Tutor: Laura Shannon
LAURA SHANNON is known worldwide for her pioneering approach to traditional women’s dances as tools for healing and transformation.
Traditional Greek, Balkan and Armenian dances embody an ancient worldview of sustainability, community, and reverence for the earth. Blending folk dance, circle dance and dance/movement therapy, Laura’s teaching seeks to rekindle this awareness and to rediscover the hidden wisdom encoded in the dances.
Having researched and taught traditional women’s ritual dances since 1987, Laura is considered to be one of the ‘grandmothers’ of the circle dance movement, and brings her inspiring workshops, performances and trainings to over twenty countries.
Laura’s caring, innovative approach to traditional dance bridges the authenticity of the folk-dance world with the spiritual intention of the circle dance world. She sees the dances both as a nonverbal language and as a form of spiritual practice, passed down from our ancestors in the human family. Traditional ritual dances also channel and magnify a physical experience of positive energy, akin to the chi we can experience in body-based movement practices such as t’ai chi or qi gong. In traditional dance, just as in those practices, this awakened flow of energy or life force helps to support healing and transformation on all levels.
She trained in Intercultural Studies (1986) and Dance Movement Therapy (1990), and holds the M.A. in Myth, Cosmology, and the Sacred at Canterbury Christ Church University in England. Her primary research in Balkan and Greek villages seeks out songs, dances, rituals and textile patterns which descend from the Goddess cultures of Neolithic Old Europe, and which embody an ancient worldview of sustainability, community, and reverence for the earth. In 2018 Laura was chosen as an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Sacred Dance Guild in recognition of her ‘significant and lasting contribution to dance as a sacred art’
She has been leading dancing journeys to Morocco since 2015, sometimes two holidays per year. She is very much in love with the people, especially the women’s wisdom, landscape and traditions which tie in so strongly with her studies in Europe.
Laura was the inspiration for the women’s embroidery project which we launch in Morocco to support this dying art.