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Dances of Universal Peace. In-person with John Sausedo
October 21, 2023, @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm HST
Saturday, October 21, 2023
7:00 – 9:00 pm
By donation: sliding scale from $15 to $25
Max attendance 25
Join three decades of dance tradition on O’ahu!
– Dance to LIVE music with acclaimed musicians
– No experience necessary
– Receive simple instruction for each of the approximately 8 dances
– Dance mostly in a circle and sometimes as partners
– A lot like folk dancing, move to words and mantras of traditions as diverse as Sufi, Christian, Buddhist, Native American, Jewish, Hindu and more…
Dances of Universal Peace are a transformative spiritual practice. The Dances foster an embodied sense of unity, presence and compassion, touching the spiritual essence within ourselves. Offered in an atmosphere of safety, authenticity and mindfulness, the Dances evoke a unified experience of movement, sound, breath, and sacred praise.
The crowning life achievement of Sufi teacher and Zen master Samuel L. Lewis, these Dances set scriptures and sacred phrases from the world’s spiritual traditions to music and movement. Murshid Sam, as he was known to his Sufi students in the 1960’s, brought forward the Dances, and other esoteric practices to awaken the hearts and minds of his Sufi students and create an ecstatic experience of unity. They remain an integral practice of many who seek to hold to their true nature and rest in the Unity of all.
No musical or dance experience of any kind is required, and everyone is welcome to join in. Participation, as opposed to presentation, is the focus. Dancers need not bring a partner or wear any special attire.
Dancers join hands, forming a circle, with the Dance leaders and musicians in the center. A leader teaches the sacred phrase, melody, and movements for each Dance and perhaps some context for that particular Dance. The teaching is always brought from a compassionate heart in a comfortable, quiet, and often sacred setting.
When Dance lyrics include sacred phrases in native languages, the leader ensures that all have ample opportunity to pronounce the unfamiliar words comfortably and correctly. Most Dances are only four lines long and repeated many times, so learning is usually quick and easy — within ten minutes dancers are moving, singing, and sharing together.
Sufi teacher Yakzan Valdez originally brought the Danaces to the Islands. A celebrated master of the Dances and long-time resident of Hawaii, Yakzan Valdez established Sufi communities in Hawaii, Chile, and Spain. Valerie Noor Kerima Payton and John Sausedo have since been leading these Dances for Peace on Oahu since the 1990’s, with Bob Burdon (guitar) and Peter Martin (drum) providing musical accompaniment.
John Sausedo became involved with Sufi dance in the late 70’s by the Sufi leaders at Sufi Ruhaniat International In the Bay Area. He was instantly drawn to how the dance opened his heart. He could also see how uplifted others became in response to participating. The dance seemed to allow a deep dive into something larger than ourselves. He continued attending dances and supporting the group over the decades to follow. Since the 1990’s in Hawai’i, John leads Dance of Universal Peace for people of all ages, all experiences, and all walks of life.
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