Alessanra_Workshop15th annual Healing Dance and Percussion Workshop from Southern Italy, RHYTHM IS THE CURE, AUGUST 17 to 24, 2015, in a splendid Renaissance Villa in the magical hills of Tuscany, Italy

Rhythm is the Cure is a 7-day intensive healing workshop featuring Southern Italian ritual dances used as music and dance therapy for centuries throughout the Mediterranean. Participants will learn the unique style of tambourine playing and the ancient healing trance dance of the tarantella, used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula.

La Chiara di Prumiano, a beautiful 17th century villa set high in the rural hills of Tuscany’s Chianti Classico vineyards, hosts our group of about twenty-five women and men who come from all over the world. As their guest, you’ll stay in a spacious and comfortable room that boasts windows with shutters that open onto the surrounding shimmering olive groves.

The sessions feature the ancient chants used as an invocation to the healing energy of the sun, the Black Madonna (the ancient Earth Goddess of female energy), the moon, and the Goddess of Water and Love (Aphrodite/Yemanja/Madonna del Mare).

Taught by Internationally renowned percussionist/singer Alessandra Belloni the Objectives of the workshop are:

–To introduce the participants to the rich rhythm and dance tradition of Southern Italy known as the tarantella, an ancient form of music and dance therapy used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula.

–To learn the history of this powerful tambourine style, originally done mainly by women, which dates back to the rites of the Mother Earth Goddess Cybele, now worshiped as the Black Madonna.

–To bring women back in touch with their lost drumming tradition.

–To learn the powerful Italian tamburello technique and to come to understand the healing and stress-relieving effect of these rhythms and dances.

–To make the participants feel part of community-healing rituals as they use their bodies in movements that help open the energy points such as the Heart Chakra-by holding the frame drum close to the heart-and the Root Chakra-by doing movements that help participants stay grounded.

–To release blockages of emotional and sensual energies through the Pizzica dance of liberation, therefore expelling any feelings of depression and repression.

Students will learn the following ritual dances and rhythms:

TAMMORRIATA – This is a beautiful, sensual dance from Naples danced with castanets to the rhythm of the large drum, called Tammorra. The movements and rhythm are set to an African beat played in 4/4 time. This powerful dance is done during the rituals held in the summerin honor of the black Madonna, originally ancient rites for the Earth Goddess Cybele.

THE PIZZICA TARANTATA – The wild 6/8 rhythm of the Pizzica, played on medium size tambourines and accompanied by dance and song, was performed as an exorcism ritual that produced a trance-like state beneficial for healing many mental-health disorders and imbalances. As part of a re-enactment of this healing ritual, Alessandra will lead the participants in a circle dance where they’ll create “spider-like” movements on the ground, releasing stress and blockages of sexual energy, as well as opening the heart and throat chakras.

RITMO E DANZA DI SAN ROCCO (SPINNING DANCE) – This dance, originating in Calabria during the Middle Ages. It was danced during the time of the plague to help people release the overpowering fear of death. Due to the trance-inducing movements and incessant spinning, many people enter ecstatic states during this dance, similar to the Whirling Dervish ceremonies.

TARANTELLA ALLA MONTEMARANESE – A fun Carnevale dance in honor of Baccus, god of wine and ecstasy, the Tarantella alla Montemaranese is danced in a circle to a very syncopated 6/8 rhythm while wearing masks and playing castanets. Alessandra ends the sessions ends using the ocean creating the sound of waves in a final relaxation invoking ht healing power of the water.

Cultural Excursion:

An excursion will also take place to the nearby medieval walled city of Siena where we’ll visit the the Black Madonna in the Duomo, followed by a pilgrimage to one of Tuscany’s little-known treasures, the Abbey of San Galgano, a spectacular ruined Cistercian gothic abbey, where the participants will experience a special drumming ceremony. At sunset we will drum while walking up the hill to the extraordinary Hermitage Montesiepi, which has another powerful Black Madonna.

The Rhythm is the Cure Experience:

Rhythm is the Cure is a transformative week filled with intensive study, play, and joy. It’s a time shared with new friends you’ll cherish for years to come all while you are learning the thrilling powers of the Tarantellas of Southern Italy. You’ll draw energy from the earth and sky of Tuscany, be delighted by the culinary delights and hospitality of La Chiara di Prumiano, and be inspired by the artistry and healing energy cultivated by Alessandra. And when you’re not enjoying your lessons in the shaded outdoor studio, you might nibble on fresh figs you just picked in the garden, nap on the sun-drenched lawn, or take a dip in the refreshing swimming pool. The week ends with a final fire ceremony and a party under the stars.

La Chiara’s Extraordinary Food:

Sharing meals together is a special part of each day, and the cooks at La Chiara take this tradition seriously by preparing exquisite breakfasts, lunches, and dinners using old and new concepts in Mediterranean cuisine. The ingredients used include grains and legumes, fresh fish and free-range meats, and of course, seasonal vegetables-many grown organically right on the premises. Each meal contains dishes pleasing to vegetarians and non-vegetarians and organic Chianti wine made at a local vineyard.

Join us for a week you’ll always remember.
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