Delilah's 2012 Hawaii Belly Dance Retreat
Voices from 2012 Retreats
“The Beautiful Retreat” with legendary dancers DELILAH, FAHTIEM from Los Angeles CA. and Middle Eastern Fusion music by Mr. Erik Brown
“Nia and Belly Dance” with Delilah and Jennifer Earle from Seattle Wa Middle Eastern Fusion music by Mr. Erik Brown
Voices of the Instructors:
I’ll admit I dreamed up the mini 2 themed retreats this year because I get to stay in Hawaii longer this way. It’s a fabulous place to be, especially in the months of January-February. Every teacher, if she is worth her onions, has to keep studying and renewing her self. These retreats are my personal laboratories for deep study of the dance. I invite dancers to join me.
As a developing dancer, I never felt I retained very much from a 2-4 hour workshop from any one teacher. I’m slow, I feel lucky if I come a way with a couple tid-bits. In a retreat setting, we each have the “opportunity” to really get to “know” a teacher, musician, and an artistic perspective.
I feel “sleep” is a key ingredient in letting new stuff into your mind and body. At an extended retreat forum you get to keep coming back to the form each day. I witness dancers walk into the retreat at one level of experience and leave at a truly transformed place with what ever it is being taught. One of the most impressive has been the ITS style with Amy Sigil. Dancers really learned it, and couldn’t get enough of it. Even after the final nights show they went back into the studio. Makes me proud.
Part 1 of 2012 Retreat: I invited Fahtiem to be my guest. We have been birds of a feather contemporaries for years. We knew each other in passing but at the retreat we really get to know one another and become good friends. We get to know students in a very up close sort of way too. In truth Fahtiem is a dancer and a life coach. People love her immediately. She is beautiful person through and through.
This retreat was small and all the dancers had been dancing for more than 2 years so we skipped the basics and plowed right into the development and performance of the dance. Fahtiem and I worked well in tandem together. At the end I asked her to join me in setting up one of my famous “dancers obstacle course” utilizing things we each taught. I love to be able to work with other teachers in these creative kinds of ways.
Because we were small and made of strong dancers, when we put on our final nights show each student could perform twice (if they wanted) or one long routine. We even did a couple group dances in the show. The show was really fun. We knocked everyone’s socks off. I gave Fahteim the traditional cabaret belly dance spots while I did 2 odd ball pieces: a Goddessy piece and a Pirate dance skit with silk fans. Anyelle (21 years old and is a definite rising star from Bellingham Wa.) did a fabulous routine and later in the show came back to do a hot drum solo with Mr. Erik Brown. Fahtiem came back for an encore and ended the show with Arabian house music and got the delighted audience all up and dancing. The Kalani guests and volunteers talked about it for days to come.
Part 2 of 2012’s retreat: my guest instructor was Jennifer Earle: a certified NIA instructor (pronounced nee-ah). (Go look it up online for more explanation). Nia is not like Zumba, but if you like Zumba, yoga and belly dance I would think you would enjoy Nia.
The group was made of mixed perspectives. Some were new to belly dance and some (like me) were knew to NIA. A couple dancers knew a bit of both forms. There were 4 other NIA instructors who came as participants. This made for a really excellent high energy retreat. Everyone was in paradise as well as exploration mode.
Nia is absolutely compatible to belly dance and the Nia dancers are strong and physically aware thus the new information was digested quickly. Nia is not a performance art, yet I love watching it. Nia is a routine based practice but each dancer is encouraged to make it their own by an adaptive mind, body, emotional connection. Then there are a lot of free dance parts tucked inside. Very much the way I teach Power Belly. Of course the difference being body vocabulary, and the isolation characteristics of belly dance expression, as well as the performance aspect. Belly dance offers the opportunity to tap even further into feminine creativity and celebration through costumes and performance. Nice mix. The music was great and I absolutely love the sacred connection to ones breath, body, mind, emotional and spiritual place and retaining awareness to our continued movement forward even as we leave the dance room and continue the dance through our lives. (Nia is so very Delilah).
At all my various retreats we learn techniques for dancing, teaching and making music. We teach lessons for every level and age of dancer. We also learn things not available to us in a 1-3 hour long class in the city. It takes time to unwind and stop the chatter in our heads. One of my gifts I bring to the Hawaii Retreat is the teaching of how we are creatively inspired. The questions to be answered through experiencing a retreat in such a beautiful environment as Hawaii where we do stop the technological buzz that ordinarily surrounds us is this: How and from where do our authentic ideas arise. How do we find confidence to move in the world with our own dance plan, voice, style, signature, pride and ownership. How do we grow as unique flowers in the garden of dance.
Delilah & Lori Prayer to Ishtar
Jennifer Earle’s voice:
Certified Nia instructor
We just returned from Delilah’s Annual Visionary Dance Retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was our first retreat combining Belly Dancing and Nia together (we will do more!). The two movement forms are not only compatible: they make for a rich and seamless multi-sensory experience of embodiment and joy for participants. Our approaches to teaching these movements forms was deeply rooted in mastery of body awareness, physical sensation, tapping into our emotional wellsprings of movement creativity and expressing our unique spirit through our dance.
Delilah brings to her teaching of belly dancing a unique and profound depth of understanding of the body, self-expression, storytelling, performance and feminine embodiment. Under her guidance, we not only learned belly dance techniques, we learned how to initiate these moves from a place of emotion and authenticity in our bodies. We were consistently reminded to remain connected to our bodies, to watch our hands as we moved, to tap into the power of sensation so that our movements were part of our wholeness and not something we do but rather part of who we are.
This retreat covered a brief history of belly dancing and techniques and Middle East Rhythms. Intertwined were rich movement rituals that encouraged us to dance in nature, to modulate our energy, explore the universal meaning of movement and rituals to honor the earth, the four elements, and our bodies. We learned to dance using veils and participated in one of the most beautiful ritual dances I’ve witness: Delilah’s own creation called “Veil Therapy.”
It is impossible for me to select just one highlight of the retreat. It was profound in its entirety, but I have to say that I was especially moved by dancing in nature. Delilah facilitated this session, as all the others, with mastery, inviting us to take in the natural environment on Coconut Beach drawing into our awareness the colors, sounds, sights, and sensations of the natural world. I danced on black sand, with a palm tree, on a rock and with the ocean waters. I danced with the wind, with the rays of the sun and my shadow. And through it all I sensed time slow down and I connected with my own natural time and noticed life as art. I danced in nature using all 13 joints and fives senses and five sensations. All of this was reminiscent of Nia further validating the partnership of these movement forms.
In relationship to Nia, the belly dancing sessions provided a complimentary sensory-based approach to movement that emphasized how integrated our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical selves are made manifest in our dance. There were many aha’s and emotional breakthroughs. I think one reason for these breakthrough’s is due to the sensual (as in sensory) and feminine (emotional) nature of belly dancing which is so similar to Nia. It’s as if these two movement forms are sisters of the healing and expressive arts.
I approached all of the Nia sessions from the foundation of Nia which is on tapping into the sensations of pleasure and joy through movement. Our first class emphasized the voices of the physical body so that we began the retreat from a place of being fully present in our bodies. I shared the voices of self-care, by choosing joy and saying yes to pleasure. We progressed to learn about our feet, the hands that touch the earth and provide endless information about physical and surrounding environments via the 7000 nerve endings in each foot.
The subsequent days were focused on five sensations (flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability), movement forms, X-ray anatomy and exploring the movement potential of the over 200 bones and 700 muscles in our bodies, the four realms of mind, body, heart and spirit, seeing life as art, dancing through life, natural time, our 13 joints and 20 digits and the sensory information they provide, and finally learning about both the Body’s Way and our Body’s Way of moving. I felt the best way to demonstrate the depth and richness of Nia was with experiential sessions that allowed each of us to explore and sense our bodies.
We just scratched the surface. In future retreats I hope to delve more deeply into each layer – the movements, the 9 movement forms, the five sensations, the five stages, and the 13 white belt principles that serve as both physical and lifestyle practices that have the potential to cultivate greater health and well-being in our lives.
Beautiful Retreat 2012
Legendary Belly Dance Instructor & Performer.
I have been enjoying Delilah’s beautiful brochures for years! I would gaze at the scenery and think “Wow! It looks beautiful and sounds wonderful to be at the retreat in Hawaii.” So when Delilah called and asked me to be the guest artist and teacher at this year’s retreat, I was so excited. As my departure date got closer all of my students
were willing to do just about anything for me if I would let them stow away in my suitcase.
All of my expectations were far surpassed. Anything I could have imagined, the lush foliage and beauty of nature, the food, the fresh air, the food, the scenery. Did I mention the yummy healthy food?
There were many benefits of being together for a week, the primary one being the beautiful and close bonding. All our classes focused on the technique of dance as well as the Spirit of the dance. As a teaching experience the retreat was a richly rewarding. We explored and were successful using many different processes to know more about ourselves and how our surroundings in every moment contribute to our lives, as well as the dance.
I think everyone felt they accomplished their personal goals quite splendidly. I personally felt a shift that has brought me to a great feeling place.
Thank you Delilah and Erik for this wonderful experience.
Delilah & Trinda at Breakfast
Trinda’s voice: The Beautiful Retreat:
Everyone should do this! Everything about Delilah's belly dance retreat was perfect: the location in Hawaii: the delicious food, beautiful pool, beaches, and relaxing hot tub (great after a day of dancing!): the fantastic teaching and special talks with Delilah, Erik, & Fahtiem: strengthening friendships, and making new ones: and being able to dance in the jungle, by the ocean, in nature - you just can't beat all that. The whole experience was inspirational. I am inspired to appreciate the world around me more, I am inspired to eat healthier (the food was absolutely incredible at the retreat), and I am inspired to dance, dance, dance! I came back relaxed and happy. A truly wonderful experience! Thank you!
I will have to take a NIA class soon - I am hearing so many good things about it!
Josie’s voice: The Beautiful Retreat:
I absolutely had the time of my life on this retreat. My life is so stressful these days and I literally felt it all melt away. Kalani alone was paradise, then add in the many hours of instruction and dance with Delilah, Fahtiem, and Erik...heavenly is really the only way to describe the experience. Thank you, Delilah for being the amazing spirit that you are, and for creating such a wonderfully rejuvenating retreat for us all.
Nikki’s voice: Nia- Belly retreat
I’m coming back!
The Beautiful Retreat Ladies
Maribeth’s voice: Nia - Belly retreat
The blending of these two movement forms in a place like Kalani was pure magic and often cathartic. I learned so much in our short time together and had the joy of being around other Nia teachers. Kalani was the perfect setting for this experience. The staff was friendly, grounds were beautiful, the FOOD was amazing!
Delilah & Verna at the Point
Verna’s voice: The Beautiful Retreat:
Kalani – the sweet, sweet name of our belly dance retreat center on the Big Island of Hawaii, where dance participants were able to be inspired by Delilah and Fahtiem, two of the most beautiful and talented belly dancers ever to be found. (hence the name ‘The Beautiful Retreat’) And besides being inspired by our host and guest instructor – being able to draw inspiration from this beautiful place in nature – from the sounds of the crashing waves to the rustling palms trees dancing in the breeze – from the beating of the drums provided by Erik (another awesome and talented instructor) to the encouragement of the Kalani guests and volunteers on performance night – from the beautiful flowers and plants in the jungle location to the amazing night time stars and sky – and even the drops of rain as we danced outdoors in nature. There are so many wonderful memories to hold on. I look forward to my time at Kalani, for personal growth, inspiration, rest, relaxation and health. Thanks Delilah for making this happen each year!
Penny’s voice: Nia -Belly retreat:
I’m from Idaho Fall. I love belly dance and I’m brand new to Nia: My heart can't stop dancing since attending Delilah's retreat in Hawaii. And of course where the heart goes the hips will follow! What a joyful experience. I loved it all and feel so opened up. I'm already planning to attend again.
D the Pirate!
Hailey’s voice: The Beautiful Retreat:
I so so soooo enjoyed our bellydance retreat on so many levels. Delilah and Fahtiem are both delightful inspiring women to be with. I don't even know where to begin my praises... Delilah's Bellydance Retreat was the ultimate dancer's dream come true! Breaking from the usual routine to immerse myself in the dance practice, on a tropical island paradise, was the ideal environment to take my dancing to the next level. By the end of one week I had absorbed all aspects of the dance from zills, veils, walking patterns, undulations, shimmy drills, to drum solos. Spending extra time learning to play all the rhythms on the drum really advanced my understanding of the music, an essential to quality performance. Delilah is a divine teacher who not only teaches dance technique but also incorporates the spiritual phenomena behind the dance and facilitates a dancer's journey through their own emotions and innate desire to express. I had never experienced such a tight bond with my teachers and fellow dancers, the group felt immediately inviting and we created a supportive space to express our challenges and personal growth. The week culminated into one night of performance which was great fun for both the performers and audience members. It was there I realized how much I had learned in one week and how greatly my confidence had grown. Since the retreat my motivation to dance has improved greatly. I am dancing almost everyday now with greater awareness of which areas I need to strengthen.... I brought 2 instructional DVD’s home to share with my sister. My sister and I have been LOVING Delilah’s DVDs. I will be ordering the rest of the series soon! We are both so inspired watching the instruction and performance bits that we both have been having bellydance dreams all night long after watching!
Belly Dance & Nia Ladies
Kristin’s voice: Nia-Belly retreat:
The belly dance/NIA retreat offered/taught by Delilah & Jennifer was a great way to reconnect with self, body, nature and community in a positive, fun, and supported way. The Kalani Resort on the Big Island of Hawai'i provides a beautiful environment! Delilah and Jennifer work really well together. It is obvious that they both love what they do and love sharing it with others. The music was awesome-both live and recorded and mixed and played by Mr Erik Brown. I can't wait to see what it's like with the whole band hopefully next year! Definitely a retreat worth treating yourself to!
Mahalo nui loa!
Delilah & Jennifer
Karens Voice: Nia-Belly retreat, (a Kalani Volunteer)
My first workshop with Delilah was a total beginner workshop. I'd been dancing for a year, but I took it anyway just so I'd have the chance to study with a master performer. It was amazing. I learned several new techniques. Then Delilah did something strange. She told us how to draw our own dances in our heads and she encouraged us to just TRY dancing and moving. Really, dance without someone telling you HOW? So I learned about myself... I am always taking classes, looking for new choreographies and seeking approval. Delilah challenged me to think for myself, dance for myself and find my own inspiration.
Then we took it to a whole new level.
Delilah showed us how to create dances and ceremonies that heal. I helped move another woman to tears. I was a part of this beautiful moment. You could feel the love and compassion in the room. It made me realize that I don't need a certification or charitable affiliation to help another sister. And that's empowering.
Veil night in the Rainbow Room
Winni's Voice: Nia-Belly Retreat
I just returned from the best trip of my whole life. I met the most amazing people, in an extraordiarily beautiful place, Hawaii. Going back to Hawaii was a dream I really didn't think I'd ever get a chance to do and attending Kalani retreat was the BEST thing I've ever done for myself.
As a cancer survivor, (bladder), I spent last summer being extremely depressed, and I was very apprehensive about some things, and things I thought I couldn't do. Did I mention, I AM 74, what am I thinking! Having a bathroom IN my room, I thought, was a must! and some physical things, like swimming, snorkeling, or sitting in a hot tub were definitely out! With the encouragement of an extraordinary (there's that word again) daughter-in-law, who happened to be the NIA teacher, and two weeks to go before the time of the retreat, I said "YES" to the trip. ("YES", I learned, is word you learn to say, from a NIA dance.) I'm saying alot more YESes now!
I learned so many fun, lovely things: starting with Delilah's beautiful, inspirational teaching of Belly Dance, accompanied by Mr. Erik's drum accompaniment! Now there's something I never thought I would do! I've been dancing and loving NIA for a total of about 5 months over the past year. Learn to Hula dance, HA. But, with the encouragement and gentle teaching of NIA and Belly Dance, I did learn to sway, bump, twist, use my hips, make my arms move with expression, and make my body feel. Thinking back, I was a tight little flower bud when I arrived, and a beautiful bloom when I left.
Another amazing thing was the food. I discovered things I haven't ever eaten before, and they were delicious: amaranth, for instance. When we left, all the women I met felt like my sisters.
I am saying YES to next year!
Delilah & Erik Performance Night