Erica Ross, Author, Artist, and Co-Founder of The Move, Dance Our Way Home and Daily Dance.

In Episode 10, Erica Ross, co-founder of The Move and Dance Our Way Home, talks about how dance began for her, coming from a long lineage of dancers, a passion passed down from her grandmother to her mother and then herself. She speaks intimately about her spiral journey out of and back into dance. The journey began with chronic pain and forced her to let go of her dance practice, Dance Our Way Home, and find new forms of expression. An iteration of life experiences that led her to write the book; She Reflects: A Spiral Journey for the Feminine Soul, back to her art, and DJing. Erica shows us through her own experiences how to turn our pain into art and reinvent ourselves as part of the healing journey.

The Universal Dancer Podcast with Leslie Zehr and her guest Jennifer Jiménez, Founder of the Health & Well-Being Division at Brave Thinking Institute and Creator of TranscenDance™

In Episode 12, Leslie speaks with Jennifer Jiménez, Founder of the Health & Well-Being Division at Brave Thinking Institute and Creator of TranscenDance™. Jennifer is a highly sought-after speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach who has been featured in major media outlets, including Self Magazine, NBC News, Oxygen and Woman’s World, and more. Jennifer talks about how she first began dancing and her desire to become a professional dancer. She shares her early experiences with conscious dance and how that led her to develop—TranscenDance™— a dance modality helping people of all ages and backgrounds worldwide to move stuck energy, dance their dreams into reality, and truly thrive with joy and vitality in their body temple! Leslie and Jennifer discuss how life carries unexpected challenges that can often teach us essential lessons on our spiritual journey. And how dance can teach us skills to move through those challenges and has the power to transform those experiences into gifts. Jennifer shares her program's ten steps that empower people to transform their lives and inspire people to change their lives by introducing them to the world of expressive dance. We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity to experience the joys of dance and share their vision and life dreams with others through this medium.

Brietta Leader, Creator of WildCore™

Brietta Leader has been on a lifelong exploration of movement. In this podcast, she shares how she became a dancer, discovered conscious dance, and how life-altering dance can be. Brietta explains how she came to create WildCore™, a natural evolution of the dance modalities that she learned infused with her own experiences and values. Leslie and Brietta discuss the benefits of combining choreographed movement with conscious dance and how it can help the student expand their limits and create a safe container for those unfamiliar with improvisation and free dance. They also explore dance as an ancient form of healing that is often overlooked in its modern application and the importance of “normalizing” ritual and ceremony in our everyday lives.

Join Leslie Zehr, author of The Alchemy of Dance: Sacred Dance as a Path to the Universal Dancer and The Al-chemia Remedies: Vibrational Essences from Egyptian Flowers and Sacred Sites, as she takes you on a journey of exploration using her own experiences as a seeker. The journey began in her childhood but increased when she moved to Egypt more than 30 years ago.

She will bring guests from diverse areas such as sacred dance, the sacred arts, ancient wisdom, academics, artist, writers, and researchers to understand our past better to move more skillfully into the future.

The interviews will stream live on Leslie's  YouTube channel TheUniversaldancer at 4 pm UTC. Please join live to participate with comments and questions during the recording.

The interview replays are on Leslie's YouTube channel  TheUniversaldancer and all major podcast platforms as The Universal Dancer Podcast.

Season 1-2021

Alana Shaw, Founder, and Executive Director of Turning the Wheel.

In this episode, Alana and Leslie will discuss the importance of awakening to our bodies, listening to our bodies, and inhabiting our bodies as the path to reclaiming our soul's journey. And to remember all we have always known and retrieve all the parts of ourselves we have left behind along the way.

Coming Soon!

2022 Season 2 Line-up

Jacqueline Dreessens, Ethnochoreologist, and Director of Wild Moves International

What a fantastic interview. I could have gone on for hours! Jacqui is a wealth of wisdom and experience. In the show, we discuss Transformation: Moving through the Sacred Dance of Grief to love and connection. We explore many of Jacqui's choreographies and how she draws inspiration from nature and the environment, exploring the ecology of place and embodied experience. Jacqui has done a fantastic job bringing environmental and social awareness issues to the public through dance. We talk about many of Jacqui's choreographies, including "Children of the Blue Light" and "Échelons." We also speak about the return of the Sacred King Fisher and how it sparked a Festival to celebrate and educate children and adults about our impact on the environment. Jacqui uses art, specifically dance, to bring awareness to the natural world around us. She shares with us her experience of visiting the Cape Coast Slave Dungeons, Ghana, West Africa. She was inspired to choreograph and perform "Children of the Blue Light: Bringing healing through music and dance." Her first major ethnographic film documentary in performance ritual with Asanti Dance Theatre and Wild Moves International. We spoke about the healing power of dance and its impact on both the dancers and the audience. I hope you will enjoy this compelling conversation!

Ecstatic Trance Postures with Laura Lee and Paul Robear

My guests for Episode 3 of The Universal Dancer Podcast are Laura Lee & Paul Robear, the Cuyamungue Institute's Directors. The Cuyamungue Institute (CI) was founded in 1978 by Dr. Felicitas Goodman to carry out her anthropological research on Ecstatic Trance Postures. In this episode, we explored Ecstatic Trance Postures, what they are and why they are important to us today. Laura and Paul talked about the Institute and what they are doing to carry on Dr. Goodman's work and let us in on new projects in the works. Paul explained the importance of ritual and described what is involved in an Ecstatic Trance Posture session. Laura spoke about the importance of community and debriefing as a group to share our experiences and gain deeper wisdom from each other's experiences and how sessions can often result in each person collecting a piece of a greater puzzle. We also spoke about the importance of us as humans to experience ecstatic states to bring the wisdom and knowledge of other states of consciousness into our daily lives.

About my Guests: Laura Lee & Paul Robear are the Directors of the Cuyamungue Institute. The Institute was founded in 1978 as the worldwide headquarters to carry forward anthropologist Dr. Felicitas Goodman’s work with Ecstatic Trance Postures.

Laura and Paul write books, articles, newsletters and present this work. Venues have included interviews and lectures for the general public and for university classrooms, on-site workshops around the world, a collaborative modern art exhibition showcasing Cuyamungue Institute at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and lately online Zoom gatherings.They studied with Dr. Goodman for ten years before her passing in 2005, have taught since 2000, and have guided and administered CI since 2011 with expertise born of media careers. Laura Lee hosted “The Laura Lee Show” on nationally syndicated radio while Paul ran a media company, producing and publishing books and videos.

Dance Wise with Author Stefan Freedman

My guest for the 4th Episode of The Universal Dancer Podcast was Stefan Freedman. Stefan is a Sacred Circle Dance teacher in the Findhorn tradition and author of Dance Wise. In our conversation, we spoke about many things! Stefan has a wealth of information and experience. His undeniable passion for dance, choreography, and music truly comes across when he speaks. He explained how he first got into dance in his youth as a way to overcome his extreme feelings of shyness and awkwardness. We spoke about what it means to teach dance and how it can expand the teacher's knowledge as much as the students. We touched on embodiment, the inner landscape of emotions and impressions, the secret dance, brain science, the psychology of dance, and so much more!

About my guest: Stefan Freedman, and his wife Bethan, were among the first wave of sacred circle dance teachers in the Findhorn tradition. For almost 40 years they have toured the world leading sacred dance workshops from complete beginner to advanced levels, as well as cultural trips and festivals incorporating live music. Stefan's memorable choreography is designed for participation and is celebrated worldwide. Stefan Freedman describes himself as muse-driven! A practical dreamer, shape-shifting from choreographer/dance facilitator/film-maker/songwriter/author/community-worker/festival organiser & multi-instrumentalist. In all of these roles the common thread is actualising potential. For 16 years Stefan has facilitated structured dance, creative movement and music with the Inside Out community project. This serves adults receiving mental health support. Stefan’s ground-breaking new book, DANCE WISE, is a harvest from all these years of global and local group-work. Stefan's early background in education, social science and research are evident in his writing.

Special Event

January 16th, 4 pm UTC


...the sacred dance of co-creation

Welcome to The Universal Dancer Podcast!

Season 2 Episode 1

Upcoming Episode

Toni Bergins,  Creator of JourneyDance™

In Episode 9, Leslie Zehr speaks with Toni Bergins, MEd, an artistic alchemist, passionate catalyst, and the creator of JourneyDance™ and the Embodied Transformations Method coaching program. Toni explains what JourneyDance™ is and how students benefit from the process.

Leslie and Toni explore creativity, how it heals, and how this process has is programmed out of us from a young age. They delve into the importance of embodiment and emotional release for our overall well-being. They also touch on spiritual connection and how to achieve it through dance.

Mariane Karou Founder of Dance Alive®

My guest for Episode 6 of The Universal Dancer Podcast is Mariane Karou, Creator of Dance Alive®— "Dynamic Life Movement." A pioneer in the field of movement, Marianne has been teaching full-time for 50 years.
Mariane shows us what it is like to walk the talk. She tells us the incredible story of how she first got involved with dance and how that evolved into her creating the Dance Alive® System.
We discussed the importance of finding a balance between creativity and structure and the importance of integrating movement practices into your life, combining movement, meditation, and leadership, and why integrating physical vitality, emotional intelligence, mental clarity, and integrity is essential to balanced productivity.
Mariane has created a fantastic community of participants who support and encourage each other through the work and their process of healing and becoming.

Dr. Deborah Kern, Creatrix of PranaShakti™, and Author of "Everyday Wellness for Women" and "Create the Body Your Soul Desires."
In this episode, we had a lot to discuss! I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Deb and sharing ideas. We talked about the importance of using dance to move blocked energy and emotions. We explored using dance and ritual for self-care, the importance of awareness in the healing process, music, nature, women's circles, and so much more!

About my guest: Dr. Deb Kern is a health scientist, visionary teacher and guide. From the rain forest of Costa Rica to the foothills of the Himalayas to the south of India to the jungles of Bali to the shores of Maui to the interior of Mexico, Deb has traveled far and wide to study and apprentice with master teachers, shamans, yogis, herbalists and healers. Her varied studies and experiences have helped her evolve practices and tools that help women embody the divine feminine and live pleasurable, purposeful, spirit-infused lives. Dr. Deb’s decades of practice as a health educator, personal trainer, yoga teacher, Nia teacher and yoga therapist combined with her life experiences have given her insights not found in books. She has observed, time and time again, that when we take actions in our own healing and become aware of the patterns that disconnect body and mind, miracles can occur in every area of our lives—and she adores inspiring others to experience these miracles. She’s the author of “Everyday Wellness for Women” and “Create the Body Your Soul Desires”, creatrix of a healing movement practice called PranaShakti™ Dance and the mom of an amazing young man. Dr. Kern studied Nursing at Vanderbilt University and holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Ph.D. in Health Sciences from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. In addition, she is a Black Belt Nia Teacher, a certified Integral Hatha Yoga Instructor, a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, and a Mindful Change Coach.

Dancemeditation™ with Dunya Dianne McPherson

Join us for a soulful conversation with my guest Dunya McPherson! 

In the Podcast, we spoke about Dunya's journey with dance from a young age, to attending Julliard, to finding Middle Eastern dance and the Sufi path. She gave an excellent history of modern dance evolution in the USA and the politics involved in the dance world. Dunya's explained how she created Dancemeditation™ and gave us a detailed overview of what you could experience in a class.
We got into the harmful effects of negative body image and how an embodied practice can help us create a more loving relationship with our bodies. She also talked about how she used her MA as a vehicle to write her memoir, Skin of Glass: Finding Spirit in the Flesh, and gave us a preview into her new yet unpublished book on Dancemeditation™.

About my guest: Dunya Dianne McPherson, BFA, MA, the Founder of Dancemeditation™ and a pioneer in the field of embodied mysticism. An acclaimed authority and meditative leader coming from an extensive background in mysticism and art (Juilliard School, Sufi Foundation of America), her teaching credentials include academic faculties, artist-residencies, and academic department chairmanship (including Barnard College, Princeton University, Swarthmore College, New York University, Hunter College, Oberlin College, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia among others) as well as Featured Presenter at meditation centers & conferences (Netherlands Mystic Festival, Kripalu Center, SAT Institute, The Embodiment Conference.) She is critically acclaimed as both dancer and choreographer, and a recipient of numerous choreographic grants, including the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship. She teaches in-depth meditation trainings nationally and internationally. Her literary memoir, “Skin of Glass: Finding Spirit in the Flesh”, chronicles her dynamic journey in embodied mysticism.

Melissa Michaels Ed.D. Melissa is the Founder and Director of SomaSource Educational Programs, Golden Girls Global, and Golden Bridge

In Episode 8 of The Universal Dancer Podcast, my guest is Melissa Michaels Ed.D. Melissa is the Founder and Director of SomaSource Educational Programs, Golden Girls Global, and Golden Bridge, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving and empowering people's lives through body-centered initiatory processes, mentoring, and community action.

Melissa is an amazing woman on a fantastic journey! During the show, we discuss the power of dance to support and heal individuals and communities during initiatory processes. We talk about Melissa's journey of dancing her way through cancer. We also explored the importance of sharing our stories of personal growth. Melissa beautifully describes what dance brought to her in the darkest of times.

We discuss thresholds and the initiatory process as opportunities to grow and how that relates to turning points in our lives like rites of passage, the current pandemic, and so much more!

The Archetype of the Universal Dancer in Tarot, and the Cosmic Dance of Co-creation.
The launch streamed live on Sunday, January 31st, 2021.

In this launch episode, Leslie Zehr, our host and author of "The Alchemy of Dance" and "The Al-chemia Remedies," introduces us to the Universal Dancer concept.
What is the Universal Dancer?
What is its relation to the tarot and alchemy?
How can we use this archetype on our spiritual path?
How is it related to ancient wisdom and practices such as the sacred arts?
What is the cosmic dance of co-creation?
How can we use it as a tool for self-empowerment?

She also speaks about why she transitioned from the Sacred Dance Summit to a monthly podcast and gave you her vision for this podcast and its relation to the Universal Dancer.