About Mandala Dance & Bios

What makes this dance unique?

We provide a safe sacred uplifted space for the community that supports ecstatic dance, spontaneous creative expression, facilitates heartfelt connections and appreciation for a community ritual. The dancing space is carefully decorated for each event which sets up a celebratory atmosphere. 

We start with a mellow dancing warm up, followed by a welcoming circle that creates a sacred space. The circle is followed by a guided meditation that grounds participants in their bodies and gets them moving. At this point participants are invited to co-create a sand Mandala placed at a well lit location in the room. The flow of the event is facilitated and yet it allows a free flow and spaces for improvisation.

The musicians and instruments vary each time and include drums, percussions, harp, violin, flutes, piano and voices and much more. The natural flow ranges from wild ecstatic drumming to moments of silence and even spaces for spontaneous community co-created poetry. The participants can express them selves through many avenues: from dancing, percussion and singing, to sand Mandala co-creation.

The evening is concluded by a closing circle when the sand mandala is dissolved in a community ritual, manifesting the joy and impermanence of our experience.

One unique aspect of Mandala Dance is that it serves as a bridge between many communities that find their expression here: from the Contact Improvisation Community, Earthdance, Dance Spirit, Drum and Dance, Fire circles, members of the Sirius community as well as local families etc… We are kids-friendly event and we usually have several families with children attending. Some of the parents commented on how much our event helped their children open up and encouraged their spontaneity.

What is our mission?

Our mission is to build a strong community that is well connected and delights in getting together on a regular basis to create connection through co-creation of dance, music, songs and ritual.

More about history of Mandala Dance:

First Mandala Dance took place at the Greenfield Community Yoga in June 2012. We had about 25 dancers show up. Since then we have organized many Mandala Dances. The number of our participants and fans have grown since then.

As we continued expanding we have hosted many accomplished musicians that welcome our format as a fresh musical experience, different from their usual performances.

In September 2013, Mandala Dance received a grant from Ritual Arts Collective community to support our mission and to bring more experienced musicians to our events.

Let us introduce the members of our team:

 

Jon Just Jon: Jon is a drummer, percussionist and musician. He leads the drums for Mandala Dance, and together with John, Glenn & Lisa they facilitate musicians for the Mandala Dance.

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Lisa Bouchie:  Lisa’s gift to the dream is creating sacred containers, visually, musically, energetically.  As a believer in the direct line between spirit and creative process, she brings the mandala as a way to help manifest prayers and dreams in the presence of community.
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Chris O’Connell: Chris is a community organizer, and natural healer. He brings experience from fire circles, rituals, and community co-creation. Chris leads the opening circles and co-creates the altars. 

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Hilary Lake: Hilary is a seasoned contact improvisation dancer, community interfaith minister at Nine Mountain Retreats next to Earthdance, and healing artist through sacred dance and song, leads our guided meditations at the beginning, facilitates sacred songs.

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Glenn Smith: Glenn is a musician, improviser and dancer. He helps oversee the flow of the music and coordinates invited musicians. Glenn is a talented musician and technical support person.

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Sarah Monette: Sarah is the gate-keeper, organizer and innovator of our dance. She organizes our volunteers and contributes to the overall esthetics of the space. Her daughter Marquetta inspires us all.

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John Genyo Sprague:  John has been creating improvisational music for dance and contemplation for 25 years, working extensively as an accompanist and composer in colleges and at dance jams, as well as leading movement workshops around New England.  He is also a dharma teacher and ceremonialist, and brings his long experience to our core group, invoking and helping maintain the flow of spirit energy throughout the dance.

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