Here are the details of those we know about so far. We will post more details as soon as we have them.
Watch this space!
I met the Dances in 1997, dancing and playing music for the Dances until eventually I began to lead in around 2005. I was initiated into the Sufi Ruhaniat in 2006, and since then have studied with and received inspiration from my Guides and Teachers, including Muiz, Tansen, Saadi and Pir Shabda. My background and previous training was in classical music, and in various forms of spiritual healing. It was such a revelation to discover that in the Dances I could bring these strands together, weaving them with my experience as a music teacher, and my love of language, into a rich and endlessly satisfying prayer rug. I am passionate about empowering people, including young people, to be more fully themselves, and to realise their potential as dancers, musicians and dance leaders.
In service to this, I am a Mentor for the Dances, and am privileged to work with trainee dance leaders in five countries. I am also excited to be part of the team holding the Youth Dance Camps in the UK.
I have been to every PTA/SAC camp since 1998, and love this chance to live lightly on the earth in a community of open hearts, eating, dancing and praying together.
I typed, as Murshid Sam Lewis dictated, the original dance manual, a compilation of Sufi Dances, so-called before the creation of Dances of Universal Peace. I was also Murshid Sam’s chauffeur and traveling companion. I spearheaded the expansion of the dances after the death of Murshid Sam by giving Sufi workshops throughout the U.S. and Canadauntil 1980 when I retired from giving to others what I had received. In 2006 I published a book, Murshid: A personal memoir of life with American Sufi Samuel L. Lewis. Other books followed.
Fast forward to 2018. Saadi brought me out of retirement, by suggesting to Jilani that I might share some of Murshid’s legacy dances and transmission through stories by showing up and hanging out at camp. I am looking forward to it.
I met the Dances in 2007 and it was an incredibly happy Discovery. Being a musician by profession and a peacemaker in my soul, I found something that appeared to be the embodiment of joy and meaning for me, the best of ideals merged in the Dances of Universal Peace. And what a blessing it was (and it is!) to become a part of this wonderful Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty - as a dancer, as a musician and as a leader!
All these years I have been running a regular DUP group in Moscow (Russia), supporting different festivals where this practice is represented - in Russia and abroad (Ukraina, Latvia, Czech Republic, England, France, USA) and I conduct different trainings and workshops as well.
Part of my dedication to the DUP is to work with trainee dance leaders as a mentor-in-training. I’m glad to see that the Dances illuminate the lives of so many people and bring them the Light and understanding of the unified nature of Being! I am immensely grateful to all my teachers and mentors, as well as to all the dancers - to be on this path with you is a joy and blessing!
Kate originally found the Dances in Brazil in 1995, then in Australia, and was delighted to also find them in the UK on returning from travels! She has been leading the Dances for many years in a generally pretty reluctant fashion, and also plays drums and the clarinet for Dance circles. She is very keen to support and explore the joys and discomfort that leading or playing music for the Dances can bring.
I have been going to camps and been involved in the dances since I was five years old. Growing up in the dance community, I have felt part of an extended family and have had the opportunity to travel abroad to camps in Germany and France; I love the connections that I have been able to make with people around the world.
Often I support the dances as a musician; I play many instruments, including the violin, recorders, guitar and ukulele and I love singing, particularly songs in different languages. Encouraging and supporting other young people to lead and play music for the dances is very important to me. My teachers, Jilani and Glen, have both been very inspirational on my path as a dance leader and I am a member of the Sufi Ruhaniat.
I’m very excited to be on the dance leader team at Sacred Arts for the first time and look forward to creating wonderful memories with everybody.
Glen is from England and his spiritual background is in Sufism and Advaita Vedanta. The dances are a tool for the transmission of blessing that open the heart to qualities of love and reconnect dancers to the natural state of pure awareness beyond thought. Connecting heart to heart and hand to hand, these sacred dances transform us breath by breath and step by step.
This breathtakingly beautiful form of sacred song and dance has been alive in Glen for 19 years and he loves to travel and teach. It is a source of on-going joy and blessing to be able to share this work in a number of countries in Europe each year, as well as in India. He also offers week-long residential retreats in Morocco and Andorra weaving dance with culture, and dance with nature and mountain hikes.
On with the Dance!
Sarah has been leading natural voice workshops since 2001, working with both small and large groups of adults. She is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners Network, she runs two singing groups in Devon, and she is co-founder (with Gilo) of Big Sing Dorset.
Her intention is always to create a safe space in which everyone can enjoy their voice and mingle it with others, to enable everyone to experience the magic of harmony singing, especially the sense of community that it can bring.
At the Camp she will be leading mostly morning sessions, teaching spiritual chants liable to move the heart to joy or peacefulness. She particularly likes to work with the Harmonic Temple, a body of harmonised chants written by Nickomo using mantras from various spiritual traditions for affirmation and healing – angelic sounds to summon up warmth and wonder.
Bruce Knight has been running singing workshops since 2000. He is known for his upbeat and
energetic style, and his love of songs with simple dances or movement. Bruce runs the 100-strong
Songlines Community Choir in Warwick and Leamington Spa, and is a regular teacher at the Unicorn
Natural Voice Camp. In 2003 Bruce travelled to Sierra Leone to learn Mende gospel songs. He enjoys
creating his own harmony arrangements for acappella groups, and also leads a weekly circle dance
group. Bruce is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioner’s Network.
Su has been singing all her life. She has been a Natural Voice teacher since 2003 and believes that singing together is a natural activity for everyone to take part in. Her teaching style is very relaxed and informal and she quickly gets you singing in gorgeous harmony. She is on a mission to share her passion to get everyone singing.
She runs weekly singing groups and community choirs, regularly leads voice workshops at summer camps and singing holidays around the world, as well as working as a freelance workshop leader, community music event organiser, songwriter and performer, singing and performing with a women’s acapella group for over 20 years. She teaches a variety of songs, from her own compositions to old favourites, ranging in mood from calm and contemplative to high energy numbers with luscious harmonies.
Judith has a long-standing and deep experience of the power and potential in singing and a passion to
share these with others. Her groups are open, welcoming and accepting, focusing on the simple
enjoyment of learning songs and co-creating soundscapes, being together, celebrating and supporting,
She loves the combination of song and sacredness and will be sharing songs and chants from a variety of traditions and faiths along with some of her own pieces.
Habiba has been sharing bhajans at camps for 12 years or so. She has a goodly collection of simple chants mostly in Sanskrit and uses the harmonium to accompany us.
There are word sheets if you need them and the sessions are open to all. No need to consider yourself a ‘good singer’, just come along and sing from your heart and we will enjoy an hour or so of bliss!
Children are most welcome also.
Ty Lynne was first introduced to yoga by lovely Elizabeth while living in the Thai jungle in 1990s and has completed teacher trainings with Sivananda Yoga UK and Devon School of Yoga. She is inspired by the vastness of the yoga path, from the physical practices that take such wonderful nourishing care of the body to the rich philosophies and teachings that underpin it all. As well as Ty's ongoing journey with yoga, she is also inspired by the Dances, the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism. She lives on Dartmoor with her family and teaches nearby. Ty is so happy to be sharing yoga at camp.
Christina has been a passionate circle dancer and part of the camp scene since the 1980's. She has been leading groups and holding workshops teaching a mixture of dances from the folk dance tradition and modern lyrical and meditative circle dances for more than 25 years. She loves the history innate within dances from the folk tradition as well as the sacred nature of meditative dances. She has been blessed by being part of numerous dancing circles over the years as well as the international circle dance network. She has trained with many choreographers and leaders of the dance, especially from Europe and the Americas, and loves that she has the opportunity to share leading the dance with Rosa at SAC again this year.
Ryan Davis (Hafiz) became interested in meditation during the late 90s. After a period of travel and trying different kinds of work, he began his first formal mindfulness training while living within a monastic community in South-East Asia, returning to England to resume his counselling training in 2003-2007. From 2006-2014, Ryan worked with secure psychiatric services and within schools as a therapist. Struggling with the stresses and demands of working within those environments, he began practicing with greater frequency. His dear friend Daren Messenger introduced him to western secular mindfulness approaches: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction & Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Ryan interned with Daren Messenger and trained at Bangor University.
"The camp leaders and loyal campers are amazing people, they run the camp like the most nurturing home with open arms to newcomers like me. Many people came and
chatted or just smiled to me over the course of the week and by the end
of it I felt we had become part of an amazing family." - Emma