Gypsy Caravan Workshop: Duende

It's the start of dance workshop season around here... well, for me at least!  Sunday I went with my troupemate, Amy, to Philadephia to take some workshops with Paulette Rees-Denis of Gypsy Caravan.

Amy had lent me Paulette's book, Tribal Vision and as soon as I finished reading it I was hungry to learn more from Paulette.  I was so excited when I found out that she was going to be in the area so I could experience her teaching and dance philosophy first-hand.  The workshops did not disappoint, and Paulette was was warm, grounded, and a clear teacher.

The theme for the day was duende, a quality of passion and inspiration.  My personal interpretation for the purposes of dance is dancing your truest self.

Paulette led us through a Tribal Trance Dance session, where we explored various forms of movement individually as well as with a partner and with the whole group.  I don't want to break the sacred and confidential nature of the work we did that day by going into too much detail, but I will say that it was a wonderful experience.  On a personal level, it was very satisfying to release any negative or stagnant energy by moving in a new way, allowing more room for my inner self to have more of a voice.  Also, it was an especially fun way to build a deeper bond with my troupemate and connect with the other dancers at the workshop.

Paulette is obviously passionate about developing true community among dancers, and I really respect her for that.  We're experiencing a period in tribal bellydance where many dancers are trying to make a name for themselves by creating sub-genres and new formats and, as a result, the community can seem somewhat fractured.  The sense of community is what really drew me into tribal bellydance in the first place, and it is what continues to feed my dancing as I study deeper and perform.  It's so important for us to nurture relationships, because when it comes down to it, we are all working to achieve duende, to honor the dance, and to present the best versions of ourselves.  Isn't it that much sweeter to support one another and in turn be supported on the journey?