Gratitude COCO Jam with hosts Funda Gul and Aaron Brandes (Brando) – SOLD OUT

Come together for a unique celebration, a four-day journey from Thursday, November 23th to Sunday, November 26th. During this extended weekend, we invite you to revel in the joy of feasting, dancing, and expressing gratitude, sensitivity and awareness. Expect an abundance of contact improvisation classes, jams, and an array of other delightful offerings to indulge in. On Thanksgiving Day, we’ll share a collective potluck feast!

Thanksgiving is a special time for us, a moment to purposefully nourish and cherish our gratitude, to awaken to the blessings in our lives. At Earthdance, we are especially grateful for the resurgence of life and the profound sense of connection within our vibrant community.

Thanksgiving, rooted in the harvest season, calls for gratitude for the Earth’s boundless abundance. We are sustained in countless ways by this living planet – through the air we breathe, the pull of gravity, the sustenance it provides, and the deep spiritual and relational connections it offers. It beckons us to embrace our inner completeness.

Amidst our gratitude in Earthdance, located in Nipmuc territory, we want to bring our attention to the reality that Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture, therefore we also carry feelings of sorrow, perhaps for the sense of disconnection from this fact, from our Earth and the loss of biodiversity. When we would like to deeply acknowledge this grief to allow the natural flow of gratitude.

In the practice of contact improvisation, the Earth itself becomes our primary partner. We are forever held within its gravitational field, constantly returning to its reliable support. Can we extend this practice to maintain a vibrant, joyful connection to the Earth even when grief is present? Can we release our grip on the dance of life and move toward a secure attachment to our primary partner: this ever-present lover, the Earth itself?

Join us for an extended weekend filled with dance and delight, movement and serenity, fullness and release. Together, we will come alive, forging connections with ourselves, each other, and the nurturing Earth that sustains us.

*** Earthdance is happy to donate 50% of this jam’s proceeds to the Ohketeau Cultural Center. 948 Conway Road, Ashfield, MA 01330. 


What is a CoCo Jam?

Community Collaborative Jams are a new and unfolding program concept at Earthdance which launched in early 2022.  This new programming thread was driven by the desire for more opportunities to dance CI and to connect with the community in smaller containers. Similar to Seasonal Jams, the CoCo jam has one or more hosts that, rather than always being professional artists with strong facilitation skills, can be dedicated Earthdance community members and upcoming dancers building their leadership skills. Support staff is also more limited compared to our seasonal jams and participants are invited into a higher degree of autonomy and self care. Similarly, the workshop offerings and schedule are also more influenced by the community members themselves and created on a more adhoc basis.  

In preparation for attending a CoCo jam, you may want to ask yourself: What are you currently researching or inspired to offer? Is there something you hope to lab, share, or play with?

Jam Details

  • An average of 40-60 people will attend this COCO jam and is open to all movement levels & backgrounds. 
  • We have a single day drop-in option on Saturday, November 25th for folks who have been to Earthdance before.
  • If you have never been to Earthdance, we ask that you only sign up for either Thanksgiving Day or the full jam (either Thanksgiving Day through Sunday or Friday through Sunday). This will allow us to better welcome you and orient you to Earthdance.
  • If you are planning to attend Thanksgiving Potluck dinner, and you have registered, we will send out a shared document for folks to coordinate dishes to bring. We will start dinner at 5pm. 
  • This will be a very self motivated jam, bring your ideas! Be ready to co-create! – We will send out a shared document for folks to fill out who would like to offer something during this co-creation weekend when you register. 

Arrival, Onsite Check-In, Opening Circle, Departures and COVID Testing

  • Thanksgiving Potluck: Arrival/Check-In on Thursday, November 23rd from 4-7pm front of the Farmhouse. Potluck is at 6-7pm.
  • Opening Circle: Friday, November 24th at 10am.
  • Friday-Sunday Jam: Arrival/Check-In on Friday, November 24th from 8-10am front of the Farmhouse.
  • Saturday Drop-In (Only for folks who’ve been to Earthdance before): Arrive Saturday, November starting 8am. Departure at 10pm day of.
  • Final Clean: Sunday, November 26th at 2-3pm.
  • Departure: All participants will depart after the final group clean at 3pm on Sunday, November 26th.
  • COVID Testing: Please make sure that you have tested for COVID on the day of arrival for both Full Jam and Saturday Drop-in. If needed, participants may purchase tests from Earthdance for $10 each.

Our Fees Explained

Earthdance offers a sliding scale payment for participation in this event, please take a moment to reflect as you decide on where you best fit. 

Your level of contribution is self selected and does not need to be advocated for. However, we invite you to remember this contribution is currency and we ask that you stretch where you are able so that those who cannot stretch as far of a financial distance may also have potential access to community events. As you choose your rate please consider the following factors:

  • Your access to income and wealth, as connected to family and partnership, both currently and anticipated in the future.
  • The historical, systemic impacts of wealth accrual based on culture, race and other intersection marginalizations for you and your family.
  • The regional ease of your attendance, while some community members can drive to Earthdance, others will need to consider tuition based on their ability to travel longer distances. 
  • Earthdance is a community and rental funded organization which recently, historically and uniquely through the Covid-19 pandemic has struggled to have viable income.



Financially Wealthy -$600

Financially Abundant – $475

Financially Stable – $375

Financially Coping – $300

Financially Strained – $250


Financially Wealthy -$550

Financially Abundant – $425

Financially Stable – $325

Financially Coping – $250

Financially Strained – $200


$20 discount


$40 Discount



Financially Wealthy -$400

Financially Abundant – $220

Financially Stable – $120

Financially Coping – $60

Financially Strained – $30


Financially Wealthy -$450

Financially Abundant – $325

Financially Stable – $225

Financially Coping – $125

Financially Strained – $75

Equity & Access Tickets 

Although we’re not able to offer any full scholarships this year, we’re excited to offer up to 6 Discounted Tickets to individuals who feel part of an underrepresented and/or marginalized group in CI and have a relationship with CI.  We know that for those who come from marginalized populations showing up to spaces filled with primarily privileged groups can be a challenge, and can feel vulnerable.

“Apply” and see more details here. Application deadline is November 9th.

For those who do not identify as marginalized and are in a represented group of CI, we invite you to stretch in your payment to help support those who cannot stretch and create a more diverse jam experience for all. 

Note: While Earthdance is making efforts to better support Equity & Access at all its events, the jam offers particularly strong support for diversity, equity, and inclusion through:

  • Reduced pricing offered to people self-identifying as being underrepresented and/or marginalized in CI.
  • Classes and discussions that aim to bring up the level of awareness and inclusion at the jam as a whole
  • Affinity spaces (jams, discussions, etc.) for particular groups of people to connect, share CI space together, and rest from the pressures of being in a minority status at the jam.

Housing Options

Gratitude Lodge at Earthdance Tickets

Includes a bed in the Gratitude Lodge, Jam offerings, and food during the jam.

The Gratitude Lodge (a.k.a. the Earthdance dorm) is the main lodging facility, connected to the Farmhouse by a short wooded trail. The lodge includes large and small rooms featuring dormitory-style bunks and beds (twin & queen size) and is included in the base Jam cost. Beds are available on a first come basis.

Camping Tickets

Includes a spot to camp at Earthdance, Jam offerings, and food during the jam.

Commuter Tickets

You will have access to the Jam offerings including food for the event.

Commuter Health Care: We ask that you please use caution when commuting and limit, if possible, to just commuting to and from your home and Earthdance, staying away from large crowds to maintain the health and well being of the other jam participants.

Cancellation Policy

Refund available up to 14 days (November 9th) before the event less a $75 processing fee. 

No refunds available less than 14 days from the start of the event.

Partial refunds might be given if a cancellation takes place under extenuating circumstances (e.g. a death of a 1st or 2nd degree family member, serious non-preventable illness or accident requiring hospitalization). Refunds in such cases remain at the discretion of the local organizers and will be decided on a case to case basis according to the timing of the cancellation and other factors.

COVID Precautions

No specific requirements on vaccination status are needed to attend this event. However, ALL registrants are required to take an antigen test on the day of before arriving on Thursday, November 23rd, Friday November 24th or Saturday, November 25th. If you need a test, Earthdance will have them available to purchase for $10 each. 

Please take adequate measures to limit your exposure in the days before arriving. If you are feeling sick, or have a known close exposure to someone with COVID in the past 5 days, please sit this one out to keep the community well. 

COMMUTERS: We ask that you please use caution when commuting and limit, if possible, to just commuting to and from your home and Earthdance, staying away from large crowds to maintain the health and well being of the other jam participants.

Participant Community Support

Earthdance runs as a​ community, thus part of the participation is that all individuals contribute to 1-2 work shifts (typically meal cleans) throughout the event and participate in a final house clean on the last day of the event. These are great ways to connect more with your fellow participants and Earthdance staff, and to feel more at home in the Earthdance buildings & grounds. Your contributions to this collective caring of this space are invaluable!

Earthdance’s buildings are ADA accessible. More info here.

Earthdance’s Jam Guidelines

Earthdance’s Nudity Policy



Funda is an adventurous explorer of movement who has delved into various disciplines on a captivating spiritual and intellectual journey. She began her exploration in the world of Aikido in 2005, which ignited a passion that shaped her path. Along the way, she also immersed herself in Systema, where she honed her skills as an instructor-in-training. Funda’s attraction to spirituality led her to complete a transformative 500-hour teacher training program in the Krishnamacharya lineage of Yoga, where she discovered the power of personalized and adaptable practices.

Since 2016, Funda has been deeply involved in Contact Improvisation as a student, teacher, and facilitator. She collaborates with esteemed dancers to organize engaging workshops and events, including a memorable workshop by Nita Little in the heart of New York City. Drawing from her background in Yoga and Martial Arts, Funda effortlessly tailors her teachings to suit the diverse needs and abilities of her students. Her goal is to create an inclusive space for movement exploration guided by the profound philosophy that “Function Creates the Form.”

Beyond the studio, Funda is dedicated to uniting the vibrant NYC Contact Improv community. Alongside fellow enthusiasts, she hosts inspiring performances enriched with live music. These events not only elevate the beauty of Contact Improvisation but also support organizations committed to combating climate change. In this realm, her spiritual practice takes flight as she strives to understand and experience the interconnectedness of nature and ourselves through the ‘Way of the Universe’ and the concept of ‘Oneness.’

In addition to her movement endeavors, Funda pursued a degree in Mathematics at Stevens Institute of Technology. Today, she channels her intellect and creativity into her work at an innovative AI company, where she is revolutionizing online math education to support students who lack access to math education.

Some of Funda’s leading teachers that she has tremendous gratitude towards are: Ayhan Kaya, Edgars Cakuls, Vladimir Vasiliev, Guta Hedewig, Richard Webb, Nita Little, Tres Hofmeister, Dan Messisco, Chuck Weber. 

AARON BRANDES (aka Brando)

MSW, M.ED is a founding member of the improvisational dance company: Set GO and teaches and performs internationally. His dance videos have collected over a half million views and can be viewed via his website, In 2009, Brando established CI Ground Research, an annual conference for the pedagogical and embodied research of Contact Improvisation.

He continues to host a bi-weekly CI event in Northampton which explores the relationship between improvised music and dance. Brando is a licensed psychotherapist, is nationally certified in Structural Integration (SI) and is a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher. He has integrated aspects of SI bodywork, movement, and clinical social work in his therapeutic practice.

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