Come Alive: a dance retreat for our personal and collective renewal

Saturday, March 21, 2020, 9:30 – 4:30
Online! A combination of video meetings, and solo time journaling and being in nature.

Join in the ancient tradition of dancing to help the world come alive in spring. If you have been feeling run dry, this is a chance to activate your love and aliveness. Collective joy is one of our most ancient and powerful sources of healing and transformation.

Persephone, the Greek goddess of spring, will be our inspiration. As children many of us learn the Greek myth about how Persephone, daughter of Demeter, spends part of every year in the underworld. When her daughter is gone Demeter is in mourning, plants die, and we experience winter. When Persephone returns there is rejoicing and spring arrives. This myth is much more than a quaint explanation of the seasons: it is a rich story about how we find meaning and hope in the context of loss and limitation. The initiations into the cult of Demeter through the Eleusinian Mysteries were the most widely practiced secret rites in ancient Greece. Laura Shannon’s research reveals how some of these ancient customs survive in some of the women’s ritual dances in Greece today.

The story of Demeter and Persephone can empower us to find our part in healing ourselves and our world.

  • Persephone invites us to connect with our intuition and tap into the mystery of renewal.
  • Demeter helps us transform how we relate to loss and limitation.
  • Dionysus (son of Persephone and Hades by some accounts) brings us joy, connection, and dance.

This myth can help us navigate not just the barrenness of winter but also our present ecological crisis. How would Demeter respond to environmental destruction? How might Persephone inspire us through her journey from adolescent to a goddess who can travel between worlds? How might the collective joy of dance brought to us by Dionysus help us respond to our chaotic world with creativity and innovation?

The collective joy of dance was integral to the celebration of the mysteries in ancient Greece. We too will dance in order to awaken our whole-body understanding of these mysteries.

flute, drum, and guitar

We will be fortunate to have acclaimed guitarist and bouzoukist Greg Herriges accompany our dancing. The vibrancy of live music inspires us to respond with equal presence and vitality.

All genders welcome. While this workshop focuses on women’s dance traditions we understand that the feminine is expressed through a spectrum of genders. All abilities welcome. These dances are physically restorative and meant to include everyone. Not infrequently someone present has an injury or serious illness that requires them to watch the dancing for all or part of the time and the experience is still very meaningful for both dancers and witness. If you have any concerns about accessibility please reach out to Emily.

Delving into the story of Demeter and Persephone at the Spring Dance Retreat.

The flow of the day:We will begin the day dancing. We will be focusing on a small set of simple traditional women’s ritual dances. No previous dance experience is required. Before lunch we will also delve into the myth of Demeter and Persephone. After our meal time, if weather allows, we will walk to the outdoor classroom on the grounds of the retreat center as part of re-enacting Persephone’s journey. (Please be prepared for being outside. Driving rather than walking is an option if needed). We will enter more deeply into the myth by repeating the dances from the morning. We will conclude with time for reflection and sharing.

We will be meeting in the beautiful building and natural area surrounding Camp Sacajawea Retreat Center. The camp is located in Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 30 Minutes South of Minneapolis at 5121 McAndrews Road, Apple Valley.

Cost:            
$60 by March 2
$70 after March 2
$40 reduced rate for those with limited financial resources

The fine print: no refunds after March 13, 2020.

Lunch will be a potluck salad. Please bring a salad topping or side such as seeds, veggies, fruit, seeds, cheese, or crackers. Greens, dressing, chicken, beans and chips will be provided.

Registration: Send money through PayPal “send money to a friend” to info@wisdomdances.com. To pay by check download and send in the registration form.

Two quotes (and articles) that have inspired taking a day for dancing:

“… Long-term sustainable social change must fundamentally come from work done at the energetic layer of the body. Dreaming. Dancing. Playing. Making art. Resting. Sharing touch. Gathering to remember. Sitting with our inner demons. Grieving loss. Performing ritual.”

 From “How social change actually happens: through the body” by Tada Hozumi

“[The] regular outpouring of collective joy in the form of dance was seen as meaningful work, just as necessary to the life of the community as food for the table and water for the fields.”

From “Rest and Renewal: Gifts of Women’s Ritual Dance” by Laura Shannon

What a past participant says:

“I came to class so tired and down. I am amazed that I now find myself genuinely joyful and energized. I am a believer!”

Sue