Dance as a path of awakening
The alchemy of dance
Shakti Temple Dance is an alchemical embodiment formula of exploring the art and offering of dance as a means of attaining wholeness. In ancient dance traditions, dance was used as a means of communing with the Beloved; the formless spirit that exists within the vessel of form that is the body. In Shakti Temple Dance we work with archetypal and elemental energies within ancient and modern dance forms in order to commune with the Beloved within and without, and to offer the beauty of our art in devotion to the Divine as a moving prayer.
A true artist is able to access an energy greater than the self that exists in the realm of essence rather than ego. As a container for this essence, the dancer transmits the pure fragrance of beauty and emotion to the audience that all may be transported into a higher realm of being and consciousness.
In Shakti Temple Dance, we empty that we may be filled, we offer that we may be received, and we dance that we may become one with the rhythm of the cosmos...
Odissi Temple Dance:
The Dance of the Devadasi
Put color on my cheeks! Lay a girdle on my hips!
Twine my heavy braid with flowers! Fix rows of bangles on my hands
And jeweled anklets on my feet!
~Radha to Krishna in the Gita Govinda
About Odissi Classical Indian Temple Dance
Odissi Classical Indian Temple Dance is one of the most ancient dance forms known in the world going back nearly 2,000 years. It has only recently been codified into a classical dance form over the last century. Originally Odissi dance was only performed in the Jugannath and Krishna temples of Orissa, India. It was danced by an auspicious group of women known as Devadasis, which literally translates to 'servants of God'. These women were considered auspicious because at a young age they were dedicated to the temple where they became the wives of Lord Jugannath, and could never be widowed as a result. They performed dance and song solely for their God, except on auspicious holy days when the Deity would be marched out of the temple and through the streets, where they would follow him into the public's eye. Through multiple invasions and occupancies this sacred dance form was nearly lost. We owe it to three primary choreographers; Sri Kelu Charan Mohapatra, Sri Pankaj Charan Das, and Sri Debaprasad Das to have formed the three main lineages of Odissi dance by codifying it into a classical dance form. Through their observation of postural temple carvings, studies of the last living Devadasis, and choreographing of hundreds of dances in their time, Odissi dance is now a burgeoning art form that is blossoming on stages across the world.
Odissi is a dance of grace, beauty, power and most importantly, devotion. It is yogic in origin, with it's postures and mudras opening the bodies energetic pathways; and subtle movements activating the primary energy centers, or chakras. Odissi is an exquisitely postural dance form, which harmonizes masculine and feminine energies in the body through the strong footwork softened by flowing torso, wrist and eye movements. It is a dance of expression, where the dancer literally embodies different deities and archetypal energies through Bhava, or emotion. Odissi, in it's highest expression, is a Bhakti (devotional) yoga with the goal to lead us into the light of Moksha (liberation) through our seamless merging with the Divine.
Temple Fusion Belly Dance:
The dance of shakti
You are an altar to the flame of life. Throw yourself in to the throbbing intensity.
Become this dance, Absorbed in radiant splendor.
~ The Radiance Sutras
About Temple Fusion Belly Dance
Temple Fusion Belly Dance is the art of merging the serpentine, sensual, and earthy embodiment of Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, with the devotional intention, beauty, and technical influence of Classical Indian Temple Dance. It is a respectful fusion, rooted deep in the spirit of devotion, understanding, and honoring of the ancient lineages woven. It is a moving ritual of feminine beauty and radiance through the union of body, heart, mind and spirit through dance, ritual, discipline and offering.
Belly Dance originated in the Middle East as an empowered way for women to connect with one another, and express their fertility, sensuality, and the serpentine energy that exists within us all. It was a dance based in the womb and belly to aid in birthing, and bring blood flow and vitality into the power and potency of the reproductive organs, while simultaneously allowing the feminine spirit to express in it's fullness and unbridled beauty, witnessed in the safety of sisterhood. Modern day Tribal Fusion Belly Dance is a fusion of the different Middle Eastern lineages such as Egyptian, Turkish, Afghani, Persian, Moroccan, and Arabic.
Simultaneously in India, women known as Devadasi's, or servants of God, were dancing their own womb sourced dances in the Temples of their Gods; Jugannatha, Krishna, and Shiva. There is evidence that before the codification of these sacred Temple dances, these dances had little structure, and the dancer would enter into a trance state of devotion to her beloved Deity through her dance, which symbolized her flirtation and intimate union with her God, to whom she was married at a young age. The current Temple dance forms that we witness and study today are resurrected from these ancient dances of feminine beauty, offering, and entrancement. They are now codified into exquisite classical dance forms with intricate structure, technique and choreography.
In mindfully fusing these ancient lineages of feminine beauty, grace, power, and sensuality, we deeply honor the roots of these sacred dances through understanding and humility. We offer the merit of these practices to the awakening of beauty, truth, consciousness and the preciousness of this sacred life for all sentient beings in this world and beyond.