Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Dance of Lights, A Dance of Fools

"A Dance of Lights, A Dance of Fools"
Winter Solstice Ecstatic DanceDionysus

For six days in the northern hemisphere (where we live!) at the end of December, the sun ceases its slow southerly dance on the horizon and appears to rise and set in almost the same spot. Solstice: from the Latin sol stetit, meaning "sun stood still." From the ancients, we know that this is a primordial moment of change. Will the sun begin to move again? What will move the Great Wheel of Life? Will the Rhythm end?

As each year ends, as the drama of change completes its annual cycle, our human hearts feel more deeply connected to the collective theater of grief, grace, and gratitude than any other time of the year. Our sorrow meets our joy, our sacrifice dances with our passion. The Sun dances with the Moon.

A long, long time ago, our ancestors followed the cycles of the moon. Tribal cultures had no need for solar calendars. As civilization became more complex, the need for a solar calendar (His-story) developed. The lunar year was 354 days, the solar year 366 days. So, at year's end, the twelve days between were set to observe a bridge between the solar and lunar calendars. These 12 days belong to no calendar. It is the time of No Time.

Eventually, these 12 days became the 12 Days of Christmas, but long before the Church aligned the Christ story with the Ancient Ones, the days around the solstice were feast days honoring the gods of change. The Greek festival of Dionysus (Lord of the Dance!), the Roman festival of Saturnalia (Saturn = Father Time), both echoed through the Middle Ages in the European Feast of Fools, when the common folk could mock the rich and powerful, social hierarchy was reversed and the rules could be broken.

So much moves through us this time of year. I often have felt bound by the pressures of the holidays and stress of so much to do. This year feels different. This year, I will dance with the Sun and Moon.

Where & When
Spokane Yoga Shala
505 E 24th Ave
Spokane, Washington 99203
December 19, 2009
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 19th is Winter Solstice Dance Night

Come join us to dance a celebration of the winter solstice on Saturday night, December 19, at Spokane Yoga Shala. Doors open at 6:30 for warmup, and we will call the circle at 7:00.

In Roman times, the time of the solstice was marked by the feast days of Saturnalia. This was also known throughout pagan Europe as the Feast of Fools. Eventually, this became the Christian 12 days of Christmas, which began on December 25th and ended with Epiphany on January 6th. The traditions called for a time of revelry and role reversal. This theme emerged from an older, earth-based spirituality that drew upon a deep understanding of the rhythms and cycles of the planet in the northern hemisphere, as it revolved around the sun through the millenia.

More later...just mark your calendars now!

Friday, November 20, 2009

All the Hemispheres - Hafiz

I am reminded at this time of year that the solstice isn't the same at the equator, where days and nights dance in an equal balance. This poem gives me a feeling of the Great Circle we dance in our lives on this beautiful planet.

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.

Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
in your heart.
Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of you.

-- Hafiz
(The Subject Tonight is Love, versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gratitude Dance This Saturday Night at Yoga Shala

This month marks the 2nd anniversary of Ecstatic Dance in Spokane!! This month's Ecstatic Dance intention provides us an opportunity to celebrate our gratitude for the miraculous gift of our lives on this planet in this time of growth and transformation. So, come dance your Thank You! in a collective embrace of soul and body. Bring your Friend!

How can we express gratitude in our dance? We can let go of our cynicism, our attitudes of self-judgment and criticism. We can offer our dances of joy as a prayer for our tribe and the planet. We can dance with a recognition that we are all beautiful embodied beings, showing up in the fullness of our power, embracing grace as Movers of Light the to beat of our drums. We can express our hearts.

Ecstatic Dance is all about it!

Hope to see you on the dance floor!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gratitude Dance

"Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasion, when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become the victor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing and then, it is the eternal dance of creation. The creator and the creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing until there is only. . .the dance."

-Michael Jackson, 1992

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Continuum Montage Dives Into the Depths of Memory

I'm still synthesizing and integrating the incredible experience of moving in the Continuum field this past weekend. My body field, my kinesphere, feels larger, more spacious, more fluid, more attuned to myself and my connections. My gratitude for Susan Harper and the practitioners of this form continues to grow in me. One realization - there are no solutions, no answers, just the resonance of movement and consciousness, the ecstatic unfolding of body and breath.

In the practice of the "dive", bringing me to an "organismic" awareness of myself that connects to the "evolutionary dream" of Life on this planet, my humanity expands into a larger ME that touches the edges of my fear and my joy. I can't avoid myself. I feel totally supported by the field around me.

This work complements all of the other movement practices I've been doing. I am especially reminded of Authentic Movement, and I am exquisitely aware of my "mover" and "witness" dance.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I leave tomorrow for Seattle for my first participation in a Continuum Montage workshop with Susan Harper. I've heard a lot about Continuum, but as is always the case with new experience, I am aware that I have no idea what I'm in for with this body of work. But, check this bit of language out, from Susan's website page, "About Continuum Montage":
We open our sensuous capacity to feel sensation through grounded attentional practices. Sensations keep us in touch with the present – our organismic state, our needs, and where we are in our environment.
"Opening my sensuous capacity" sounds good. "Attentional practices" sounds good. This sounds like a movement practice that arises out of a conscious experience of embodied ecology - our "organismic state." I'm excited. The title of the workshop is "Dancing in the Well of Origin."

Nature Rituals and Masks

Inspired by these words of Malidoma Some in his book, The Healing Wisdom of Africa, I dedicated our October dance to the theme of change and transformation. What he says about rhythm and dance really affirms my experience of Ecstatic Dance and feels right. As we approach Samhain and the traditional Celtic New Year, I am re-dedicating myself to connecting with my true self, my true nature, and my true purpose.

Nature Rituals and Masks

In the West, when nature is neglected, people often wear masks in order to survive. The mask may be a professional role; it sometimes comes with a suit or a uniform and is a refuge, a place of anonymity. Those who don't wear a mask in this culture risk being hurt, and thus many are driven to find one. The problem is that as people hide behind these masks, they become defined by them and unable to tell the difference between what is natural and what is not. Sometimes they become so profoundly disconnected from their true self that they think that their mask is their true nature.

Nature rituals aimed at unmasking the true self need to begin by addressing the theme of change. The goal is to allow people to relax, which will allow people to let go of their masks and find out how it feels to be without a mask for a moment. Healing begins when the mask is released from the self, for people can't transform when they are hiding behind them. Talking is often inadequate for helping people to drop their masks, and some of the best ways to accomplish this kind of change are through nonverbal forms of ritual, such as dance, and activities that evoke strong emotions. This is what makes tribal communities rely so heavily on rhythm and dance. Rhythm is not entertainment. Rather, it is a tool to shake off the debris of ones unnatural masks. When one is not in rhythm, one becomes depressed. Likewise, depression, or being estranged from one's natural magic, shows in being out of rhythm.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

November 21 Dance Night - Mark Your Calendar and Spread the Word

Our next dance night is on the calendar at Yoga Shala for November 21st. Come and join us for a high-energy dance before Thanksgiving week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dance the Light Ecstatic at Yoga Shala September 19th

The floor springs to meet my feet. The giant mural image of Shiva Nataraj graces my dance. Join us as we celebrate the turning of the season at Spokane Yoga Shala on Saturday, September 19th for an evening of ecstatic dance. Doors will open at 6:00, warm up starts at 6:30, circle is called at 7:00.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coeur d Alene Ecstatic Dance Night on September 12th

Compared to her big sisters over on the West Side, Spokane is just beginning to explore and expand her opportunities for expressive and creative dance. In addition to Dance the Light Ecstatic, Spokane hosts regular Nia classes and events and now you can dance on the second Saturday of the month in Coeur d' Alene.

The next Coeur d' Alene Ecstatic Dance Night will be Saturday, September 12th. The location is the Harding Family Center, at 411 N 5th St in Coeur d Alene. Jill Mikael, Rick Giles and friends host the circle. Doors open at 6:30 and circle is called at 7:00. See you there!

Monday, August 24, 2009

One year ago today around midnight, I arrived at Black Rock City, Nevada after hours of stop and go in a rented Chevy minivan, and banged the gong as a virgin Burner, thus entering the alternate reality that is Burning Man. The week I lived on the Playa spun me into an initiatory experience of a collective creative consciousness that has (apparently!) changed my life. A major focus of my experience was Rhythm Wave, the ecstatic dance theme camp where I first experienced the 5Rhythms Wave. Led by Samantha Sweetwater , DJ Basin, Shawn Swanson, and others, I danced in the desert under a parachute canopy on the raised bamboo dance floor morning, afternoon and evening. I came home inspired, with the energy of the novitiate who first tastes the sweetness of Joy. Although I won't be there this year, a part of me will be, and my first Burning Man experience will hopefully not be my last.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dance Night this Saturday at Yoga Shala

"Where lowland is,
that's where water goes. All medicine wants is pain to cure.
And don't just ask for one mercy,
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton of consolations,
so you can hear the sphere-music." - Rumi

Let's dance! Saturday Night, August 22nd at Spokane Yoga Shala, 505 E 24th, Spokane, just east of Grand Blvd.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Special Ecstatic Dance Event - Liz Temple comes to Spokane!

Hello, Dancers!

Since my first experience of dancing ecstatically in community in Hawaii a few years ago, I have been exploring various aspects of "movement as spiritual practice."  As my experience continues to deepen, I've discovered  tremendous wisdom and teaching in Gabrielle Roth's  5Rhythms map for ecstatic dance.  With its beginnings over twenty years ago, Gabrielle's dynamic work now moves globally in an rapidly growing, interconnected community of practice.  I first encountered that community at Burning Man last year, and then again in Olympia this past New Year's at Waves Studio .  Inspired by the energy of their community, I committed to bringing a connection to our fledgling community here, and began a conversation with Liz Temple, the owner and home teacher at Waves.  On Sunday, May 3rd, Liz will be joining us at Harmony Yoga for a special Sunday morning Sweat Your Prayers dance, followed by an afternoon session for those who want to experience 5Rhythms and move deeper into the potential of the work.  Liz is an exceptional teacher and DJ, and so I invite you and your friends to what I believe will be a heart-opening, joyous experience.  

Please email me at ian.daddio@gmail.com or call (509.990.6434 or 509.747.2993), if you would like to register for the afternoon session, or would like further information.   You can do either session or both.  The cost for Sweat Your Prayers is $15 and for Deep Waves $45.  There will be a $10 discount for those participating in both the morning and afternoon dance sessions.

Sweat Your Prayers
Sunday 10:30am -1 pm This class is drop in $15
This uplifting Sunday morning dance is the perfect antidote for our overburdened lives. This is a time to come together in community and do the practice of the 5Rhythms Wave. In Sweat Your Prayers, you are free to follow your own dance as we move through the rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. After a warm-up dance we move through an uninterrupted wave of the 5Rhythms, freeing your body and opening your heart. Each person is free to dance alone or with others.
Deep Waves
Sunday 2:00pm - 5:00pm This class is $45, Registration requested
The 5Rhythms® are a dynamic map of the way energy moves. Just like light, sound, or ocean waves, a dancing body when moving freely passes through 5 distinct rhythmic patterns. We navigate this map by putting ourselves into motion, finding the shape of our bodies in each new moment, and releasing into our creative spirit. In this special day of in-depth discovery, we play with the elements of the map and discover new ways of being in motion.

Sweat Your Prayers & Deep Waves on May 3rd

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dance Your Prayers

Celebrate the Spring Equinox

Sunday, March 22, 2009

10:30 am - 1:00 pm

Harmony Yoga Studio

Spokane, WA

Monday, March 9, 2009

When Movement Was Our Language

Here's a teaser line from a wonderful novel I'm reading right now, Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier: 

"Given that we can live only a small part of what there is in us--what happens to the rest?" 

Dance and creative movement are a way to experience "the rest"  in us.   Our interior universe mirrors our exterior universe,  and through our movement, we weave ourselves deeper into the space of who we are.  Here I find myself, 55 years old, a divorced male with a 30+ year professional career in one of the most rigid and conservative of all businesses, falling in love with ecstatic dancing.  This dancing isn't ballroom, latin, line, contra, hip hop, tango, or any  type of structured dance technique.  This dancing is spiritual practice, therapy, art, a way of creative expression.

Mary Starks Whitehouse, who founded dance therapy, said this in 1956!:

"We no longer know it but there was a time when movement was our language.  It was long ago and we can't remember, but we were born into an alien world in which the first movement was breathing--that sharp inflation of the lungs that brings the first cry."
When I use the language of movement, I feel poetry  inside me, an "imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythm."  Dancing with that awareness is the experience of my breath.  At the core of my experience, growing with my practice , is my stillpoint.   Gabrielle Roth, the founder and developer of the 5Rhythms dance practice, has said that the quickest way to still the mind is to move the body.  It really works for me!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday Morning Dance Starts March 22nd - Next Month

Next month's dance, which normally would be March 21st (typically, the 3rd Saturday of the month), will mark the beginning of what we hope will be a regularly scheduled Sunday morning "Dance Your Prayers."  The tentative dates for the Sunday morning dance are:

March 22,  April 5,  May 3, June 7 (full moon).  

I'm thinking that Sunday morning dance will be a different experience that Saturday night, and will allow people another opportunity to dance, since Saturday nights can be full of other things to do.  

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters...

I've been listening to some podcasted Osho recordings, and really enjoying his clarity, incisiveness, and humor.  Then, while doing some web surfing, I found this unedited portion of an unpublished darshan diary transcript which keeps ringing my bell.  Osho talked about a new way to look at renunciation -"sannyas" means "laying it all down" - and to me, the following quote speaks specifically to the experience of ecstatic dance.
"I don't believe in renunciation, I believe in rejoicing.  Life should be a song, a dance, not sadness.  The so-called saints have been too heavy, sad, sombre, and they have created an atmosphere of sadness all over the world.  Churches have become cemeteries, they are no more celebrations.  Even if celebrations are arranged, they are done in such a way that they lose the very quality of celebration.  They become to formal.  They are no more fun, they are serious.  Holiness has become too identified with seriousness.  

My work is to destroy that identification totally.  Holiness should be wholeness, and wholeness is always a dancing state, a state where the dancer disappears into the dance... Dance your way to God.  Dance till the stars come down from the rafters.  Dance creates the fire in which all that is useless is burned, only the essential remains.  Dance creates the fire in which gold becomes purer and purer and purer, and ultimately only purity is left."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February Dance Night Invitation - Download Here

Here is a link to the February dance flyer.

In your light I learn how to love. - Google Docs

Newly Energized and Creatively Inspired

After a single posting back in the beginning, I'm going to get this party going again! Since starting Dance Night, we've been going strong with monthly dances, now being held at Harmony Yoga. Last August, I undertook the fire initiation that is Burning Man, and discovered 5Rhythms at the RhythmWave camp, an incredible experience of what a dance community can create. Over New Years, I traveled over the mountains to Olympia, WA and danced with Amara and Sara Pagano at Waves Studio, my first 5Rhythms workshop called "Patterns." Last week, I returned to Waves for another workshop with Kate Shela, a gifted teacher who weaves the shamanic journey with 5Rhythms. In the coming months, I hope to bring 5Rhythms to Spokane, WA. In addition to our once-monthly Dance Night, we will hold a Sunday morning "Dance Your Prayers."

Let's see how this experiment flows.

"Holiness should be wholeness, and wholeness is always a dancing state, a state where the dancer disappears into the dance...Dance your way to God. Dance till the stars come down from the rafters. Dance creates the fire in which all that is useless is burned, only the essential remains. Dance creates the fire in which gold becomes purer and purer and purer, and ultimately only purity is left." - Osho