Myri met me at the airport in Salvadore, Bahia and we were whisked off to a hotel on the beach for two days of R and R. Having just come from a month of traveling and teaching across the mainland USA I was delighted to have the time to rest and prepare myself for the next stage of my round the world teaching Tara adventure.
It was quite a contrast, flying from snowy upstate New York to steamy equatorial weather. This first event of my Brazilian tour was a first in many ways. Myri had arranged for me to teach a group of adults in a four day retreat, how to teach children the dance drama I created, Tara Tames the 8 Fears.
The retreat center was privately owned by a friend of Myri’s. Once an exclusive horse farm, the surroundings were elegant, the practice room enormous. We were given a palatial house for our residence.
The attendees were delighted with the material and danced with the abandon of children. They were also intrigued with the philosophy demonstrated through the dance drama and we had some lively discussions. The eight fears are our negative emotions personified by fearful elements in ancient Asian society.
We started with a traditional gesture of dance that I modified from my Classical Indian Dance Training. I call it Earth Blessing.
Today I will do my best
I do it humbly
As I open to the world
I am a dancer
All the world is carried inside of me
Mother Earth, we ask your forgiveness and your blessing
Divine Ones, Angels, Buddhas, Protectors
Please come and make this a good class.
We then progressed through the preliminary dances of The Prayer of Motivation, Refuge and Bodhicitta and Shantideva’s Prayer, all in Portuguese. Myri had arranged for Ricardo to provide live music and Maya as my most excellent translator.
Each session we focused on one of the fears. We started with the Snake of Jealousy, the easiest of the emotions for children to relate to. We then progressed through The Fire of Anger, The Lion of Arrogance, The Elephant of Ignorance, The Ocean of Desire, The Thief of Wrong Ideas, The Prison of Greed and the Demon of Doubt.
The last day the group performed for the wonderful staff who arranged for our food and comfort, and the charming owner of the center.
Tara Dhatu South America has taken this as one of their main projects, to raise the money for the music to be translated, recorded, the songbook to be printed, and the teachings to be recorded as a DVD. When we have all these materials developed we will establish a training program with the intent to take the material into the schools.
We ended the retreat with a day at the beach.
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