Thirty Years of Weekly Dances Celebrated in Seattle
submitted by Helen Gabel and Murad Phil Notermann
On September 13, 1983, four fledgling dance leaders began holding a weekly dance meeting in Seattle. This spring the community which grew up around that commitment celebrated 30 years of continuous weekly dances.
The celebration was wonderful. A hundred people attended, including three of the founders. The day was filled with dances, reminiscing, a photo slide show, a hearty potluck, and more dancing. Leaders whose lives had eventually taken them in other directions returned to lead a dance, often one they themselves had originated. The day was filled with heart-felt testimonials to the power of this beloved practice.
For 30 years dancers, leaders and musicians have come together in devotion weekly without ever missing a beat. In the early years the weekly meeting was small, held in a yoga studio. Through the 1990's the Circle grew, as did the dance team, and we were dancing as often as three times a month. There were numerous special events and pilgrimages from local to international in scope. In 2002 a concerted effort was made to expand the circle of community leadership well beyond just those who were called to lead dances (see the 2006 issue of "We Circle Around"). The last ten years have seen fewer special events, but increased community support for one another as so many of us age together, facing health crises and death of some of our members.
Still we continue to meet once a week without fail supported by an active team of a dozen dance leaders and leadership from a number of community members. There is no charismatic or titled leader at the helm, no one is paid, there's no franchise organizing us from above. We have outlasted strong differences of opinion, ruptures in key relationships and the pulls and community fracturing forces of living in a fast paced timestarved and consumer driven culture. But, somehow, enough individuals were willing to put the good of the group before their personal desires to keep the Circle intact. Is this how divine grace works? Perhaps this is how SAM's prophecies about the emergence of a “sacred brother-sister-hood”--a kind of mysterious coherence that transcends the "distinctions and differences which divide."