The Dances of Universal Peace and Walks tradition, like any native mysticism, is kept alive and carried forward by transmission from teacher to student. A person-to-person relationship with an experienced teacher in the Dance lineage, a dance mentor, ensures the direct communication of sacred atmosphere and attunement, which is impossible to systematise. Training in the Dances and Walks is open to persons of all spiritual streams.
Finding a Mentor
If you are interested in learning to lead the Dances of Universal Peace, the best place to begin is to attend the Dances that may be held in your area. The Dance Events area of this web site will take you to resources to help you find the Dances.
The next step is to find a mentor. The mentor/mentee relationship is an important channel for the transmission of the Dances and Walking Meditations. Your mentor will be someone who is not your spouse, partner or any other relative. By linking to a mentor you connect with the power of the lineage of this body of work. The mentoring relationship is ongoing at every stage on this path of mastery.
The best way to find a mentor is to look for someone you feel attuned to, someone, who has developed qualities you yourself would like to cultivate. If you are at the point of looking for a mentor, you may wish to view the current list of UK mentors.
Mentors work in different ways with their students (mentees); e.g., some mentors offer training programmes or mentoring groups, and others work individually. Once you feel a connection with a mentor, enquire about his/her methods as well as any practical arrangements (mentors may charge for time, expenses and travel in relation to training).
Certification is not so much a matter of validating the growth process of Dance and Walks leaders, as it is to set a standard that will help maintain the integrity of the Dance and Walks transmission for future generations. As Murshid Wali Ali Meyer has commented, “This path is not about becoming a teacher; it’s about becoming awake.”
It is not necessary to be certified to lead the Dances. But if you wish to become a certified leader, you need to take it up with your mentor. Certification is a commitment to continue growing as a dance leader and deepening in your responsibility to the lineage of the Dances and Walks. Deepening in any spiritual practice takes time. To manifest the fruit of your practice, you need to cultivate deep roots, watering them with patience and sincere motivation.
The time required to complete certification as a dance leader varies with each person. Most mentors expect that at least three years of dedicated study and dance leading experience are required, but each leader unfolds in their own unique way. You may be certified when your mentor is satisfied that you have achieved what is appropriate specifically for you in relation to the required criteria.
No dance is a Spiritual Dance because it is called that; it does not mean a certain form or technique, nor a ritual … What must remain is the sacred phrase; this, the sacred phrase, and not the form, is the foundation of development along this line. (Samuel L. Lewis)
About the Leaders Guild
The Leaders Guild is the collective body formed of all mentored dance leaders, including members of the Mentors Guild, which is its supervising body. When you become a mentored dance leader, you automatically become a member of the Leaders Guild. Being a member means abiding by the MTG agreements, keeping an active relationship with your mentor, and remaining current with annual Guild fees.
First Steps in Leading the Dances
Learning to lead the Dances takes time. Don’t try to learn too many Dances too quickly. To begin with, learn one Dance thoroughly. Choose from one of the various Mantric Dances. Ideally, there will be no English words in your first Dance. It can be a partner Dance or not. Once you have learned the Dance music and movements, then develop a strong relationship to the mantra, the sacred phrase. Get to know it well. Take it into meditation practice. Breathe with it in the heart. Walk with it, getting a sense of the rhythm of the mantra and your walk. Intone it on one note. Sing the melody. Dance the Dance so that it becomes effortless to do. Internalize completely the mantra, music and movements. Once you have a Dance “in your body” in this way it’s unlikely you will forget it. Then create the opportunity to lead it with a group of people.
Good luck – we have all begun at some point!