Last night we celebrated Equinox at Neskaya. Spring Equinox is when the days start to be longer than the nights, so we do a lot of sun dances. This year, the Jewish festival of Purim came on the same day, so we celebrated it as well.
The first half was fairly lively dances. We started with “Four Seasons”, a classic dance that we do on the Equinoxes and Solstices. We do a dance from the Faroe Islands to an English song. Then we did “Sunrise”, “Le Printemps”, “Suvetar”, followed by “Veseni Chorovod” which is a braiding dance — the dancers create a tunnel, and then the leader comes through it, breaking out of the tunnel of winter to spring. We were 8 dancers, and it turns out that letting the music play twice was just right for each of us to get a chance to be leader. Because part of the celebration of Purim involves wearing masks and costumes, we followed that ritual dance by putting on masks (Neskaya has a varied collection) and waving scarves. The music was a piece that Pablo brought from South America. I really enjoyed watching everybody swirling through the room waving scarves, hidden by masks, in some ways it felt like the dance floor was filled with spirits.
After break I put on the music for “Bells of Norwich” and we just started dancing to it. It’s simple and well-known so I didn’t have to teach. The song is based on the story of Julian of Norwich: “…let the winter come and go.. All shall be well again I know.” We did the Bach Sun Meditation, one of the first choreographed sacred circle dances, and David Melech, a song/dance about King David in which he goes to sleep at the end. Judy Felsen, our expert in Jewish holidays, especially the esoteric meanings, told us that a sleeping king fit right into the symbolism of Purim. We followed that by The Awakening, a lovely dance, celebrating the awakening of Spring and of our hidden nature (another theme of Purim). Then we did Kore, another dance from the beginnings of Circle Dance. It was choreographed by Kalliroi K Ortmann from dancing female figures on a Greek vase. The music is from Mikis Theodorakis, a great contemporary Greek composer. Kore is the archetypal spring dance for the Equinox, it reminds us of the emerging of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, from her six month sojourn in the Great Below. We followed with Danza Solar, again celebrating the sun, day’s triumph over night, and ended the evening with our usual Midwives dance, coming into a hug at the end.
For more on the story of Kore/Persephone, see post for March 21, 2010