They’re back!

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.

 May 5, 2024

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

$25
Cash, checks and Zelle accepted.
Contributions for musicians always appreciated.

Stay tuned for future dates in the summer and autumn  of 2024.

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.
$250 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: Noon – 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

 

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!

Wassa Dance Clips- Thanks-Giving 2014

By Lara McIntosh | May 22, 2015


Here’s the first of the sweet bits from Wassa Dance and Village Volunteers‘ 11th Annual Dance by Donation Fundraiser. We had a most wonderful time with 70+ dancers raising $3,600 in an hour’s class for this year’s micro lending partner SISI FUND in Kenya.

WASSA DANCE with ALOHA #15

By Lara McIntosh | May 11, 2015

Yes indeed! We will be returning for our 15th beautiful year of dancing at
Kalani Oceanside Retreat Center on the Big Island, Hawaii.
IMG_0372The dates are February 7-13, 2016
Lodging options are limited this round.

IMG_0370 (1)Please contact Lara at lara@wassadance.com
Aloha Still Life 3:14

Join us this winter in seeding a new season of our potential for ease and joyful vitality.
Come as you are, let the rhythms dance you deeper.

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 IS the Big Island. 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. 

This sweet 6 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. 

LODGING OPTIONS / RATES*:
Lodge Rooms: sold out, contact Lara for wait list.
Bungalow: $1,770 single / $1,410  double
Lofts and Treehouses: $1,890 single/ $1,500 double
Tropical Cottages: $2,340 single / $1,710 double
A deposit of $300 holds your space.
Second installment due by Oct. 31 and final payment by December 31, 2015.

Wassa Cancellation Policy: Until December 15, 2015, deposits are refundable minus a $50 administrative fee. After December 15, 2015, there are no refunds on deposits unless I can replace your reservation, $50 administration fee applies.


*Prices subject to change without notice for unregistered participants.

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.

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 travel.



Wassa at Night- Accelerated Series

By Lara McIntosh | March 25, 2015

Night time
is the right time
for fun-fun dancing.

Saturday's Beauties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursdays
Oct. 22 – November 19, 2015
6:15-7:15 p.m.
Balance Studio
418 North 35th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
$ 50 for the series* or use your 10 class card.

Drop-ins are welcome: $15 at the door.

This series offers a lively hour of choreographic fun designed to shake off the day and let our playful minds and bodies dance. 
Please contact Lara to sign up.
*no refunds or extensions on individual series purchases

Restorative Movement session 12-4-14

By Lara McIntosh | December 1, 2014

I hope you can join us for a special session of restorative movement on Thursday December 4.
6:15-7:15 p.m. at Balance Studio.

This will be our last Thursday evening session of 2014 and it seems a very good time to slow down and nourish our bodies as we head into this busy winter season.

Use your dance card, monthly subscription and $15 drop in.

Report from the Accelerated series 11-20-14

By Lara McIntosh | November 21, 2014

We had a blast tonight putting together two pieces of movement that have been cultivated separately over the past 3 months or so!

The movement keeps being informed by different pieces of music. Tonight we danced with MC Solaar’s HIJO de AFRICA and Lala Njava’s VOATSE.

Fun fun fun.

Next session in Dec. 4 and that will be a restorative movement session to close the season.

We’ll pick up the series again in January. I can’t wait!

 

JeConte and the Mali All Stars at Jazz Alley 11/17/14

By Lara McIntosh | November 13, 2014

This show features a blend of international musicians along with some of Seattle’s very talented African and Funk/Blues artists.

Our good friends at Jazz Alley are offering the Wassa Dance community two for one admission if you call in for reservations and mention “Wassa”. Such a deal!   That leaves $ for a nosh and a tip for your server at this special show.

maliallstars2014_2

For more about the artists and the show: JeConte and the Mali All Stars

I hope to see you there!

 

Wassa Dance and Village Volunteers’ 11 Annual Thanks-Giving Dance by Donation

By Lara McIntosh | November 5, 2014

This year’s event was a beautiful thing.  65+ dancers of many ages came.  We raised $2,500 at the door with more donations coming in and corporate matching funds to add soon. Our musicians Thierno Diop, Caxambu Silverman, Denny Stern, Shemayim Elohim and Larry Swanson created such wonderful music to inspire and bring us all together in movement and spirit. Stay tuned for moire details and images.

Judith Ryan’s Video Postcard from Wassa Dance & Village Volunteers’ Thanks-Giving

Here comes my favorite event of the year where the musicians and I donate our time and ARC DANCE donates the space for this wonderful session that has become a beloved local tradition inviting a broad community to come together, dance, and share our resources with meaningful micro-lending projects in Africa.

Wassa

Wassa Dance and Village Volunteers’ 11th Annual Thanks-Giving Dance by Donation
featuring some of Seattle’s finest percussionists
and Lara of WASSA DANCE, who will lead us in joyful African inspired movement.

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 9:00 -10:15 a.m.
at ARC DANCE  9250 14th Ave. NW Seattle WA 98117 (Ballard)
(Please plan to dance barefoot at this event!
)

Dance with us and contribute to a woman’s opportunity for economic freedom and independence.

Donations will go to the SiSi Fund (“Sister to Sister”) and Lenana Girls School students in Kiminini, Kenya. Your donations will provide small micro-loans to women, helping them start a micro-enterprise and will provide young women entrepreneurs with internship opportunities.

All donations are tax-deductible and eligible for company matching funds.
If you can’t attend and want to contribute, send a check with “Wassa” on the memo line to: Village Volunteers, 5100 South Dawson Street, Suite 202, Seattle, WA 98118

For More Information:

Contact Lara for event questions: lara@wassadance.com
Wassa Dance: www.wassadance.com
Village Volunteers: www.villagevolunteers.org, shana@villagevolunteers.org or 206-683-6681

Epic spirit Geoffrey Holder passes

By Lara McIntosh | October 9, 2014

This week Geoffrey Holder passed away. He was a true Renaissance man.   Our legacy of arts and culture are  greatly enhanced by his time on earth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Holder

Here are splendid tidbits from him :

 

Here’s a letter Leo Holder wrote about the last days with his father.

A little more than a week after developing pneumonia, Geoffrey Holder made a decision. He was calling the shots as always. He was done. 2 attempts at removing the breathing tube didn’t show promising results. In his truest moment of clarity since being rolled into I.C.U. he said he was good. Mouthing the words “No, I am not afraid” without a trace of negativity, sadness or bitterness, he sincerely was good with it. He had lived the fullest life he could possibly live, a 70 + year career in multiple art forms, and was still creating. Still painting, a bag of gold (of course) fabric and embellishments in his room for a new dress for my mother, sculptures made out of rope, baseball caps and wire hangers. New ideas every second, always restlessly chasing his too fertile mind. A week of breathing tubes and restrained hands had forced him to communicate with only cryptic clues which I was fortunate enough to be able to decipher at best 40% of the time.
The fact that we all struggled to understand him enraged him to the point that he could sometimes pull tantrums taking up to 4 people to restrain him from pulling out the wires. He was head strong (understatement), but he was also physically strong. Iron hand grip that no illness could weaken. 9 days of mouthing words that, because of the tubes, produced no sound forcing him to use his eyes to try to accentuate the point he was trying to make. But this didn’t mean he wasn’t still Geoffrey Holder. This didn’t mean an end to taking over. Holding court as he always did.
Directing and ordering people around. Choreographing. Getting his way. We still understood that part, and the sight of his closest friends and extended family brought out the best in him. Broad smiles in spite of the tubes, nodding approval of anything that met his standard (which was very high), and exuding pride and joy in all those in whom he saw a spark of magic and encouraged to blossom. The week saw a parade of friends from all over the world checking in to see him, hold is hand, rub his head, and give him the latest gossip. But he was still trying to tell me something, and although I was still the best at deciphering what he was saying, I still wasn’t getting it.

Saturday night I had a break through. After a good day for him, including a visit by Rev. Dr. Forbes, Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church who offered prayer and described Geoffrey’s choreography as prayer itself, which made him beam, I brought in some music. “Bill Evans with Symphony Orchestra”, one of his all time favorites. He had once choreographed a piece to one of the cuts on the album… a throwaway ballet to fill out the program, but the music inspired him. From his bed, he started to, at first sway with the music, then the arms went up, and Geoffrey started to dance again. In his bed. Purest of spirits. Still Geoffrey Holder. Then he summoned me to take his hands, and this most unique dancer / choreographer pulled himself up from his bed as if to reach the sky. It was then I broke the code: he was telling me he was going to dance his way out. Still a Geoffrey Holder production. If it had been up to him, this evening’s solo would have been it. The higher he pulled himself up, the higher he wanted to fly. I had to let him down. Not yet. There are friends and family coming in from out of town. He resignedly shrugged his shoulders, closed his eyes and went to sleep.

I got it. Really. I got it. I walked out of the hospital elated. Ate a full meal for the first time in days, slept like a baby after. The next day would be his last. I was not sad. It wasn’t stressful for me to deal with him in this state. It was an honor and a privilege to tend to anything he needed. This impromptu dance was his dress rehearsal.

Next morning, I show up early. Possible second thoughts? Should we wait? What if he changes his mind? Did he understand what we were talking about here? Thoroughly. Mind as clear as crystal. “You still game for our dance tonight?” A nod, a smile, and a wink, with tubes still down his throat.. We’re still on. But he still wants to do it NOW. NOT later. He’s cranky. Sulks a while. Sleeps a while. Eventually snaps out of it.

From noon on, a caravan of friends and family from all over the globe come through the ICU wing. Ages 1 to 80. Young designers and artists he nurtured and who inspired him. YOUNGER dancers he encouraged to always play to the rear balcony with majesty. The now “elder statesmen” dancers on whom he built some of his signature ballets. His rat pack of buddies. Wayward saints he would offer food, drink, a shoulder to cry on, a couch to sleep it off, and lifetime’s worth of deep conversation and thought. Closest and oldest friends. Family.

They know they are here to say goodbye. He knows they are here to say goodbye. He greets them beaming with joy to see them. By this time I’m reading his lips better and am able to translate for him as much as I can. The last of them leave. It’s time for his one true love to have her time with him. His muse. Her champion. This is their time. 59 years distilled into 5 minutes of the gentlest looks and words as she caresses his noble brow one last time. She puts a note she wrote to him in is hand. She leaves.

Everyone is gone except me. My moment. I will be with him as he goes.

One more time: “you good?” Nod & faint smile. ‘you ready?” He is.

I have asked the doctors to not start the morphine drip right away, because I want him to have his solo on his own time. Knowing him, he might stop breathing right after his finale. For dramatic effect. He’s still Geoffrey Holder.
They remove the tube that has imprisoned him for the past 9 days and robbed this great communicator of the ability to speak. I remove the mittens that prevent his hands from moving freely.

I start the music, take his hands and start leading him, swaying them back and forth. And he lets go of me. He’s gonna wing it as he was prone to do when he was younger. Breathing on his own for the last time, Geoffrey Holder, eyes closed, performs his last solo to Bill Evans playing Faure’s Pavane. From his deathbed. The arms take flight, his beautiful hands articulate through the air, with grace. I whisper “shoulders” and they go into an undulating shimmy, rolling like waves. His Geoffrey Holder head gently rocks back and forth as he stretches out his right arm to deliver his trademark finger gesture, which once meant “you can’t afford this” and now is a subtle manifestation of pure human spirit and infinite wisdom. His musical timing still impeccable, bouncing off the notes, as if playing his own duet with Evan’s piano. Come the finale, he doesn’t lift himself of the bed as he planned; instead, one last gentle rock of the torso, crosses his arms and turns his head to the side in a pose worthy of Pavlova. All with a faint, gentile smile.

The orchestra finishes when he does. I loose it.

They administer the morphine drip and put an Oxygen mask over his face and I watch him begin taking his last breaths.

I put on some different music. I sit and watch him sleep, and breathe… 20 minutes later, he’s still breathing albeit with this gurgling sound you can hear though the mask. Another several minutes go by, he’s still breathing. Weakly, but still breathing… then his right hand starts to move. It looks like he’s using my mother’s note like a pencil, scratching the surface of the bed as if he’s drawing. This stops a few minutes later, then the left hand begins tapping. Through the Oxygen mask the gurgling starts creating it’s own rhythm. Not sure of what I’m hearing, I look up to see his mouth moving. I get closer to listen: “2, 3, 4….2, 3, 4… He’s counting! It gets stronger, and at it’s loudest sounds like the deep purr of a lion, then he says “Arms, 2, 3, 4, Turn, 2, 3, 4, Swing, 2, 3, 4, Down, 2, 3, 4….”

I called my mother at home, where she was having a reception in his honor. She picks up. There are friends and family telling Geoffrey stories simultaneously laughing and crying in the background.

“Hi, honey, Are you alright?”

“Yes actually… he hasn’t stopped breathing yet.” I tell her about his solo, which brings her to a smile and a lightening of mood. I continue:

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure Honey. What?

“Who the hell did you marry?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re not gonna believe this. He’s got a morphine drip, going on over half an hour, an Oxygen mask on, his eyes closed, AND HE’S CHOREOGRAPHING!”

This brings her to her first laugh of the day. She now knows we will be alright.

He continues on like this for quite a while, and a doctor comes in to take some meter readings of the machines. I ask the doctor if this is normal. As she begins to explain to me about the process, his closed eyes burst open focused straight on us like lasers and he roars with all his might: “SHUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUP!!! YOU’RE BREAKING MY CONCENTRATION!!!!!!!”

We freeze with our mouths open. He stares us down. long and hard.

Then he closes his eyes again, “Arms, 2, 3, 4, Turn, 2, 3, 4, Swing, 2, 3, 4, Down, 2, 3, 4…”

He continued counting ’til it faded out, leaving only the sound of faint breathing, slowing down to his very last breath at 9:25 pm.

Still Geoffrey Holder.
The most incredible night of my life.
Thank you for indulging me.

Love & best,
L

Wassa Dance in residency with STRETCH at Seattle University

By Lara McIntosh | September 24, 2014

This past week I had the rare pleasure of being part of an interim intensive week for theater and choral students at Seattle University.  I was invited by the organizer and chair of the theater department,  Ki Gottberg, to be the “dance deep queen” leading the first hour warm up for their five day intensive that was facilitated by Dianne Meeks.

Opportunities like these are among my dream gigs. Being able to work with bright, open minded students who bring their curiosity, dedication and talent into a focused learning environment is such a pleasure.  It is also very fun to share my passion and ideas about movement and culture with young adult bodies who are willing to be outside their physical norms. I also got to play them some wonderful music and artists who have inspired me for a long time.  We started with a Habib Koite piece on day one and ended with Virginia Rodrigues’ version of “Uma Historia de Ifa” on day five. In between there was Chebbi Saba, Chiwoniso, Toure Kunda, Obo Addy, Yande Codou Sene………..

Here’s a sweet piece of feedback I got from one of the participants:
“​I was initially nervous about taking a Wassa class because I don’t have much experience or natural talent in dancing and I was afraid of feeling self-conscious. There was really nothing to worry about! The dance style itself is so simple and rooted in the body’s natural movements. Plus, the killer music makes it hard to stop moving for even a second. I never felt embarrassed or overwhelmed, only joyous. Lara is a teacher that positively overflows with love for her students, and it was a pleasure learning from her.”

ASHE!

 

 

Wassa Dance – Spring Tuning

By Lara McIntosh | September 9, 2014

WASSA DANCE – SPRING TUNING
March 28 – April 2, 2015
Kalani Oceanside Retreat Center – Big Island, Hawaii

Aloha Still Life 3:14

Join us in seeding a new season of our potential for ease and joyful vitality.
Come as you are, let the rhythms dance you deeper.

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 IS the Big Island. 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.

This sweet 5 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.

To inquire or register contact Lara McIntosh: lara@wassadance.com

EARLY BIRD SPECIALS AVAILABLE!
Spaces are limited. Early registration is advised.
Registration requires $250 non-refundable deposit.

LODGING OPTIONS / RATES*:

Ocean Cottage: $1,999 single / $1,499 shared
Bungalow: $1,675 single / $1,350 shared
Lodge Room (private bath): $1,475 single / $1,225 shared
*Prices subject to change without notice for unregistered participants.

**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.

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

Please call Kalani’s Guest Services at 800-800-6886 to book airport shuttles at least a week prior to travel.