Wassa Dance and Village Volunteers’ 16th annual Thanks-Giving Dance by Donation

By Lara McIntosh | November 14, 2019

This year's event was a wonderful success! 51 dancers, 7 wonderful musicians and close to $3,000 in that hour and more is coming in!
It's not too late to donate:

We are thrilled to be offering this beloved community event again this year. Come celebrate with us!

Thursday, November 28, 2019
9:00 -10:15 a.m.
9250 14th Ave. NW Seattle WA 98117 (Ballard)
You are invited to our 16th Annual Thanks-Giving Dance by Donation. This gathering has become a beloved event for many local people who enjoy providing an opportunity for economic freedom for women as part of their holiday traditions.
On Thanksgiving morning, join us as we are led in Afro-Fusion movement with Lara McIntosh of Wassa Dance and accompanied by some of the best percussionists in Seattle to raise funds for Mucharange Village Women to provide start up funding to form micro-lending groups in Kiminini-Trans Nzoia County.
All donations are tax deductible and eligible for company matching funds. If you can't attend donate online at https://villagevolunteers.org/donate/.
You can also still send a check to Village Volunteers with Wassa Dance on the memo line to
Village Volunteers
5100 South Dawson St. Suite 202
Seattle, WA 98118

Contact Lara for event questions: lara@wassadance.com
Wassa Dance: www.wassadance.com
Contact Shana at Village Volunteers: shana@villagesolunteers.org
www.villagevolunteers.org
http://www.villagevolunteers.org

Wassa’s Live! Music Sunday Dance 11/10/19

By Lara McIntosh | November 8, 2019

We have a wonderful line up of percussion musicians coming to inspire this month's special Sunday session. Join us!

We’re back with live music Sundays!

By Lara McIntosh | September 3, 2019

One way and another we've been doing these live cross-cultural percussion and movement events  for 25 years. So happy the next series is back for the 2019 September- December season!

Come move in the heart of September rhythms with our live music session Sunday 9/8/19.

Muse for Autumn

By Lara McIntosh | September 3, 2019

This beautiful Gita came back from Mali with me from the first trip there. It's a beautiful instrument. For me, its all about the parts as well. Calabash, pyromancy, cowries, being hand made, acoustic... These alchemical things are among my current autumn muses.

Wassa’s Savory Autumn Intensive

By Lara McIntosh | May 18, 2019

Madrona MindBody Institute
Port Townsend, WA
October 11-13, 2019

Come move in the heart of autumn rhythms for a delicious weekend  of Wassa Dance
 with Lara McIntosh.

This workshop is designed for folks who love to move in a nourishing, structured environment with some of the best music the world has to offer.

Fee for the full weekend  – $260
Friday 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.- Noon & 3:00-6:00 p.m.*
Sunday: 10:00-Noon*
& 1:00-3:00 p.m. *
* schedule subject to change.

Can’t make the weekend? Come for a session or a day!
Single drop-in sessions $35.
Contact lara@wassadance.com for details.

Participants arrange their own transportation, lodging and meals.

Contact Lara for registration and information.

Wassa Dance – March Rhythms

By Lara McIntosh | November 13, 2018

Wassa Dance – March Rhythms
Madrona MindBody Institute
Port Townsend, WA 
March 1-3, 2019

Come as you are and let the rhythms take you deeper.
You are invited for a special weekend of dance and movement meditation as we tune into the transition from late Winter into early Spring with some of the best music the world has to offer.

$250 for the weekend.
Day and single session rates available by request.**
To sign up or for more information:
Lara McIntosh – lara@wassadance.com
Wassa Dance – www.wassadance.com

This workshop is designed for people who love to move in a nourishing, structured environment.

We will meet
Friday 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-Noon & 3:00-6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00-11:30 a.m. & 1:00-3:00 p.m.*
Sunday schedule subject to change

**Drop-ins are especially welcome at our Saturday afternoon 3-6 pm session. $25+written feedback on your experience or $35 and done. Cash & checks only.

Participants arrange their own transportation, lodging and meals.

Several participants are looking into sharing a group lodging arrangement at Fort Worden, I am happy to put you in touch with them.

Contact Lara for registration and information.

Wassa’s Savory Autumn Residency 2018

By Lara McIntosh | July 19, 2018

This annual residency at MMI is a  favorite of mine. This year, I am especially excited to include Marie Chong’s offering in the mix. Her insight and expertise will be a beautiful component of this year’s creative exploration and inspiration.

Wassa’s Savory Autumn Intensive
Madrona MindBody Institute
Port Townsend, WA
October 5 – 7, 2018

You are invited to join us for a delicious weekend  of  Wasssa Dance with Lara McIntosh and a very special Sunday morning session of
GYROKINESIS® with Marie Chong.

This workshop is designed for people who love to move in a nourishing, structured environment with some of the best music the world has to offer.

Fee for the full weekend  – $275*
Friday 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. with Lara
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-Noon & 3:00-6:00 p.m.
with Lara
Sunday: 10:00-11:30 a.m. with Marie
& 1:00-3:00 p.m. with Lara

*Can’t make the weekend? Come for a session or a day! Contact lara@wassadance.com for details.

Participants arrange their own transportation, lodging and meals.

Contact Lara for registration and information.

(GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and are used
with their permission)

Wassa Dance & Village Volunteers’ 14th Annual Thanks-Giving Dance Fundraiser

By Lara McIntosh | November 12, 2017

Wassa Dance & Village Volunteers’ 14th Annual Thanks-Giving Dance by Donation is happening and you are invited!

Thursday November 23, 2017
9-10:15 a.m.
Crown Hill Community Building Gym
9250 14th Ave. NW
Seattle WA 98117

 

 

This gathering has become a beloved event for many who enjoy community, fun and good works as part of their holiday traditions. As always, the event features some of Seattle’s finest percussionists donating their time for the project. 

This year we will dance to raise money for the Wassa Inua Mama (Uplift Women) Fund from Common Ground for Africa. 

The money we raise will provide seed funding for training for 100 young Kenyan women with no business experience about how to work with money. They will learn about bookkeeping, marketing, and personal savings to prepare them for sustaining and managing their own small businesses which are micro-loaned funds through the group. Part of the project includes building a banda (hut) for meetings, sharing ideas, selling seeds and vegetables. 

All donations are tax-deductible and eligible for company matching funds. If you can’t attend, you can donate online at https://villagevolunteers.org/donate/.

Or send a check to Village Volunteers with Wassa Dance on the memo line to Village Volunteers 5100 South Dawson St. Suite 202 Seattle, WA 98118.

Our next Hawaii dance residency is happening! Feb 11-18, 2018

By Lara McIntosh | February 21, 2017

WASSA DANCES WITH ALOHA
February 11-18, 2018
Kalani Oceanside Retreat Center
Big Island, Hawaii

Join us for a very special week of inspiration, ease and joyful vitality.
Come as you are, let the rhythms dance you deeper.

This sweet 7 night island style intensive features daily sessions of movement meditations and personal tuning leading into spirited dance segments in Wassa’s unique ways. Most afternoons and evenings are purposefully left open for participants to enjoy their own experience of the many delights and resources of Kalani and the island
Delicious daily buffet style meals, accommodations and use of Kalani
ʼs grounds, pool and spa are included.
* Spontaneous offerings for group or individual sessions TBA. 

We will be
– cultivating fresh vibrancy in our physical wit and wisdom.
– immersing ourselves in afro-infused dance inspired by some of the best music the world has to offer.
– engaging our senses in the complex natural and cultural beauty that  the Big Island offers. Ocean meets lava, mongoose, wild pigs, tree frogs, bird song, hula, solar power, compost, and not so far away strip malls all co-existing while Pele makes the newest earth in the world. 

IMG_4407

Only a few spots remain.
Lodging options and rates*

 Hale 4
– private room/shared bath – $1,620
– double occupancy/shared bath – $1,368

Mauka Cottage
– single/private bath – $2,705
– double – $1,970

*all prices subject to change without notice for non-registered options

For reservations and information, contact Lara:
lara@wassadance.com

IMG_0370 (1)
Wassa Cancellation Policy: Until November 10, 2017, deposits are refundable minus a $50 administrative fee. After November 10, 2017, there are no refunds on deposits unless I can replace your reservation, $50 administration fee applies.

For island residents or vacationers wishing to attend the daily dance intensive without Kalani lodging or meals, drop-in rates per class and weekly options are available as space allows. Pre-registration is strongly suggested for this option–which also includes a Kalani day pass with each class/series purchased. Lodging and meal options at Kalani may be purchased separately through Kalani.
Here’s our residency listing on Kalani’s site

Kalani Honua Retreat Center: Kalani means Harmony of Heaven and Earth and is located on 19 coastal acres of tropical beauty on the SE coast of Hawaii. Dramatic lava cliffs provide a haven for sunbathers, stargazers, whale watchers and those seeking a deep connection with the earth and sea. Other offerings at Kalani at additional cost include: Hawaiian and Thai massage, Yoga, Bodywork, Watsu (water-based bodywork) and Hawaiiana/Hula Classes.
For more info on Kalani: 
www.kalani.com
To book airport shuttles, please call Kalani’s Guest Services at 800-800-6886  at least a week prior to

 

Thanks-Giving day our 13th Annual Dance by Donation!

By Lara McIntosh | November 9, 2016

I’m so pleased to invite you my favorite event of the Wassa year:

WASSA DANCE AND VILLAGE VOLUNTEERS’
13TH ANNUAL

THANKS-GIVING DANCE BY DONATION

Featuring some of Seattle’s finest percussionists.

COME DANCE WITH US,
EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
Thursday, November 24th, 2016
9:00 -10:15 a.m.
Crown Hill Gym
9250 14th Ave. NW
Seattle WA 98117 (Ballard)

maizeposho-mill-jpg-1ugali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year we will raise funds for Farmers’ Own Flour Mill installed in Khalwenge Village in Kenya and operated by the 27 members of the Tasamana Women’s Group.

The flour mill will provide women with an income to be able to support their families and send their children to school. One third of the profits of the mill are saved in a fund to provide the members with no-interest loans.

Village Volunteers is a 501 C3 nonprofit. All donations are tax-deductible and eligible for company matching funds. If you can’t attend, you can still send a check to Village Volunteers* with Wassa Dance on the memo line. All proceeds raised at this event go directly to the micro-lending project.

Event questions: lara@wassadance.com
Wassa Dance: www.wassadance.com

Project Information, contact Shana at Village Volunteers: shana@villagesolunteers.org
www.villagevolunteers.org
*Village Volunteers

5100 South Dawson St.
Suite 202
Seattle, WA 98118

An ephemeral soundtrack with cowhide, wood, iron, gourds, and a wire from a tire

By Lara McIntosh | January 28, 2024

I’m basking in the glow of this morning’s rare two hour session with live percussion at Balance Studio.
It’s been three years and eleven months since the last time that Caxambu, Denny Stern and Will Matthews have been able to join me for such a unique collaboration. I’ve missed them so.

Since this is not exactly an RSVP event and winter illnesses are definitely a thing, I didn’t know who all would be able to show up and dance. Today was extra special with some folks coming from far, some in for the first time in years, one brand new today. So much love and generosity in that space.
I had thought I might weep when we started as I have missed this kind of offering so much. Instead, I put on my ankle bells and listened for where we would start. Having such a long history with these wonderful musicians, it felt like a fine conversation we simply picked up in the here and now. Hearing the acoustic tones of instruments I love being played by people I love and respect so deeply was a revelation in responsive listening.

It’s always fascinating to watch a room full of beautiful individuals find some kind of communion in movement and rhythm.
This is something that deserves much more reflection and its own writings.

In one of the breaks, I asked the musicians to introduce some of the instruments. Will, the natural teacher, described the origins  and composition of bougarabou and dun-duns he had and how all the drums we had today are specific woods with origins in West African, Afro-Cuban and Haitian traditions and have cow hide heads which makes for the deeper warmer tones that are so suited to melodic percussion. Denny then took up the theme describing the pentatonic marimba (wood), the congas (wood/hide), the iron in the bells, his handmade shakers made from candy and food tins, Caxambu carried the theme describing the gourd resonator on the berimbau and how the wire that attached the two ends of the wooden bow was from one of his tires. The bongos (wood hide. metal) belonged our beloved Mohammed Shaibu who passed.

Bringing in wood, hide, iron, gourd, seeds, all these essences are the physical elementals that resonate so deeply in sonic action and in spirit.

The one thing we all forgot was to take any pictures. As with many of the best things, it was real and now it’s in the ethers.

It was a very good day.

I am in awe.

This is my basket of handheld instruments.

Why live music – it all started with a berimbau, mbira, bongos and a surdo

By Lara McIntosh | January 20, 2024

When I first started teaching in the style I’ve evolved with over the past several decades, I inherited a class from Kristi Rudolph at Physical Culture that featured live drumming every Sunday. As this beloved class slowly became my own, I was discovering instruments from all over the diaspora of African percussion and was curious about creating something more cross-cultural and improvisational in lieu of interpreting traditional rhythms and songs. It was an amazingly foundational, bountiful time for me in terms of exposure to music from Africa both on the radio (KCMU with John Kertzer and WonLdy Paye) and in local bye gone clubs.  I was studying dance with wonderful teachers from Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria and Brazil. It was the late 1980’s early 1990’s in Seattle.  I wanted to honor them and do something different in what I could contribute to Seattle’s percussion and dance communities.

Every Sunday for many years, musicians and I collaborated for these dance classes. Who all has come to play deserves its own story as some of the best in Seattle are a part of it.

While I dearly love curating recorded music mixes and broadening folks’ exposure to some of the depth and breadth and wide ranging expressions of Africa and the diaspora, I’ve always felt the live music collaborations to be the keystone of my dance work. I set the space and musicians ahead of time. From there, based on who comes to dance and which directions the enegies of the sound and movement go, the rest of my movement guidance and where the musicians go is all improvised. It’s hard to describe how edifying it is to be in a room of willing participants making that magic happen in real time.

Our last live music session was in February 2020. Covid closures hit hard. After things started to open up, available spaces that meet the basic needs of accommodating the sound volume of live percussion, a large enough space with a good enough floor at desirable times have been much harder to find. And, frankly I’ve been working weekends at the job that supports my teaching life because that’s how I have guaranteed income.

I’ve been waiting for some kind of ground swell or sign to start back up in whatever iteration might be conjured now.

Recently I was presented with a really rare opportunity to have two hours on a Saturday at Balance Studio, where I’ve been happily teaching for almost ten years with my schedules set around the days and times the owners themselves need. I jumped on it and then realized MAYBE the musicians who had been the rock steady base before Covid might be available?
They said yes. And we’re on.
I can’t wait to be with them and the dancers who show up to contribute their beautiful attunement to the mix. Click here for joining us January 27, 2024

 

A song for December 27, 2023

By Lara McIntosh | December 27, 2023

Often in my Wassa Dance newsletters I include a link to a song that has resonance for me.
Right now with all in the world and the end of this year, this is one of them.
Everything is Recorded – Mountains Gold – featuring Kamasi Washington, Ibeyi, Wiki, Sampha and a brief appearance from Quincy Jones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWCh1qlNth4

 

We’re getting the band back together Saturday Janunary 27, 2024

By Lara McIntosh | December 27, 2023

1/27/24 3:45 pm. Postscript:  What an amazing time we had this morning! Thank you all who were able to attend. It was a feast of love and powerful vibrations.

After way too long, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to offer a special live music dance session with beloved musicians  Caxambu, Will Matthews and Denny Stern featuring cross-cultural percussion and our unique collaborative vibe.
Saturday January 27, 2024
9:00-11:00 a.m.
Balance Studio
418 N 35th St
Seattle WA 98103
$25 – Cash, checks and Zelle
Day of contributions to musicians appreciated!
No one turned away for lack of funds.

 

 

All in-studio again

By Lara McIntosh | December 14, 2023

I was working with my web guy David at Real Basics today and mentioning how we just started being completely in studio without Zoom options for the first time since the pandemic closures in August (2023). And how great it is to have folks gathering again to dance together. This is a very powerful thing.  David said, “That’s a big deal! You need to share that!” He’s right.

I am so grateful to owners Aileen and Daniel of Balance Studio for the tremendous dedication and efforts they put into keeping dance offerings available through the pandemic closures and beyond. And to my students who hung in there on Zoom and in the many iterations of cautious in studio options. It’s stunning to realize it has been less than 4 or so months where all the activities of Wassa Dance are in person.

Here’s to it!

Watch for Autumn retreat Oct. 2024

By Lara McIntosh | December 13, 2023

We had a glorious time at Madrona MindBody Institute  and plan to do it again!
Stay tuned!

Saturday December 30 is a fundraiser for Facing Homelessness

By Lara McIntosh | December 9, 2023

Happy update! We are over $1,500 now. Thank you to all.

We had a wonderful session this morning with more dancers than I expected in this season of holiday plans, travel and sickness. And best of all, we’ve raised $1,440 so far! 

 

Our last session of 2023 on
Saturday December 30, 2023
9:00-10:00 am
will be a thank you for donating to

 Wassa Dance’s fundraising event 
for
Facing Homelessness
one of the local organizations doing important advocacy for our unsheltered neighbors.

While donations are welcome through the end of the year at least, please donate prior to the event on Saturday if possible so we can acknowledge how we’ve done that morning. You don’t have to attend to donate, and though I hope you do,  you don’t have to donate to attend.

The folks at Facing Homelessness have made this very easy for us and when you donate to their 501-c3, you can choose which of their projects you’d like your money to go to.

Here again  the link to donate to Wassa Dance’s fundraising event.

 

I’m very grateful to have the living situation I do. And know the care and support of family, friends and our beautiful extended  dance community. Thank you for joining me in contributing to material kindness in our city with this project.

I hope to see you on this celebratory dance floor!

Dance class on 11/2/2023

By Lara McIntosh | November 3, 2023
I do some of my most inspired thinking during Wassa Dance sessions, on my feet, listening to music mixes I’ve made over the years, while in the moment with my beloved dancers. I rarely remember what I thought or said.
Today I did and even made a note on paper (a first):
“Responsive over reactive.”
It made so much sense at the time. It still does and in that moment had everything to do with how we stand.
The mix was one of my tried and true for a stormy morning/turbulent time. This one has meant many things on many days and I am grateful for every song.

Wassa Dance Newsletter for April 2023

By Lara McIntosh | April 15, 2023

Here’s the Constant Contact version of  reflections from me, announcing our Autumn retreat at Madrona MindBody Institute plus updated Zoom policy plus some great links to music:

https://conta.cc/41u4G4h

Wassa’s Savory Dances for Autumn 2023

By Lara McIntosh | April 14, 2023

Wassa’s Savory Dances for Autumn 
October 13-15, 2023
Madrona MindBody Institute
at Fort Worden
Port Townsend, WA

                                                                                                   IT WAS FABULOUS!

Join us for a weekend immersion in movement and music dedicated to the richness of our individual and collective experiences. Each of the three daily sessions offer the invitation to come as you are and go deeper into what calls to you through embodied listening, with guided contemplative and lively movement that is sourced daily with some of the best music the world has to offer.

All levels of fitness and experience are welcome.
$230 for the weekend
Spaces are limited and first come first served
Single sessions available by request
Email Lara at lara@wassadance.com for registration, payment options, cancellation policy, any questions or requests.

Our preliminary schedule is:
Friday 10/13: 4-6 pm
Saturday 10/14: 1-4 pm
Sunday 10/15: Noon – 3 pm