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

A beautiful new flier for Wassa Dance

By Lara McIntosh | July 31, 2016

I’m so pleased to share a beautiful piece of art created by Phillip Page as the cover for the new invitation to Wassa Dance classes. Come by and get some to share with your friends and communities. Its time to dance!!!!

Wassa Dance

Wassa’s Savory Autumn Intensive at Madrona MindBody 2017!

By Lara McIntosh | May 12, 2016
Wassa’s Savory Autumn Intensive
in Port Townsend, WA 
September 29-October 1, 2017

Join us for a delicious weekend of extended dance sessions and inspiration at one of the Puget Sound’s most beautiful resources for movement studios, the Madrona MindBody Institute.

Inspired by the elemental roots of Africa and beyond, we’ll immerse in Wassa’s unique style of spirited dancing combined with seasonally rich movement meditations and stretching to begin and end each session.

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.

The Wassa Dance fee for the full weekend  – $225.
Friday 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturday sessions: 9:00 a.m.-Noon & 3:00-6:00 p.m. 
Sunday sessions: 9 a.m.-Noon & 1:30-3:30 p.m. 
Can’t come for the entire weekend? Come for a class or day! Saturday morning or afternoon session or Sunday afternoon session. $35/session for residents of the Port Townsend area.
Please contact Lara for registration and questions.
 
Residency participants arrange their own transportation, lodging and meals.
 

I had to hunt for Thomas Mapfumo

By Lara McIntosh | June 5, 2024

Way back when I was first starting to teach and make music mixes -and mind you this was so long ago we built these on cassette tape from cassette tapes recordings- I was somewhere when I fleetingly heard a voice and a song I couldn’t get out of my head. It wasn’t so easy to find music then, especially from the continent of Africa’s artists who hadn’t yet crossed over to western ears and wide exposure. My main sources to learn about and find music to dance to was through three things. Listening devotedely every Monday night to KCMU’s show called BEST AMBIANCE. First with John Kirtser and then with Won Ldy Paye.
Second was when Afropop Worldwide started being a weekly broadcast on NPR. I don’t listen that way anymore but I am a very loyal supporter of this multi-platform organziation and all they do to preserve and share the vastness of music of the African diapsora.
The third way I discovered African music back then was by walking three blocks to Tower Records which later was the Queen Anne location of Silver Platters.  I’d comb through their African and Brazilian sections and take chances on what looked intetesting or, and this is for real, tingled in my hand. I also got to be friends with the guys that curated those. Many an educational happy time and lots of dollars spent on that block.
It took some time and hunting to find the artist whose voice was haunting me so. I wish I remember how I found him. But I did.

Thomas Mapfumo. The lion of Zimbabwe and still prolific voice of Chimurenga music with his band Blacks Unlimited on their 1991 album “Chamunorwa” and the song “Nyama Yekugocha”.

 

Two classes canceled in June 2024 and…

By Lara McIntosh | June 4, 2024

There will not be class on Tuesday June 11 or on Saturday June 22, 2024.
On that Saturday, perhaps you will join the revelry that is The Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade.

and…for those who plan ahead, no classes July 2-15. I’m going to see my Mama.
We’re on our regular schedule July 16 through the rest of the summer. Yay!

June 16, 2024 is our next live music Sunday!

By Lara McIntosh | June 4, 2024

Summer time is one of my favorite times to dance.
Even if Junuary might be in effect on the 16th, our fabulous musicians Denny Stern, Caxambu and Will Matthews will be bringing in the warm tones with rythmns and  instruments from Brasil, the Casamance, perhaps some from Ghana, Nigeria, the Carribean… However it flows, the conversations between dancers and musicians are always resonant and inspiring. I’ll be the guide but the adventure is one we create together.
I hope to have you there!

10:00 – 11:30 am
Balance Studio
418 N 35th St
Seattle WA 98103

$25
Cash, checks and Zelle accepted
pay online $30 with Square
Cash contributions for musicians always appreciated.

All the way live from 5 to 85

By Lara McIntosh | May 24, 2024

Our second edition of Wassa’s live music Sunday dances since before the pandemic times was a wonderful event.
Beyond my hopes, actually.  In spite of many folks telling me they were out of town, we still had 21 dancers. Our youngest is 5, one of our marvelous elders is 85, and many generations in between, all there.

Our musicians Caxambu, Denny Stern and Will Matthews have such a fluid and rich collaborative relationship.
The music and the openness of all the dancers made for so much love and good energy flowing all around.

I have yet to truly be able to describe what happens when we all come together, especially this time.I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time to come.

The good news there are three more versions coming Sundays June 16, August 25 and November 3, 2024.

Musing on playlists: Happy Survival

By Lara McIntosh | May 1, 2024

I’ve written before about how interesting it is for me to dive back into playlists I’ve made over the decades that got moth balled during the pandemic, and some for various other reasons.

Last Saturday, standing by the stereo scrolling through aaallll the options of mixes I could use for dance class four minutes from then, I landed on one I had made in honor of my father’s having navigated his body and spirit getting through one of the many health challenges he lived through in the last 10-12 years of his life. I was his medical ally, witness, driver and above all daughter.
My father was a metaphysical lion (and double Leo) and through all the ins and outs of our time together, there was always, all ways LOVE. I don’t remember what health episode prompted this playlist. Somewhere between 2013-2016….

Back to Saturday April 27, 2024. I scanned this playlist quick and thought, why not? Never mind there were two new students and who knows what they were expecting musically or otherwise?
It went well.  Certainly hearing all those songs as they came felt welcome to me.
I wouldn’t have immediately thought so much about all the layers: me working with music to communicate/commune all this time, poignant motivations (my Dad) , NEW STUDENTS, etc etc until one of my beloved student/friends asked me today what that mix was because it took him until later to realize what dancing with that had felt like and wanted to know those songs.
Thank you Mos’ D.E. for inspiring this post.

Live music Sundays

By Lara McIntosh | April 8, 2024

Wassa’s live music Sundays
are back!

Come dance with a cross-culturally rich mix
of some of Seattle’s finest percussion musicians and Wassa’s joyful moves.

June 16, August 25, November 3, 2024
10:00 – 11:30 am
Balance Studio
418 N 35th St
Seattle WA 98103

$25
Cash, checks and Zelle accepted
pay online $30 with Square
Cash contributions for musicians always appreciated.

Revisiting “Keep on…………….”

By Lara McIntosh | April 8, 2024

One of the great things about being entirely back in-person at the studio for classes is the chance to go back through 20+ years of playlists and experience some anew for the first time in 3 years or more.

During quarantine and the Zoom era, I felt the conditions called for particular types of music that carried well through the platforms we were using and suited folks dancing alone in whatever part of their homes they’d managed to make work while watching a screen.

Now I can pick a mix from a much wider pool. This is one I made at least 12 years ago. (I really wish I had thought to mark create dates on all 100 and some playlists including the ones on cassette!!). I can remember dancers who have moved away dancing to certain songs from this one. Dancing with it Tuesday, one of the songs that came up was shared by a really cool Kalani staff person I bonded with over music the two years he was there early in our 17 year annual residencies.
Anyway, this was fun for me on Tuesday and wow did the Isley brothers sound fresh.

Keep on………

 

Wassa’s Savory Dances for Autumn 2024!!

By Lara McIntosh | April 8, 2024

I’m thrilled to have this annual tradition back in our mix of possibilities.

Wassa’s Savory Dances for Autumn 
October 11-13, 2024
Madrona MindBody Institute
at Fort Worden
Port Townsend, WA

                                                                                   

 

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 invite you to come as you are and go deeper into what calls to you through embodied listening, guided contemplative and lively movement with some of the best music the world has to offer.

All levels of fitness and experience are welcome.
$240 for the weekend$100 minimum deposit with balance due by September 30, 2024
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: 12:30 – 3

Participants are responsible for their own lodging and transportation.
Monday 10/14/24 is a national holiday – Indigenous People’s Day here in Washington.
I strongly suggest booking accommodations early.

We had so much fun last year. I can’t wait til we do it again.

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