What was the seed that started Beat Church Asheville?
When I got here I found a beautiful and amazing community of dancers, and yet, it wasn’t the flavor I craved. And while I didn’t move here to create a new dance event (I’m a full time solo Mom with a business, and little time for extra stuff), I knew I (and others) wanted a different offering – a combination of a dance sanctuary, a social space, a place to feel fully free, saucy bass driven beats, surround sound, all in a gorgeous, inspirational space. And so the idea for Beat Church was sparked. I knew the dancers were here, and it was a matter of creating a new regular dance event with a different flavor to what existed, more like Oakland’s Ecstatic Dance.
—Audree (Beat Church Asheville producer)
What makes Beat Church Asheville different from other local Ecstatic Dance events?
Beat Church Asheville is curating a different musical offering, with the intention of sharing a West Coast-inspired, saucy bass music vibe.
It’s bass-focused, (yes, I said bass again because it’s that important!) live dj journey, intended to inspire joy, ecstasy, heat, and a rainbow of other emotions through a wave, and most importantly through contemporary music that is multi-layered, root & flow based, sexy, sensuous and enrolls all body parts both together, and separately.
The set is a little longer at 1 hour 45 minutes, so you can flow in and out dance, enjoy tea in the tea lounge, get a short massage to work that knot, meditate or stretch on the mats.
It’s a cross between a club and Ecstatic Dance. In some ways it’s more like a club (i.e. the energy, bass heavy music and social aliveness), but in others, more like Ecstatic Dance (i.e. the music is in a wave format starting with little to no BPM, ramping up, and coming back down, there’s no talking on the dance floor and no alcohol sold/served).
When I was considering what to call the event, my go-to was Ecstatic Dance because I was modeling after Ecstatic Dance Oakland. But I realized that the name means different things to different people, and I wanted something new and fresh, so the event could create its own brand. I thought up the name Beat Church because the focus is on the bass, on the beat. And while church has religious connotations, I connected with the fact that it’s a place of worship, a sanctuary. Beat Church captured my vision.
I toyed with calling it Beat Church for about a week, and at some point realized that the name sounded familiar. Then it hit me, my favorite Bay Area DJ, Neptune, used it before. He started Beat Church in San Francisco in the early 2000s because he saw a need for a new cutting edge underground dance offering with a West-Coast music vibe. So I called him, and since our visions were similar, he gave me the honor of sharing the name, bringing the cutting edge music vibe to Asheville!
Our guidelines are simple and are meant to invoke freedom and safety in the space with utmost importance placed on respect for yourself, others and the space.
1. VOICES on the dance floor: The dance floor is a talk-free zone. This allows dancers to engage in movement as a meditation, to go within, and to be more embodied without distraction in proximity.
2. VOICES off the dance floor: We have created a tea lounge and chill space off the dance floor and quiet voices are encouraged in order to engage with others in a different way when you’re not dancing.
3. SHOELESS: We ask that you are shoeless at the event. If you have a physical reason to wear shoes, you are welcome to – we simply ask that they are not shoes you wear on the street.
4. RESPECT: Be respectful of yourself, of others, and of the space/venue.
5. PHONES: The dance floor and chill spaces are phone, photo and video free zones.
6. DANCE however you wish.
We dance in West Asheville at St. George’s Episcopal Church/Center for Art & Spirit at 1 School Road, just off of Patton Ave.
Parking is available in the lot behind the church (which can be a little tricky to find, but just pass the church on School Rd and you’ll find it to the right), and on Mimosa Street (between St. George’s and the other church closer to Patton).