DANCING THE ECSTATIC: A RITUAL OF SURRENDER
Throughout the ages, dance has been used as a vehicle of expressing spirit. This purity and passion of expression is often lost when dancers are concerned with technique and choreography. By focusing solely on perfecting technique, dancers can lose the spontaneity and passion needed for an effective performance. In this workshop, we will explore ways of having the best of both worlds; blending refined technique while surrendering to the character, music, spirit, and energy of a piece. This will allow for dancers to deliver more effective and more powerful performances.
The workshop will involve an amalgam of techniques designed to both inspire and challenge participants. We will learn a short combination and practice it with different musical selections. After this we will employ specific visualization exercises to increase our awareness of the energy and movement in the piece.
This workshop is suitable for dancers of all levels.
Aria Michaels Paradise is the founder/ Artistic Director of ABRAXAS Dance Theatre, and producer of events including Rara Avis, Alchemy, Paradox, Revelations, and the ongoing series Muse: A Theatrical Bellydance Project. She also served as co- producer of the monthly event Belly Dance Underground.
Aria’s extensive background in movement and the arts includes advanced training in ballet, modern, jazz, belly dance, gymnastics, and piano. She is a former member of the State Ballet of Rhode Island where she performed in contemporary works as well as romantic ballets such as Giselle and Coppelia. It was during a performance of Giselle where Aria first discovered how art can highlight, honor, and celebrate the journey to the underworld: exploring the paradox of beauty and the grotesque, and mourning the temporary while celebrating the eternal. The celebration of narrative found in Romantic ballets is evident in Aria’s solo and group choreography, as she often returns to her classical roots for artistic inspiration.
Aria began her study of belly dance in 2001 with Sabra Jamal, and from 2008 – 2009 performed with Johara’s Snake Dance Theater. In 2011 Aria founded ABRAXAS Dance Theatre which is focused on delving into the collective unconscious, and tapping into myth, media, literature, and art through the ritual of theatrical dance. As a solo artist Aria has performed nationally and internationally in theatrical events including Raven’s Night, Lumen Obscura, Waking Persephone, Cabaret Danse Macabre, and the New York Theatrical Bellydance Conference.
Aria holds graduate degrees in art history and clinical social work, is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society for outstanding graduate work, and is currently an independently licensed psychotherapist, Reiki Master, tarot reader, and owner of ABRAXAS Intuitive Arts.