We envision a world where communication is embodied, emotionally intelligent and connective.
We recognize racial, economic, ecological and other social injustices to be rooted in the trauma that naturally results when the sacredness of our relationships to our bodies, to one other and to the earth is disrupted due to the misuse of power, colonialism and domination-based paradigms. Our leadership approach is about cultivating a sacred relationship to power. At the Embodied Leadership Project we invite you into a trauma-informed and empowered relationship with your own life-force energy through relationship with nature and community ceremony.
Our programming is rooted in invoking the ceremony of the African-rooted community dance circle and understanding the subtle energetics operating within it. The community dance circle is a ceremony of using rhythm, movement and attention to express, perceive and relate to feelings and the subtle energy of emotion. Humans are not the only ones who engage in this ceremony, horses also engage in this ceremony with one another in their herds. And there is an ancient relationship in many cultures between the drum and the horse. These non-human spirits hold immense wisdom about listening and attention. People have worked with them for a long time to learn to listen to many dimensions of consciousness. Our work at The Embodied Leadership Project is about understanding power and energy through Tantra Yoga as a pathway toward cultivating this deep listening and attention work. We do this with the intention of relating to trauma and working sacredly with power. We are honored to engage in this research both through our programming here at ELP as well as through our collaboration with Five College Dance's Black Women’s Leadership Initiative.
The similarities between the way horses communicate with one another and the way we teach and learn African-rooted rhythm and movement are striking. Both engage polyrhythm, mirroring, witnessing, breath, listening and sharing deep feeling to cultivate a communal experience of presence in which the experiences of life can unfold and integrate in the body and community. Not only is there an incredible shared cultural language between Black Women and horses, there is a mirrored historical experience of enslavement and exploitation.
We believe that uplifting the leadership of Black Women in solidarity with horses engages a powerful perspective on deconstructing, understanding and learning at subtle levels the incredible power of polyrhythm and movement as tools for relating to trauma, freedom, and re-connection to one another and the earth. They allow us all, across races and cultures, to examine the unconscious impulses for domination and enslavement within ourselves and engage in a practice of working with power in a way that is trauma-informed and non-predatory.
Where we've been
We believe in the possibility of diverse communities
where all being’s voices are heard and valued. We are doing the work of undoing oppressive and divisive culture which marginalizes people and experiences, silences our voices, and makes our stories invisible. It is when we have meaningful and connected relationships to others that we think most clearly and creatively and act with innovation, empathy, care and understanding.
Jamila Jackson (she/her), MFA
Founder and Director
Primary Equine Collaborator
Young Women's Program Members
The Young Women’s Program is a supportive, empowering and connected community for young Black Women to engage with and train in a powerful, culturally relevant and liberating approach to leadership. The program provides free leadership training combined with opportunities for paid research and teaching through ELP and BWLI. Learn more about this program here.