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Zen Dance Spa
Zen Dance Spa

Zen Dance Spa

An immersive, meditative dance retreat with Delia Brett and Joni Cooke

Time & Location

Apr 21, 2024, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Vancouver, 600 Campbell Ave, Vancouver, BC V6A 3K1, Canada

About the event

ZEN DANCE SPA: an immersive meditative dance retreat

with Delia Brett and Joni Cooke

Open body. Empty mind.

Ever sat down to meditate and immediately sank into a deep and restful state, where you felt both empty and full at the same time – empty of the clutter of thinking habits, and full of a deeper understanding and grace – but as you began to move into the activities of your daily life you felt the depth and spaciousness you experienced quickly shrink back into the small and tight containers of ‘ordinary you’?

Ever had such a deeply satisfying dancing/yoga/movement experience that you knew that the trust and flow you experienced was meant to be available to you all the time. But as soon as you started chatting it up with friends afterwards you could feel all the insight, creativity and flow recede out of reach?

What if we could bridge the divide?

What if we could bring the lessons of dance and stillness together and move with them into the field of our everyday lives?

These are the questions that inspired Zen Dance Spa, a one day meditative dance retreat with professional dance artist, life coach, contact improv and yoga teacher, Delia Brett and seasoned zen practitioner, shiatsu therapist and contact improv and yoga teacher, Joni Cooke.

In Zen, we study the point where our consciousness touches the outside world. How we make meaning of that ‘point of contact’ is a curiosity rabbit hole that sinks forever deeper. It is exactly the same curiosity-rabbit-hole that we trace right into the heart of the most wonderful dances in Contact Improvisation. Both can feel like the study of balance, or of expanding both ends of an ‘inner-outer-continuum’ while continuously leaning into the middle way.

It’s in the spirit of contact, the dance between ‘centers’ and ‘the middle way’ of zen that we invite you to lean into the curiosity-rabbit hole with us and ask, “What happens when we bring Zen and improvised dance together?” “How do these practices inform each other?” “How does that inform us personally? And, "what are the conditions within them that allow us to soften the boundaries of outside/inside, self/other, being/doing, thinking/acting, that we can bring into other areas of our lives as well?

Like the name suggests, Zen Dance Spa, is a whole mind/body ‘treatment’. It’s also an experiment. It’s ‘an experimental treatment’, if you will –inviting you to bask in a day of mind/body play and discover for yourself how, with an open body and empty mind, you might ‘bridge the divide’ and experience greater levels of wholeness, authenticity and flow at any moment in your life.

This immersive meditative dance retreat will include:

  • Yoga
  • Seated, standing, walking and dancing meditations.
  • *Contact Improvisation. ie. Partnered, group and solo dance exlporations 
  • Guided and self-led reflection/writing time
  • Group discussion
  • Live music by Stefan Smulovitz 

There are 3 options for pricing so that you might be able to choose the price range that fits your current financial situation – no questions asked. 

  • *This isn't a technial CI workshop. All levels of experience and all bodies are welcome. No big weight bearing movements are nessasary to practice this deeply.

About your teachers:

Joni Cooke

Joni started her zen studies on the top of a craggy mountain outside of LA when she was 20. She immersed herself in monastic life for a year studying with Zen Master, Joshu Sasaki Roshi. She continued to do seven day meditation retreats with her Roshi until he died at 106.

At the same time she studied Zen she also studied dance at SFU, where she met Peter Bingham, who introduced her to Contact Improvisation. Both practices became life-long-loves… weaving together nicely the study of presence, self-knowledge, somatics and interconnectivity.

Joni is a shiatsu massage therapist and a yoga teacher and has a deep commitment to goats and gardening.

Delia Brett

Delia is an established Vancouver dance artist. She took her 1st Contact Improv class from teacher, Peter Bingham when she was 15yrs old and began training, almost daily, in CI when she was 19 – 33 years ago. Delia’s perspective as a CI teacher & facilitator has been informed by numerous practices, including her background in Film & TV, Theatre, Martial Arts, Voice, Breath, Yoga and Myofascial Structure and Function. But the single most enlightening of all her experiences as a CI teacher/facilitator, was the 8 years her company, MACHiNENOiSY dedicated to working with LGBTQ2+ youth. In that time they produced 11 different shows called, PROX:IMITY RE:MIX, during which they trained youth in the skills of CI. It was through these years that Delia began to understand how this dance/awareness practice we call, Contact Improvisation can be used not only to create amazing dances, but also to develop inter-relational capacities such as presence, deep listening, somatic knowing, and collaborative thinking – all skills are that are urgently needed in our increasingly complex world. It’s this experience and perspective that influences Delia’s message as a teacher, artist and human being today.

Delia is also a life long spiritual practitioner, Hatha Yoga teacher with 21 years expereince and transformational life coach.

About your meditative musical accompanist:

Stefan Smulovitz

Award-winning technologist, composer, violist, and laptop artist Stefan Smulovitz has performed with leading improvisers around the world and created more than 50 live film scores. He is one of Canada’s most in demand composers for dance and is recognized for his groundbreaking interactive work with Radix Theatre. Kenaxis — Stefan’s game-changing music software — is used around the world and his Mad Scientist Machine LED light cueing system has opened new possibilities for global collaborations. Recently Stefan travelled to Bhutan to collect sounds and create a score for the award-winning documentary “Power of the River”. He currently teaches at Simon Fraser University and Capilano University.


  • Zen-Dance Spa

    An immersive meditative dance retreat with Delia Brett and Joni Cooke

    From $85.00 to $150.00
    • $150.00
    • $125.00
    • $85.00



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