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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Highlighting Anahata (Encountering the Dances)

We're getting to know Anahata Iradah, the featured guest Dance Leader and trainer for the 2019 Newton, Iowa Dances of Universal Peace retreat (Dancing Ourselves Awake & The Music and The Dance). We've asked her a few questions and she has been kind and gracious enough to answer them, even while she's travelling in Brazil! We hope you enjoy reading about this as much as we have!


PLM:  Tell us about your first encounter with the Dances of Universal Peace. 

Anahata:  I actually have two first encounters, one actual and one that is shrouded with mystery.

The actual encounter happened through a T.V. show that I was helping to produce in Los Angeles around 1985. I was invited to compose the theme music for a Cable T.V. show called Women to Women. It was an interview show with important women of the time, politicians and such. As a thank you for composing the theme music they gave me my own one show segment. I decided to invite my healing teacher Rosalyn Bruyere to be my featured guest. She was a “natural healer” that was scientifically documented. I wanted to find a medical doctor who was interested in natural healing. Someone told me about a medical doctor in La Canada by the name of Dr. Susan Bennett. I went to meet her and she was delighted to be on the show, because she had always wanted to meet Rosalyn. She gave me her business card and it said “Dr. Susan Bennett Shakura”. I asked her why she had a “funny” last name and she responded that she was a Sufi and did the Dances of Universal Peace, and would I like to come! She told me did it at 4.00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons.

So that was the invitation. So most Sundays, I would go to a friend’s house for a pot luck gathering and one of the women would leave every Sunday to go somewhere. We all had no idea where. Well on the next Sunday this woman got up to leave around 3 p.m. and so did I! She had to leave and I had to leave to go to meet Dr. Susan Bennett Shakura. Well, when I arrived at my destination, low and behold my friend (Linda Gibson) was at this meeting. She said to me “what are you doing here?”. And I said the same to her! It turned out that my friend Linda was Tasnim Fernandez’ guitarist for the Dances and she also played for Shakura. I had my guitar with me and Linda showed me open G tuning and I began my initiation into the Dances of Universal Peace. Shakura introduced me to Tasnim and Tasnim introduced me to Saadi and my career began at this moment.

But the other encounter that is shrouded in mystery could almost be a dream. Some time before I was formally introduced to the Dances in the way I describe above, I participated in a couple of dances. The problem is I cannot recall the context, nor can I trace the leaders of the group who came to share them. What I recall is that I was in some kind of group and an outside person (or people) came to share a few Dances of Universal Peace. As I participated they told me that they thought I was born to dance these dances. I felt myself to be in another world, not of this earth. I even recall that they said they were from the Lama Foundation. Later on when I was firmly connected with Lama I tried to trace the leaders who shared those dances, and no one knew who they could be. So this is why I say the telling of this version of my first encounter is shrouded in mystery. I am grateful it took place, but have no way of verifying whether this was a dream or reality!

Join us for The Music & The Dance or Dancing Ourselves Awake, late April in Newton, Iowa.  Follow the links for more information and to register.  

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