Learning New Dances from Barbara Herring

After three sessions with Barbara Herring with some but few repeats, my mind was full and my body wanted to keep going. So I was so glad I could get together with Mairy to practice a couple of them. We were pretty pleased with ourselves that we could figure out and “get” five of them. I would have been pleased with two or three.

And in view of the fact that they’re not the easiest dances, we’re looking for a chance to share them with other groups. And if you were at the sessions and want to get together informally to try them out, just let me know.

These are the ones we’ve “got”… But we’ll have to check the steps and practice again before sharing in a group. Probably some will be included in our April 29th event, either in the afternoon as we practice teaching them to others and/or in the evening when Mairy’s weaving the program of more challenging dances for experienced dancers.

  • Gentle Arms of Eden
  • River of Dreams
  • Wonderland
  • Musta Musta
  • Laughing by the Well

I think two other dancers have each taken on one of the other dances

  • Joy/Anandamayi
  • Relojes de Campagna (the opening dance with 8 steps)

So our repertoire is expanding thanks to Barbara and other visiting teachers.

Coming up Rosie Turnbull from Findhorn will be with us this coming Thursday the 19th 11am-1pm.

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My New Year’s Resolution – Even More Dancing

Yes, for the third or is it fifth or tenth? year in the row, my New Year’s resolutions will include: more dancing!

Some of us look at women even older than ourselves- and are amazed at their energy. Asked how they do it, the answer is: keep dancing! (Marta and Sheila B come to mind!)

This fall, I started a new circle dance group that combines earth spirituality ritual with circle dance. We’ve had three sessions and it’s a lovely gathering. For February, we’re going to also do a workshop afterwards 2-4pm on tarot card divination. If successful, that might continue as it’s been a while since anyone was prepared to offer the full Paganism 101 course.

GLAD – another combo of gathering, labyrinth, art and dance, continues on third Thursday 11am -1 pm with myself, Mairy and Darlene leading dances. We even went ahead with Dec. 21 Winter Solstice (but moved it to my co-op in view of the predicted snow).

I usually attend the two regular monthly circle dances at the Unitarian Centre but usually get to just relax and dance, focusing my volunteer efforts on nurturing these two small groups (usually 6-10 people) where I feel more confident leading dances and get to exercise my creativity at weaving the program and including art and ritual.

And of course I continue to have ideas about special events focused on or including circle dance. I love a party!

So maybe I should get SMART (specific, measurable, achievable — or is that artistic? — realistic — or is that ritualistic? – and time-based. They say announcing goals helps to achieve them, so here we go:

  • to have at least 10 dances I could lead without any preparation (I may be almost there.)
  • to have 50 I am confident to lead with a small amount of prep (and a “confidence” card reminder)
  • To spread my enthusiasm and welcome newbies to circle dance by:
  • to post regularly (at least twice a month) to this blog
  • to post at least once a month to my mailchimp reminder email list
  • to get a really nice white night outfit that I adore wearing. Oh and white shoes and socks too!Image result for tattered wedding dress skirt
  • to engage more kids in circle dance (at least maypole dancing–maybe more)

Image result for tattered wedding dress skirt

Image result for bride dresses ragsI “commit” to these knowing that at any time I can go in and amend, and you’ll never know which were the original goals. :>)

Which of these images do you like the best?

Are you ready to make resolutions?

Image result for tattered wedding dress skirt

World Circle Day compilation video

Last July, circles all over the world recorded themselves dancing Namarie, one of the three dances suggested for dancing on July 17th. Now they’ve put together a video with a little clip of all the groups. My GLAD group who meet on the 3rd Thursday (11am – 1pm) at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver is at 4:19. As a friend said: we’re quite recognizable and look like we’re having a good time!

Please enjoy this wonderful work of art by Amanda! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K19JZF2ZQjs

Dance Palette

palette_layoutYou know what a palette is to a visual artist, right? Well this is what a palette for a circle dance session can look like. All the possibilities are there on the palette (flip chart paper) and the dance facilitator (or “weaver”) picks the ones that work as the session goes on.

Some will be ones the facilitator might teach; some are ones participants have offered to teach and some are requests from participants that they’d like someone else to teach.

Dance Palette BEFORE

The Cobourg group uses a “dance palette” approach–all possible dances are put on a flip chart – way more than could possibly be danced!

Dance Palette AFTER

Then the ones that are danced are underlined and voted on. Someone stands near the flip chart at the break and end so that people less familiar with the dances can say, “I loved the one where we walked backwards” (or whatever) and they can learn what the name is. I’d love to try this at one of our circles. Maybe when Brigitte is here in Vancouver.

Recently I tried this when I was responsible for the first hour at one of our collaborative Tuesday night sessions. I had a playlist already to go, in the order I thought I’d do if we were mainly regulars. Then I had some extras at the bottom in case for whatever reason I felt some of those dances wouldn’t work. I lined up a helper to start the music so I could be free to pay attention to the group. As it happens we had three people brand new to circle dancing, and I changed things quite a lot to start with very simple dances so people could gain confidence as we went along and dropped some of the more difficult ones. I felt sure I’d like this approach, as it fits with my experience as a facilitator in other settings.

Some dances are “left on the palette” for another time. In other words they weren’t “used” this time around but might be in future.

In some circles at the break and end of the session, participants are invited to vote on which dances they’d like to do again and those “winners” are repeated in the following session.

Brigitte Evering

Brigitte Evering is coming to Vancouver in September.

Here’s the plan for Friday September 15 at the Unitarian Centre.

Afternoon for circle dance facilitators or experienced dancers considering facilitation.

Evening – open to all

I’m looking forward to learning from her experience and passion for dance. Stay tuned for more opportunities.

Here’s more about Brigitte:

Brigitte has been sharing her love of circle dance since 1996. She and her partner Geoffrey co-facilitate a circle in Cobourg, dance in Ontario and the US, as well as being familiar faces at Great Lakes Dance Camp. Brigitte’s clear and skillful teaching allows dancers to access a wide range of traditional and choreographed dances. She has danced across North America as well as in the UK and Australia gathering dances like friends, to share with her communities. Her joyful fire invites dancers to warm themselves with dances from the simple and sweet, to faster and fancy. Come…join in the dance… let’s affirm life together!

Dance Palette BEFORE

The Cobourg group uses a “dance palette” approach–all possible dances are put on a flip chart – way more than could possibly be danced!

Dance Palette AFTER

Then the ones that are danced are underlined and voted on. Someone stands near the flip chart at the break and end so that people less familiar with the dances can say, “I loved the one where we walked backwards” (or whatever) and they can learn what the name is. I’d love to try this at one of our circles. Maybe when Brigitte is here in Vancouver.


Here’s Brigitte’s blog about her Ph.D. work at Trent University.

https://brigitteevering.wordpress.com/

Book by June Watts – Circle Dancing Mentor — available from vpl.ca

Circle Dancing

Circle Dancing

Celebrating the Sacred in Dance

Book – 2006

I just noticed that this book is available through the Vancouver Public Library. There’s one copy at the Central Branch. Here’s the call number: 793.31 W35c

It would be interesting to know what books are on either side of it. Let me know if you discover it.

I danced with June several years ago on Vancouver Island on a weekend dance retreat. The roosters got in the way of my sleep so I didn’t do it again, but admire June a lot and know many who attend her workshops whenever she’s in BC, which she tends to do once a year.

Here’s the link and description from VPL.

https://vpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1486096038_circle_dancing

June Watts is a leading figure in The Sacred Circle Dance movement. Here she describes every aspect of this growing movement, the people, the places, the dances, the music. All over the world people are awakening to the Sacred Power of dance. This is the first book to explore the link between the modern Sacred Dance movement and its historic heritage going back to the stone age.

 

 

Mary Bennett loves combining art, labyrinth walking and dance

I am a Unitarian and a circle dance enthusiast. I don’t usually teach dances but did lead a workshop at a national conference and with help, created a repertoire entirely from the Unitarian hymnbook, Singing the Living Tradition.

I was the Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council from 2000 to 2008 and most of those years I made sure there was circle dancing at our annual conference.

For a year or so in 2008-2009, I helped create a monthly circle dance worship service that included poetry and stories along with dancing.

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