Vana-life ~ Feb. 7th, 2017

Quick Update on everything going on in Vana-life.

Words from Sam:

Wednesday night was such a special night being able to represent The Vanaver Caravan at the United Nations Youth Assembly. We’ve performed at their assemblies a few times in the past, and it has always been a true delight, but this time it really hit home. A collection of permanent ambassadors to the UN were also there representing many countries and it was an absolute honor to perform for them of course, but what was even more remarkable was watching THEM perform! Ambassadors of Denmark, Kingdom of Thailand, Serbia, and the representative of the Secretary General and Head of UN Office in Belgrade formed the UNRocks Music Group and performed a collection of songs for all in attendance. Their first song was John Lennon’s “Imagine” and we couldn’t help but to become emotional removing ourselves from the entertainment and realizing how beautiful it was to see so many representatives from around the world gather together and sing such songs of peace. Wednesday night was inspiring to say the least.


Update from Liv:

Our new found friend and colleague Tugay from Turkey playing music for children from the local villages around Auroville in an expressive arts workshop with Kripa Devi in her beautiful geodesic dome Sankalpa (which means intention or affirmation).

Our new found friend and colleague Tugay from Turkey playing music for children from the local villages around Auroville in an expressive arts workshop with Kripa Devi in her beautiful geodesic dome Sankalpa (which means intention or affirmation).


Follow Miranda's personal blog here!


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"Love and Light" in India

"Love and Light" in India
"Dear Bill and Livia,
Kamura community is profoundly grateful to both of you for the beautifully unforgettable evening you have gifted us. You teach more than steps, always. I wish your tribe of musicians and dancers may grow and spread across the world so that a more compassionate and less violent life is possible. We are deeply inspired to learn more folk dances and songs and take them to people. 

Hope to continue our conversations. Love and light. 

Noushad
For Kamura Art Community
Calicut"

Sneak Peak Into India!

How we started out the new year!

How we started out the new year!

Words from Liv:

Our three weeks in Udaipur were filled with creativity, strengthening community, and deepening relationships. Building towards ShaktiFest with David and Rita, Peace Pole planting on the Shaktipur land, learning traditional Rajasthani dance with Vijay Lakshmi (with pots on our heads!) kept us busy. 

We woke to do yoga every morning at sunrise on the roof of Millets of Mewar Guest House with the VanaMoms and VanaDad Steve (who also provided the most awesome flute music for our performances). We enjoyed rehearsing and doing ballet barre with Margot at sunset on the other end of the rooftop, sunrise walks with Dr. Sareen on Fateh Sagar, eating amazing creatively and lovingly prepared organic food at Millets of Mewar restaurant overlooking Lake Pichola. We worked at a school for the blind doing percussive dance and music with Bharat and his students there.

Working in a school for the blind with Bharat and Bill.

Working in a school for the blind with Bharat and Bill.

On New Years day, we traveled to the village of Molela and performed in their first ShaktiFest Molela. We were thrilled to have tea with the Maharana and Maharani! We began to plan to teach a world dance/ global studies course at Bhopal Nobles College next semester at the request of the Maharana. We continued our planning for the future Shakti Academy of Dance and Healing Arts, dancing with the Kojis (seekers) from Swaraj at Tappovan, Shikshantur and also at Shaktipur. We love meeting new people every day who seem to all connect to the beautiful web of life in Udaipur and building towards a better more vibrant world together here.

Yesterday we got up early and Kabra-ji, our unofficial and totally essential tour manager, was there to help us pack out of the Millets of Mewar Guest House. Joel, Moo, Margot, Bill and I (and all of our instruments and baggage) packed into a car and off we went to Ahmedabad to meet Mallika Sarabhai. 

Wonderful experience spending the afternoon at Darpana in Ahmedabad with dance legend Mallika Sarabhai.  Rebuilding her beautiful academy and major amphitheatre.  Bill and I attended her theatre company's rehearsal tonight. Feeling so grateful to be here together.

Wonderful experience spending the afternoon at Darpana in Ahmedabad with dance legend Mallika Sarabhai.  Rebuilding her beautiful academy and major amphitheatre.  Bill and I attended her theatre company's rehearsal tonight. Feeling so grateful to be here together.

We arrived at Darpana Academy, founded by her mother and now directed by Mallika, and settled down to lunch at the cafe.  Very worth googling and looking at YouTube clips and learning about the amazing and ground-breaking work she and her mother have done in Indian Dance.  Mallika also played the lead years ago in Peter Brooks Mahabarata production that played at The Harvey at BAM.  We got a tour of Darpana and watched some classes in Bharata Natyam, as the future structure of what will be their renovated amphitheater and then it was time for Moo, Margot and Joel to drive back to Udaipur. 

Parting ways in Ahmedabad.

Parting ways in Ahmedabad.

Joel was hoping to meet Mallika's son Revanna, as suggested by David and Rita.   Oddly enough,  an hour after they left, Bill and I were in the cafe and I wanted to take one of my notorious 20 minute catnaps.  Bill looked around for someone to talk to and found this lovely young man eating dinner.  After about 15 minutes we realized he was Mallika's son! Then her daughter came over to us and said,  "I remember when you two taught a Master class/ workshop at Sarah Lawrence on the use of traditional dance and rhythms in creative work." What a small world.  At 7:30 we got to see a rehearsal of their dance company in a medley of Indian folk dances.  Beautiful, heartfelt and joyful.  This morning we watched one of the dancers, a veteran of Mallika's company for 23 years, teach kalaripayatu, Indian martial art... amazing.  Joel would have loved this too!  Then I got to take a yoga class at Darpana before leaving for the airport.  Meanwhile, yesterday on the way to Ahmedabad, I contacted Kashmirah Shah in the States who taught us our first Indian folk dances in 1990 and who gave us the set of beautiful Gujarati costumes that we use in our school dance residencies.  Some of you may remember making the world dance videos with Kashmirah on the stage of Studley Theatre in the Old Main Building at SUNY New Paltz in the early 90's. We knew Kashmirah had grown up in Ahmedabad and wanted her advice about a place to stay.  True to the warmth and hospitality we have experienced all over India, her cousin/ brother, Jaypal, met us this morning at the hotel, spent time with us and drove  us to the airport to fly out to Kochi (next adventure).  

The Caravan is in India!

Did you know?

The Vanaver Caravan established a partnership umbrella in India called Shakti Caravan? Click that link to learn more, follow Miranda's personal blog to stay updated, and read this wonderful article about a celebration in Udaipur.

It was such a powerful way to start the year. Traveling into a small village about 2 hours away from Udaipur where Big Medicine created Molela Shakti Sunday. Over a thousand people attended. Bharat’s group, the Heartbeators performed along with lots of local folks and our Youth Dance Company danced 6 pieces interspersed throughout the evening. Margot Abrahams who teaches ballet during SummerDance, danced to Leonard Cohen’s Halleluyah to the music beautifully arranged by Bill and performed by Steve Kent on flute, Bill on guitar and the Youth Company singing harmony on the chorus. This was a place where we were definitely in the minority and were treated so warmly amidst the curiosity andendless selfie requests. It was an honor to be part of this festival.....the first time for this village.
— Words from Livia
Dancing with the Heartbeators in Udaipur.

Dancing with the Heartbeators in Udaipur.


Spring Dance begins Monday, January 9, 2017 -
Register Now!

     ** NOTE FOR MaMA IN STONE RIDGE CLASSES: Route 213 over Rondout Creek bridge construction. The bridge carrying Route 213 over the Rondout Creek will be closed to traffic throughout our whole semester. A signed detour will direct Route 213 onto Cottekill Road. Please plan accordingly!

Weekend Reflections

Well, our show went smoothly on Sunday at the Ellenville High School. Into the Light filled the audience with warmth as we danced dances from Sweden, Poland, India, Nigeria... As we danced Chanukah and Christmas dances, and celebrations of light and the winter solstice. Accompanied by our musicians and the singers of Barely Lace, the theater was full of authentic sounds and beautiful music. Our story of young Lucia was welcomed by all as Neve Parker did an extraordinary job with her beautiful dancing. 

Rehearsals starting early Sunday, with dancers of all ages coming together. When not on stage, we readied ourselves backstage and helped prepare costumes and Arm-of-the-Sea's puppets. The CaravanKids from Ellenville joined us and fit right in, making friends easily with our little dancers from New Paltz. 

We had a wonderful time sharing our dance and celebration with all, as we always do. 

Preparing for Into the Light! L-R: Neve Parker, Rafal Pustelny, Livia Vanaver (front), Emily Vanston, Gustavo Caldas, Robert Melikyan, Samantha Lawton, Brian Lawton (front)

Preparing for Into the Light! L-R: Neve Parker, Rafal Pustelny, Livia Vanaver (front), Emily Vanston, Gustavo Caldas, Robert Melikyan, Samantha Lawton, Brian Lawton (front)


UP NEXT: FOLLOW OUR ADVENTURE AS WE EMBARK TO INDIA!
Check out Shakti Caravan to see some of the great things we have been working on in India. 


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