“This all started because I wanted to dance,” says Dance with Plants founder Connie Dasilva, who moved to Kingston from Brooklyn three years ago and found a dearth of clubbing opportunities. “I was so surprised that there was no house music/electronic music dance scene in a major way.” So she brought it herself.
Dasilva’s first event was a lush, houseplant-heavy dance party in the upstairs of BSP in January 2019. Every iteration of Dance With Plants since has followed the same simple formula––plants and plant-based products, wellness activities, dancing, and electronic music. Though the latter may seem a little incongruous with the rest, it works as a catalyst for the rest. “I know it’s weird, but it’s the music that gets the people going,” Dasilva explains.
The next installment of Dance with Plants on July 10 will be hosted at The Lot at BLUEprint with 400 tickets available. This latest iteration is called “BLOOM,” a reboot of the series since their last event pre-COVID in March 2020. BLOOM’s activity roster is multifaceted in surprising ways, with both electronic dance music and vibrating meditation beds under one roof. (That’s metaphorical––BLOOM will be hosted outdoors in the sprawling parking lot of the old IBM campus.) Above all, each episode of Dance With Plants is “arts, culture, music, and plant-focused,” says founder Connie Dasilva. “People have the opportunity to come, sink into their bodies, and have an experience with plants.”
The night takes off with a herbal happy hour––the event is alcohol free––with beverages sponsored by uptown Kingston-based Cacao Laboratory. Free plant-based snack bars are provided by Yoe! Superfoods.
DJ Redlion will be spinning disco, funk, and soul tunes set to electronic beats. Internationally renowned DJ Tasha Blank, consultant and founder of New York City’s wild dance experience The Get Down, will take over and guide the audience to de-stress through creativity, music, and dance. Performers from a Hudson collective, the self-described “bizarre” Haus of Peculiar, will enact an “LED, spinning, crazy performance,” per Dasilva. BLOOM also includes a projection mapping installation, a visuospatial art form that uses video projectors over a 3D surface instead of a flat screen, turning objects into interactive displays.
In the past three years, Dance with Plants has become a popular producer of immersive electronic music, dance, art and cultural events in the Hudson Valley. The events showcase the talent of locals, be they musicians, chefs, or healers, becoming a sort of marketing and production platform for local artists in the area who want to have events but don’t know how to put them on. “The goal is to always support the artists of the community in creating whatever kind of events they want, as long as they’re music/culture/art-focused,” Dasilva says. “It’s always a community effort.”
It’s no accident Dasilva slid into coordinating this event series, her professional background is in corporate event production and interior design. Many of her clients gravitated toward plant-heavy homes, as though they were trying to create a miniature indoor jungle. Corporations often bought large collections of houseplants for their events just to throw them away afterward, and after one such event in Kingston, Dasilva decided to just take all the plants home herself. Her houseplant count numbered in the hundreds overnight, the catalyst of her idea to start Dance With Plants. “They really led me,” she says of the plants. “The mission for Dance With Plants is to create a thriving community of artists and to provide a platform for them to share, and also to introduce people to plants in new and interesting ways.”
Dance With Plants: BLOOM is July 10, 7-11pm at The Lot @ BLUEprint––201 Enterprise Drive, Ulster, NY 12401.