On a personal note..
Léon Beckx is a dancer and a psychologist. He became a 5Rhythms teacher in 2008 under the guidance of Gabrielle Roth. He further trained in dance improvisation, somatics, martial arts and theater, and is co-founder of the Heart of Ecstatic Dance, where he educates Ecstatic Dance facilitators. Next to dance, Léon also facilitates programs and workshops on community building, community arts, conflict resolution, and cultural sensitivity.
I had my his first taste of ecstasy as a teenager in the early '90's rave scene. There I found trance and tribe, but also tragedy, as I witnessed friends succumb to the dangers of the life style. Seeking answers, I became a psychologist (MSc) and a therapist. As a psychologist, I worked in mental health care, education and business. I loved working with people, but struggled with the individualized and overly mental approach. While searching for a more integrated approach, I found my way to a conference for body-psychotherapists in 2001. There, I attended an hour workshop of the 5Rhythms. It was like a lifting of amnesia. My body remembered dancing with abandonment, evoking the ecstasy and sense of community of my teenage years. This time, however, without the destructive drugs, and now with a new psychological underpinning. Captivated, I set out on a global dancing journey, eventually becoming a teacher under the guidance of Gabrielle Roth.
On a parallel track, and just before I became a 5Rhythms teacher, I ran into the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) in 2006. AVP is a conflict transformation program that originated in the US prisons in the 1970's, but which I learned through the South African Phaphama Initiatives. Although I had been educated as a trainer in different programs, AVP was a revelation. It taught me how to facilitate skillfully and from the heart. It taught me how to build community. I became a lead trainer in the methodology and from 2007 till 2014 I co-directed the Dutch NGO Diversity Joy, offering AVP and other training programs on community development, conflict resolution and bridging diversity.
My community work and dance had to meet somewhere. That opportunity arose when I met Sarah Kate Gardiner, a British dancer and choreographer. In 2010 we developed and co-directed PLATFORM 1660, a cross generational community dance project. Sarah Kate and P1660 inspired me to explore dance further as an art form. I started practicing Instant Composition and Contact Improvisation, became part of different art collectives and performed dance on a regular basis. I also delved into different somatic practices to deepen my understandings of the bodymind foundations. In 2014 I did the Somatic Practitioner training at the Somatic Movement Institute. A year later, while living in Stockholm, dance and community bridged again when I co-founded the Artchitects, a collective keen on building social infrastructure through art.
After returning to Amsterdam in 2016, I studied with Paul Linden, an Aikido sensei who integrates martial arts with somatics in working with trauma and conflict. My Dance Dojo classes were based on his work and on my own, extensive martial art experience. I also became part of a Playback Theater group, studying this form of social improvisation theater and performing on a regular basis. 2016 was a busy year, as I also became part of Ecstatic Dance Amsterdam, facilitating the ceremonies on a regular basis. In 2018, my ED colleagues and friends Tom Goldhand and Caroline S'Jegers and I started dreaming of setting up a training to further spread Ecstatic Dance from a heartfelt space. In 2019 we gave our first Heart of Ecstatic Dance training. Recently, I have extended my journey in dance to music and am now currently one of the DJ's at Odessa Amsterdam.