SomaSource in the World

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SomaSource Leaders are body-centered psycho-spiritual educators, artists, activists, and healers who have an integrated understanding of how to creatively work in developmentally attuned and culturally sensitive ways with diverse people throughout life’s cycles. They all have grown up in the Golden Bridge community, and have been trained and certified by Melissa Michaels and the Golden Bridge team. Individually and collectively, these SomaSource Leaders bringing their unique and inspired initiatives to the world.

Their work focuses on the embodied arts in the following areas:

  • Life Cycle Education and Initiations
    For people in all ages and stages from Birth – Death
  • Social Justice
    Education. Arts. Action
  • Sustainability in Traditional Cultural Arts
    Education and Performance
  • Healing Arts
    Body work. Psychotherapy. Psycho-Spiritual Educational Groups
  • Coming of Age for Youth
    Golden Girls Global
  • Innovative, Contemporary Arts
    Performance. Publishing. Multi-media Productions

Renee Sills

Astrologer. Multi-media Artist. Yoga Educator.

Renee is the co-founder and co-director of Sola School of Contemplative Arts, a somatics and mindfulness-based yoga teacher training program that has a strong focus on accessibility and social justice. Through Sola School, she offers yearly courses in Experiential Anatomy and specializes in teaching the complexities of the human body through unique, inclusive, and fun approaches to movement.

Embodied Astrology is one of many creative projects that keep Renee’s life full and joyful. Renee offers her clients chart interpretations that include individualized yoga, meditation, and self-care regimens. She posts free bi-monthly horoscope columns, podcasts and guided meditations which focus on how astrology manifests in our everyday experiences and through our bodies. Visit her personal website here.

From Melissa:
Renee came to this work as a preteen. She was not interested in traditional schooling. I began to create body-centered curriculum for this young person who spent her first dance class with me hiding under the table. Over the past 26+ years, I have had the honor of supporting and then simply celebrating this brilliant being as she found her creative pulse and then applied it to every possible medium available. From the macro to the micro, from stars, to film, to the bones, Renee’s understanding of how things work is uniquely vast and on point. And, she figures out how to make meaningful art out of it all! Above all, Renee is a clear and beloved family member and ally to Melissa and the work.

Sarita Rivard Guerrero

Author. Mentor. Cross-Cultural Guide. Creative Coach.

Sarita is an artist, a conjurer and coach of creative-expression. She uses the arts to heal, transform, empower, ignite, and catalyze individuals and communities in creative dialogues across the many divides. Her work aims to weave a sustainable tapestry of connection and solidarity amongst unlikely allies through writing, conscious travel, and ritual. She currently works with Golden Bridge as a mentor and as the director of story development. She offers transformational coaching and workshops throughout North, Central and South America.

Sarita is the author of Caminante, Bridger of Worlds, published in 2010. In 2018 she published her second book, Sweet Water Tsunami, a complex work chronicling her descent through the hell of losing her beloved life partner, and the art of being broken open by life’s complexity, rather than broken to pieces. Learn more about Sarita and her creative offerings or purchase a book at:

From Melissa:
Sarita came to this work as a heartbroken young person, annihilated by the loss of her fiancé and ready to be held and healed. Over the years, I have had the honor of tracking her closely as she reassembled her shattered pieces into the majesty of her creative expression. She was a steadfast student, open and humble. Her work in the world now reflects that same spirit, in her community leadership and her mentoring of so many others who she now tracks with impeccability and vast love. Not to mention, Sarita has a gift for writing about the subtlety of the inner landscape!

Meagan Chandler

Performance and Ceremonial Artist. Arts Educator. Cultivator of New Cultural Seeds.

Meagan Chandler performs and directs a rich array of original works, cultural forms. She also teaches people of all ages and walks of life across the U.S. and around the globe. She is currently engaged in sacred community theatre with Sage Programs in Boulder, Colorado; Flamenco arts education with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana; and recording and performance with Desert Dwellers. In 2013, she released her first original album, Sensual.

Meagan teaches private voice lessons for authentic expression to all ages and performs traditional Spanish Flamenco in her hometown of Santa Fe, NM. Meagan is a playful, cultural shapeshifter and dedicated change agent, dipping into darkness and light, seeking to inspire authentic expression and the spirit of inquiry everywhere she goes. Her work inspired the creativity needed to grow a healthy and sustainable world can arise in the generations to come.

Learn more about Meagan and her creative offerings at

From Melissa:
The first time I saw Meagan, she was on a stage. Her fiery creative presence was compelling, raw, vulnerable, and uniquely powerful. I wanted to know this girl. She was 16 years old. We met. Meagan quit her day job, began her apprenticeship with our work, and from that point forward, Meagan never stopped making stunning magic through her creativity, her singing, her writing, her directorship, her handiwork, and her rituals. A brilliant artist, a radical educator, a devotee of peace, and a lover of all things wild, Meagan is a leader to watch as she continues to RISE!!!

Meagan’s mystical voice has inspired thousands of Golden Bridge dancers to sing and sound the truths of their hearts. She is a lead sound artist for the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers, a beloved musical muse in all of our lives.

Balu Ponnusamy

Tamil Arts Educator and Cultural Center Founder. Bamboo Farmer and Teacher.

Balu is the co-founder and director of Mohanam Cultural Centre, located in the Kaluveli/Auroville Bioregion in coastal Tamil Nadu, South India. The mission of the Centre is: to act as a bridge between Auroville and its surrounding villages and to keep alive the local, rural Tamil cultural heritage

The Mohanam Cultural Centre offers creative arts classes on the weekends for school-going children. It also has a creche/kindergarten and is actively uncovering remnants of original performing and craft skills in the local villages surrounding the International Community Project of Auroville. The purpose of these activities is to keep alive this intangible heritage through youthful interest, classes, studies, and special programs.

Balu is also the founder of the Auroville Bamboo Center. The Bamboo Center’s mission is to increase the use of bamboo as a sustainable resource through education, workshops and eco-product development. The Bamboo center hosts internships and custom workshops for both domestic and international groups.

From Melissa:
We were blessed to be Balu’s first stop out of the village life into the world. He arrived with his beloved partner, Rajaveni. The two of them were wide eyed and ready, ready to learn about the world and the inner landscape stirring from within. Balu devotion to the work was immediately contagious. Through the fire of his birthing soul, he fearlessly faced rage at people who had dishonorably betrayed his trust as well as graciously, he opened wide to the majesty of his being. Discovering his limitless capacity to vision and manifest, he honored what he learned in the West by transforming it all into culturally relevant medicine for the children and the Earth in his homeland of South India. To have Balu standing by our side as a colleague is a blessing. His nobility of spirit is a teaching from East to West and back again!

Hannah Loewenthal

Dancer. Artist. Educator. Visionary.

Hannah Loewenthal’s’ work primarily focuses on dance and art as both pedagogic and performative. She has worked extensively with groups of adults, adolescents, and children in theatre, in schools, and in diverse public spaces around the world. Hannah is a certified 5Rhythms® teacher and combines this with her background in integrated dance, improvisation, and design studies, both in her own practice and with others through classes and workshops.

Hannah is currently based outside Cape Town, South Africa where she has built her own small studio, working on an ongoing basis with the local community as well as traveling for artistic and teaching projects.

For more information about Hannah, please see her website:

From Melissa:
Hannah and I met each other through a dream. When that dream became a reality, we were ecstatic, long lost allies living half away around the world from each other yet with roots as kindred as if we were grown on the same soil. At a soul level, we were. It was a profound gift to align with this co-conspirator in the dance. Blessed by the many layers of our shared schooling and destiny call, we immediately got to work. Hannah was a dedicated student of our rites of passage work allowing our community and the process to quicken her brilliantly creative emergence on the world stage as an artist and teacher. With dedication and clarity, she stands by my side offering feedback, insight, and support. Hannah brings intuition and insight into her leadership with piercing precision and love. Hannah also has a unique gift for making the invisible visible, innovatively creating safe spaces for the most marginalized ones, those who do not fit into any other community care. Hannah is a fierce friend, a mighty teacher, and a beacon of grace and beauty.

Jeremy Roske

Musician. Actor. Transformation Guide.

Jeremy Roske is a multi-talented musician and performer. His evolving musical style weaves together conscious lyrics and soulful melodies drawing inspiration from folk, rock, reggae, hip-hop and world fusion.

Jeremy has released two albums: People Rise in 2005 and in 2019 an EP titled Seed: Five soul-stirring songs from the heart. His music reflects his passion and purpose; to make music that opens the heart, expands the mind, and connects souls.

Jeremy also leads transformational workshops around the world with his beloved wife, Melanie.

To learn more about Jeremy, his music, and his creative offerings, visit

From Melissa:
Jeremy was the first young male person to enter the dance in the 90’s. His devotion to a life of discipline and practice rooted him rapidly in this work. The creative magic moving through him from the beginning was compelling and engaging. Jeremy studied and served the work for decades, modeling to dudes how to heal the wounds of the past and wake up into the dignity of one’s being. His music moved our youth camps for decades, many songs becoming victory cries for young souls tuning in and turning on. I had the blessing of witnessing Jeremy occupy audiences in small mountain towns in Colorado all the way to big community stages in New Zealand. Jeremy always brings his open heart, his humble gifts, and his devoted leadership to every stage, interaction, and moment on the dancing path.

Jeremy has called forth the song in all of our souls as he sings the story of our community and our times. A lead musician for the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers, he helps us ground through the beat and open through the melody as energy moves through our bodies.

Vusi Makanya

Choreographer. Artistic Director and Educator. Community Leader. Youth Mentor.

Vusi is both the founder and Executive & Artistic Director of KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre, in Durban, South Africa. Vusi has over twenty years of professional performance and administration experience in dance, dance theater, and dance education. Over the past 15 years, Vusi has been running his organization in collaboration with various national and international guest teachers. He is deeply woven into the fabric of the SomaSource community. Years of cross-pollination have inspired community around the world.

Vusi Makanya graduated in Choreography and Practice of Dance Teaching from Phenduka Dance Theatre as well as Dance in Education at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He has been nominated on various occasions as Most-Promising Male Dancer. In 2010, he won Best Choreography Work in the FNB Stepping Stone Dance Umbrella Festival. He has been recognized as an INK Excellence Community Development Artist (INK: Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu).

Vusi has performed, choreographed, and conducted dance workshops for performing companies, schools, colleges and universities in Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe. Vusi is a well-known artist on the Golden Bridge Creative Liberation stage, each year moving onto new frontiers in creative leadership and performance. Vusi continues to create new works wherever he goes. He is currently sourcing funds to build his own Dance Theatre School in the KwaMashu Community.

From Melissa:
I met Vusi in the clothing section of a department store in Durban South Africa. He showed up wearing bright pink pants and a contagious creative enthusiasm. He was ready. He knew how to dance, how to lead community, how to choreograph. He wanted more. Vusi was longing to learn how to bring the dance into his community as a source of healing. Beyond what he had already offered, he wanted the work to be a deeper source of transformation for himself and his people. During our second meeting, Vusi watched me teach. I knew that he was keenly scrutinizing me. By the end of that afternoon, our soul date was clear. We had many creative things to do together. Since that day, we have been dancing together as student, mentor, and colleagues. It has been an honor and joy to witness Vusi’s brave dismantling of his cultural machismo, allowing himself to heal and open to his true noble heart. A dignified guardian of the little ones and the feminine, Vusi’s benevolent spirit blesses our community and the world every day. His mission is mighty and important. The children need to remember their home language, the dance. Vusi can guide them there and will, whether he has the funds to pay his bills or not.

Rachael Lenore Bonaiuto

Healer. Counselor. Dance/Movement Therapist. Somatic Educator. Authentic Movement Facilitator. Mother.

Rachael has built a private practice that offers counseling, dance/movement therapy, mentorship and Authentic Movement study and practice. Rachael works with humans of many walks, primarily those that identify as women, facilitating the process of reclaiming truth, trusting self, reconnecting with our inherent worth and finding healthy relationship with the wisdom of our bodies, emotions, and souls. She works privately, in the community and teaches at Naropa University.

Rachael also offers Authentic Movement workshops in the Boulder community. She discovered the practice of Authentic Movement in 2004, while studying Somatic Counseling Psychology, and has been in reverence and study of the work ever since. Rachael’s offerings have been deeply informed by her work with SomaSource, expanding her capacity to hold space and deepening her understanding of all things related to Soma and Soul.

Learn more about Rachael and her somatic offerings at Embodied Wellness.

From Melissa:
Rachael arrived to our work with a huge smile on her face, ready, enthusiastic, disciplined, and humble. Her profoundly gracious attitude made it easy for the teachings to slip deep inside her every move. She showed up open. And she stayed open in the face of life’s very rigorous challenges. Over the years, Rachael has become a living embodiment of these teachings, finding ever deeper embodied connection on and off the dance floor. She is fluid with her vulnerability and power, modeling what real leadership looks like. Amidst it all, that smile of her never stops radiating!

Gabriel E. Cannon

Youth Mentor. Therapist. Counselor. Coach. Musician.

Gabriel is the founder of Boulder Mentors, a private practice that works with youth in the greater Boulder/Denver area. In this mentorship capacity, Gabriel and his team have pioneered innovative ways of offering therapeutic services and support to teenagers who were previously turned off by traditional therapy. Gabriel builds strong relationships with both the young person and their parents and can offer a range of support, including individual and family sessions, parent coaching, and specialist referrals. Boulder Mentors has grown to include a variety of allied qualified professionals who offer unique and authentic support for adolescents.

Gabriel is also a founding member of The Boys School of Denver (BOYS), a movement-based middle school for boys. Since 2017, he has worked alongside Julie Dolin to build a robust counseling program that serves over 150 middle-school boys and their families. Gabriel loves working in a school, where he is able to support students in their element: at school, in their peer groups, with their teachers, which is a place where teenage stress can reach its pinnacle. In a school where movement is integrated into every aspect of the day, Gabriel gets to draw upon his SomaSource Training in myriad ways as he helps students find their footing through this tumultuous life stage.

With Men’s Leadership Alliance, Gabriel c0-leads the Crossing the Threshold Rite of Passage Program. This work involves taking a group of teenage boys into the wilderness every summer where they create sacred space to mark the transition from boyhood to manhood. The program works closely with parents and the greater community to support the youth in integrating their experience. Youth participating in the program tackle a wide range of coming of age topics, including responsibility and freedom, sexuality/intimacy, working with emotions, peer relationships, substance use, and meeting challenges.

From Melissa:
Gabriel took longer than most to fully get in the room. Fascinated by edges, he was often flirting with the wild places that most never would go. The shadow. The trickster. The fast moving dude on skis, on motorcycles, with his own brilliant mind. Gabriel understood things quicker than most, and then he would allow his slow and organic timing to guide him home, into the room of his body and into our dancing community. Once he rooted in his ground within, Gabriel became the master of the mundane, fondly known as MOM. He became a protector, a director, still a wild one! So much of that mischievous life force got channeled into the drum and into helping others learn to navigate through their unexplored shadow dances. Innocent and naughty, the best brother to all, a friend of the children, Gabrielle is a lover of the feminine and all things that grow along the edges.

Gabriel also holds the beat for the thousands of feet that dance across our Golden Bridge floors. He is a lead drummer for the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers, a blessing as he helps us all find our groove.

Alicia Patterson

Counselor. Dance Movement Therapist. Womb healer. Teacher. Guide.

Alicia runs a thriving practice offering a variety of avenues for self-inquiry including embodiment, dance movement therapy, counseling, and holistic pelvic healing. Alicia works from trauma-informed, spiritually and emotionally inclusive, safety and consent-focused lenses. Alicia’s practice works with individuals, couples, and groups locally in Colorado and online, supporting the discovery of bodily wisdom. Alicia brings a background in somatic psychology, mindfulness, yoga, competitive sports and strength training, massage therapy, nutrition, Gestalt, cosmology, ecopsychology, and perinatal psychology to her work. Alicia’s main mission and purpose in her work is to normalize and support awareness of pelvic health as the foundation and ground of life.

The holistic approach to health, wellness, and embodiment is Alicia’s driving force for all her projects which include individual and couples counseling, intensive individual pelvic health programs incorporating pelvic floor therapy / pelvic organ assessment and treatment, pelvic health online group cohorts, a training for trauma-informed pelvic care practitioners, and collaboration with colleagues. Alicia offers clients support in cultivating a positive and loving relationship with oneself through psycho-education, self-care exercises, body-based practices to promote healthy sustainable tissue change, organ energy healing, cognitive restructuring, visualization tools, and much more. Alicia opens a space for seekers to inquire what exists beyond the polarization of spiritual bypass and pathology when one sits with the inquiry of transformation and evolution of human consciousness. Visit her website to learn more:

From Melissa:
Alicia is the dance. Her capacity to surrender to her own most authentic ways of moving is a teaching for all. On the dance floor, she is present, vulnerable, powerful, beautiful to behold, filled with the Spirit. Not only is Alicia a deep devotee of the dance, but she is an impeccable ally to those finding their way home through the dance. She has a unique capacity to track people’s moving process and to support them in navigating their way through to ever more liberated versions of themselves. A seer, a healer, a teacher. Alicia brings her loving ways of seeing and serving to all of her good works, be it with individuals or groups of people on transformational journeys. Alicia is a life-long learner and leader, a true pleasure to create with!

Darren Silver

Ritualist. Guide. Storyteller.

Darren’s work is focused on bringing people into the wilderness, within and without, through modern-day vision quests. He guides quests across the US, and occasionally other locations around the world. While there are shorter options, the full vision quest program is 9 days in the wilderness where one moves through the ritual arc of severance, threshold, and incorporation. The vision quest provides individuals with the profound opportunity to deliberately mark life transitions in the reflections of the greater worlds of nature. Essentially, vision quests are opportunities to embody life questions while remaining attuned to what nature has to share in return.

Darren also teaches and guides a wide variety of offerings including, an ancient earth-based form of divination, wilderness living skills, leadership models, youth rites of passage, and the ritual arts. Drawing from lived experiences with elders, robust academic study, much of Darren’s work is rooted in the revival of the old ways of living in connection with the earth.

In pursuit of this aim, Darren’s work with SomaSource has been an invaluable tool to help facilitate individuals in bringing their visions into and through the body, and manifest in the world!

From Melissa:
Darren enters spaces dancing with the mysterious. Whenever he is in the room, there is a sense that the unseen world is close. His trickster medicine is rooted in his own intimate relationship with Spirit and his call to connect this world and That. He teaches through story and being. His compelling storytelling takes people on journeys that require them to stop, listen without distraction, stay the course, and then digest the powerful teachings that feel like they are directed specifically at you. Darren is a teacher for these times. Go outside. Sit by the fire. You may hear Darren whispering to you to get even more quiet so that you can truly dance wild!

Dozens more leaders’ stories to come

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Free Gift!

One wave from our double CD IGNITE: Music to accompany the journey through the SomaSource rite of passage process and your dances.

Embodying Life’s Rhythms is music to move get your body moving! This is a 13 minute full wave through all 5Rhythms® orchestrated by the Golden Bridge Rhythm Keepers. Sacred instruments woven into a layered tapestry of inspired sound. A daily warm up. A ceremonial doorway. A chance to simply dance!

Thank you for joining the dance!