Sunday, August 23, 2015

Villa: Special Session Descriptions and Leader Bios

During our 24-hours at the Villa Maria, our time will alternate between a potluck of dances lead by various dance leaders and a couple of special (buffet?) presentations.  Here's some tantalizing previews to whet your appetite: 

Mary Martin Lane, Saleem Adam Wolter, and Conie Borchardt are mentored dance leaders in a training cohort lead by Senior Dance Mentor Radha Tereska Buko of Vermont. Meeting for five four-day weekend retreats over the course of two years in Des Moines, these dance leaders are offering special sessions during this weekend as part of a Deepening Project Presentation in October. Please feel free to ask them more questions and feedback about their projects.

Astrological Walks, Breaths, and Dances

Saleem Adam Wolter is an evolutionary astrologer and mentored dance leader living in Minneapolis. He’s been experimenting with co-creative approaches to celestial energies for over sixteen years, but taking initiation on the Sufi path is taking his work to a whole new level. Murshid Samuel Lewis guided his students with the help of their astrological charts, and led them on walks to flesh out the gifts that he saw transcribed there.

Saleem is currently working on a book to help other dance leaders to deepen their understandings of, and co-creative relationships with the living sky. At this retreat, he will lead an astrological breathing, dancing, and walking workshop in tandem with the beautiful energies of our Full Moon on Saturday afternoon.

Learn more about his work at

Dance for the Healing of Memories through Prayers and Poems

You are invited to leaf through Mary Martin’s aged poetry album based on selected prayers from the traditional Catholic Latin Mass, as seen through the somber eyes and bruised heart of a child growing up (1940-1950s) in an environment with significant dysfunctional issues. In “browsing” snapshots (as poems) of her earliest spiritual influences, what is there in revealing ‘stuffed secrets’ that may call forth something in your own being -- conscious or unconscious awareness -- that is being invited to a deeper level of Healing, or a keener expression of Gratitude, through the healing power of The Dance(s,) which leads you into the heart of The Holy One?

Hazrat Inayat Khan is quoted saying "The language of colour and sound is the language of the soul, and that it is our outward language which makes us confused as to the meaning of that inner language." (Music, VI) For the last year, Conie has been exploring the relationship between rhythm and shape, sound timbres and colors while listening to live music and the inner voice. Samples of some of her Dance Doodles and Visual Niguns (a twist on repetitive wordless sung prayers from the Jewish tradition) will be hanging at the retreat. During the Dance for Healing of Memories, Conie will lead you through her process to create your own visual reflection of the Dances.

About Mary Martin Lane:  When I considered my introduction to Centering Prayer (1998) to be the equivalent of a Dairy Queen hot fudge sundae, the Holy One surprised me with “the cherry on top” of the Dances of Universal Peace embedded within my initial experiences of Saadi’s Aramaic Studies (2009). The healing power of Dance circles, with their unique “oneness” embodied through the dancers, left me shaken, weeping, laughing, and then gratefully reduced to silent awe before The Real Presence.

About Conie Borchardt:  A Luth-opalian church musician by day and wandering spirit seeker by night, Conie has been happily attuning to the Dances of Universal Peace since 2008 (Thank you, Francis!).  This summer she had the opportunity to visit Murshid SAM's maqbara (grave) while in New Mexico on a "Dreaming the Way Forward" pilgrimage with Ali & John Philip Newell and David & Winona Poole as a Heartbeat Scholar.  Her creative work includes hospice choirs, paperless singing in worship, and snow labyrinths in addition to Visual Niguns and the Dances.  See more at

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