BODY LVNGUAGE is a project born in New York City in 2013 at the legendary club Cielo. The movement is reviving the soul of nightlife, as it follows its own rules. Three ground rules at BODY LVNGUAGE – no drinks on the Dance Floor, No Phones, Anywhere, Love & Respect Above All) – create the conditions for the dance floor of the dreams, where everyone comes to actually dance.
In a world where rugged individualism and virtual, insta-everything has driven us apart, those 3 simple rules give something to agree on as it generates a vibe that brings everyone back together to build something beautiful.
We had a chance to chat with founder of the project Tasha Blank, and BODY LVNGUAGE resident Maro to discuss the themes and inspiration for the parties, their backgrounds – which is a story in itself – and the uniqueness of what they are doing.
Hey guys! Welcome to CelebMix! For those of our readers who are not familiar with what you do, could you share a few words about yourself?
T: I make spaces where folks turn themselves inside out, shake the limits of who they thought they were and unleash power and ecstasy they didn’t know was possible. I set bodies on fire with sound. That might sound ridiculous if you’ve never seen it, but that’s what happens. That’s what I’m here for.
M: I’m Meg, aka Maro behind the decks! In a nutshell, I’m a liberation witch – everything I do is in the aim of bringing more freedom and expression to the world. As a DJ, I play in the realms of tech house, organic house, melodic techno (okay and straight techno), with the occasional dash of funk and afrobeats. I co-founded Powerhouse DJ School with Tasha, and am the CBO of Body Lvnguage – I hold down everything operations, logistics, and team management.
How did your journey with music start? What led you to become a DJ?
T: Dancing saved me. I was a trained dancer growing up, and struggled with eating disorders, depression and anxiety. Then I found electronic music and everything changed.
I found the kind of dancing that happens from the inside-out, rather than the outside-in, and it gave YEARS of shit I’d been holding in this incredible creative outlet. All the things I’d never had words to express suddenly got unleashed, and where I’d felt so uncomfortable in my own skin, dance gave me this enormous sense of power. Turned out it wasn’t the stuff inside me that was the problem – it was just that it hadn’t been moving.
I started throwing parties in 2009, and would hire DJs and tell them what to play, thinking I didn’t have the skills or talent to do it myself. But after a couple of years I bit the bullet and learned.
I did it because I wanted to create experiences for people that feel like coming home to the best party on the planet, where sexiness is celebrated + safe and all bodies are celebrated for their genius.
M: I’ve been steeped in music for as long as I can remember – grew up playing piano since I was little kid, in choir and dance for years, taught myself guitar in high school. I fell in love with live music & dancing all over again in my early 20’s (after a detour to get a math degree) which led to a growing passion over time to find the best dance floors – and eventually to create them. I’ve been on so many dance floors that changed my life, and I think every and any dance floor can be that magical – it was thanks to epic DJ’s that I was able to reconnect with my body, my power, my voice, my sovereignty. Seeing more of THAT in the world is why I became a DJ.
Tell us about your project BODY LVNGUAGE. We know it’s more than just a party, so please explain the concept of it and how it came to live.
T: This is the dance floor I was looking for and couldn’t find anywhere back in 2013. I wanted all the best elements of sound and lights I loved to lose myself in at clubs, combined with the intentionality of a meditation class, sacredness of a plant medicine ceremony and sweaty badassery and team spirit of a Tough Mudder race.
Formerly known as THE GET DOWN, it’s evolved a lot over the years and we realized we needed a new name that speaks to what we’re actually about – that’s how BODY LVNGUAGE was born.
Everybody likes to say they’re about the music, but our crowd comes to dance like it’s the last night on earth. We’re here to revive the soul of nightlife.
M: Look, BODY LVNGUAGE is the nightlife everyone wishes they had, the dance floor that they didn’t even know their soul wanted. It’s a dance floor where everyone’s actually their, body mind and soul, and letting their hearts shine BIG. Think Glitterbox with the reverence of a church and charge of a Berlin rave. It’s every single fucking thing.
BODY LVNGUAGE works under three rules: no drinks on the dance floor, no phones, love and respect above all. What inspired you to introduce them?
T: It was pretty obvious. I was at all these clubs trying to dance, but people were just standing there awkwardly holding a drink. Or they were entranced by their phones completely missing out on the magic around them. Or they were busy ruining someone’s night by trying to pick them up or dancing with them nonconsensually.
And I was like … what happens if we just address these basic things?
We do a lot to build the community and create the vibe we do, but those three agreements create an atmosphere of camaraderie, because we’re all creating this experience together.
Tell us about your work with Powerhouse DJ school – it sounds like you’re doing something a little different to the usual offering.
M: Damn right we are! We created PhDJ because there’s nothing else like it anywhere. It’s the university I wish I had, a deep journey into everything needed to bring magic to life on the dance floor. There’s way more that goes into that than being able to push the right buttons. Creating a dance experience that deeply affects people’s hearts and minds is a whole different skill set.
T: Yeah, we’re teaching the thing that most people think is magic. I’m a total junkie for all things tantra, somatic and trauma healing, storytelling, theater, leadership, shamanic practice and shadow work … I’m a big nerd. As DJs, we’re in a huge position to help folks access places in themselves they’ve never felt before – to take people on a journey that actually changes them.
In addition to my borderline obsession with impeccable mixing and the technical aspects of DJing itself – all those other things are what enable me to tune deeply into a room and bring it somewhere new. It’s about how we hold space, how we manipulate sonic energies to affect the body in specific ways. And that’s what really makes an effective DJ.
Why do you think it’s important to teach things that lie outside purely technical skill?
M: When we look at what deeply affects and transforms bodies and hearts, it’s not technical skill. It’s the energy in the space, it’s how the DJ is leading the crowd through an experience, it’s the arc of the musical journey – and while those might sound a little esoteric, they’re all very teachable.
Plus, stepping out as a DJ and doing the damn thing takes way more than technical skill! There’s thousands of folks who’ve learned the hard skills and never DJ outside their bedroom because it’s scary to put yourself out there. We share the skills and create the supportive community of up-and-coming DJs that it takes to do that powerfully – from confidence to communication to nervous system regulation to branding and marketing. That’s what turns someone who can DJ into someone that does DJ … and does so exceptionally well.
T: Yeah honestly, the technical part is easy. You can google that shit. Most of the best DJs got to where they are over many years of trial and error, of organically learning to read bodies and understanding how the sound affects them and how to use it to create an extraordinary experience.
We’ve broken it down so that what took me ten years to figure out can be learned in seven months. Obviously, people need to put in the work. But if you show up for it, it gives back exponentially more.
How important is it that you incorporate different cultures into the experience at both Body Lvnguage and what you’re doing with PhDJ?
M: It’s absolutely critical. We’re after the fullest expression the human body can give, and here to celebrate body language in all its forms, and that’s a pursuit that goes way beyond one culture, dance style, or music genre. The more we include and elevate different voices, lineages, and music, the more permission that gives us all to let our bodies free, learn from each other, and discover something new.
T: When we make a space welcoming for folks who are often marginalized, it makes the space safer for everyone. We’re about elevating and uplifting the bodies that don’t usually get put front in center or receive the most visibility.
You have performed at some of the biggest music festivals as Burning Man, Wanderlust, Beloved, and many more. Which one is the most memorable for you? Where would you like to act in the future?
M: What a fun question! The most memorable would be the Titanic’s End art car at Burning Man this year. It was at the burn in 2018 that I first turned to my friend and said out loud “I’m going to be a DJ.” This year was my first burn knowing how to DJ, so to play on such an insane art car with such a drool-worthy sound system alongside Diplo, Blondish and a whole lineup of of DJ’s who have been such inspiration to me was a total full circle moment. When I look to the future, yeah sure there’s venues that top my dream list (Red Rocks, anyone?) but more than that, what I always come back to is playing for the dance floors that feel the best – where people are dancing full out, letting their bodies free and celebrating each other in that.
T: Like Meg, it’s all about the vibe. I used to tour, and I would play all these festivals and gigs in other cities, and then I’d come back to BODY LVNGUAGE and be like … this is the best dance floor. This is all I wanna do. So I’m super stoked to bring our vibe everywhere and anywhere there’s folks down for the ride.
That said, I would NOT SAY NO to a residency in Ibiza next summer.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
T: I’ve been traveling nonstop for ten months, and am relocating to Las Vegas. I land there next week so I’m excited to explore the city, get to know the people and the music scene and start igniting dance floors!
PhDJ enrollment season also has us full on with interviewing candidates for our next cohort and scheming on all things BODY LVNGUAGE for 2023. Keep your eyes open!
M: DJing, of course! I’ll be mostly playing in Colorado the rest of the year between holiday trips. In the Body Lvnguage world, we’re full steam ahead interviewing candidates for Powerhouse DJ School 2023 (apps are open now if you want to apply!) and planning our event schedule for next year. Stay tuned – it’s going to be hella juicy.
Thank you, and good luck!