Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘dance’

Let’s Dance

Let’s Dance: Transforming our lives through meditation.
by Lawrence Levy
Tricycle

At a group meditation I led recently, I was discussing the importance of properly preparing for meditation by paying attention to the elements of time, place, and posture. Segyu Rinpoche, Juniper’s founding teacher, was present. At one moment, with a playful look on his face, Rinpoche asked me a question. He wanted to know what I had meant when I mentioned the possibility of placing a flower or a candle in one’s meditation space.

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I understood what he was asking. I was reluctant to share details about my meditation practice, and I knew that Rinpoche believed it was important for me to break that resistance. As he smiled in the background, I took a leap. I described the care I put into my own meditation space—the way I look for just the right flower in my garden, or the perfect orchid at the local market, the attention I pay to making sure the area is clean, and the feeling I experience when I light a candle and imagine it radiating to my family, friends, and others.

I had confessed to my ritual. Later, at the end of the meditation, I said to the group: “You see how Rinpoche was playing with me earlier. It’s like a dance. He prompted, I followed. That’s the dance of meditation, the dance of moving ourselves inwardly.”

Dancing is a beautiful metaphor for the richness of meditation. More than an exercise to focus the mind, it is a transformational journey inward, a means to know ourselves and refine our way of being. It is an art, full of rhythm and beauty, crescendo and quiet. It can be moving, light and joyous. Like removing kinks from a hose, it propels us to overcome our resistances so the best in us can flow.

Sometimes the step onto this dance floor seems like a large one. We don’t want to learn the moves; we’d rather have something quick. We don’t want a relationship with a dance partner; we’d prefer to go it alone. We don’t want to look inside; we want to stay as we are, only freer, happier, and wiser. But freedom, happiness, and wisdom may not arise from merely staying as we are.

The genius of the Buddha—the Indian prince Siddhartha—and many who followed him was the realization that the mind is not static. It is living, breathing, evolving. Because it is the medium through which we experience our lives, there are immeasurable benefits from refining it, sharpening it, and discovering its potential. Therefore, sometimes we have to push ourselves; we have to learn some steps that might at first feel awkward but soon become second nature.

To do this dance takes two sides. On the one is our own effort to grow and refine our way of being and experience. On the other is a partner—a teacher or guide to show us the steps and keep us moving. This requires teachers who know how to transmit wisdom not as ancient knowledge but as living tradition. It calls for a community of individuals, born out of local culture and united by the idea that the inner journey—the dance through which we learn to live fully and freely—is a deep and beautiful way to engage life.

At stake here is not just our own well-being. We live in a time when our narratives are increasingly about what is broken in our world: how the institutions charged with running it are brokers of self-interest and power; how modern governments work for corporations and the wealthy; how media is in an ever-increasing arms race for control of our preferences.

Look for the root of these problems and we end up at the mind—its greed, fear, and craving. If the mind is the root of the problem, then solving the problem—crafting a humanity in which our leaders are stewards of a peaceful, noble, and just world; in which individuals give full expression to their talents and creativity; and in which each person feels relevant and important to the whole—will only come from a change in mind. For this, we have to do the dance that will move us inwardly.

These ideas are not new. A long time ago the Buddha realized the immeasurable benefits to be gained from refining the mind. He also implored his followers not to turn his teachings into dogma but to have the courage to examine the reality we are in right now and to become the best we can be in it.

Read entire article and more at TRICYCLE.

Twist & Shout

Twist and Shout
by Gabriel Constans

The Twist was a popular dance, and a song by Chubby Checker, that swept the nation in the early 1960s. You put one foot in front of the other and twist your body from side to side, lifting one foot at a time for emphasis and bending your knees up and down. When you’re finished doing The Twist, try this smoothie – it’ll give you something to shout about.

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Yield: 4 cups

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 cups almond milk
2 dates, chopped
2 bananas
6 teaspoons carob powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and mix on medium speed for 45 seconds.

Pour into a container of your choice and twist it up on the dance floor.

Strawberry Strut

Strawberry Strut
by Gabriel Constans

Clasp this drink in your hand and truck on down to your favorite hot spot to “strut your stuff.” With the added oxygen your body receives from the strawberries, you’ll have all the extra energy you need.

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Yield: 4 cups

2 cups almond milk
20 fresh, ripe strawberries
1 small European or Japanese plum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons honey

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Pour into tall, short, large or small cups and feel the rhythm.

Tango with the Mango

Tango with the Mango
by Gabriel Constans

It is believed the tango is a dance that originally derived from the milonga of Argentina and the habanera of Cuba and the West Indies. It became popular in the United States and Europe around World War 1. The tango is a flowing, elegant combination of movements accompanied by romantic, lively music with a throbbing beat.

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There are hundreds of varieties of the delicious mango, including red, green, yellow, and orange. Mangoes are reported to help rid the body of unwanted odors, and to reduce fevers. They are high in vitamin A, and are said to delay some effects of aging if they are eaten frequently.

Yield: 5 cups

1 ripe mango, peeledand seeded
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 tangerine, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1 banana
1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and sliced
2 cups filtered water

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on medium speed for 45 seconds.

Pour, serve in tall glasses, wrap your arms around your partner and drink, as you dance the sultry tango.

Cantaloupe Waltz

Cantaloupe Waltz
by Gabriel Constans

The waltz is a gliding, turning dance that overcame hostile opposition to dominate social dancing from 1750 to 1900. It involves six even steps and full turns as slowly or swiftly as the music will take you. Famous early proponents were Johann Strause and Josef Lanner.

Cantaloupes are said to alleviate some allergies, reduce bladder infections, relieve bursitis, and prevent memory loss.

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Yield: 5 cups

1/2 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1/2 honeydew, peeled, seeded, and sliced
2 cups filtered ice water
1 1/2 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried mint
8 ice cubes
3 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
10 fresh strawberries

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on medium speed for 1 minute.
Pour into champagne glasses and glide.

Charleston Cherry

Charleston Cherry
by Gabriel Constans

The Charleston was the ballroom sensation of the 1920s. Named for Charleston, South Carolina, it is believed to have evolved from African-Americans dance steps then common, called the Jay-Bird and the Juba. It began simply as a rhythmic twisting of the feet, but when it reached Harlem it took on a fast, flapping kick. In 1923, a revue called Runnin’ Wild was presented in New York City by Cecil Mack and James P. Johnson. It featured the Charleston and ignited the public’s demand for this dance throughout the land. You’ll enjoy this cool Southern thirst-quencher any time of the year.

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Yield: 4 1/2 cups

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 frozen banana (slices)
20 pitted cherries
1 ripe banana
2 cups filtered water

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
Pour into tall glasses and try to drink while dancing.

Dancing For Joy

Here’s some joyous dance videos from the children at the Rwandan Orphan’s Project (ROP Center for Street Children). Enjoy the good vibes and times. If you can donate or lend a hand, please do.

ROP Dance Video 1

ROP Dance Video 2

The ROP is an orphanage and a center for street children located just outside of Kigali, Rwanda. We provide housing, clothing, food, health care, education and many other needs to nearly 100 vulnerable children from around Rwanda. We are able to provide these needs solely through the donations of individuals like you. The ROP has no corporate or foundational support and relies on the charity of ordinary citizens to achieve our goal of providing a safe place for children, free from desperation and the dangers of life on the streets.

At the ROP we believe that education is our children’s best hope of escaping the strong grip of poverty. Because of this all of our children are either enrolled in our in-house catch-up school or go to secondary or vocational schools around Rwanda. We feel all children, regardless of the hardships they may have endured in the past, deserve a chance to make something of themselves.

So You Think You Can Dance?

It doesn’t really matter who wins, it’s the process and amazing choreography, dancers and dancing that occurs throughout the show So You Think You Can Dance? It’s on in the summer, every Wednesday and Thursday evening.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the show has all kinds of dancing (hip-hop, ballet, modern, jazz, tango, quick-step, breaking, folk, Bollywood, waltz, contemporary, etc. etc.) and incredible guest dancers (and dance troupes). It’s been nominated for 8 Emmy awards and deserves more.

Last night there were 3 over the top performances which took your breath away and the last of the evening topping it off with Melanie and Sasha dancing a strong, graceful powerful piece choreographed by Sonya. It was mistressful!

If you like to dance or watch dance (of any persuasion) you may want to take a peek at So You Think You Can Dance. No need to get caught up in the competition part of the show, just enjoy the dance.

Day of African Child

From Amakuru: News from the Rwandan Orphans Project.

ROP Hosts “International Day of the African Child” Event for Rwandan Government

The ROP was surprised but pleased to be chosen to host the celebration ceremony for the International Day of the African Child on June 19th, 2011. There are many centers for vulnerable children in our district, so to be chosen over all of them meant they see ROP as a top program.,That is something we are very proud of. Our joy was only tempered by the fact that we only had a week to prepare.
But as always the ROP family came together and worked extremely hard painting rooms, cleaning the grounds, landscaping and doing whatever else needed to be done so the ROP Center would look its best for the guests and officials from the government who were due to attend.

The big day arrived and the Center was in top shape. The children of the ROP dressed up in their nicest clothes, all except the football and rugby club players, who wanted to show off their team uniforms.

During the ceremony various guests spoke about the strife of orphans and vulnerable children in Rwanda and how well programs like the ROP were working to improve their lives and provide them with a future. Celestin Mitabu, the ROP Center director, pleaded for the government to get more involved in the work of organizations like ours. Sean Jones, ROP coordinator presented certificates of achievement to three of the six students that graduated the ROP program last year who received full university scholarships from the Rwandan government. The children were also treated to songs and dances performed by their fellow residents and children from other centers as well as each receiving a Fanta as a treat from the Mayor.

Fiddler On the Roof

Harbor High School’s Fiddler On the Roof is one of the best high school productions I’ve seen in years. The casting and direction are top notch. The acting, singing and dancing superb. And the costumes, sets and musicians provide the perfect accompaniment and atmosphere.

We watched the film version of Fiddler the day before it opened at Harbor and were quite impressed with how close to the movie the students presented. The dance numbers were quite amazing and each actor seemed perfectly matched and suited for their part. The roles could have been custom made for David Warner, who plays Tevye and Jade Gregg, who is Golde.

A lot of the issues in the play are also very relevant for these times. Many people around the world are still persecuted because of their beliefs, religion and/or culture and more than half of the world’s marriages are arranged.

Fiddler On the Roof plays for 2 more weekends (Friday & Saturdays at 7:30) at Harbor High School. If you get a chance, go see it. You will be hard pressed to find a better production anywhere.

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