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Dances of Universal Peace & Kirtan In-person with Gayan Gregory Long & John Sausedo
February 12, 2023, @ 7:00 pm - February 13, 2023, @ 9:30 pm HST
Dance for Universal Peace
Sunday, February 12, 2023
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Monday, February 13, 2023
Each event is by donation: sliding scale from $15 to $25
Max attendance 60
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.
Kirtan is a fully participatory musical experience, engaging body, voice, heart and soul. Kirtan is rooted in traditional Sanskrit chants and mantras sung to original melodies in light classical Indian ragas.
Gayan Gregory Long
Gayan Gregory Long is an internationally acclaimed drummer, composer, Kirtan leader, story teller, and spiritual mentor. He has been leading, singing, and drumming for Kirtans for seventeen years. He has also drummed with touring Kirtan artists Girish, David Newman, Donna De Lory, Shiva Rae, Dave Stringer, Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band, Saul David Raye, Johanna Beekman, and Govind Das & Radha. Gayan has performed and led retreats worldwide: from India to Russia, Thailand to South America, and throughout the United States. His work in Russia inspired the creation of the annual “Drums for Peace” festival, which attracts thousands annually. He has appeared on sixty-five recording projects, has released two albums of his own (“Padma Thunder” and “When Two or More are Gathered”), and has collaborated and recorded with international electronic musicians Emancipator and Desert Dwellers. His upcoming book “Thunderbolts: Flashes of Insight from the Road Home” is scheduled for release in 2023. Gayan is dedicating his life to awakening human potential through music, community celebration, writing, and soul friending. He enjoys living in Moab, UT; Lyons, CO; Maui, Hawaii; and New Zealand.
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