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Dances of Universal Peace In-person with Valerie Noor Kerima Payton & John Sausedo
November 14, 2022, @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm HST
Monday, November 14, 2022
By donation: sliding scale from $15 to $25
Max attendance 25
Dances of Universal Peace are a transformative spiritual practice, involving an embodied sense of unity, presence and compassion and 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. No special attire is required and dancers need not bring a partner. 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, attention is given to ensure 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.
The Dances were originally brought to the Islands by Sufi teacher Yakzan Valdez, a celebrated master of the Dances and long-time resident of Hawaii who established Sufi communities in Hawaii, Chile, and Spain. Valerie Noor Kerima Payton & John Sausedo have been leading these Dances for Peace on Oahu since the 1990’s, with Bob Burdon (guitar) and Peter Martin (drum) providing musical accompaniment.
Valerie Noor Kerima Payton, MA, LCSW
Valerie nor Kerima Payton strives to help us remember who we truly are as human beings through the poetry and teachings of Rumi and the practices of the Mevlevi tradition. She began working with a Fourth Way group in Massachusetts, in the Gurdjieff/Bennett tradition, at the age of 17 and then studied with Pierre Elliot, Jelaleddin Loras and Suleyman Hayati Dede at Claymont, a school in the Fourth Way tradition, from 1979-1980. She moved to Hawaii with Karim, where they co-led the Honolulu Mevlevi community under Jelaleddin’s direction, leading Dances of Universal Peace, aka “Sufi Dancing” in Honolulu and Kailua for over forty years. As a Postneshin in the Mevlevi Order of America, she is authorized to preside over the Sema ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes. Valerie is a retired hospice social worker and currently resides in Bolton Connecticut to establish a Sufi center there.
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