Our Journey to
Forgotten Land

Our story begins with stillness.
Forgotten Land is something that exists; waiting for us just beyond the horizon of our creative selves. It is always there, and has always been there, calling us to rediscover the truth awaiting within. 

Each journey begins with a core structure.

When we arrive in a new place together, the first step is to build a dance floor. In order to build any kind of foundation , we must first connect to the space we are occupying. Once we have developed a relationship with the energetic field of the land, we can then begin to build.

Each pole placed in the earth, is a ritual, and each palm frond laid upon the roof is a prayer. This act of creativity seeds the earth, and prepares it for the coming of our tribe.

We continue the journey within ourselves.

Once our space is prepared, we dive into the realms of movement, dance, and body. We enter the space with curiosity about our own inner artist and the desire to bring to life what has lain dormant within each of us.  We come together to discover the ways that our minds experiences our bodies, and the ways that our bodies experiences the world.

We find our community and learn to grow together.

Entering into a field like Forgotten Land, results in a vibrant family of co-creators. The facilitators and collaborators here provide a foundation of love and trust, just as our dance floor provides a foundation of smooth sand and vinyl.

We remind each other, "You don't have to do this alone."

This final step on the journey is always taken together.

Here we can finally join each other in a state of deep release and relief. Now, it is our time to remember what we have once forgotten. Within the land of our own being, we rediscover the experience of being truly carried and supported. We cease to judge ourselves, and open into our true quantum being. We choose to honor all emotions here; joy, sorrow, bliss, and anger. And soon, playfulness finds it’s way back into the space, and returns us to the wisdom of our inner child. Our agendas and our worries fall away and we allow the wave of the experience to carry us home.

Volker Eschmann

At Forgotten Land gatherings, you may find yourself amidst a sea of smiling faces, dancing bodies, and expressive hearts. But what you might not see at the first glance, is the hard work, dedication, and months of preparation that it takes to bring this community together. Each of us contribute to this process, but none of it would be possible without Volker Eschmann.

Known amongst our community as ‘the quiet lion’ Volker acts as our bridge between the “normal” commercial world – and the magical, expressive field that we call Forgotten Land.  He takes on the stress and politics that the organization of each event requires, so that we, as a community, can gather in a space that is beyond time, beyond story, and beyond illusion.

“All arts have the same source,” Volker tells us, “ It doesn’t matter if you are a busdriver, a nurse, a musician, or a dancer. Creativity exists within each of us. I do my best to bring people together at a special time in an inspiring place – so that each of us can discover our inner artist.”

One of the most important values in Volker’s life, is trust. “Reliability is my closest companion,” he says, “And holding this standard is not always easy. I have learned not to promise more than what is possible, and simultaneously to believe in the strength of this energetic vortex – to bring us back to balance.”

Volker has spent the last years of his life growing and building the international Forgotten Land community. His mission is to support the discovery and creativity of both individual and group creativity through art, music, movement, somatics and performance. As an artist and social entrepreneur, Volker focuses on creating the spaces for other’s flourish, share their gifts, and discover their own potential.

“I try to find the crack in the system where eternity can shine through. And when I find it, I hold the door open, and we enter together.”

Our Team

Vega Luukkonen

Vega Katri Luukkonen

Co-organiser & Facilitator (FIN)

I am dancer, dance-teacher, performance-artist and bodyworker made in Finland, but currently based in Berlin, India, and nomadic temporary moments in time and space. From the formal side of my life I have studied in Finland – in Theatre Academy of Finland (TEAK) and Metropolia AMK, graduated from TEAK 2008 as dance- and theatre-teacher (MA). Though – I guess my dearest high-school and university in dance and contact-improvisation has been the finnish contact community, where I have learned so much, by sharing the dance and rolling point with the other spiralling, beautiful people.

Tara Iriis Raipala

Co-organiser & Facilitator (FIN)

I am dance artist; performer and teacher living in Helsinki, Finland. I graduated in 2004 as Master of Arts in dance from the Theatre Academy of Finland. I also studied dance in School for New Dance Developement (S.N.D.O.) in Amsterdam and in many workshops around the world. I’ve been working closely with improvisation and contact improvisation in several performing groups. I am one of the organizers of Goa contact festival and Skiing on Skin -festival in Finland. I graduated recently as certified iyengar yoga teacher. 

Lia Pavlidis

Co-organiser & Facilitator (GER)
Lia Pavlidis is a passionate dancer and a dedicated dance teacher. She is also a singer and performer, heartful communicator, energy worker and coach. Lia studied Rajasthani Gypsy Dance, Afro Carrebean, Release Technique, Qigong, Gaga Technique, Contact Improvisation, as well as other progressive urban styles. With a wide focus on the emotional, physical and energetic body in general, Lia’s curiousity for movement and body language is endless. Her dance is always soulful, blending street style with a deeply spiritual inner power, connecting mother earth and father sky, with the tongue of an urban shaman.

Ben Pavlidis

Co-organiser & Musician (GER)

Ben Pavlidis is an inspired, strong hearted musician with every cell of his body. He is a songwriter, and a rapper with a great enthuisasm for grounded and clear beats and sounds ,which he also produces himself for his latest electro project DUNG.

20 years experience in his back he is known as the frontman of the berlin band OHRBOOTEN. His open minded nature makes him to connect with people in the musical cosmos where ever he is. His first contact with improvisation was freestyle rap in 2002.

Pascal de Lacaze-Duthiers

Co-organiser & Musician​ (GER)

Pascal from Berlin plays music at events around the globe. His focus on rhythm and dance has made him friends in many communities: Dancers dig how his innovative DJ style connects with his energetic, modern drumming. Bands and Kirtan artists appreciate his steady, rocking world percussion and transcendental grooves. Since 2010 Pascal organizes Ecstatic Dances in Berlin. He is the resident DJ, accompanies his DJ sets with live percussion and cocreates live dance journeys. In workshops and at festivals he facilitates Body Bhajan – a fun and easy combination of chanting and body percussion.

Arun Ji, Ecstatic Dance Dj

Arun Reyes

Co-organiser & Dj (ES)

Arun Ji has 10 years of experience as a conscious dance DJ, trained in emotional awareness and tantra with Astiko Lopez and is passionate for Gabrielle Roth’s teachings of the 5 Rhythms. Arun offers a wide spectrum of rhythms and melodies, with a range of sensations and emotions, creating a space of connection and exploration. In his musical journeys  meditation and celebration melt together in the dance.

Simone Beck Contact Improvisation

Simone Beck

Helper coordination (GER)

SIMONE Is a straight down the line woman. Able to wander between different worlds with ease, as if they were her own; an ever on-the-go chameleon. Simone can be a graphic designer, nature pedagogue, healer, organizer, gardener and simultaneously a dancer. She appears to be a mystery who seems to be untouchable. However – and this is visible for all who wander through the world with an open heart – there is something within her which is she herself. In every movement, every word and every bat of her eyelid, … in every thought, every act and every moment is a person concealed who has  enormous empathy, understanding and pure vitality of life. And yet her actual essence is … love. The real, true and shared living-within-us … love. In the tangible world, Simone has travelled to almost every continent and spoken to people in many and various languages.  At the moment she is relishing the pleasure of having the opportunity to experience the privilege of creating a place she can call home.

Nadja Schwarzbach Contact Improvisation

Nadja Schwarzenbach

Co-organiser & Facilitator (GER)

I am a CI dancer, teacher and improviser based in Berlin. I passionately practice CI since 2006. My sense for touch and the understanding of the human body moving has been nurtured in many ways. Important was my three years natural medicine training including different massage and bodywork styles and  attending klein technique and axis syllabus classes. Currently I am training to become an Ilan Lev practitioner and a Gestalt therapist. Crucial inspirations for my CI practice come from learning and dancing with Joerg Hassmann, Mirva Mäkinnen and Nancy Stark Smith. I assisted Daniel Werner and Joerg Hassmann during five years in the CI training program in Berlin and in international workshops. Since 5 years I co-organize the Contact Festivals in Berlin (www.in-touch.es) and for the 9th time I am part of the organizing team of the Contact meets Contemporary Festival in Goettingen (www.contact-meets-contemporary.de), and last  year I co-founded the Out of Berlin Jam (www.outofberlinjam.de). 

Alicja Gladysz

Alicja Gladysz

Conceptual collaboration (POL)

Alicja Gladysz has Polish roots and nomadic soul. Following her instincts and catching the opportunities on the way she is exploring cultural and natural diversity of this planet. She got her diploma in Sociology of Culture, master degree in Sustainable Rural Development and years of work experience in non-governmental sector, coordinating and implementing social, educational and cultural projects. For the last ten years she is involved in food sovereignty movement and agroecology as organic market gardener and researcher. Since she moved to Portugal in 2016, she has been collaborating in permaculture projects: Biovilla, Projeto 270, Equivicentinos and Quinta do Vale de Lama, building up her local experience, skills and very precious network of inspiring change-makers.

Guru Suraj

Guru Suraj

Co-organiser & Facilitator (IN)

He is living in Chennai/India is a Painter, dancer, theatre artist, Yoga trainer and more. Graduate from one of the most established Art Institutions in India – The Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai. Has a Masters in philosophy in Yoga. Has a 200 hr of Yoga Alliance from U.S.A in LILA Yoga. Confident and savvy, Suraj is also a contact-improvisation dancer with experience in organizing yoga camps, C.I Workshops and art exhibitions around India and Abroad .He is exposed to the vibrant creative milieu of musicians, dancers, Painters, and actors of this artistically conscious South Indian city and Traveled around Asia with sharing C.I and art work. Worked as a Teacher in Goa Contact festival. Worked with the Goa contact festival team for 8 years now. This year in continuation of the Goa Contact Festival, our intention is to sow seeds of CI India in various parts of the country. As a team he wanted to extend this wondrous journey from the beach into our cities, from dancers to all people.

Brigitte Breternitz

Brigitte Breternitz

Co-organiser & Facilitator​ (GER)

Her Love for Yoga started with being a dancer. She simply wanted to stay flexible, strengthen her body and find a balance to her daily life as a dancer and choreographer. Today, she is practicing daily as her physical and mental key to a peaceful inner state. The Yoga practice helps her to live here now. Yoga became the foundation of her life, her way of living, her way to move, to breathe and to dance. Through Yoga she found a new strength also in her profession as a dancer, Choreographer and dance teacher since she learned how to trust. Already in the age of 16 Brigitte started teaching dance classes and since then she never stopped sharing as a teacher with joy and passion. As a professional dancer, choreographer, Dance Teacher, founder of a modern Dance Studio and Art Director of a sucsessful Artist Agency in Cologne she was what we could call “big in the business”. But the pressure of this job and private challenges as a single mom forced her to take a look underneath the surface and that was the first step into her fulfilling life combining her two passions Yoga and dance. Since she knew the magic of this marriage she felt like she has to share her experiences with it.

Rita Vilhena Contact Dance

Rita Vilhena

Co-organiser & Facilitator​ (PT)

Rita Vilhena is a choreographer and researcher about dance and movement in cultural or religious acts in different communities and the body as culture or sacred place. Professional dancer since 2003, her main motivation is the idea of transformation and participation, driven by intuition and pleasure. Her latest works #VIBRA #DOR and CORPO SANTO are a mark of her artistic journey with interest in Ritual and Performance. In 2005 he created Baila Louca improvisation and performance in Rotterdam. BL was born from an individual challenge, to give visibility and make collaborations with artists who inspired her such as Meg Stuart, Vania Rovisco, Julien Hamilton, Bruno Listopad, Jeremy Wade and many others. She teaches dance at the Escola Superior de Dança, and is part of the national and international community of Contact Improvisation. She has a degree in the Dance School, Rotterdam Academy of Dance and a Master in Performing Arts; she was awarded a scholarship at the Centre for Scientific Research in Dance and Musicology of INET- md. www.ritavilha.com/www.bailalouca.com

Marielle Gerke Water Dance

Marielle Gerke

Co-organiser & Facilitator (GER)
Marielle is born in Berlin, living in Witzenhausen near Kassel (Germany) since 2010. There she discovered her passion for dancing – especially for Contact Improvisation in 2012. Since then she is continuously fascinated by this unique and exciting dance form. She loves the playfulness that lays in it and the diversity of movement options that become available when moving together with shared weight. For her is remarkable how clear nonverbal communication can become if both dance partners allow their bodies to truly fall into each other while listening to the proposed directions of movement under the skin. In her practice as a dancer and teacher the exploration of developmental movement patterns, principles of leading and following over the soft tissues of the body and water work are very useful and exciting. She is interested in exploring anatomical structures in hands on work and while dancing.
Zinn Da

Zinn Da

NGO Board & Ceremonie leader (IN)

Zinn Da is a spiritual traveler spreading happiness around the world. After a long and successful stint as a cyber wiz-kid, who has given consultancy to numerous clients across the globe, one day I realized that something is missing in my life. Life was more then money, name and fame. Perhaps the inner self had a strong conviction that humanity and diversity are missing and making me a not so complete human being. Tt was then I decided to start a fresh in a quest to become more enlightened and a person with human touch. The great Guru Osho paved the way to a new journey of life. Further involvement with Osho International Meditation Resort at Pune and Osho Humaniversity, Holland has provided new meanings to the life. A life that belongs to many more then me. A life which is a golden opportunity for love, peace, knowledge and humanity.

Malcolm Manning Contact Improvisation

Malcolm Manning

Co-organiser & Facilitator (UK)

Researcher, educator, mentor and artist. In my classes, I share my inquiry of what it is to be a thinking, feeling, moving subject in this world through developing a dialogue with ourselves and our environment in which we are empowered to be our own experts. I specialise in teaching the application of somatic approaches to contemporary dance practices and teach courses in both the Danish and Finnish national schools of dance. I’m also interested in how this work can be applied wider society. I am certified to teach the Feldenkrais Method® and the Body And Earth work developed by Andrea Olsen and Caryn McHose. I studied for two years at SNDO Amsterdam and have an MA in Dance Pedagogy. I also made extensive studies of Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement, Movement Shiatsu, Body Mind Centering and experiential anatomy. I have danced Contact Improvisation since 1991 and was part of the group of regular students who studied with Nancy Stark Smith throughout the 1990s while she was developing what eventually became known as the UnderScore.  

Sophie de Lacaze

Sophie de Lacaze

Co-organiser & Facilitator (GER)

Sophie de Lacaze is trained in Core Energetics and Somatic Bodywork. She is working with individuals, couples and leading therapeutic process groups for the last 6 years. She is passionate about guiding people to fully express themselves and bringing their unique gifts to the world. Together with Nuno Salema she leads the Holistic Embodiment for Authentic Leadership (H.E.A.L.) Program, which is a one year Self-Empowerment Process starting in February 2020 consisting of 6 weekends. Participants will explore and experience the main Principles of Core Energetics – a body oriented psychotherapy – and the Authentic Leadership Model. www.sophiedelacaze.com

Nuno Salema

Nuno Salema

Co-organiser & Facilitator (PT)

Embodied Process I have always felt drawn to the mysteries of Life. Throughout the years, I have explored different fields such as Psychology, various meditation methods, several expressive arts and I have deepen my Spiritual practice. I experience life and Nature as an embodiment of pure creative expression, where the free flow of energy within ourselves connects us with the free flow of energy in the Universe. My interest and research around self-awareness and personal growth, have led me to explore the connections between Psychology and Creative Expression. Over the years, I’ve developed projects in very diverse social and institutional realities. As a Core Energetics practitioner, I feel passionate to support people to find their way to self-healing. www.nunosalema.com

Nago Koite

Nago Koite

Mentor & Griot, traditional mythteller from Senegal

African dance with Nago and Sidy Koité. Dance means above all “coming together”. Its language is universal and works across cultural and geographical borders. There are no language barriers for dance, it sees itself as the “language of the soul”. By overcoming family, religious, social and cultural boundaries, dance creates encounters and leads to uncomplicated, unbiased exchange and togetherness. Nago Koité’s teaching is characterized by a deep connection to his family and their African tradition, by his enthusiasm, charisma and joy of life, by his openness towards people of other cultures and his honest concern to lead people to the original source of their life energy and joy of life through dance.  


Monica & Samuel

Hosts at Quinta Braz, Algarve Portugal

We have been building in new ways, with respect for the tradition, our grandfather’s farm into an organic ecological home. The gatherings give us time to be together with the CI community, connecting with nature and being part of the country side life during the blessed harvesting time of September. Time to collect carobs, figs and almonds while celebrating the gifts of nature in our dance. As a young native Portuguese couple who met in Berlin,and after roaming a few years abroad, we both felt a strong desire to come back. So we did, and three years back, having a few days at the empty family farm house, we both felt the place is asking us to stay here since then and we have recently been blessed with the birth of our little sprout at home, in the nest we have been constructing  since then.


Anand Dhotre

Anand Dhotre

Host at Golden Pyramid, Arambol Beach Goa, India

Since more then 15 years Anand has been realizing at Arambol Beach various restaurants & retreats  known under the name Blue Pyramids. Nowadays as well owner of the YT Inn Guesthouse in Arambol. 2015 he decided to support the artists community and give his new place The Golden Pyramid into a collaboration with Forgotten Land. He runs the restaurant and wonderful retreat on the beach with dignity and became a skilled dancer himself.

Francisco & Claudia de Brion

Claudia & Francisco de Brion

Hosts at Aterra, Alentejo Portugal

Aterra aims to show to others that there is a way of living that does not harm the earth but utilizes the potential of your surroundings, working with nature and leaving minimal waste. You can live in an ecological and ethical way and yet still have comfort and a high standard of living. We want you to experience the best of the simple things in life, namely food, drink, company and surroundings. Our belief is in quality, not quantity. We want to produce and provide for our guests as much as we can by ourselves and from the local community. We believe organic and homemade produce is best, and we support working in a sustainable and ecologically friendly way. Aterra can be translated as ‘The Land’ or ‘The Earth’. So as the name suggests, Aterra is not just about experiencing what we have on our land but also thinking of the potential we have on this Earth. The art of living in a sustainable, more resourceful and ecological way can be played out in everyone’s situation whether small or large, city or countryside.