‘The blessed ones wend their way with song and dance through the holy circle of the Goddess...’
– Aristophanes (Ranae 445-446) 4th C BCE
In classical Greece, round dances were a central part of rites at Delphi, Knossos, Eleusis and elsewhere, bringing cosmic order – symbolised by the circle – into the human world. Plato (Laws 672e) tells us that choral dance was an essential part of education. The circle dances of Greece and the Balkans are living descendants of these traditions, transmitting information encoded in patterns and symbols which have survived since antiquity.
This day-long workshop will explore traditional circle dances from Greece and the Balkans, whose roots go back thousands of years. Simple steps reflect patterns of nature and the cycles of life, motifs repeated in the textiles connected with the dance. Steps, songs, and symbols mirror the beauty, harmony and order of the cosmos, emphasise right-brain consciousness, and invoke the Good as a blessing for the community.
Laura’s approach to these traditional dances and textiles aims to illuminate their function as an ancient mystery school, transmitting wisdom still relevant for us today. The day will include historical, theoretical and experiential components, a viewing of museum-quality antique Balkan textiles, and a short presentation of Laura's creative project proposal at CCCU. Live music for our dancing will be provided by master musician Kostantis Kourmadias from Greece.
Everyone is welcome and no previous experience is required. Please bring a packed lunch.
Laura Shannon has researched and taught traditional circle dances for over thirty years, and is considered to be one of the ‘grandmothers’ of the worldwide Sacred / Circle Dance movement. Through extensive field research in numerous Balkan villages and wide teaching experience, Laura has pioneered a new understanding of traditional dances, particularly women’s dances, as active and potent spiritual tools for inner development. Originally trained in Intercultural Studies and Dance Movement Therapy, Laura is currently pursuing the M.A. in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred at CCCU. She gives workshops, trainings and performances in more than twenty countries, and is founding director of the Athena Institute for Women’s Dance and Culture. In between her travels, Laura resides in Canterbury, Findhorn and Greece.