singer – percussionist – dancer – director – author
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.
This workshop focuses on releasing blockages of energies, and break the imaginary “spiderweb”
of the subconscious mind.
Through this work, Alessandra has helped transform many people’s lives through the years.
This elegant and sensual dance from Naples is performed by couples playing castanets to the rhythm of the large drum, called the Tammorra. The dance movements have a strong Spanish and Middle Eastern flourish, with many recognizable movements of the Flamenco and Belly Dance traditions. These movements are set to the beat of African 4/4 rhythms. The Tammorriata is based upon an improvisational style of drumming and singing usually enacted during the summer rituals in honor of the ancient Earth Goddess Cybele, and later, the Black Madonna.
This erotic and dynamic ritual dance originated as a cure for the mythical bite of the Tarantula, a condition causing a mental disease called tarantismo, which afflicted mainly women (tarantate) in Southern Italy. The wild rhythm of the Pizzica, played on medium size tambourines and accompanied by dance was performed as an exorcism ritual which produced a trance-like state beneficial for the healing of many disorders and imbalances. As part of a re-enactment of this healing ritual, Alessandra will lead the participants in a circle dance accompanied by her magic tambourine 6/8 rhythm and singing. During the ritual each student will learn the steps of the Pizzica, which means “ bite,” building up to a culmination where each student will enter the circle and lay down upon a white sheet, surrounded by red ribbons, and emulate “Spider” like movements on the ground, releasing stress and blockages of sexual energy, as well as opening the heart and throat chakras. The dance comes to completion as each participant dances their way out of an imaginary “Spider Web.”
This is a Renaissance folk dance which is done in pairs which is very popular in Italy and throughout the Mediterranean. It contains both fast, energetic steps and combined arm and leg movements which improve coordination. This invigorating dance had been called by Alessandra’s students ‘Italian Aerobics”.
This dance originating in Calabria during the Middle Ages evokes the elegant and meditative movements of the Whirling Dervish ceremonies of the Sufis. This dance was used during the time of the plague to heal people and as a release from overpowering fears of death. Due to the trance-inducing movements and incessant spinning many people enter ecstatic states during this dance. The session ends with a meditation utilizing a chant to the Sun, Jesce Sole, in the Lydian scale. The calming and lilting harmonies of this chant combined with the ocean drum guides students into complete relaxation. Participants emerge feeling light and joyful after this healing journey through sound and dance…
During the week in Tuscany, each morning before Alessandra’s drumming and dancing teachings, Gaia, owner of La Chiara di Prumiano, will lead special puppet-making workshops.
Participants will chose a Tarot card at the beginning of the week, whether a Magician, a Star or the Moon, and will work with that card’s symbolism as they create their own puppet representation.
Using colorful fabrics, paints, feathers, and flowers, participants will create their unique puppets to take home as part of their transformational experience.
Gaia comes from a lineage of master theatre artists and has developed her own style of Tarot Puppetry. Truly a unique opportunity!
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