Category Archives: News

News from dancers and dance leaders across the UK.

“Individual points of light that dance on water and dazzle the eye” – Reflections on Retreat

What a privilege, what a blessing, to gather in a small field on the mainland and having stowed luggage on board the trailer, to make our way on foot down to Porth Meudwy and the boat to Enlli.   How moving to be with those drawn to retreat, to this sacred place of pilgrimage, to the universal ancient way of knowing that sacredness, the Goddess.  Leaving behind our everyday lives, taking steps to re-membering, not just our relationship to the Divine but also to ourselves, all our selves.

Enlli, a sanctuary of abundant life in the sea, the air, the earth.  Summer solstice, with day after day of sun and heat, light dancing in our elemental beings, as it does upon the waters and crosscurrents, this way and that, textured light and water, crossing and spiralling.  Breathing with seals, hearing their song, sharing practice together on our last morning, ecstatic moments of prayer vocalised and carved in air, dancing body.  Miss Ruth (Ruth St Dennis) leading the way to finding such freedom in form through her encouragement to join the “Divine Dance”.  Dear Kamae (Kamae Amrapali Miller) encouraging movement and expression through this breath, this heart, blessing our Goddess Zikr, remembrance of Her Name, in Unity.  Such harmony, eating, dancing and praying together.  Such beauty, maybe not surprising walking in Her footsteps but such delightful beauty and so many gifts.  The slow worm who nestled in the heat and shelter of the slate sign, the mature one that snaked across our path, the gathering of diving, feeding gannets, so many altogether, the clarity of the still waters (relatively still), revealing layers of rocks, forests of seaweeds, the whole body of our seal friends.  Purity of elements as we open to purification, spaciousness, a doorway to vastness, the silence so welcome, the invitation to stop and notice, as all do, the day trippers, the warden, Enlli guardian.  Drenched in light we sought the Dark Mother, finding shelter and protection, blessed coolness in her gentle embrace in the shadows.  The force of anger, hurt and jolted, opened up a new avenue of healing, searching and re-membering, finding and uniting in the chapel.  The unexpected heat as we joined the reunion and rebirth under the full moon.  A Welsh chapel feeling more like a Middle Eastern Temple, we danced, we sat, all the while watched over by a feathered friend.  Light reflected as well as direct.  Sunset upon sunset, each unique and awesomely beautiful, sometimes accompanied by the brass band, music carried on the wind.  Pools of salt on dark rocks created by such fierce heat, the altar water evaporating too and needing replenishing.  Laughter and tears, harmonies resounding again and again.  These are glimpses of our retreat on Ynys Enlli, Bardsey Island this year, like individual points of light that dance on water and dazzle the eye.

I write as I digest and integrate one of life’s potent, peak experiences.  Calling on the Goddess and her Beloved with beloved retreatants, helped me to integrate and heal so much in my own being at a time in my life of intense healing.  She guides me through not having a chance to prepare through thought, the head, but forcing me to stay in the heart and to know that all that comes to me through life is preparation, just the right preparation, for ripeness, juicy and full of the greening life force that Hildegard von Bingen spoke of, sang of.  How wonderful to receive the “perfect remedy” during retreat for my beloved’s recovery through the generosity of a retreatant.  How lovely, full of love, to enjoy so many precious gifts to be treasured in the midst of daily life, to nourish us further on this pilgrimage of life.  There is a longing to return………………..

– Shamsia Sandra Sunfire on the mainland of Wales, Cymru 28.07.2018

The pilgrimage referred to was “Elemental Being Dancing in Light, Ancient Names of the Sacred: the Goddess & Her Beloved,  23rd June – 30th June 2018”

 

The 3rd Leaders’ Guild Retreat: Love, Serve and Remember (2018)

It was a great joy to meet as dance leaders on our 3rd annual retreat in the beautiful setting of the Carmelite Retreat Centre, Oxford. Our numbers have been increasing year on year and we were 21 Dance Leaders this time, of all levels of experience. There was time and space for everyone to lead a Dance, share our experiences and to talk about issues which were living in our hearts and minds. We had a discussion about inclusivity and the challenges and opportunities it can bring for Leaders and Dancers and also a brief sharing about our various spiritual paths. It was a wonderfully supportive community experience, which we look forward to extending to Dance Leaders from across Europe for the first time next year. Dance Mentors and Mentors-in-Training will have the opportunity to stay on for an additional 24 hours immediately after the weekend, for further deepening and mutual support.

Some participants had this to say about this year’s retreat:

Best dance meeting of the year’

A very special opportunity for peer support’

Gives substance to the Leaders’ Guild’

I really appreciated the organisation.’

Loving open hearts’

I came home with a big shift towards knowing who I am as a dance leader and beyond, that has not been shaken since.’

I have learnt to consciously live my life to ‘Love, Serve and Remember’.’

Dancing Adventures in the USA

These are snapshots from a five-week trip to the US this summer by Linda and me, which included a strong DUP and Sufi flavour.

On the East Coast…

This began on Day 3, with the monthly zikr group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, organised by Abraham and Halima Sussman Abraham is a wonderful presence and a great musician, who has worked with Saadi on Bridge and other masterpieces. It felt to us like being with family, and there was great power and vitality about a group of forty people, with a wide age and ethnic range, who know the dances and needed little teaching. This was the day after the Malaysian airliner was shot down over the Ukraine, so our dances for peace had a real passion to them. Continue reading