WE ARE BECOMING— JULES BAKSHI

One of our OZMA defining principles is this: we make clothes expressly designed to allow (and encourage) our precious bodies to move, breathe, and simply be our most naturally expressive and freely authentic selves. Unsurprising then, that when we encountered the generous and electric teachings of dancer, educator, and powerful-mover Jules Bakshi we felt a sort of a-ha connection. Founder of NYC's beloved GOOD MOVE dance and mindful fitness studio—a rare nourishing dance-space for movers of all levels, genders, races, shapes and sizes—Jules has a similar defining principle: she wants everyone to access moving and being in their bodies with looseness, ease, freedom, and joy, and is actively working to build a world that makes that possible. We are aligned!


In advance of a (very) loose, easy, free, and joyful upcoming event with Jules + Heidi, OZMA founder, we sat down to get some insight into how Jules creates space for freedom and ease and also to gather inspiration on helping release our own bodies (and minds) further into unself-conscious self-expression. Hint: wear comfortable clothes.

 

Jules wears the Reva Tank (coming soon!) and the Dara Pant

  

  

  





So much of dance is about release, but it's also a lot about control (or at least heightened awareness) of our bodies and the physical attunement to what they are capable of. How do you personally walk that line between tension and release?

I’m sort of a tightly wound person, both emotionally and physically - so I’m primarily drawn to dance for the release.  I have always been highly sensitive, but in my adolescence and until a few years ago I relied heavily on my masculine energy for protection. This manifested for me physically in the fact that I was always labeled in the dance world as a “strong athletic mover”. I wasn’t mad at that per se, but I did feel it was limiting. I knew my dancing was missing a softness, and there were times when I could physically feel that energy was being blocked from flowing smoothly through me. The last few years pushed me to work on healing my relationship with my own feminine energy, and I’m so grateful for that. 

During the pandemic all of a sudden I was (we all were) forced to let go of so much, and in those moments, like in a rip tide, my survival depended on surrender rather than fighting against the current. In order for me to find a modicum of peace, I had to allow my softness to surface both physically and emotionally. This was a revelation for me, a true sea change.  At first it was a full pendulum swing, the only movement that would come out of me was total mush, noodling around on the floor, no structure. I found myself repeating “release release release” as a mantra in my meditations and in my movement practice. Now I’m really enjoying playing with with both sides of the spectrum, integrating and making space for polarities to exist in my body, in my dancing and in my choreographic work.  In my teaching I often talk about dance as a pathway towards becoming more sturdy and expansive, using movement as a tool to hold and process a wider range of our human experience in our bodies. They say you teach what you need, and I think that’s very true for me.

 

Dancing can be so personal, intimate, and spiritual but—unless you are literally alone—it is also inherently performative. How do you parse dancing for yourself and dancing with/for others (the whole "dance like no one is watching" thing is so tired, but it's a thing for a reason). Or maybe: how can we shed the weight of the gaze?

I actually created a whole 8 session course about this very topic! The short answer is having an improvisation practice.  Improvisation is a tool for us to un-learn performativity, to notice our habitual movements and learned behaviors, and to tap back into or perhaps even learn for the first time what our authentic desires and expressions are. It’s incredibly liberating and empowering to move our bodies in a way that is focused on curiosity, imagination, and sensation rather than aiming for virtuosity or to satisfy the gaze

 

When you notice disconnection between body, mind, and intentional presence, how do you recenter and re-engage?

I’m only really aware of a disconnect between my mind and body when I spend too much time with technology. That being said, I feel like I’m in a constant state of re-centering since technology is such a big part of all of our lives. I feel pretty damn lucky that intentional presence and working with the mind/body connection is essentially my job, because it means I’ve got a surplus of practices in my toolkit that help me return to center. Some of my favorites are spending time alone, my solo improvised movement practice, hiking, being with my dog, taking a bath, yoga, Pilates, dancing, doing morning pages, opening the akashic records, cooking a meal, a cup of tea (or three). Today I tried my first sensory deprivation float, and it was complete and total bliss. After today I’m definitely adding floating to the list too.

How do you want to feel in your clothes?

Expressive, comfortable, free.

  

  

 

Jules wears the Reva Tank (coming soon!) and Loie Short.





 

 

Julius wears the Oversized Tee and Loie Short. Jules wears the Verona Bralette and Dara Pant.

 

  

  

 

  





How does your personal style speak to that?

I joke that I won’t wear anything I can’t do a grande plie in, which is mostly true unless I’m getting really dressed up. Even then, I need to be able to move and not feel restricted.  I have a really active lifestyle, but I also want my clothes to feel like a vibe— those are fun parameters for me when choosing my wardrobe. I like fabrics that breathe and move with me, nothing too tight, earth and fire tones, simple and bold styles, nothing too fussy.



Connecting with one's body is a powerful way to attune to the self, but in your practices it is also a powerful way to connect electrically to others/community. Tell us about nurturing that interconnectivity.

A desire to create community was the driving force behind building GOOD MOVE, and the strong community that emerged from my first studio is honestly the main reason that GOOD MOVE was able to survive the pandemic. It’s well known that health and wellness practices are more effective when you have a system of support or an accountability buddy to help you stay committed, but for me the community element itself is like where you get half of the dose of well being from. Especially in New York, everyone is rushing around, the energy is insane, and it’s hard for people to make time to really connect with each other. The GOOD MOVE teaching philosophy is ultimately about developing deeper and more compassionate relationships with ourselves in service of the collective. 

When we feel better, we’re better to each other. We teach that when we give ourselves permission to show up in our fullness, we are encouraging others to do the same. At GOOD MOVE, people know that they are being supported to show up exactly as they are, take up as much space as they need or want, and that it’s a safe space to play, explore, and witness whatever comes through. Being in a room of people without pretense or judgement and moving our bodies together is innately vulnerable and it’s also inevitably electric, as you said. It creates an environment ripe for connection and generative, supportive community. This kind of community building, to me, is also an act of resistance. To come together to celebrate our aliveness, our joy, and reclaim our bodily autonomy is a nice big “eff you” to a patriarchal capitalist society that thrives on promoting scarcity mindset and telling so many of us that we are not enough.

 

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Want more of that feeling (us too, always)? Los Angeles OZMA friends and movement lovers, please join us for a feel-good-all-levels movement class with Jules (and Heidi!) on Wednesday, May 4th at Stomping Ground LA. The new OZMA collection will be there too and all movers can dance right into a VIP discount after class!

Sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch the full OZMA x Good Move video on our Youtube page here. Sound on! :)

 

 

Follow GOOD MOVE on Instagram here. Photos by Virginia Stroh

 

  

 

 

 

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