An Original Tara Dancer – Alecia Bay Laurel in Japan

Alecia performing in Okinawa, friend Mingo performs improvisational dance to Alecial's autobiographical song "1966".

Alecia Bay Laurel was a well known name in the 60’s. She wrote a book called “Living On The Earth” which was kind of like a bible for the off the grid nature lovers of the time. She lived on Maui and was part of the circle we called the  “Maui Family” and was one of the original Tara Dancers. Out of the blue I received this note from her……


Hello my dear, long unseen but not forgotten, friend,

I am in the midst of my fifth annual 2 month concert tour plus gallery show in Japan.

I have many wonderful friends here, and I am happy to report that the Tara Dance is alive and well in Japan.  My friend Mana Koike has helped organize some of them.  I visited Fumon-ji temple in Ako City, which is dedicated to Quan Yin (called Kannon here) where the head priestess, a Zen Buddhist nun known as Eiyu Sensei, has participated in Tara Dance.  You are much loved here, and your influence continues to grow, with the Tara verses translated into Japanese.  Mana produced in Hawaii a CD performed by my friend Sachiho Kudomi and others, of songs dedicated to Tara (I’m in the background vocal choir).

I am proud to tell people here I was one of your initial group of students to learn the Tara dance.

This week I met two young dancers from Tokyo named Mika and Miho who have received a sacred dance and I wanted to share about them with you.

Dance for Amamiko, Mother Goddess of Japan

Five years ago they met a woman shaman from Kudaka Island (just east of the southern end of Okinawa’s main island), which is said to the place first created by the mother goddess Amamiko, mother of all of the Shinto gods and goddesses.  The woman shaman presented them with five drawings of dance gestures and asked them to create a dance for Amamiko based on these

Dance of Kannon (Quan Yin)

gestures, which they did.  It is truly a gorgeous dance, and I watched them teach it to about 15 women this week.  I am attaching some photos.

A couple of years later, they personally received a transmission for a dance dedicated to Kannon.  Some of the photos are of that

dance.  The dances have no words, and are accompanied by a sparce drumming, in the style of Noh.  Miho and Mika wear blue kimonos and Sachiho is in a red kimono.  Miho is featured in my Amamiko photos.  She is trained in ballet and modern dance, and also Noh and Buttoh.

I wish you all joy and blessings, and hope our paths will cross again some beautiful day.

With love and respect,

Alicia Bay Laurel

Alecia's drawing of Amaterasu, the Shinto Sun Goddess. She's a cloud floating over downtown Tokyo, where the gallery that requested it is.

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