School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: February 2009

Mind Battles in the Snow

by Roland
I was struggling on the last day of a four day walk that had led me from north Oxfordshire across Northamptonshire and into Leicestershire.   I was focused on getting to Market Harborough and catching my train.  In order to avoid a path that led up over higher ground, which I knew would be covered with thick snow, I had taken a longer but, I hoped, quicker route along a small road which had been cleared of snow.  So it was that I found myself in front of an information board telling me that I was standing on part of the site of the Battle of Naseby, a key turning-point of the English civil war.

I squinted my eyes and tried to imagine how it would have been here on the 14th June 1645 when Charles 1st and the charismatic Prince Rupert led the colourful Royalist army over this spot in the early morning fog on their way to attack the forces of the New Model Army of the Parliamentarians commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax.  And how later in the day they would retreat in disarray back across this same road having been routed due to the endeavours of an upcoming cavalry commander called Oliver Cromwell.


As I was standing there performing this visualisation, I was reminded of an interview that I had heard recently on the radio.  It was with an historian who specialised in writing about battles.  He talked about how his wife had asked him why he always wrote about battles when surely one battle is much the same as another.  His response was that each battle is very different as they take place in different historical periods, between different sets of people motivated by the particular circumstances they find themselves in, equipped with the weaponry of the era and on the unique terrain chosen by the participants.


My walk had started very pleasantly with a comfortable stroll up the Oxford canal from Heyford to Banbury in the company of two friends, Cathy and Hilary.  Hilary shot some film of this which you can see at   But during the following days the snow on the gentle Northamptonshire hills had been slowing me down.  Each evening I had arrived at my destination well after dark.  On the third day, as I was crossing the Watford gap, where the transport links from different centuries  - the old A5 road, the Grand Union Canal, the West Coast Main Line railway and the M1 motorway  - all come together and use the narrow space of the gap in parallel, it had started snowing again. When night fell I lost the path and found myself padding through a small orchard.  Two owls started calling to each other in the valley below.  On a ridge on the far side of this valley I could see a few lights twinkling from the village I was making for.  It didn't seem so far away.  Nearly an hour later, having scaled fences, leaped ditches, squeezed through gaps in hedges and crept though farmyards I, at last, arrived at the B&B where the concerned owners sat me down by the fire and gave me  two large cups of tea and two slices of friut cake.


On the last day of the walk a small ‘battle’ had been waging in my mind between one part of me that was determined to press forward so that I could catch my train home and the more relaxed side of me that wanted to sit down on tree trunks and breath in the view.  The ‘push forward’ side was winning but in order to distract me from the struggle across large fields covered by snow it was insisting on doing mathematical calculations in my head.  These calculations focused on the money that I am raising for the Sponsorship fund by doing this walk.  First I worked out how much money I would have raised for the Movement Medicine Sponsorship Fund per mile of walking during these four day.  The answer was about £2.40p per mile.  I went on to do a series of other tedious calculations such as how much would I raise if I completed the whole walk at this rate and the answer to this came to £1500 which is somewhat short of the target figure I have published on the donations page


‘But,’ protested the part that wanted a more relaxed and contemplative time ‘This walk is in memory of your father. Why are you doing all these depressing calculations?’ This battle in my mind continued in this fashion for the rest of the day.


Now, as I stood on the Naseby battlefield, I realised that it was time to shift the focus of my attention.  I had a choice, I reminded myself, about how I was going to use my mind.  I set off walking again but now allowed my steps to jog my mind to a quieter, more reflective, place but without the insistence on stopping and sitting down.


Very soon two realisations came to me.  The first of these was that the Civil War in England was not just a piece of ancient history from a text-book but was a real event that had generated such strong feelings about the justice of either the royalist or parliamentary cause that very often it had divided close-knit families into opposing sides.  I glanced over at a small wood where the information board had told me a number of musket balls had been found recently and so verifying that at this spot a number of escaping Royalists had been surrounded and shot rather than being given a chance to surrender.  The fact that this real, nasty and unglamorous incident had happened right here brought home to me not only the reality of the suffering and pain of those in our English Civil War but also of those who are living in areas that are in conflict now or have been in the recent past.  Whatever side one stands on politically in a conflict, there is no ignoring the damage that is done and the damage that needs to be healed.  My belief is that Movement Medicine work can provide people with the tools to do that healing and this is my motivation for trying to raise money for the Fund.


I also realised that one problem with the Sponsorship Fund is that we have not yet identified anyone who might be able to benefit from the fund.  It would be far easier to raise money  to help support a real person with a name and a face.  When I talked about this later with Susannah and Ya’Acov we realised that the reason we hadn’t been looking for someone was that we didn’t have much money in the fund and so we felt that we weren’t able to offer much - a classic chicken and egg situation.
I don't know if it was the choice of route or if the mental clearing of my head allowed my body to walk faster but I arrived at the station at Market Harborough in such good time that I was able to catch an earlier train than I had planned.  I had to change trains at Leicester and as I stood mingling with the commuters on the platform,  I noticed a tall, smartly dressed paratrooper with highly polished black boots, sitting on his pack.  The thought flashed through my mind that with his looks and bearing he could be the reincarnation of Prince Rupert. At that moment, as if he were aware of my attention on him, he turned his well chiseled face towards me.  His face registered a flickering sign of recognition of some kindred animal as he took in my dirty boots and muddy gaiters, and then he looked away.  'Well' I thought 'If he is the reincarnation of Prince Rupert then I am the reincarnation of one the soldiers who survived that massacre in the small wood and who, once the battle was over, picked himself up from the mud on the forest floor and walked home.'
Within 4 years of the Battle of Naseby, Charles I was executed and the Commonwealth Republic was instated.  Prince Rupert became a buccaneer in the Caribbean. Following the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, he returned to England, becoming a naval commander, inventor, artist, and first Governor of the Hudson's Bay Comany.

My battle was over too but I will be returning to Market Harborough in March to walk for 10 days from there to Huddersfield in Yorkshire.  I will of course bring you up to date with my further adventures in the next edition of this newsletter.


The themes of ‘giving back’ and of our ‘ancestry’ which are central to my walk are also central to the For All our Relations workshop that Ya’Acov is running at Waldhaus in Switzerland in May 11 -17th.  Contact me on 01803 762255 if you are interested in this workshop.


It still not too late to book the Awakening course which is going to take place here in South Devon at Dartington 31st March to 4th April.  The ecletic mix of dance teachers, Movement Medicine organisers, experienced Movement Medicine dance together with some who have less experience of the work should prove very exciting.  This is a great chance to work with  Susannah and Ya'Acov together teaching the essential practices of Movement Medicine.  And the gardens at Dartington are usually stunning at that time of year with their displays of spring flowers. For more details contact Susanne on 01803 762999

Susannah is off to the elemental Isle of Sylt on 12th of March to teach Move! followed by Life Moves! over the weekend of the 13th (evening), 14th and 15th. This workshop is residential and could make a great dancing mini-break. Contact Petra + 49 4651 871276 for more information.


Spring is time for a bit of Source.  Ya’Acov has just taught this workshop in Padua and will be teaching it again in Paris on 13 -15 March  Contact: Amelie + 33 1 55 59 94 01 for more details and to book. 
He will also be teaching Source in Manchester 10 – 12th April.  For the Manchester workshop contact:  Elaine + 44 161 881 2644 for more details. It should still be possible to get the early payment discount for this workshop if you are quick.
Also on the 10th and 11th March (Easter Friday and Saturday) Susannah will be teaching Return of the Light in London. This workshop takes the Easter themes of death and re-birth and turns them into an elemental dancing journey to let go of the old and dream in the new. Contact Alex on + 44 7868842219 for more information. It is still possible to get the early payment discount if you are quick.


Hoping the kiss of spring will reach you soon

Living the Dream

by Ya'Acov
I am always astonished by the promise of spring. Even amongst the snow and the fierce cold, the early spring growth has the audacity to do its dance. I’m travelling again, this time to Padova to run a Source weekend workshop. As the train moves through the February mists, there’s an ever-changing backdrop to let the mind flow out into. I watch the landscape change from flooded fields to rows of bicycles on the station platform and back out into the countryside where there’s a giant white horse carved into the hillside. I travelled this same route the other way earlier in the week and the subtle signs are everywhere that the sun is returning and spring is on the way.

I wonder how those early spring plants feel when they pop their first shoots out from the ground and into the light. I wonder if they feel the excitement or the fear as they begin to unravel their own particular expression and make their offering into the world. If they do, I know how they feel. We finished the first draft of our book this past week and it’s now being read for the first time by the publisher and a few friends. I have been amazed by what a big thing it has been for me to have taken this giant step towards getting our first book out. It’s got a new title that we’re much happier with: Movement Medicine – 9 Gateways to Living the Dream.

And, I had no idea what a weight I’d been carrying inside me for all these years. Many years ago, I discovered a painful little lump on my back. I had it removed and it was quite benign. Susannah said at the time that she was sure that when they checked it in the lab, they would find thousands of words all wound tightly together that needed to be crafted into stories, books and other creative offerings. I’m sure there’s more to come. It’s been a major pattern breaker to have written this book. I feel that in the last three years, the dam with which I was holding back my own creativity has well and truly burst. And that hasn’t happened by itself. I’ve made a number of choices that have been much more consistent with the tuning fork of truth inside me. And there have been many fears to acknowledge, learn from, dance and let go of in this time. I feel that the years of disciplined practice are beginning to bear their fruit now and I can feel the shudders of excitement and gratitude inside me as I think about it.

I am aware that there is so much fear being pumped out into the airwaves every day and if we’re not careful, we can be gripped by it. I discovered many years ago that if we let our fear sit still in the pit of our stomachs, we are a short step from becoming the victims of other people’s stories about reality. I learned how to get up, find my ground, remember who I am and what I am connected to, and dance my socks off. In returning to the whole wisdom of the body-heart-mind in movement, I remember the deeper truth that the intelligence of fear is in its ability to get us moving and taking action if necessary to protect our selves and what we love. After all, nature shows us that when it’s time to grow, it’s time to grow. Can you imagine if the daffodils turned round and said, sorry folks, we’ve decided not to grow this year because of the recession. We have chosen to tell the story in this life that this life is an invitation to learn from, grow with and create with any situation that the Great Choreographer chooses to send our way.

Given the evermore acknowledged truth that all of life is entirely and thoroughly interconnected, whether we like it or not, and that our experience of life is a blend of our own perceptions and the environment and times we live in, how close are you to Living the Dream you came here to live? What’s been growing in you in the dark winter months? What are you planting in the garden of life through your thoughts, choices and actions?

Those of you that have been dancing with us recently will know that the workshops we are offering are places to nourish, strengthen and encourage each other to be who we are and give everything we’ve got. The choice to be your self is not a one-off choice. It’s an ongoing discovery as you meet each new situation that life offers.

For All Our Relations was born in an afternoon conversation with Christian de Sousa several years ago when we were looking for the theme of a workshop Christian was organising in London. It’s now done the rounds with weekend workshops in Warsaw, Hamburg, Stockholm, Oslo, Kempten, Israel, and of course London. In May, I’m running it for the first time as a week-long residential in the wonderful Waldhaus Centre in Switzerland. An important part of the work we do is focused on dancing our dreams and prayers for our selves, our loved ones, our communities (and this includes the whole community of life on earth), and our ancestors. Through the all-night Long Dance, we invite the spirit of the dance to deliver us into the grace lands of connection with the eternal divine source within us and beyond us. The Long Dance is a powerful ceremony in itself. I am continually receiving e-mails from people who have benefitted in concrete ways from the ceremonies. And, since give-aways are an important part of such ceremonies, dancers are invited to raise money from their families and friends by asking them to sponsor them for the Long dance Ceremony. More than £25000 has been raised so far for a host of small charitable projects. So at a time when there may be more fear in the air than normal, I invite you to take the leap, join us in Switzerland, and follow the old Zen saying which reminds us: ‘If you want something, give it away.

The choice to be your self is very often a challenge. Don’t let fear stop you growing with the season and finding the next expression of the totally unique offering you are.

I leave you with two excellent, short You Tube films to remind you why dance is a must in this life!


2. St)

And finally, our good friend Michael from the Waldhaus has just let us know about this search engine. Seemingly, every search you do saves a little pristine rainforest. Sounds good to me.

All power and kindness to you on your journey. Hope to see you somewhere on the road.


With love and Respect.


Ya’Acov. February 2009.





by Susannah
Someone asked me recently “What exactly is empowerment?” For me the essence is about becoming the subject, rather than the object of your life. This means realising that the crown of your own authourity in your life is yours to put on. Assuming this responsibility, author-ship and authority, is a deep and intimate inner choice which is yours and yours alone to make.  No one can give this to you or take it away.  And you could wait forever for someone to put your crown on your head, or to give you permission to put it on. They can’t. It is yours.

And there are many expressions of this inner authority and presence.  In our movement work we practice aligning body, heart and mind, inhabiting the living world inside and allowing it to express itself and connect with all the life outside through dance. In voice work we practice allowing our voices to arise from the same deep inner well. This is a key part of integrating our work into daily life, as the voice, and the integrity of our words is so central to our communication with the world.

To Live the Dream you came here to live, which is the stated intent of our work, we must be able to communicate clearly with our voice from our hearts. Singing is the best practice I have found for that. The first step on our curriculum is my Ongoing Group, the Journey of Empowerment. I am excited that my Ongoing Group has found its place and the circle that is step by step gathering for this year’s group which begins in July, is already taking shape with a wonderful group of people ready to take this journey together.

I want to re-claim singing as a modern medicine for the heart, for the body and for the soul; for our individuality and for our connectedness.

So empowerment can include becoming the ‘subject,’ rather than the ‘object’ of sound and music. If you are a dancer that is an important shift. Not that I will ever, I imagine, want to let go of dancing to the feast of world sounds which are available now. It is FANTASTIC! It’s just that I want to add my voice and invite you to add yours to the smorgasbord.

As dancers and as people in the modern world we are flooded with an amazing range of ‘ready made’ music. It is easy to forget that making music is a natural human attribute, just as dancing is.  I was singing on my way to the osteopath last week. The patient the osteopath was with heard me and said; “Someone singing…. How very old fashioned!!!”  When my osteopath told me about this rather peculiar comment, we realised it was probably very true. People used to sing as they worked, as they walked, as they drove or rode. We’re still obsessed with music, but now we listen to our I-pods. I remember being a child in the days before music equipment existed in cars (or not in our cars anyway!). Long car journeys almost always became long singing sessions. What a change. We have become consumers of music, not singers of it. The world has become both noisier and quieter; less birds, less volume of morning chorus, and less human beings actually singing.

One of the most powerful and moving moments of my life so far was witnessing the participants on my last year group sing their own songs on the last module. In the gentle, warm light of the trust we had fostered together during the year, the treasure of the heart could begin to emerge.  People gave birth to new potency, creativity and presence. This was empowerment in action. It was awesome and I know that for us who were privileged to witness it, it is not something we will ever forget.

And singing together in a large group is such a power. The vibration of singing in a large group, especially in harmony, is one of the best medicines I know.  Everything is vibrating from inside. You are totally yourself, letting the pure notes pour through you, and you are totally connected and part of a great wild wide sound which is a gift for everyone who hears it. When we sing in a choir, we do not just hear with our ears. We receive, we feel in our bodies, the resonances of the notes. We vibrate like speakers. We become whole. As we sing, sway or dance close with our fellow singers the voices resonate through our whole bodies, inside and outside meeting in this vibration of co-creation. When we truly connect with our voices song can erupt from inside creating an intimate bridge between interior and exterior, heaven and earth, through the felt and expressed power of the heart.

The original vision which brought me to the dance was of a snake of people (all the peoples of the earth) singing and dancing through the rainforest.  Dancing has given the ground. And now song having been a thread in my work for many years is taking its place alongside the dance. Which is why I now teach DanSing as well as Resonance, and why awakening the voice has become a key element of our curriculum.

So, I encourage you to open your mouth and give voice and sing. Whether it’s on the way to the osteopath, in the car, with Madonna, or at a workshop. Let’s sing in the spring!

Susannah   February 2009

Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group begins in July this year.  Please click here for an application form


The next DanSing workshops are:

2 – 3rd May Cork.  Contact: Caroline + 353 86 053 1672 for more information.

10 – 13th June  Israel  Contact:  Aviya +972-9-7418203


by Angela Lord

"As you pray in your darkness for wings to set you free, you are bound to your silent legacy." +


What is a fifty-seven year old woman, with her saggy belly and silvery hair, doing going off to Manchester to do a dance workshop on sexual energy?  You've done it before?  Didn't you get it the first time, then?

Well, you know, I love dancing.  And it's Ya'Acov.  I would work with Ya'Acov anyway, whatever he was doing. And I teach in mainstream education, where you get a fantastic number of holidays, but you can't take them when you want or need them; no "dogging off" to do fun stuff like dancing (what's dancing got to do with education anyway?). There are limits on my energy too (all those birthdays, or perhaps it's the saggy body parts). Easter weekend is bang in the middle of a holiday - can't complain about that, then….


The first time was in Glasgow: my home town, the venue overlooked by my kitchen window; Manchester is not quite as convenient but it is reachable - nearer than Devon, London, Orval et al…one stop on the train or batter down the M74 till you hit the M6…can't complain about that either.


That leaves the money. 


So, no excuse at all, then. 


Is that it? Is that why you are doing Source again?


What's the story you're not telling?


I know this work. I know its fruits no less than its ongoing, never-finishedness.  I know it in my heartbroken rage at what is happening in the educational world in which I work; I know it in the slow unfurling of my courage to speak more openly, to respond from my heart, to act more authentically; in my courage to take my own workshops out into the world.  And yes, I know it in the growing, visceral connection to my sexuality, and between my sex and my heart, my heart and my inner eye.


The dance of sexual energy is the dance of creation, in all its myriad forms.  Sometimes, when the journey seems long and the steps too steep, it helps me to remember that what we do, we do not only for ourselves but for those who went before and those as yet unborn.  As Melissa Etheridge sings, "Your body is alive, but no-one told you what you'd feel, the empty aching hours, trying to conceal….Remember how they taught you, how much of it was fear.  Refuse to hand it on: the legacy stops here".+


Above all, I know that with Ya'Acov as my guide, and the joy of the dance to hold me, I can begin, can begin again to go in, begin to allow, begin to uncover, unpick and undo the rigid cage of rules and roles, perceptions and expectations, to touch the layers of numbness that protect the ultimate, screaming pain, to find a prior loveliness, and beneath, the primary power.


Integrity of mind, heart and body means just that.  No splitting off, no hiding (What? NO  

hiding? How will I ever get there? Look how far you have come..).


So yes, I will be doing Source again this Easter.  I had to smile when I booked myself into "no frills" accommodation at - of all places - "Luther King House".  For I too have a dream, a dream of freedom, for myself, for all those I love, for you, and for the world, that we may be who we are, ourselves, co-creators, both dancers and danced, weaving the webs of our lives, for ourselves and for all our relations. I will be doing Source again, taking a few more, tiny, baby steps on the long road to freedom.  Perhaps I'll see you there?


With love



+ Melissa Etheridge: Silent Legacy on her album "Yes I Am Melissa"


Ya'Acov will be teaching Souce in Manchester 10th - 12 April.  Please contact Elaine on 0161 881 2644
and also in Paris 13th - 15th March.  Please contact Amelie +33 01 55 59 94 01 for more details and to book.

Becoming an Elder

By Julia Gilkes
As we have no rites of passage to step into another stage of our lives in the UK, I decided to create my own. I left full time work at the age of 60 years and wanted to find the hidden sacred arch that I must walk through to mark my journey to becoming a Hag, a Crone, an Elder.

Discarding the new labels that my society decked me with on retirement I wrote them carefully out and then put them in the fire to transform them into new dreams and visions on my journey towards Stillness. Watching the flames devour the old, I heard the gentle laughter of old women as other words were thrust out of the fire calling for courage, clarity, steadfastness and humility.


A tremble fluttered along my spine as I accepted that this would be my journey, my unique journey, my journey of self discovery to prepare myself to live the final years of my life to the full, with respect and audacity in breaking the boundaries set by society for the old, the pensioner, the invisible.


My mentor, a much respected shaman set me three tasks:

1. I must walk along a path of bright burning fire barefoot, to embrace clarity and commitment


2. I must meditate to identify what might hold me back from my quest, write it on a scrap of paper and give it to water to take away to the sea


3. I must dig my grave and sleep in it until dawn to face the fear of death


And then I would be ready for my Vision Quest in far away Death Valley


The night was cool and full of stars as I stood shivering with anticipation with others around the hot embers of the ceremonial fire. With deep dignity the Fire Master slowly raked the scarlet, flashing, spitting fire into a clear pathway about a metre wide and 6 metres long. It glowed invitingly with a secretive smile offering me this ancient challenge. Removing my boots I felt the damp earth between my toes and gazed upwards for my ally, my sister moon. It was if I was standing alone as I lifted my head high and purposefully stepped onto the burning path. My heartbeat bounced with my joy as it erupted from my throat in wonder. I crossed the fire with no problem. Then I placed my invisible cloak of humility and quiet around my shoulders as I sat in the circle gazing into the heat and made my vow of acceptance to take on the next task


I gathered my sheepskin and low canvas stool, some water and dried fruit and searched in the rocks and heather for the solitude I needed for 5 hours meditation by the glistening river Dart. Paper and pens lay by my side ready. It was a cold but sunny afternoon and the bracken filled my nostrils with its sharp perfume. Curious creatures rustled in the undergrowth passing by on their daily travels as I watched a dark bird riding the air currents across the valley. Closing my eyes I let my mind go free to help me identify what I must let go to follow my path. Old griefs that clung like limpets were prized off my scarred heart: debilitating fear and insecurity nudged my confidence: old voices whispered that I was not good enough drifted by. With clarity I wrote out those old fears and barriers on my paper and crafted a little origami boat. Screwing the words into a ball, I placed it on the boat and lovingly placed the valiant vessel into the rushing water. Smiling I watched it tumble around in the rocks as the current tried to catch it. I was so afraid that it would be crushed and submerged by a passing wave, when suddenly it found its balance and sailed gaily out into the river and was soon lost in sight on its journey to the sea. I had completed the second task.


The rain beat down lashing my face turning the newly dug earth into cloying mud. Three hours of sweating labour in the dark storm tested my courage again and again to take this task to its completion. Others nearby fell on the ground weeping or exhausted and sought my loving arms for reassurance. My mind noticed my unexpected visitors; the silent ghosts of those who had dug their graves before being shot and falling in finishing the barbaric torture they had suffered. I paid homage to them and their ordeals. My courage held steadfast as the soft touch of fear of maggots and worms slithering over my body receded and my mind turned to curiosity. At last the moment came to wriggle into my bivvy bag in the grave and listen to the shaman's helpers place mud and rocks over the tarpaulin resting on crisscross branches above my body. Utter darkness. No sound of rain above. No voices. Utter silence. I felt the fear creeping up my arms to touch the hair on my neck. Flashing lights appeared in my eyes as I searched the blackness for a chink of reassuring light. I began silently calling on my ancestors to stand with me to reduce my terror of death. I visualised those I knew and loved and gratefully thanked the many that I did not know who crowded around my grave with soft sombre looks. I was not alone. Then I heard some creature snuffling near my head and I had to choke back the shout to let me out, let me out. I called and called on my allies to love and hold me until my heartbeat slowed again. Hours later I heard the shaman walk by playing his drum whistling softly in the dawn light and I knew that I had passed the test. I lay in the black wet mud and counted 21 gratitudes for my courage, my trust and intuition and those who had prepared and supported me. A crimson velvet shawl lay around my shoulders as I felt the power of the emerging crone.


Three tasks offered. Three tasks completed. I was ready now to prepare for the Sacred Path to my solitary Vision Quest in the desert and canyons of Death Valley, where I would find the archway to step into the pathway of the Elder.


by Zvjezdana Kastrapelli
I have always felt deep intertwining connection between dancing and singing. DanSing opened another wonderful door for me. I went in and found that the space was full of people whose dancing bodies and singing souls became my homeland for the duration of the workshop. I enjoyed and bathed in that feeling of safety and protection. And that is no small thing.

I’ve been singing from early childhood both publicly and in the shower, even studied singing from a lovely teacher who taught me to love myself and my voice among many other things. Now, after some years of not singing actively, I realised that I tend to hide and stifle my voice because it could somehow make others feel ‘bad’. Susannah’s devoted and patient plerk with us helped me break through that illusion and so delicately showed me that singing is just what you let it be. Nothing more, nothing less. And singing with others in an atmosphere of playfulness and acceptance is truly what we are put on this Earth to do. It is utterly healing, empowering and reenergising. It is such a gift to give myself and to others, I can’t compare it with anything. I am deeply grateful to Susannah for offering this workshop so openheartedly and for welcoming us home to our singing voices because it is true that if you can speak, you can sing just as if you can walk, you can dance. I felt cradled in my body and cushioned in my voice and at the same time very much connected with everyone else. There is nothing better than that! I relished singing Thuma mina and felt supported by deep male voices and decided to go for the altos this time (although my natural range is higher) and found it so refreshing and nourishing! Singing the tabla rhythm proved to be a real challenge but also brought me immense joy in spite of (or thanks to?) my baffled mind. I kept telling my inner critic to just wait and see. When I finally got it right and my whole being shouted Hallelujah! Now I sing it whenever I’m in need of inspiration because activating that other part of my mind helps me see many aspects of my life, even my work in a different light.


At the end of the workshop I was surprised that I did not feel exhausted but rather light, as if I grew wings. Some burden had been lifted and I was deeply connected with something that is larger than me, larger than each one of us and only gains shape as we slowly let it do so in our bodies and singing souls. Pure joy!


Thank you Susannah, Kristina, Iris, Katriona, Benjamin and all participants for making me feel right at home in lovely Zurich.


The next DanSing workshops are:

2 – 3rd May Cork.  Contact: Caroline + 353 86 053 1672 for more information.

10 – 13th June  Isreal  Contact:  Aviya +972-9-7418203 for more information.
Voice work is also an essential part of Susannah's Ongoing Group The Journey of Empowerment


The Dreamscape of Fusion

This month's winner of £100 School of Movement Medicine workshop voucher
By Hannah Mackay


February 2009.  

In December, I participated in the Fusion workshop led by Susannah in Sheffield. During the weekend we were invited to dance as our deep Dreams, and then, as our Dreams, to write about ourselves. Back on the dance-floor, we let our ‘arrows of intention’ go, to fly towards these dreams; whilst at the same time accepting we would not know the path these arrows would take, nor whether we would see these dreams come to fruition.

After the workshop I was inspired to write a description of the Dreamscape of the workshop, putting together dreams from the some of the members of the group; this is what follows. Many thanks to those who sent me words about their dreams.


We are the dreams of dancers on a cold winter’s weekend.

We are whole. We bring healing into the world. Life is beautiful.

Some of the dreams speak:

I am the dream of the light at the mountaintop, the deep dark ocean places, forests of kelp swaying, sunbeams touching deep blue. The dream of the seals and the dream of the clashing icebergs.

The dream of the dolphins, the ocean spray, the currents, the dream of the grains of sand on the beach, the mouse’s heartbeat, the swallow baby giving its mouth to be fed, the antelopes crossing the plain.

The dream of the tiger, the dream of teeth.

The dream of the cicada singing the summer away, the dragonfly dream, the eternity of a mayfly life, the slow sea-serpent dream, the centipede’s dream.

The dream of the bird with the broken wing, the dream of falling, the dream of deep blue falling broken-hearted. One black bird in a blue sky. The dream of those who fly too close to the sun and fall.

The dream of leaving. The dream of beyond.

The dream of breathing the heartbeat back into the broken-hearted, warming the small feathered creature, blowing warm breath back into the lungs. The dream of fur and feather, warm and soft.

The dream of teeth and claws and beaks.

The dream of the sea, the longing of the seals, the deep deep blue.

The dream of falling, the dream of rising, the small small heartbeat in a cold bright world

The dream of sunrise and warmth on a broken bird.

The dream of tenderness. The dream of the power of small hands, of tenderness, of breath.

The dream of dreaming, falling, sleep.

One black bird in a deep blue sky.

The dream of dreams.


I am the dream of peace and lightness. Fun, community, joyful responsibility. Creativity, healing, fairness, sustainability. Loving relationship. Powerful right action. Focus. Wisdom. Beauty. Simplicity. Fertility. Skilful problem solving. Generosity. 

I am the dream of healing spreading out into the world. Enabled to be as we are, we live without fear and our potential continually unfolds. Every day we have enough energy to do our healing work and to live in beauty. This healing helps and is manifest in the children. We are able to connect to our celestial selves to nourish ourselves in the everyday. Our healing continues to come easily to us. Connected and free in everyday life and in the community, we participate fully in our community and family. Our lives are characterised by great happiness and compassion. We help others find their healing from their sense of exclusion. People come together in beauty.

I am an instrument of peace. Through singing, creating and dance, all those who come together will be open to love. A love that is so big that it overcomes difference. A love that is so big that it overcomes hatred and animosity. Part of my dream is the dance of community, a community that has a similar vision, a passion and commitment to heal hurts and lost dreams. To work with children who live in war torn lands, whose eyes are filled with a terrible sadness, the wounds they hold in their hearts are so large. The dream is so big and so important that it is not the dream of one person; it is a movement with lots of dancers, singers and artists that come together to create a better place. My friends and my children are part of this dream, they will spread this dream to other places. I have a passion to bring this dream into being. I will have my beloved with me in this work.

I am the deep dream of being an artist.  Colour, art, creativity, expression surround me, are embedded in my life.  I am part of an artistic community, a local community of artists.  I show my work to the public.  I have space at home for my art, and it’s well used.  I am proud of my art.  I let it happen spontaneously.  My job involves helping others to express themselves artistically, to heal themselves with art.  I love my job, I dreamed of this.  Everything about my life expresses my inner artist.  I surprise myself with my art constantly. Others surprise me with theirs.  I love this process.

We are harvesting the fruits of our history and using them to create an abundant and joyful present and a sustainable future for all our relations.

To realise the dream means moving beyond the dreams of yesterday, letting go of what might have been. Heart open, walking through the valley of darkness, grief and pain. Opening to this new beginning, bringing the vale of tears, welcoming the foundation of pain from which your arrow will fly.

I celebrate your movement carrying you forward to your dream.

I am a life which is shared with others whom I love, and with whom I share a common vision for the world. I live in nature/with nature. I live with awareness of the energy we use, inner and outer. I engage with, accept and try to alleviate some of the wounds in myself and others. I am deeply connected to the possibility that we/I can live in peace on and with this our Mother, Earth. I am committed to partaking in sharing creative and ritualistic ways of being. I am able, softly, directly, and truly free of shame, challenge others and other ways of living so that perhaps I can contribute to some degree of change in their lives. I give love and care to my and other children and offer them the opportunities they truly deserve. I am content in my intimate relationships with all beings. I am light, I am love. I am a creative/spiritual and innovative residential centre in a beautiful location by the sea which contributes to sustaining life in all its glory and beauty.

You've made a good start, middle and how will it end? I know you're scared but share it and you will be working towards a brand new jumper. Off or on you're on; let it be on. Are you loving as much as you can? Is it enough?

I am a dream of freedom.  Of being who I am.  Of bringing myself to the world with all my gifts and imperfections.  Of accepting myself and others just as we are – and having others do the same. I am a dream of daring to be different and celebrating my uniqueness.  Of courage in the face of challenges, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens is just another step on this life’s journey and one from which I will grow stronger. But more than anything, I am a dream of using my uniqueness to create something good in the world, whether big or small, and of inspiring others to do the same.

We breathe forth life in all its magnificence.

The dreams have spoken. Blessed be.
Fusion Butterfly painted by Sarah Blagg

If you're interested in dreaming in your next steps in life, Return of the Light is the upcoming workshop with a similar theme.


We have some Tickets for you!
The tickets are for the world premier of the cantata OUT OF THE DARKNESS by Julian Marshall which sparkles with rhythm and life and is inspired by the poem 'Aus dem Dunkel' by Gertrud Kolmar, who was a poet who died in Auschwitz. We were so inspired by this project that we decided to sponsor it, and in exchange we have some tickets which we would like to share with you!

Julian Marshall is a wonderful musician who some of you know from  workshops, and as a member of Be-Attitude. "Out Of The Darkness" comes straight from his big heart with all the top flight musicality at his disposable, bringing musical light and passion to Gertrud Kolmar's potent words. He has created new music which shines with classical subtlety and irrepressible groove. If you can possibly get to one or other of these performances, do!  

We have 10 tickets for each performance. First come first served. Please contact Roland NOW if you want one (or two or three!) We suggest a donation to the school's charity:
Thursday 19 March 2009
London – Friday 27 March 2009

For full details go to:
or email

Happy concert going!
Susannah and Ya’Acov

Out Of The Darkness

by Julian Marshall

Last November, I stumbled across the poetry and letters of Gertrud Kolmar and was at once struck by what a remarkable woman and poet she was. During World War II she lived in Berlin, taking care of her aging father until finally being deported to Auschwitz in 1943 where she was murdered. Yet, as her writings suggest, even in the darkest of circumstances she was able to meet her fate with a stoic equanimity.
Her poems are strikingly full of life – colour, vibrancy, deep sensation - and ‘Aus den Dunkel’ (‘Out Of The Darkness’), is surely one of the most beautiful. Written in 1937, it evokes powerful dream-like images of crumbling and decay - serving as an eerie foretelling of the imminent tidal wave of horror about to hit the world.

Deeply moved by this poem, I felt compelled to write a piece in service to her extraordinary capacity to stand powerfully in her experience of life whilst at the same time expressing this with exquisite perception.
I decided to set ‘Out Of The Darkness’ as a cantata for chamber choir, mezzo soprano soloist and two ‘cellos. To begin with, I imagined that I’d settle on a musical language that might somehow ‘meet’ the darkness in the poem. But as I began to compose, quite different stylistic voices seemed to suggest themselves. Influences of Tango and Bossa Nova, as well as more abstract ideas all seemed ironically appropriate! The result is a cantata of about 40 minutes.

For our two premiere concerts, we have a stellar cast of top professional musicians. These include mezzo soprano soloist Melanie Pappenheim (famous for her work with The Shout, Jocelyn Pook and Dr Who), conductor Howard Moody (, ‘cellists Sophie Harris and Lucy Railton and a hand picked professional choir of eight. Concert promotion is by Gabi Faja of Biaerbeck and Holmes – another gem and a true partner for me in this project. We will use our premiere concert events to promote further performances and education projects both nationally and internationally.

A commercial recording of the piece is being planned for release in the autumn 2009.

‘Out of the Darkness’ forms the second part of the March concert programme. The first half includes music be Arvo Part, Ligeti and excerpts from William Byrd’s 4-part Mass – music written, by the way, in secret for fear of political reprisals.

We will also be running an education project to coincide with these concerts and I am delighted to confirm that this will be with students from Kid’s Company - the charity founded by Camilla Batmanghelidjh ( The education project will take the form of a theatre piece exploring themes from the text alongside notions of freedom and constraint. This will be facilitated by Emma Roberts (a highly experienced theatre director and performer) and myself. 

Many thanks for your interest in reading this and with best wishes,

Julian Marshall

JULIAN MARSHALL. Educated at Dartington Hall Schooland The Royal College of Music, Julian Marshall is known internationally as co-creator (with Kit Hain) of the 70’s group ‘Marshall Hain’ - known especially for their massively successful international hit ‘Dancing in the City’ in the late 70’s. He was also a member of ‘The Flying Lizards’ – who scored a top 5 hit with ‘Money’ in 1979.
In the 80’s he formed the group ‘Eye to Eye’ with American song writer and performer Deborah Berg - recording two classic albums for Warner Brothers produced by ‘Steely Dan’ producer Gary Katz and a latter day third album produced by ‘Roxy Music’ producer Rhett Davies..  

He has been a senior A&R man for Polydor Records, has produced records and played as a session musician on both sides of the
Atlantic. He has also enjoyed many years running his own highly successful teaching practice as well as teaching and lecturing in music at Dartington College of Arts, Plymouth University
and elsewhere. He also mentors students who demonstrate outstanding song writing talent – recently including the rising star Cosmo Jarvis. He runs courses on song writing, organises concerts and events and teaches song writing at the Dartington International Summer School.

In 2008 Julian created ‘Songsmiths’ -  a partnership between Goldsmith’s College and The Kids’ Company charity – where undergraduate song writer volunteers from Goldsmith’s College teach song writing and performance skills to Kids Company clients – for more information about The Kid’s Company, please visit

Returning to his classical routes, composition, which has been a constant throughout his career, now assumes a central position in his creative life. His passion for music and education come together in the context of what he describes as a ‘socially engaged arts practise’ – composing music and offering educational projects that look at challenging social issues.  
Julian’s composer credits include, (as well as the many songs for above named bands), the score for Orion pictures film ‘Old Enough’ (directed by Marissa Silver); ‘The Clock of the Long Now’ (with text by poet Rose Cook) for Plymouth Symphony Orchestra and several combined school choirs; the score for the film ‘Still Life’ (directed by Emma George); Music for ‘Shaping the Invisible’ (improvised performance with theatre maker and performer Emma Roberts). Julian has several works in progress.  A premier of his next work ‘Love Songs’ is being planned for 2010.

Movement Medicine Shop
The Movement Medicine Shop is born, taking over the baton from Second Wave Productions. We have new stock, check it out! And I’ve put up more clips, so you can hear more of the music we have. As we move into a more distinctly Movement Medicine world of music, DVDs and books, our product range is changing. We have some beautiful stuff for you. And a sale also!

Our first batch of Nick Barber’s beautiful and tender  “Clear Blue Sky” have already sold out, new ones in this week, and the long awaited Darpan CD is also in stock, with the anthemic “Pacha Mama” that many of you have been yearning for. And soon we will have Morgan Doctor’s new CD in.

And we have an amazing DVD of Eva Mozes Kor speaking at a Family Constellations conference. With her twin, Eva was in Auschwitz, where they suffered Dr Mengele’s twin “experiments” and survived. She talks with great chutzpah, passion and honesty about her own journey and the power of “never giving up” and the power of forgiveness which she has arrived at. This is one of the most inspiring pieces of communication we have ever seen.

When we watched it in my Constellations training I felt that this is treasure to be shared. It inspired one of my colleagues to teach us the beautiful groovy South African song “Bambela!” (“Never give up!”) which has since become one of my favourite songs to teach and sing.

Go to our website:  and you can buy online using most major credit cards. Or you can e-mail Frazer on: or call him on 0044 (0)1803 731003.


All the best!

Susannah and Frazer


Live-in housekeeper neededed

from David at Earth Spirit Centre
A little request if you can help us. Our lovely Nikki is moving to pastures new and we’re looking for a new live-in housekeeper for the centre here at EarthSpirit. It’s a live-in position with lovely mobile home. In addition to housekeeping the role involves some kitchen work, vegetarian cooking and welcoming groups.


The position could suit either a couple (there might be some maintenance work in the future) or a single. If you have any contacts you think might be suitable, and who might like living near the magical isle!, please ask them to get in touch with me by email. Thanks. Your help, and interest, is much appreciated..

With very good wishes to friends old and new,            


Life Moves!

by Petra Cegla

Once upon a time…I took a walk on the beach. I live on the  isle of Sylt and whenever we have storms coming from the west and changing to the east there are lots of amber on the shore. So when I recognized the wheather changing, I put on my beachboots, took a little bag and started my research-walk.

It did not take long and I found a spot where some of the shiny golden amber were swaying in the stream of the sea. Yes, I was lucky: there were many of them! I took them all and thanked the godesses of the sea and the water with 27 of my hairs for

this rich harvest. Grateful and happy I came home and decided to send some of these ambers as a gift to my good friend Manfred who lives in San Francisco. So I did. Manfred was very happy to get these ambassadors from my home where he himself once had lived for several years!


Some weeks later he wrote me a letter and in this letter he told me that he- as a consolation- gave the ambers to another friend who lost somebody in an car-accident.  „Yes“ I thought „what a good idea- when I found the stones they were sparkling in the water like gold, like golden tears from the middle of mother earth`s heart….“.

Time went by and I talked to my nephew Tobias, who lives near Frankfurt/Germany. He just had returned from the USA where he visited Monika, one (…!...) of his girlfriends. Monika gave him – as a going-away present-some smooth, little, yellow, sparkling stones…: ambers! A friend, who just had lost someone in a car-accident, had given them to her. This friend knew that Tobias would come and visit Monika and she was so happy about it! He said to Monika:“ I give these stones to you both. May they double your happyness and may they shine on your luck!“
And again I thought:“Yes, golden tears from mother earth`s heart!“ Time went by and Tobias came for a visit to myplace. Guess what he gave me as his welcome-present? YES! The amber! I looked at him and I said“ Woww! Life really moves!“
The next day we took a walk on the beach and gave these beautiful pieces of amber back to the godess of the sea.

Susannah will offer her workshop Life Moves! on the Isle of Sylt/Germany 13.-15.March

plus a Move! open evening on Thursday 12 March.  Contact Petra: (0)4651 871276


The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.