Be You Disco Brings Teams Together Through Dance, Music and Mindfulness
Be You Disco Event
In a room full of strangers wearing noise-cancelling headphones and standing in a large circle, Carolina Panoff, founder and CEO of Be You Disco and certified life and transformation coach, takes center stage. Her hands are folded over her heart, her eyes are closed, and through her microphone echoes each deep breath and long exhale she takes as she encourages the group to follow suit.
The air is calm as Panoff’s voice travels through each set of headphones over a soothing instrumental track, emulating a relaxing and mindful meditation. Setting a peaceful scene, she reminds everyone in the room that they’re in a judgment-free zone. This is a safe space where everyone can feel free to express themselves openly, built for togetherness and connection.
At the end of her mini mindfulness speech, Panoff tells everyone to open their eyes and take a look around the room. Then, the real magic happens.
To a bystander, the room is silent. But for participants, the music coming through their headphones picks up the pace, and according to Panoff, it’s time to start dancing.
Suddenly, the once-silent room is full of happy laughter as strangers who have yet to learn one another’s names mirror each other’s dance moves in pairs. One person’s small, shy toe taps turn into an exuberant and electrifying Moonwalk. Another person’s tiny twirl transforms into a perfect pirouette, and within just a few minutes, the entire group is busting out their best moves, unafraid of what they may look like and what others may think.
This is a safe space where everyone can feel free to express themselves openly, Panoff reminds the group once again. By the time the music stops, a newfound connection is made. Some participants wipe away their tears, others exchange business cards and phone numbers, and everyone says goodbye to one another with a hug, as though they’ve been friends for 30 years rather than 30 minutes.
This is the Be You Disco experience.
Vision to Reality
“It was three and a half years ago,” Panoff said, reflecting on when the idea for Be You Disco first came to her. “I was meditating at my home and I just had this vision of people dancing together on the beach freely.”
For Panoff, dance has always been a “connecting experience.” She took salsa lessons when she was younger and remembers dancing with a man in his 80s when she was in her mid-20s.
“We had nothing in common. We didn’t even speak the same language, but we were both smiling ear to ear, and I was like, ‘Holy crap. This is some powerful stuff,’” Panoff remembered. “It’s one of those things that, looking backwards, you can connect the dots, but I never would have thought that I would be bringing wellness, teambuilding, dance and mindfulness experiences to the corporate space.”
Panoff took her vision and founded Be You Disco, a silent disco experience that brings people together though dance, music and mindfulness. Created as an outlet for connection and authentic self-expression, Be You Disco takes groups through immersive, lightly guided dance and wellness experiences that “empower participants to feel self-expressed, in tune with themselves and a deep sense of togetherness and well-being.”
With a mission to “transcend social and societal barriers that keep people separate and unearth our common humanity through music and dance,” Be You Disco offers opportunities for corporate teambuilding, meetings and incentives, associations, nonprofits and more.
“Once I did my first corporate teambuilding event—one of the first conferences we ever did was ADMEI with all the DMC executives, and people loved it. It was honestly one of the biggest highlights [of the conference] for them,” Panoff said. “After I saw the proof of concept, I completely shifted everything. My full-time job right now is Be You Disco doing programs, retreats, conferences and really bringing it into spaces that are looking for connection and belonging.”
‘Where Corporate Wellness Meets Teambuilding’
When most people think of corporate wellness, Panoff said, a lot of times, what comes to mind is group yoga and healthy meals. What they’re often failing to focus on is connection.
“That’s the space that I really like to play in, is how this is an emotional journey that honors all facets of life, and I think the thing that really hits a chord and actually creates these emotional experiences for people is that [Be You Disco] does honor all parts of life,” Panoff said. “It’s a space where you’re given permission to really share your full self, and when we express our sadness through movement and dancing, or when we express our bliss and our joy, you’re telling yourself subconsciously, ‘I accept you when you’re sad. I accept you when you’re joyful. I accept you when you feel down.’ And that’s true wholeness.”
Each Be You Disco wellness teambuilding experience is curated to dissolve barriers and encourage empathy, fostering a sense of belonging and well-being. The experiences are designed to build stronger teams, boost employee morale, cultivate creativity and inspiration, be inclusive and interactive, improve mental health and more.
“We typically start the experience asking people to set an intention for themselves that’s really personal and individual, and throughout the dance, it’s like they are constantly being reminded of their intention. They’re embodying it in different ways, moving with it,” Panoff said. “At the end, we ask the group to set a collective intention for a better world where our movement actually becomes this sort of prayer almost, showing what we want to see more of in the world.
“It shows our humanity, and it unifies us so much because every single person that you meet wants to see a better world,” she continued. “It also goes to show how powerful nonverbal communication is and how much can get expressed simply through movement and eye contact, which is another huge thing we incorporate into the experience. We are so conditioned to look away because when you look too hard into somebody’s eyes, you might see the things that remind you of yourself, and sometimes those things are painful and scary. A lot of times, we look away from real intimacy and real connection, although that’s the thing we’re craving the most: to be seen and understood.”
In each Be You Disco experience, Panoff guides groups in creating a safe environment that gives each participant permission to show who they truly are and what they’re feeling, giving them the opportunity to be seen and understood authentically. She encourages others in the group to step up for others and show their support through mirroring dance moves during interactive icebreaker activities, connecting participants through shared thoughts and movements.
“We really try to create an experience that isn’t toxic positivity, which you hear a lot in the wellness space,” Panoff said. “We want to allow people to express their humanity. That’s the one thing we all have in common. We’re all humans. We’re all doing this human thing, and it’s not easy.
“When you see that you have a group of diverse people, and some don't really speak English that well; everybody's a different color, socioeconomic status, race,” Panoff continued. “When you see that and you see these people come together in this way, it just makes you realize that the world is a way more beautiful place than it may seem.”
To learn more about Be You Disco or book a wellness teambuilding experience, visit www.beyoudisco.com.
*Brought to you by Caesars Entertainment