Please Welcome Earthdance's New Executive Director
We are honored and thrilled to share the exciting news that we have hired Daniel Hayes as our new Executive Director to steward Earthdance through our next evolution. There were a number of very talented applicants and this was a challenging decision. We believe Daniel has the capacity and vision to weave many community voices and desires into a coherent whole, while addressing our post-Covid uncertainty with strong community-based practices. Please enjoy a note from Daniel introducing himself!
Earthdance Board of Directors
Dear Earthdance community,
It is with excitement and humility that I have accepted the role of Executive Director of the intricate and inspiring animal that is Earthdance.
I still remember the first time I set foot on Earthdance grounds in 2008 after Eugene gave Béu and I a ride up from Juniata college after the CI36 gathering. Arriving in Plainfield after the intensity of that experience enabled me to truly feel grounded by the warmth and welcome of Earthdance. Connecting with this community’s deep lineage of CI rooted in an intentional community setting truly felt like home, and soon it will be as I plan to move from my base near Barcelona to Earthdance the second week of December and my partner, Lina, and our two boys, Vitai (7) and Osh (4) will be joining me in January.
My professional development has been rich and slightly unusual. I successfully completed medical school in the Netherlands and received a PhD in Tropical medicine and epidemiology in the UK. After working on a number of malaria research grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation I stepped out of academics and this world dominated by scientism. I had always combined my studies with other projects. I thus worked with a number of NGO’s in Africa, helped govern a number of Dutch civil society initiatives, co-founded a city Olympics project to address social issues in the inner city of Amsterdam, founded the Touch&PlayProject in 2010 in Berlin and spent almost a decade as part of an anarchist collective and intentional community in Barcelona.
Five years ago, after having moved out of this community I founded a new project called Vidàlia. Vidàlia, is a growing eco-village initiative in a semi-abandoned company town and cultural heritage site an hour outside of Barcelona (www.vidalia.coop). The project aims to restore the cultural heritage of the site and to recover the food, energy, social and economic autonomy these towns were known for by developing and supporting sustainable and social entrepreneurship projects and implementing a sociocratic governance system to lead the community that lives there.
Back in 2016 when I took up the challenge to bring the Touch&Play Project to the US for the first time, the mix of fear and excitement in the Earthdance community was palpable. Over time I believe a lot of that fear has transitioned into resilience and a strong community has grown around the culture and work that stem from the Touch&Play movement. I realize that some of this work is still controversial and perhaps not fully understood or appreciated by everyone, which I am prepared to discuss openly. The T&P work is one of many entry points to explore somatics and community and my vision includes engaging the full spectrum of CI and movement research and practice, in keeping with Earthdance traditions.
I believe Earthdance finds itself at a crucial crossroads where a confluence of factors have brought into question its immediate and long-term sustainability. In my new role as Executive Director I hope to address and do the following: improve the economic viability of the organization, improve relationships between and within the different stakeholder groups (e.g. board, staff, volunteers, community), address the tension between Earthdance as an organization and as a community, continue Earthdance's equity and access work in a meaningful fashion that improves transparency and participation for all.
To start off I would love to invite you all to a virtual town-hall meeting on Saturday the 18th of December at 4:30PM ET. Please save the date! This will be a space to introduce myself, give an update on where Earthdance stands, share some of our goals for 2022 and offer people a chance to ask questions openly, pertaining to me and our vision for taking Earthdance forward. We very much hope to make this virtual event an in-person event as well, including a potluck dinner and dance party. Details to follow as we explore the necessary health and care of an in person event.
With dedication and inspiration,
Dr. Daniel J. Hayes