Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vanaver Caravan Team Feedback

Ramona Staffeld

Ramona on the Afro American dance tradition

Thanks to Big Medicine Charitable Trust and the Vanaver Caravan, I was honored to be part of the beginning of something truly grand. In retrospect I can understand it more fully. It is now I see that we offered so much more than dance steps, choreography and a chance to perform. We set an example of a way to be in the world. A style that has clear direction yet breath and expansive possibilities. The creative spirit leads us all and informs our approach to teaching. We are alternative, our content shows that, our clothing shows that, our hearts speak a language that can be understood by all, compassion. This offering is at the heart of our work.

On our very first day as a team, we immediately saw a need for our mere presence in the indigenous girls school. Many were orphans or very poor. It was all so clear there. As time went on though, I was reminded that everyone at every level of society needs dance and the opportunity to connect with the natural force alive in them. More affluent children with more exposure to the internet and tv, they need an alternative to global pop crap culture too. If western ideals are the desire and aspiration, what then will happen to traditional dance and music? Yes, India has an extremely rich cultural heritage, but what are people being fed through mass media sources? All over the world, Australia too, it is something quite soulless. There is a need for dance for the sake of it. Not for competition, power, or praise. Dance for the way it makes us feel and the community it builds. We are on the counter attack!  Whether it is intentional or not, we are leading by being, showing another way is possible. That in itself is extremely worth while.


Gustavo Caldas

Gustavo leading a Afro-Brazilian dance workshop
(Cell phone message: 01.28.2012)
Good Morning Rita. We made it to Delhi safely, Thank you so much for having me and the others at your house. I enjoyed it very much...... God bless you and your whole family. I hope to see you again soon. 

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