Category Archives: From DUP UK

Announcements from the Guidance Panel on behalf of DUP UK

Leaders’ Guild Retreat 2021

In step with everything being so different in the last twelve months, this year is marked by the event of the first virtual Leaders’ Guild Retreat the Guidance Panel has ever organised. Whether it will also be the last remains to be seen.

After nearly a whole year of no camps, dance groups or other weekend retreats, there had grown a deep yearning to connect again for a lot of members of the LG, to see each other and to reach out, albeit in a virtual but no less heartfelt space.

Thus from Friday the 28th in the evening to the afternoon of Sunday the 31st of January we met in a zoom room for a retreat under the aptly named theme “Resilience in Troubled Times”.

We had invited contributions from all mentors of the LG as is traditional for our in-person annual weekend, but also with the possibility of offering standalone sessions throughout the year for those mentors who could not join us.

Within this time frame we had 5 sessions with each module being held by one of the GP with an opening practice, chant or dance.

In the mentors’ space we were gifted with one or two beautiful dances, a meditative practice and a sharing space. Also a lovely rounding off by other leaders with contributions of poems, songs and dances.

The GP also arranged for a longer sharing session on Saturday evening, where we split into 3 groups to discuss the themes of the Dances in a pandemic, inclusivity within the Dances and cultural appropriation.

Not to forget an impromptu lunch meeting for informal chatting!

Some of us had already become seasoned zoom surfers, while for others it was their very first virtual experience, but I think from which ever place on the spectrum we came, we could draw something from the well of richness, creativity and love thus shared in this little bubble of togetherness.

It was altogether so wonderful see each other, to make sure we are still “there” even without touching, to share our experiences of the past year and especially to see those of us who cannot normally make a physical retreat.

Leaders Guild Retreat 2020

Our 2020 retreat was again, a very enriching and inspiring event. This time in Yorkshire at the Briery Retreat Centre Ilkley; a very nice venue with two beautiful group spaces, comfortable beds and lovely food!

The theme of the retreat was the Walks; we delved in with sessions on centres, elements, planetary, tasawwuri and wazifa. It was a precious opportunity to be reminded of and deepen in these powerful and useful practices and how they can enrich our dance leading and lives.

We also had time to dance! Everyone had the opportunity to lead and it was a beautiful, heart warming mix of our different styles and energy.

Our international participant, Ernesto from Mexico, now living and dancing in Istanbul, gave an inspiring talk about the ‘DUP Beyond Project’ an initiative to bring the dances to under-privileged countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It was very interesting to get this wider perspective.

The energy swelled as the full moon shone down on us, and there was a real sense of fullness by the end of the retreat; inspiration for our dance leading, new and deepening connections with each other, ideas for new ways to work with the dances and ways we can collaborate and support each other.  And perhaps above all, a real appreciation of being able to come together in person, hold hands, eat, dance, pray, and enjoy our loving community.

Our heartfelt appreciation and thanks were given to Guidance Panel members and Administrator who are now stepping down from these roles, Jilani, Shamsia, Shamsuddin and Stella and for their years of dedicated service to the Leaders Guild and for making this retreat possible.

An unexpected end was provided by Storm Ciara, as she swept across the country disrupting our travel plans; lifts were given, beds offered, and we all flowed beautifully with our predicament!

Some words from participants..

I enjoyed the morning practice and all the dances and I felt very safe and free

I loved spending time with everyone

I loved experiencing the depth of attunement of the leaders and dancers, feeling part of a spiritual dance community

I got a deeper sense of how the Guild can support leaders

I loved the co-creative programme- lovely balance of including us all

The full programme covered a useful range of DUP aspects.

Company, openness, awareness, connecting

Support from peers

Gaining confidence in leading,

Lovely place and facilities


Thank you all so much for all the energy and love you brought to the weekend !

Love and Peace


Join us at one of the 5 regional dance days this Autumn!

Dear Dancers,

It’s been 4 years since we organised a Regional Day to gather to Dance and also provide an opportunity to listen and talk together about your experience of the Dances of Universal Peace.  To this end, we are offering a chance to meet, to listen to you and to dance together in 5 separate regions of the UK this Autumn.  Ifyou would like to share a Dance or 2, please get in touch with those organising the Regional days below.  Further venue details will be sent to you.

October 5th 2019

Wales with Sandra Shamsia Sunfire & friends: 

10.30 – 4.30 pm, Derwenlas Hall, near Machynlleth, Wales SY20 8TN  

For more details please contact:

Southeast with Sophia Nicholson:   

11.00 -4.00 pm, Friends Meeting House, 1, Paynes Park, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1EH

Leaders only 11-1. (Booking essential by 19th September) dancers welcome 2-4pm.

For more details please contact:

North with Jilani Cordelia Prescott:  

10.30 – 4.30pm, The Heart Centre, Luddenden, Nr Hebden Bridge, HX2 6RF.

Booking essential, as numbers are restricted to 20.

         For more details contact: or 07966 451534

Southwest with Matthew Heyse-Moore

10.30am to 4.30pm, Bedminster Quaker House, Wedmore Vale, Bristol BS3 5HX.

For more details and to register your interest please contact Matthew, or 0117 214 0418.

September 27/28th 2019

Scotland with Mirabai Sue Musgrave:   

Friday 27th  7.30-9pm, Saturday 28th  10 – 5pm, Sunshine Room, East Whines, The Park, Findhorn.

For more details please contact:

Do come!  

Let’s have a cup of tea, a chat and some precious dancing time together.  Perhaps you would like to consider one or more of the following:

  • What would enrich your experience of Dancing even more?
  • As part of an international family of Dancers is there anything that would help you experience that connection with all those Dancers you may never meet in the circle?
  • Do you ever use the website:  ~ would anything help your use of it?

And if you are sadly unable to join us, but have thoughts or feelings you would like to share, do please contact us either by email, through the DUPUK website, via Facebook or indeed by good old snail mail.

With love and blessings, Shamsia, Sophia, Shamsuddin and Jilani (Guidance Panel DUP UK)

Taking the Dances Beyond – Where they have never been before

The Beyond Initiative, sponsored by Dances of Universal Peace International (DUP IN), is an endeavor to bring together two of Murshid SAM’s visions:

  • spreading peace, and
  • spreading it in a sustainable world.

The initiative is being done in partnership with the Global Ecovillage Network, so it is touching young adults who are dedicated to global sustainability.  It focuses on regions that are under-privileged in countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific, taking the dances to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience them, and to places where peace is especially needed right now.  It is being focused by our younger generation of mentors and is naturally attracting youth of a similar age.

We have a dedicated, long-term commitment to the training of the new leaders in these regions.  As a result of the first year of the Initiative, there are now permanent dance circles in Turkey, Israel, and Iran! We are making a 3 year commitment to the continual training of these new dance leaders. In the meantime, we are beginning to spread the dances into Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions.

The initial funds for this project came to DUP IN as an endowment, and this seems to be a most beautiful way to honor this bequest! But now the project has a life of its own, and is growing in many directions.

Please read about it and see how you can be involved!

Support an emerging dance leader! Join a caravan! Sponsor an emerging leader to come to your event! Develop a pen pal! Consider a legacy!

To see the various ways you can participate in the Beyond Initiative, go to DUP Beyond (under Worldwide Network) on our website Dances of Universal Peace International

Leaders Retreat Jan 2017

Leaders retreat 2017Dear Dance Leaders,

Along with a photo, here are some comments about our 2017 Leaders Guild Retreat in Oxford. It was such a lovely weekend, deep, and heart-warming, and so encouraging to see the dedication and talent that are being shared in dance circles all over the country. Like last year, we all really appreciated the chance to meet as a circle of dance leaders, sharing support and inspiration, in deep mutual understanding of our shared journey. We would like to share some comments from many of the fifteen participants. We think they speak for themselves!

– Thank you for many insightful sharings and practices. I feel inspired to move forward!

– I feel grateful for the precious time and sharing with fellow beloveds on this blessed but also challenging path of Dance Leading. It felt very nurturing and enjoyable too.

– I was so grateful for the meeting, and it has renewed my confidence in and enthusiasm for dance leading.

– It was very rich to share this time together. Stirring and deepening. Good to be with the Sangha. renew old connections and make new ones.
– For me there are always some challenges too but that’s all part of it…”willing, unwilling, what does it matter!”

– What did that weekend do to me? At first it was hard to adjust back to normal life back at home, children arguing…. how do I deal with the sudden disappearance of all these beloved people? Then something happens and I seem to be much more alive, at home, at work. I speak more freely, I am more able to stay present when things are hard; wonderful changes! A very powerful experience and I don’t know quite what or how.

– I felt re-inspired to keep leading,  just being around other dance leaders and hearing their journeys. Loved hearing about Jules’ planned family day, some old ideas I’ve had for leading dance in schools came back to me. There were many other conversations and sharings i wished we could have done, for example being mentored and the journey of this relationship. I loved being with everyone, and i loved my little single room at night.

– The blend of heart sharing circles and dances worked wonderfully together, making it possible to let go and be vulnerable with each other.  Such a gift! Thank you all.

– Once again I loved spending a weekend in such a beautiful and comfortable venue with old friends and newer ones, deepening my appreciation of this community through dancing and sharing with each other. It was great to spend time just with other Dance Leaders, sharing the joys and challenges of the role, and also learning new things from each other about aspects of the dance journey. I thought the sessions led by the Dance mentors an excellent idea, and particularly illuminating. I will definitely be going again next year!

– Thanks for your hard work. I found it a very supportive experience to come. For me the dancing and sharing work so well together. I felt like you held the space beautifully as a team.

Every leader present took a turn in leading a dance, a chant or a walk. The mentors who came each had a slightly longer session to share their current growing edge of deepening insight and experience, which was inspiring and illuminating for us all. Personally, I find the enormous variety of styles and approaches wonderfully rich and also encouraging. There is no need for any one of us to be anything other than ourselves. Each one brings the gift of who they are, deliciously unique and yet sharing the same underlying journey. Truly we are a model of unity in diversity.

These are some of the subjects we touched on in our sharing:

  • Exploring the story I tell myself
  • Issues that face us as leaders. What the heck are we doing? Why do we do it? What are we trying to achieve?
  • What happens to us in the dance, our inner world.
  • How do we draw people in and explain what we are doing
  • Meditation
  • Walks – sharing around the walks
  • Culture and history of the dances in America

We also had some time to share and discuss around certain areas of development for DUPUK as a whole. There is need for movement forward in how we engage with dancers who are not leaders, and the discussion focussed around using the website to connect with these people. We agreed that we could encourage those who dance with us to sign up for the mailing list  ‘News from DUPUK’. And we will start to send out a regular digest of longer dance events that are on the calendar using this mailing list. We have also added a Paypal button to the website to allow people to make donations easily if they feel moved to do so.

We raised the idea of having a membership category for Dance Musicians, now that they can be mentored (by a Dance Mentor). This would make it possible for them to access the dance write-ups and other useful resources. Those present were in favour, so we will work on this with a view to clarifying how it can be set up so as to be voted on by the whole membership at the next opportunity.

Here are some actions and ideas that were suggested by the leaders who were present:

  • Place a standard reminder on all our Mailchimps to remind people to sign up for News for Friends of the Dances, in order to hear more news about U.K. Events
  • Include anything longer than a day in a national digest, sent out to Friends of the Dances
  • Contract with leaders not to use other dance leaders mailing lists
  • Research the need to register with data protection
  • Remind leaders that overseas events or teachers can be advertised on the International website
  • Send information about big events to the Friends list – eg dance leader training events
  • 24 hour fund raiser/outreach dance session in a big city to raise awareness and funds
  • Deepening events for dancers and leaders
  • Formalise a mentoring buddy system – horizontal mentoring

For those of you who were not present, we hope to have given you a flavour and sense of the Annual retreat. We want to include all of the supportive contact that most of us love so much: dancing, sharing, praying, eating and (some) discussion, but without too much talking! It is our chance to meet together and move forwards together, as individuals and as an organisation. And by removing the need for a business meeting (making it electronic instead) we made more time available for this.


Jilani, Shamsia and Kate