Avalon invites members of our community to participate in the creation of a World Rhythms Ensemble. This performing group will dedicate its expression to global peace, education and understanding. This initiative will involve dance choreography and vocal training by some of Avalon's professional artists.  We will create performance opportunities in Avalon events, community festivals and our School Residency Program for multicultural art, whole health and sustainability education.


CONCEPT

This interdisciplinary program draws upon multiple themes and media in the production of world music choreographed with rhythmic movement. The performances incorporate different artistic expressions including song, dance, sacred ritual, visual art, drums and other instruments. Performances also uniquely integrate various thematic concerns that reflect an understanding of ethnology and ritual-based practices, ecology, social justice issues, and universal spiritual values. 



THEMATIC VALUES
 
The five thematic values described below will be implicit in this ensemble and conveyed to the audience through their experience and enjoyment of performances.


Celebration of nature and the sacred elements of water, air, fire and earth:  Drawing inspiration from the natural world and diverse spiritual traditions, we embody the natural elements and animal and plant kingdoms by choreographing ritual movements, sounds and visual art, demonstrating the beauty and importance of a close relationship between humans and nature. We explore how the cycles of nature also relate directly to our own cycles through ritual enactment. In this way we regard the body as holding natural patterns and sacred values instead of the objectified images of mass culture. We want to unite the beautiful patterns and rhythms of the natural world with the love of the human body and spirit.

Honouring the sacred feminine and masculine:  We remember our moving bodies as inspired works of art within creation. Men, women and children are given a safe space to express their wholeness and beauty without objectification. We affirm the creative and life-affirming aspects of sensuality connected with our hearts and spirits.

Multiculturalism and unity-in-diversity: The performances reflect different ethnic heritages and awakens us to the powerful presence of the cultural mosaic across the world. An authentic basis of multiculturalism is that we are all children of Mother Earth. When we delve into global indigenous traditions, symbols and art forms that honour and celebrate the natural world, we discover a common basis for unity-in-diversity and restore this level of meaning back into our lives.

Using our bodies through dance, our voices through incantations and song, and the music and instruments of our ancestors, we bring the ancient and the modern together into the new millennium, demonstrating the power and richness of the human spirit united. One ultimate tribe, one humanity, all sharing and learning from one another, praising and celebrating life. We weave many different kinds of vocal sounds, movements, instruments, colours and textures into a beautiful tapestry of our planetary cultures.

Artistic expression as embodied spiritual practice: The performances celebrate world music and dance as sacred art forms that are creative and joyful for the human spirit. The audience is engaged in feeling the essence of our humanity through uplifting voice and movement. We are brought back to the simple but powerful melodies and movements that we carry inside of our own bodies and spirits. We learn to live in our world and bring meaning into that world through sacred art. We reawaken the qualities of wonder, hope and awe, and discover true power in humility, presence, love, responsibility, gratitude, authenticity, openness and wisdom. Our responsibility includes the action of being present and the ability to respond to any human being from the heart. We create a direct experience of breaking down barriers, of creative unifying energy beyond gender or cultural identities.

Recognizing music and art as healing power: The inspired melodies and rhythms draw on ancient knowledge of music healing, guiding emotional and molecular responses towards re-establishing harmony on all levels of our being. According to Karen Angle, music healing works on many different levels: "physically, by vibrating the molecules in the environment into patterns and shapes (the science of Cymatics); physiologically, as vibrations enter and harmonize the bodies own resident frequencies; and psychologically, genuinely and vibrantly expressing the sentiments of people, evoking memories and archetypical images with a healing intensity". In the same way that the new paradigm of health is bringing eastern and western medicine together, our unique ensemble combines ancient Earth-based traditions with new millennium science.
 

PROCESS

The World Rhythms Ensemble seeks to create a performing group with diversity in age, gender and cultural background. We aspire to include a wide range of musical repertoire, from contemporary consciousness-raising inspirations to ancient folk songs. Our on-going program will provide professional training in singing, dance and instrumentation for participants. The group members will be exchanging roles as much as possible, sometimes playing instruments, other times singing or dancing. Through the process of interpersonal sharing and research into cultural and artistic traditions, combined with our own inspired creativity, the ensemble members will choreograph performances that reflect Avalon production themes or educational content.

We will support these expressions with hand-crafted musical instruments, colourful costumes and imaginative backdrops. Larger productions may include more advanced stage lighting and audiovisual support to enhance our artistic expression and expand learning for the audience. The instruments that we will use to orchestrate new musical compositions may include classical ones like the violin or harp, or indigenous ones like the congo, jembe, talking drum, native hand drum, rattles, bells, and a variety of flutes, sticks and shakers. The costumes would vary greatly, ranging from middle eastern folk wear to native clothing accented by feathers, beads, body paints and ethnic jewellery.

The ensemble will be based mainly in the Okanagan valley area. We will organize some performing opportunities at local seasonal festivals and for some events and outreach activities of the Avalon Alliance. Some members of the group may aspire to go on tour to other communities to perform, and may also become part of our School Residency Program.

We are now inviting Avalon community members to apply to become a member of the World Rhythms Ensemble. We do not require that applicants be skilled artists already, but we do expect that they are willing to dedicate themselves on a regular basis to evolving their singing and dance abilities. There will be a monthly fee involved to cover our overhead and professional management and training by our music director, dance choreographer, drum and instrument teachers. Avalon welcomes community sponsorships to help cover the additional costs involved in set design, costumes, lighting and other performance requirements. 

Faculty:  TBA

Date and Times: Practices first & third Wednesdays of the month, starting Sept 5, 2012   7:00pm - 9:00pm

Venue:  TBA

Cost:  (ongoing quarterly fee)

Registration Notes: Please dress comfortably and bring instruments and other props if you have them.
 

Click here to go to the Registration Page.