my smaller classes have been the most transformative and memorable. I also LOVE the energy of working with big groups at festivals.
Not everyone gets what I am doing. People sometimes laugh, usually the people that have never tried it. I have noticed that many people are scared to dance; sometimes this is traced back to lineage. There is a history throughout the world of dance being forbidden or restricted. A great book to read is “Dancing” by Jonas which is a history of dance in the world. Many people think you have to be good at yoga or good at dance to participate. That is not true. We are all born dancers; connected to the natural rhythm of our own heartbeat.
It is incredibly beautiful to witness people that don’t dance find their natural dance in Yoga Trance Dance. There is no choreography, and there is no right way to dance. It offers a space where you no longer have to think, you can just move with the sound- Connected. Beyond thinking of dance as a performance, let’s see dance as a personal practice. We all need it.
No matter what the turn out is or what other people’s opinions are… I always come back to my purpose which is pure and rooted in love. I am here to create space for free form movement, DANCE! I want everyone on the planet to find their dance. Move, wiggle, meander, find the spaces in between, pulse to the drums!
Yoga Trance Dance®️ – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
In 2012, I co-created Free Yoga On The Beach in Long Beach California which offers Free yoga twice per day. Check them out on Facebook or meet up.com. I am also a high school counselor which lights up my life with an extra scoop of purpose.
My main passion is teaching Yoga Trance Dance. I need a place to dance, and I love Yoga Trance Dance as a personal practice. My current offerings are at Ecstatic Dance Los Angeles, the Electric Lodge in Venice and at Yogalution Long Beach. I moved to the West Side recently and am looking forward to teaching more in Venice and Santa Monica.
We are entirely blessed to have amazing dance classes in LA every day. But, what about outside of LA? It is also a mission of mine to bring YTD to communities that do not have a conscious dance. I travel as much as I can to teach. This summer I am traveling to London for the third time to teach and this time to lead Yoga Trance Dance Teacher training. They are thirsty in London for Yoga Trance Dance.
I also love working with, collaborating with incredible live musicians and DJ’s. Some of my fave local sound heroes to work with are Lynda Arnold, Arvindjeet Kaur, Torkum Ji, Dorian, Sol Rising, DJ Ean Golden, J Brave, Imagika Om and many more! The music is the magic that makes the dance flow. About the bigger picture of dance, I don’t believe in competition. I want there to be more dance and more Yoga Trance Dance.
I am blessed to be great friends with many of the great dance teachers in LA like Parashakti, Atasiea, Julian Walker Michelle Le May, and many many more. My bestie, Vandana Hart has an incredible dance show on Netflix called We Speak Dance- which connects dance and social justice across the globe. Go check it out now!!!! My dancer friends all have a common mission to dance, have fun and share the dance love.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to me is feeling good about what I do. It is about giving my gifts to the world, answering the inner calling and shining my light. Success is treating each person with kindness and living in integrity. Success is me being me.
- Ecstatic Dance LA $15 pre-sale/ $20 at the door
- Yoga Trance Dance Teacher Training in London 6/28-6/30.
Early Bird = $345. After March 1, $395
- Website: arianabates.com
- Instagram: @arianabatesdance
- Facebook: Ariana Bates Dance
Polly Canela, Aline Kras, Arvidjeet Kaur, Brandi Manifee, Joy Santos