Armenan, Balkan, Gypsy
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Laura Shannon grew up in Virginia. She currently lives at the Findhorn ecological community in Scotland. Her innovative approach to traditional dance bridges the authenticity of the folk dance world with the spiritual intention of the circle dance world. She sees each dance as a message handed down from our ancestors in the human family, which transmits wisdom, affirms life, and celebrates nature.
Laura shares dances from Armenian, Romani (Gypsy), and Balkan cutures that have survived many periods of crisis and upheaval in their histories. Faced with the complex challenges of life today, Laura feels we need to renew our contact with the healty optimism of this ancient knowledge more than ever before. Her workshops are an invitation to be more fully "in our bodies," and more "fully ourselves," by journeying deeper into the dance.
Laura holds an honours degree in Intercultural Studies and a diploma in Dance Movement Therapy and is currently researching a degree in Dance Anthropology. She has traveled extendively to experience folk dance in its native context. In 2002, she traveled to Armenia to research ritual dances and produce a CD of traditional Armenian music, "Gorani," which, along with her "Fire in the Feet" CD, she makes available at her workshops. Laura has a busy teaching schedule. For example, her trips for 2003 include workshops in Schlehdorf, Germany; Paris, France; Lier, Belgium; Springfield, Virginia, USA; Grossussbach, Austria; Braunwald, Switzerland; Lesbos, Greece; Steyerberg, Germany; Sigtuna, Sweden; Malmö, Sweden; and Bad Herrenalb, Germany; as well as an ocean trip to teach on her home soil in Springfield, Virginia.
Laura's innovative approach to Sacred Circle Dance is appreciated in many countries. Laura has brought her inspiring leadership and passionate dancing to twenty countries worldwide. "I see each dance as a map or a message, which can teach us if we learn how to listen. Decoding the messages depends on precision and subtlety of style, an understanding of historical and spiritual contexts, and above all a sense of the relevance these dances can have for our lives today. In my work I encourage each dancer to seek the meaning within the movements, and to remember dance as a celebration of life for all the human family."
Laura has written many articles on dance and has been widely published in many languages. Laura invites you to visite her website where you may read some of her articles on such topics as
- "Sophia is like the reed"
- "The Dance of Life - It's in the Blood"
- "Living Ritual Dance"
- "Simple Dances: Where Do They Comf From, Where Do They Lead?"
- "Dancing Well: thoughts on Dance for Teachers"
- "Armenian Dance"
Among Laura's other publications is
- A 32-page companion dance description booklet to the XENOS CD "Fire in the Feet" (sold separately).
Dances Laura has taught include Ani More Nuse, Čoček (and variations), Embrobis, Indijski Čoček, Jeni Jol, Karsilama, Pravo / Valle (and variations), Raikos, Romsko Bitolsko, Romska Gajda, Sa, Tsifteteli, and Tsourapia.