Alleluia Dance Theater: COME TO THE WATER a Dance retreat by Stella Matsuda

Dance/Prayer Retreat
Holy Spirit Retreat Center, Encino, CA
 January 15-17, 2016

 We entered into the year 2016, with our thoughts focused on water as a precious commodity in our lives. As we gather together to praise God with our entire being, “Be the drop that falls and becomes one with water to freely float in times of sorrow or joy. Dance like waves along the wind as it touches the surface. Listen and know that water becomes the voice of Life, the voice of Being, the voice of Becoming.”

            This weekend retreat workshop was one of prayer and dance. We began with dinner. We connected deeply with the energizing and healing power of the image of water in our lives through meditation, drumming and movement.    IMG_9986.jpg 

On Saturday, we flow through gentle stretching, into dance technique and the exploration of movements as well as to learn dances based on the theme. Experiencing the water quality of qi-gong breathing will lead us into a deeper awareness and connect us to all aspects of who we are. After dinner, we will close with a water blessing.

            Then on Sunday morning, we gather together in ceremony to share and celebrate in this sacred space all we have experienced together.


Of Winds and Time

Our scripture theme was Isaiah 55:1–“Come all who are thirst, come to the water.”  Em did drumming/dancing on Friday night. She taught “Waves of Grace” (our theme song and dance from Festival 2015) as well as simple prayer in motion to our theme song of John Foley’s “Come to the Water.”  The next day, Stella taught Qigong, a bit of Tai Chi, did dance warm-ups. Then one of our ADT2 Dancers, Carrie Wilcox, taught movement across the floor and a short combination to Eva Cassidy’s “Wade in the Water. ”  We then created in groups the other verses of “Come to the Water.” Those who were not dancing became our choir. In the afternoon, we discussed Carolyn McDade’s song “Come Drink Deep, ” learned simple movements to it, and then had a time of meditation, focusing on water and this song in particular. In the evening, we had a water blessing, using shells and candles, each person reading a (given) quote on sea shells. Emmalyn and Stella closed with a dance “Alleluia.” On Sunday, we warmed up again with QiGong, Tai Chi, dance warm-ups, reviewed all the dances we had learned and created, and then at 11:00, had a closing celebration.


River God

ADT2 Sharon Hasegawa performed River God choreographed by Evelyn Okamoto and the ADT2 Company also performed a piece, choreographed by Stella to Lou Harrison based on the poem, written by the Roman poet Ovid—“There is nothing constant in the universe; all ebb and flow and every change that;s born, Bears in its womb, the seed of change.”


Dancing to Carolyn McDade’s “Come Drink Deep”

Stella Matsuda

Alleluia Dance Theater (ADT) is a Christian, not-for-profit, public benefit corporation, founded in 1977. We encourage people of all faiths and denominations to participate in our dance retreats and classes. We also perform in concerts, worship services and celebrations. Each company member has trained in dance, danced professionally and teaches dance in studios, schools and/or colleges. Stella Matsuda is the artistic director; Stella, a graduate of UCLA and dancer with Gloria Newman Dance Theater,  recently was selected to be a main presenter at the last SDG Festival. As past president for SDG, she has continually taught and performed for not only SDG, but for many other organizations in the U.S., including Hawaii.  The other leader for this retreat was Emmalyn Moreno, a dancer and musician, who has an MA in Music Ethnology/Dance. She has been a major part of Sacred Dance Guild, having written the theme song for the organization, and for many of their Festivals.  They will both be featured dance clinicians for the United Methodist Arts, Dance and Music week in Lake Junaluska this summer2016 


Our altar for “Come to the Waters” with Emmalyn Moreno and Stella Matsuda

Posted in Body Prayer, Choreography, Dance, Liturgical dance, moving meditation, Religious dance, Sacred Dance

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