About the Founder
Daniel Leven, founder and director of L.I.F.E. Movement, originally led his certification in major educational centers including the Omega Institute and Kripalu Center. As the co-founder of Kripalu DansKinetics (now Kripalu YogaDance), Daniel has been a pioneer in creating movement experiences that transform the mind, body and spirit.
Throughout the past 30 years Daniel has continued to deepen and refine his approach to healing and transformation through movement, mindfulness, dance and somatic psychotherapy. He has distilled his work into dynamic workshops and empowering professional trainings that take place at his training center, Rhythms, in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
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Daniel Leven: In My Own Words
I’d like to share with you the story of my journey thus far. My intent is to give you an idea of what has moved me in my life and informs the work I’ve developed.
Chapter 1: Mime and Modern Dance
Back in the ’70s, mime was my first entry into the power of communication through movement. Thereafter I started studying, and pursued a career in, modern dance. I fell in love with the language of movement and dance. Whether the movement had strength or lightness, was direct in space or multi-directional, was arced or spiraling, whether the movement was quick and rhythmic or slow and lyrical, I discovered a richness of expression that came without saying anything verbally but by letting movement say everything.
Chapter 2: Yoga Ashram
On my way to audition for a dance company in NYC I stopped for a workshop at Kripalu Ashram in Pennsylvania. I decided to extend my stay and that led to living there for 5 years. For me, this was a time of deep introspection, as well as creativity that had a connection to spirituality.
Through the daily practice of yoga while a resident at Kripalu, which I had started while studying and performing modern dance, I deepened my appreciation of the power of yoga and began leading their month-long Kripalu Yoga Therapy Practitioner Training. It was around that time that I created Kripalu DansKinetics with Ken Scott. The need for something more expressive at this yoga ashram was very strong.
Chapter 3: Somatics and Expressive Arts
In the 1980s, I departed from Kripalu Yoga Center and found myself a lost ship at sea. The transition from five years of the discipline and community of ashram life to mainstream life left me exposed and raw. Trying to get my bearings, I pursued the field of somatics and I studied with Martha Eddy and her Somatic Movement Therapy training, which integrated elements of Body-Mind Centering® with Laban Movement Analysis. Somatics became a powerful way for me to come back home to my body. I also studied with Alice Rutkowski, a teacher of Anna Halprin’s work, which ignited my love for the integration of expressive arts with emotional life.
Chapter 4: African Dance/Afro-Caribbean Dance
Now my spirit needed a further rooting back into the body. I remember my first African dance classes. Oh, how I at first resisted the power and depth of the drumming. Yet, my incredible, dynamic, and inspiring teacher, Marilyn Middleton, kept me coming back. Her earthiness, realness, and power spoke to me. So, after a couple of years of dancing with her I felt my assertiveness and I was at another level of being in my body.
Later I studied with an incredible teacher (who I am blessed to have teaching at my studio in the Berkshires) named Tracy Vernon. Through her classes in Afro-Caribbean dance I found how power, sensuality, and natural rhythm can converge.
Chapter 5: Body Psychotherapy
The next step of my journey began when I needed to integrate the emotional with the physical in a deeply meaningful way. I asked my therapist in the Berkshires where he trained because I so appreciated the heartful and body-centered approach he took in our sessions. After he mentioned the Hartford Family Institute I soon enrolled and began my 7-year training in Body-Centered Gestalt Therapy. After my training I was invited to become a part of the faculty in their Body-Centered Gestalt Therapy Training. This training was without a doubt the most powerful and organic self-development training I have studied. It offered me a powerful map to understanding the psyche and how our psyche lives in our bodies as well as our minds. It gave me a map of understanding my own stuckness and how to move places of emotional/physical stuckness and pain within me and also how to bring this kind of support and healing work to others. A God-send!!
Chapter 6: The Integration
I’m an integrator. I love bringing things together that make sense in my experience. Things that have deeply moved me, changed me that I know belong together. So I’ve taken my over 30 years of study and teaching in the movement arts, expressive arts, somatics and body-psychotherapy, into a training institute where Shake Your Soul® and SomaSoul® are transformative educational/training programs for teachers, therapists, healers, and individuals committed to reconnecting with the joy, power, and wisdom of their bodies.
Chapter 7: I Got Rhythm
I had been like a nomad with my trainings for many years in that I rented a variety of spaces throughout the Berkshires to use for program sessions. I decided when I turned 50 that it was time to plant my roots! I created a beautiful training center which also serves as a yoga and dance center for the local community. We offer everything from hip hop to qi gong and yoga. We have two studios at Rhythms. Beautiful wood floors. Plenty of sunlight and fresh air. We are next to a wonderful park for hiking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking. I love it here!
Chapter 8: Meeting you
I wholeheartedly look forward to the privilege of sharing with you what has transformed my life!
Feel free to call me with any questions you have at 413.329.2300.