Read below about some of the workshops planned for Inclusion Festival 2023! 

Hoop Dance, Juggling and Circus Exploration for ALL with Benjamin Berry

Hoop Dance for EVERY Body: For many, the hula hoop serves as a multigenerational source of wellness and play. In this workshop, we will learn some accessible hoop dance skills and put them together into fun group choreography! We will also experience the joy of creative expression through individual, partner, and group games/explorations. The capacities we will target are core strength, gross motor control, hand/eye coordination, and focus.

Juggling for ALL: In this workshop, we will explore juggling through a wider, more inclusive lens. Through the use of various props and accessible progressions, we aim to meet everyone where they are at and facilitate the experiencing of juggling patterns. Since these patterns cross the midline of the body, this will target the capacity of bilateral integration, in addition to grip/grasp control, focus, and self-efficacy.

DIY Circus Toy Crafting: Stop by the Movement Zone to check out our free make/take activities! On Friday participants can make their own juggling balls (very sensory friendly) between and on Saturday they can decorate their own hula hoop.

Open Skill Share Circus Jams: Extra circus toys will be available to use at the Movement zone for spontaneous pop-up exploration. Benjamin and other volunteers will happily give you some ideas for play and support your creativity in a laid-back setting.

Benjamin Berry is a professional hoop dancer, circus artist, teaching artist, and performer based in Buffalo, NY who has been hosting workshops across the country since the summer of 2015. Benjamin has received training in Holistic Circus Therapy, which utilizes occupational therapy principles to build physical, cognitive, emotional, and social capacities, as well as the developmental movement-based BrainDance Method through the Creative Dance Center. Benjamin’s mission is to spread the physical, emotional, and social benefits of creative movement to people of all ages and levels of ability, helping them become more confident, empowered, and embodied.

Yoga Jam and Collaborative Songwriting with Taraleigh Weathers

Yoga Jam: It’s impossible to do yoga wrong. Phew! A yoga experience set to live music for anyone who defines themselves as having a body, this class will having you breathing, moving, stretching, meditating and dancing. Taraleigh’s flows are designed to get you out of your head and into your body. Leave feeling better than you did when you started while gaining all the tools you need to bring all those magical yoga feels into the rest of your day, discover what your superpowers are, and apply them to your life.

Collaborative Songwriting: Calling all aspiring songwriters and lyrical wizards! Join us for an unforgettable songwriting workshop at the Inclusion Festival, led by the dynamic duo of Dan and Taraleigh from the renowned band, The Middle Ages. Get ready to ignite your creative sparks and co-create a catchy theme song that will become the heart and soul of this incredible festival!

In “Lyric Lab”, we’ll dive headfirst into the art of crafting powerful lyrics and melodies. This workshop is all about fun, collaboration, and harnessing the collective energy of the festival community to create something truly special.

During the workshop, we’ll embark on a musical journey using word games and creative exercises that will unlock your imagination and ignite your songwriting prowess. From brainstorming sessions to playful word associations, we’ll explore various techniques to craft meaningful and memorable lyrics.

But the magic doesn’t stop there! Together, we’ll channel our collective creativity to write the ultimate theme song for the Inclusion Festival. Imagine the exhilaration of performing this anthem live, knowing that it was a collaborative creation of everyone in the workshop. It’s an opportunity to leave your mark on the festival and connect with fellow music lovers in an extraordinary way.

No prior songwriting experience is necessary—just bring your enthusiasm, willingness to collaborate, and a passion for music. Whether you’re a seasoned songwriter or simply love the power of words, this workshop is designed to inspire and empower your inner songsmith.

So, grab your pen, tune your voice, and get ready to make musical magic happen.

Taraleigh is a live music fan, journalist, social media influencer, and self-help guru who has dedicated her life to inspiring, entertaining, and helping others. Her popular workshops that teach other music lovers how to beat the “post-show blues” and live with intention, vulnerability, and authenticity have made her a staple of the festival scene and beyond. In 2018, Taraleigh published her first book, How To Rock Your Life: Maintain The Magic Of Live Music In Your Everyday Experience.

Grateful Drumming with Joe Ciarvella

Grateful Drumming with Joe Ciarvella is a no experience necessary, fun, engaging, how-to guide using drumming and mindfulness as a tool for wellness and brain maintenance. The only requirement is a willingness to try! In this online iteration, participants can use common household items or simply their laps to participate. 

Joe Ciarvella is a life long touring, performing and recording musician and drum circle facilitator with over 40 years of experience! Joe has performed with various members of the Grateful Dead and their extended roster of musicians including Mickey Hart! Joes life long love of drumming led him to the drum circle facilitator in 2016. Since then, Joe’s drumming has impacted countless lives. Joe’s program is endorsed by the PA department of education through the Schuylkill IU29’s ACHIEVE federal after school program.

Strut Your Stuff with Sherry Ryan

The workshop is a movement exploration where Sherry will be providing encouragement for each individual to express themselves through improvisational movements. Props such as ribbons, beach balls, and a parachute and gentle directives such as, “how high can you reach”, “can we move slower?” “can you move part of your body side to side?” playing with tempo, time, space, direction, and effort will be offered. There will be opportunities to move independently as well as collaboratively.

Sherry Ryan is a lifelong dancer, adventurer, and ardent defender of the free spirit. She holds a masters of arts in expressive therapy with a specialization in dance/movement therapy and am a registered-dance/movement therapist through the American Dance Therapy Association. Sherry is passionate about caring for the whole – body, mind, and spirit by utilizing movement to create opportunities for healing, joy, connection, and wellness. She believes movement can foster personal growth, self-regulation, mind-body awareness, and deeper connections to ourselves and the world around us.

Sign Language with Ian Sanborn

The one hour workshop will focus on introducing sign language and how to create a story or poem using it. The participants will be learning the signs to the words they want to learn then create a story or poem and then add dance/music to finalize. The goal is to create together and share the experience with others.

Ian is deaf and has provided performances and workshops at Burning Man and Lucidity, both in California. Ian has a rich background in theater and teaching and has also done some pieces for videos that are being used in schools for research purposes with the American Sign Language program. Ian believes in the importance of exposing sign language to communities with performances and workshops to gain beauty and reality of deaf communities as well as to inspire.

Inclusive Dance Classes with Sofia Blasco

This workshop will begin with a ballet inspired warm-up. It will introduce students to some ballet vocabulary while warming up the mind and body. Next we get to explore some modern based dance movements. There will be a little bit more freedom here as we explore improvisation ideas and feelings.

Additionally, Sofia will be teaching workshops with easy to follow dance moves that correspond with stages performances: The Beatles “With a Little Help From My Friends”          and Fleetwood Mac: “Don’t Stop.” Come learn the moves and dance along to these sets performed by The Taxmen and Miss Cantaloupe on Friday!

Sofia is an alumni of Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Sofia was inspired to start The Dancer Movement through her desire for dance and her belief that everyone can and should have the opportunity to experience the art of dance. Through her professional training and college performance experience, Sofia provides an educated dance perspective for the company.

Sensory Bliss: Build A Sensory Toolkit with Lauren Melissa Ellzey 

In this workshop, we will briefly go over the 8 senses and how they connect to sensory processing differences. Emphasis will be placed on sensory joy/bliss, but sensory challenges will also be named and discussed. From there, 4 different stations will be opened for participants to build a variety of sensory items that they can take with them to tap into their own sensory bliss. Items will include: Smelling tubes, texture squares, beaded fidget bracelets, and glitter sensory bottles.

Lauren Melissa Ellzey (she/her), @Autienelle, is an autistic self-advocate, educator, author, and social justice activist. Through writing and presenting, she engages across lines of difference, highlighting the inequitable systems that oppress queer, BIPOC, and disabled folks. Her work has crossed paths with the United Nations, Reframing Autism, Penn State, NYU, CUNY, Stanford, Out 4 Undergrad, NeuroClastic, Cripple Media, AbleZine, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and more. As an Instructional Support Specialist, she provides consultation and workshops on Autistic K-12 inclusion. Her young adult novels, Boy at the Window and Gimmicks and Glamour, emphasize the importance of belonging for queer, neurodivergent youth of color. In all, she hopes to co-create a society where autistics nurture autistics as we strive toward true inclusion.

Percussion Making and Community Drumming for ALL with EarthMovers Drum Collective

Folks of all capabilities get to smash bottle caps, punch holes in them, and thread on wire. They then attach the wire two pieces of wood. From there they learn simple rhythms and get to take the shaker home with them. Also, join a drum circles for all abilities- no materials required, just show up!

EarthMovers Drum Collective was formed so that everyone could have fun drumming at a circle and share in the rhythm and excitement of the collective drumming experience. Founder and facilitator Dave Miller started drumming with pots and pans, but his love for the art of drumming really grew in 1997 when he held a backyard garden blessing and friends came with drums and percussion.

Linoleum Printing Art with Dave Thomas

In this workshop participants will learn about the linoleum printing process and have the opportunity to make art themselves using materials that are accessible and sensory-rich.

Dave has been making linoleum art for 5 years. He says “I just picked up the materials one day after not really delving into any artistic endeavors for many years because I admired the print work others did. In my opinion, Lino Art is one of the most primitive mediums because it involves carving much like ancient people did.”

Splatter Paint Art with Shelby Errico

First we splatter the paint will all different kinds of tools on a hanging banner. Then, we lay the banner down and use for defining tools to paint on or around the pictures we see in the splatter. Kind of like finding pictures in the clouds, but with paint! Everyone is encouraged to wear white so we can wear our works on art as well. It’s a wonderful messy experience for all ages and skill levels!

Shelby is a neurodiverse artist, tarot reader, and mother who loves to attend, vend, and work at music and art festivals.

Wild Soul Wisdom with Alexandra Jensaitis

Wild Soul Wisdom is a healing movement class that uses gentle movement and breath to learn to connect with and listen to your body, mantras to reprogram the mind, and meditation to cultivate inner peace. Think of these sessions like work-ins – rather than workouts. The goal of these classes is less about being told what to do and you doing it “correctly” and more about just letting your body be a body. You are here to feel good! All fitness levels, body shapes, sizes, and abilities, are welcome. We provide plenty of modifications for all who need them.

Alexandra is a mom and teacher and lover of all things embodiment, movement and mindfulness! She has attended 2 prior Inclusion Festivals, one as a workshop host and another as a volunteer.

Ground & Root with Ira Berezhna

The workshop will be learning how to meditate and center ourselves while discovering how to garden. Horticulture therapy is an amazing tool to have in everyone’s tool bag. Our plants can teach us a lot about how to take care of ourselves. It will be sensory friendly and tons of fun!

Ira is an artist and owner of Just Sage It. She also wears many hats at Inclusion Festival, assisting with social media, fundraising, marketing, onsite logistics, merch, and more! Ira wants to spread love, joy, and dirt (grounding) to everyone! She wants people to experience grounding in their bodies and rooting (planting) seedlings. Our bodies and plants are all need food, water, and love. Gardening has a lot of therapeutic benefits. Mentally & physically.

Kundalini: Working on Forgiveness with Ricky Williamson

Forgiveness is the quickest and most effective way to experience healing, health, and happiness.  True forgiveness is a conscious choice and an energetic release that allows us to free up space and open the flood gates to higher vibrations.  Anger and resentment keep the gates sealed shut and emotionally bind you to past experiences.  Lets open the flood gates together.

Allie is a 500 hr RYT specializing in Kundalini.  After struggling a lot with her own battles with anxiety she found this modality and it completely shifted her perspective and she was able to overcome her internal struggles quickly.  Kundalini worked when other traditional treatment options did not, so it was her mission to share the powerful technology of Kundalini yoga with others.  She has a unique approach to Kundalini and shares it in a way that is relatable while holding true to the teachings of this lineage.  In addition, Allie also is an Astrologer, Reiki Master, intuitive tarot reader, and all around energy guru!

Chakra Mandala Meditation with Lindsay Jamison

Chakras are spinning energy vortexes within the subtle energy body that influence you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In this exploratory workshop, learn a simple set of mantra meditation techniques to activate, cleanse and balance your chakras. While vocal toning the energizing mantras, we will intuitively draw a mandala to connect to the current energy of each chakra. Discover how to activate, clear and balance your chakras with intention, sound, mantra meditation and creative expression as a tool for inner growth and personal development.

Lindsay Jamison is a visionary artist, yoga, and meditation instructor, and holistic wellness coach. She bridges art with ancient wisdom practices to support people on their path to positive lifestyle transformation. Lindsay’s unique method incorporates mindfulness meditation, yoga, shamanic journeying, and expressive arts as therapeutic tools for self-healing, community connection, and meaningful growth. Lindsay has a BFA in Sculpture, over 1,500 hours of yoga & mindfulness training, reiki certification and has studied with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies as well as apprenticed with psychic medium Salicrow. You can find her live painting and coordinating art for festivals, teaching transformative workshops, and hosting creative ceremonies at events.

Garden Success with Alex Shambo

Learn to nurture seeds and grow healthy plants!

Alex is passionate about all things gardening and the owner of Grateful Acres Farm. Stop by his booth to purchase plants, veggies, and plant products.

Crystal Healing with Ricky Williamson

A brief history of crystal healing, it’s benefits and origins.

Ricky is the owner of The Crystal Spirit, which offers crystals for healing and spiritual use. Stop by his booth and say hello!