Monday, January 16, 2017

Winter/Spring 2017 Class Offerings

Snake Charming 101 with Cathy Stoyko
Monday evenings 6-7:15PM
Classes start on Mon. Feb. 13th 
*No class on March 20th, Easter April 17th, and May 22nd long weekend
8 week session/$80 or $15 drop in
Mixed level class. Min 5, max 10. Register in person at the first class.  
Explore the ancient mythology and symbolism of the serpent through movements that draw on Middle Eastern and Indian traditional/scared dances. Focus will be on slow sinuous movements, undulations, isolations, floor work (bring knee pads if you have sensitive knees), building core strength, working with partners and in a group. Over the next 2 week sessions we will learn a ‘snakey’ fusion choreography by building on combinations practiced in class. Students that commit to attending until June will have the opportunity to perform the dance learned in class at the Abbey Studio Halfa on June 17th (performing is optional).
This is a continuation from last session but new students are welcome to join. Participants are welcome to bring offerings and/or special personal objects to class for the altar.

Arcana Dea Dance Performance Group
Mondays 7:30-9PM
Starting Jan. 30th, ongoing until the Hafla on June 17, 2017
*Closed group practice for continuing students only

Morning Shimmy Shakedown with Cathy Stoyko
Tuesday mornings 9:30-10:45 AM
Classes start Feb. 10th, drop in $15 or $60 /6 classes
Start the day with a fun, high energy dance workout that draws on various styles of bellydance, ecstatic dance and Romani dance with focus on shimmies, shaking, vibrations and rocking movements. No complex choreography just dancing for joy, health and release!
A great way to energize your body/spirit and sample a variety of dance styles. Come and try the first class, classes will run ongoing if there are at least 5 people registered for min. 6 weeks. 
Beginners and new students welcome! 

Adult Ballet with Laurie Montemurro
Thursdays 5:45-6:45PM
Starting Jan. 26th, ongoing until June 2017 
$15 drop in, $72 / 6 weeks, 12 weeks $130
Words from Laurie~ 
Ballet is the physical art of moving in geometrical precision with grace and dignity. Using traditional and non traditional ballet techniques we will be ballerinas within our own bodies, safely. Focus points for the class will be physical alignment, dancing as a corps and personal style. 
Comfortable clothing and cotton socks are suitable garb.
$15 drop in, $72 / 6 weeks, 12 weeks $130, min 5, max 10

Romany aka ‘Gypsy’ Dance with Cathy Stoyko
Thursdays 7:30-8:45PM 
Weekly classes start Feb. 9th, ongoing until the June Hafla 2017, 8 week/$80 or $15 drop in
Explore dances from the Romany trail (North India, N. Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey and beyond). 
A fun high energy class that combines technique, excersices and combinations that built to a choreoraphy. Some review in class of dances from previous sessions. Opportunities to perform and create costumes for those who commit for the full Winter/Spring session. New students are welcome to join but some related dance experience is recommended. 
Plans for the Winter/Spring session are to review Russian Rom and Kalbelia dances and, learn a new Berber choreography that celebrates the beauty and power of women and community, lots of shimmying and zagareets!
No drop ins after March 30th as we will be focusing more on choreography and upcoming performances after that date. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dance, Poetry, Whirling and Prayer

   Soon my dear friend and teacher Farima Berenji will be here in Cumberland for a weekend of dance, poetry, whirling and zikr. This time our magical weekend with Farima falls near Imbolc/St. Brigid's Day/Candlemas/Groundhog Day all festivals that celebrate the awakening of Spring and mark midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox (between the 2nd & 7th of February when calculated as the mid point between the astronomical Winter Solstice and the astronomical Spring Equinox). 

     On Friday February 3rd we will celebrate the returning light and new life emerging with dance performances by Farima, her Comox Valley Simorgh Dance Collective, Arcana Dea Dance and visiting dancers.  Following the dance performances, with Farima’s guidance we will learn personal and spiritual Sema or Sufi Whirling as well as other turning practices, while listening to sacred poetry and music. Feel free to bring a percussion instrument or a poem to share. People that wish to participate in the Sema Gathering are encouraged to wear white or light coloured clothing and, socks or soft soled shoes are recommended for whirling. Doors open at 7:30PM, performances 8PM-9PM, Sema Gathering 9-10PM. All are welcome and admission is sliding scale $10-$15 payable at the door. 

     Also, plan to join us at the Abbey Studio on Saturday, Feb. 4th for a Zikr led by Farima. Zikr is a sufi meditation practice which uses repetitive simple movements and rhythmic chanting as a form of devotion. This evening event is also open to everyone and is done seated, either on the floor or on a chair making it accessible for those with mobility issues. All are welcome to attend on a pay at the door/by donation basis. For more information about these upcoming events call Cathy at (250) 218-0704 or email cdstoyko@uniserve.comThe Abbey Studio is located at the corner of 1st & Penrith Ave. in Cumberland and is wheel chair accessible. 

      Farima is a dance artist and scholar who travels worldwide to perform and teach dance and wellness. Farima and I met four years ago in Turkey when I was there for participating in her 'Awakening Artemis' retreat, since then the Comox Valley has been a stop on her international touring schedule. It's been exciting for me to see the interest in her work  and Persian dance grow and blossom here in the Comox Valley! For more information about Farima and Simorgh Collective visit