July 25, 2013

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This spiritual approach to dance is an artistic departure for her. Once she began recovering from her injuries enough to dance again, emotion and spirituality became central to her dance. She started looking past performing for its own sake and began doing it for more spiritual reasons.

"That's when the tide really turned and my dance changed," she said. "That's when I realized that I wanted to dance not just to share my movement with other people but also for them to think about the older ways, to think about their ancestors."

Still, when she began dancing at Wide Open Floor, she worried about how people might react to her up-front spirituality. At that first performance last November, Marcus Ellsworth saw that she was holding back and encouraged her to "just let it loose," and she did.

Is her dance art or worship?

"At times that line can be very thin," she said.

Despite the spiritual content and context of her dance, Luminara isn't dancing making a religious or political statement.

"We're saying 'thank you' to the women before us, our ancestors, who would do these dances," she said. "They were herbalists and midwives, and they passed these things down through generations to their daughters and granddaughters. We're telling them thank you. It's living on through us. It's not being forgotten."


July 25, 2013

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