Welcome to the Path of Dance Leadership
Dear Leader of the Dances of Universal Peace,
Whether you are just beginning your dance leadership journey or have been leading and mentoring for many years, these Guidelines have been prepared for your benefit and assistance. We hope that they will inspire and support you in fully developing and expressing the depth and breadth of your dance leading capacity. Please make this publication your companion and friend.
The Dances of Universal Peace and Walking Concentrations are transformative spiritual practice in motion. They were birthed through a stream of universal Sufism, which was brought to the West from India by Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in 1910. His disciple, Samuel L. Lewis, began envisioning and bringing forth simple, sacred Dances in the late 1960s. A universal note was struck; the Dances flourished and have spread throughout the world.
Today, a network of entities stewards this precious legacy so that the transmission of these Dances of peace, joy, and unity maintains its integrity as it becomes available to growing numbers of people in diverse cultural settings now and in the coming years. The Dances and Walks are held in trust by the Sufi Ruhaniat International – the order established by Murshid Samuel Lewis. The Pir of the Ruhaniat serves as Spiritual Guide and appoints a group of senior mentors to be the Guidance Council. That body has the responsibility for guiding dance leaders and mentors by encouraging their spiritual expansion and personal development, supporting learning opportunities, determining requirements for level acknowledgment, and upholding standards of conduct and human relationship. These Guidelines are for exactly that purpose.
All of us as dance leaders – collectively, members of the Leaders Guild – represent and transmit this living stream globally, carrying and nurturing the Dances and Walks through leadership that reflects ongoing spiritual and personal development. Leaders Guild members pay a modest annual fee which, along with donations, sustains this network of services and supports. Dance mentors offer teaching and guidance in a person-to-person relationship with their mentees, encouraging them to develop and lead from their spiritual depth. The mentoring path also includes service to the lineage of the Dances of Universal Peace, helping to uphold, nurture and sustain these practices for future generations. The discussions of the Mentors Guild – the collective body and forum of mentors – advise and assist the Guidance Council in all aspects of its work.
Dances of Universal Peace International, a public benefit non-profit organization governed by volunteer dance leaders, provides the necessary legal and financial structure and administrative support, including a website with numerous resources developed especially for dance leaders and mentors.
The Dances of Universal Peace, as Samuel Lewis envisioned them, are a way to make liberating life-energy and the "peace that passes all understanding" a reality for all who come in contact with them. It is our great privilege as dance leaders to be nourished by these practices as well as to share them with others. Much depends on developing and nurturing our capacity, transmission, sacred atmosphere and attunement. May these Guidelines assist you in this worthy endeavor!
Blessings on your path!
The Guidance Council:
Darvesha Victoria MacDonald, Chair (NM, USA) email
Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz (Scotland, UK) email
Munir Peter Reynolds (MT, USA)email
Farrunnissa Lila Rosa (NC, USA) email
Halima Sussman (MA, USA)email