Festival 2015 – In Person Festival

Dancing on Waves of Grace | Sacred Dance Festival

Come to the water, come dance on waves of grace…

On the beautiful shores of Lake Erie, come dance on waves of grace with the Sacred Dance Guild. This six-day festival of sacred dance will include in-depth classes, eclectic workshops, inspiring concerts and joyful special events.

Click image to download the festival poster (JPG).
Click image to download the Festival Poster (JPG).

In-depth Classes
Morning Awakenings
Festival Musicians
Chautauqua Trip

Registration Fees
Room and Board
Cancellation Policy

Plan Your Trip
Accommodation and Dining

Sponsors and Advertising




This sacred dance festival will offer you a week full of fun, inspiration and new movement experiences. Along with countless opportunities to meet and move with fellow sacred dancers, the festival schedule will include:

Click image to download the festival brochure (PDF).
Click image to download the Festival Brochure (PDF).

Registration: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Opening Celebration: 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Classes: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm (including In-depth Class samplers)
Festival Concert: 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Classes: 6:30 am – 11:30 am
Pop-Up Workshops: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Trip to Chautauqua w/ flash mob (optional): 12:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Classes: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm
“A Taste of Erie” Banquet: 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Classes: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm
Faculty Concert: 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Closing Celebration: 9:30 am – 11:30 am

For the full schedule, download the “At a Glance” Schedule (PDF).
For more details, download the Class Schedule (PDF).

Do you live in or near Erie? There’s lots for you to do! Download this one-page flyer to find out more.

Please note, all times, classes and activities are subject to change.

Back to top

In-depth Classes

After breakfast, our mornings will be devoted to in-depth classes that will help us fully enter into the festival theme. Can’t decide which one you want to take? Don’t worry! On Saturday, July 25, you’ll be able to sample up to four of the in-depth classes before you decide.

Ronya-LeeAnderson-thumbnailIn this class, dancers will experience movement as an expression of their relationship with the divine, acknowledging the complexity of the human body in all of its strengths and weaknesses. Engage in an exploration of modern dance with an emphasis on clarity of movement, fluidity and expression. Tackle complex patterns and full-bodied movement, all while leaving room to approach movement from an honest place and dance your own story from the inside out.

Seven-time Artist-in-Residence at Duke Youth Academy, Ronya‑Lee Anderson, M.Div., is the Artistic Director of Dancing by the Power. A former member of Chuck Davis’ African American Dance Ensemble, she has lead master classes at Project Dance D.C. and Jubilate Worship Conference. She is currently a member of Rebollar Dance Company and an Adjunct Pastor at Plymouth Congregational UCC in Washington, D.C.

StellaMatsuda-webLearning a set piece of choreography will be a backdrop to explore the themes of temptation and choice. The dance will also help you to discover your inner strength, physical stamina, energy and balance, while expanding your own vocabulary of movement. We may struggle and fall, but through God’s grace we will ride the waves, reaching the shores of hope with faith.

Professsor Emeritus of Dance at Moorpark College, Stella Matsuda has choreographed, performed and taught dance for over 50 years in colleges, schools, churches and retreat centers to all age groups and skill levels. She was a principal dancer with Gloria Newman Dance Theater for 15 years. In 1977, she founded Alleluia Dance Theater, which she continues to lead as Artistic Director. A past President of the Sacred Dance Guild, she is actively involved with the SDG and continues to teach dance, as well as Tai-Chi.

DeborahMauldinThis class will explore dance composition and technique, from ballet – a 200 year old system of training for the mind, body and spirit that can express the highest, lowest and deepest of emotions – to the modern dance styles of Isadora Duncan, Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham and Eric Hawkins – and how they used the human body to express emotion. Building on these techniques, dancers will experience Japanese Butoh, with its incredible variety, complete immersion, and artistry straight from the spirit.

Deborah Mauldin is a gifted modern dance leader who pioneered the Japanese art form of Butoh in Alabama. She has been Executive Director of the American Dance Guild, as well as President of both the Sacred Dance Guild and the Alabama Dance Council. In 2006, she founded the company Bearing Light Butoh.

BarbaraSupovitzExploring folk dances from Israel, Portugal, Russia and Greece, dancers will develop a sense of oneness and an appreciation of other cultures. Inspired by this vocabulary, dancers will create their own folk dance and learn some of Barbara’s original choreography, which combines Israeli and modern dance to express the rich, multicultural heritage of the Jewish people.

Barbara Supovitz is the founder, choreographer and Artistic Director of the Kinor Dance Company. She attended Juilliard and has a Master’s Degree in Performing Arts from American University. She was a Professor of Dance at Montgomery College for 20 years, where she also co-directed the Montgomery College Dance Touring Company. She teaches folk dance workshops at the University of Arizona and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Towson University, Goucher College, and Howard Community College. Videos of her ethnic choreography are part of the dance collection of the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts.

KimVetter-thumbnailSteeped in the traditions of the African diaspora in Bahia, Brazil, this class will instruct participants in the dances and songs of the divine beings known as Orishas. Dancers will learn the history of Brazilian Orisha devotion through dance, singing and drumming, and will enter into community and meditation through ritual. Over the course of the festival, dancers will learn the dances and songs of the Orishas Oshun and Yemanja, as well as the Samba.

Kim Vetter, MFA, is the artistic director of Kosmic Dance Theatre and has been dancing and teaching for over 30 years. Her interest in African dance led her to Brazil where she studied ritual dance, Capoiera and Samba. Kim founded the African dance program at the University of New Mexico and has led workshops for adults and children throughout the U.S. and in Bahia, Brazil.

Back to top


Our afternoons will allow us to explore many styles of sacred dance through an eclectic set of workshops, as well as help us consider some important issues to keep our practice current and accessible.

Keeping Current: Engaging Youth in Sacred Dance | Jessica Abejar

Dancing the Spirituals with the Rhythm and Waves of God’s Grace | Sylvia Bryant

Meditative Breathing | Debbie Danbrook

Glorious Expressions: Movement Empowered by the Spirit | Brett Fallon

Introduction to the EMF Balancing Technique | Helena Froehlich

Grace Embodied | Mary Francis Hoffman

Eco-Spirituality | Mary Francis Hoffman

The Dancer as a Channel | Avital Miller

Grace of the Ages: Incorporating different styles and abilities | Emmalyn Moreno

Prayer and Meditation | Mary-Joy Neuru

Classical Ballet Technique | Noelle Partusch

The Sacred Movement of the Elemental Body Alignment System | Scott Putman

Flick, Float, Twist and S(p)lash: Effort Qualities for Sacred Dancers | Andrea Shearer

Dancing On Waves with Mami Wata: An Exploration of Afro-Brazilian Dance and Culture | Sylvia Soumah

Back to top

Morning Awakenings

Do you enjoy the spiritual discipline of rising with the sun? Are you naturally an early riser? Before breakfast, you can enjoy our early-morning sessions that will help you enter gently into your day.

Moving Meditation and the Waves | Helena Froehlich

The Grace of Physicality through Authentic Movement | Mary Francis Hoffman

Sacred Circle Dances | Ellen Roberts Young

Morning Yoga: Riding the Wave of Breath to Conscious Practice | Solveig Santillano

Back to top

Festival Musicians

Two festival musicians will enhance our gatherings, classes, workshops and concerts with live music using voice, flute, drums and piano.

DebbieDanbrookDebbie Danbrook is a musician, composer and recording artist specializing in music for meditation, relaxation and healing. She is a Master player of the Shakuhachi flute, an ancient Japanese instrument that was originally played by monks as a type of Zen called ‘Suizen’ or blowing Zen. Debbie is the first woman to have mastered this difficult instrument and weaves the Shakuhachi together with her voice in her ethereal music.

EmmalynMorenoEmmalyn Moreno is a pianist, percussionist, singer and dancer who uses her God-given talents to minister through music and dance. She is deeply involved with several interfaith groups and serves as a liturgical musician for the Military Chaplain Corps and the Military Catholic Archdiocese at Camp Pendleton, California. Emmalyn is a member of Alleluia Dance Theater and director of Movin’ With the Spirit Ensemble. Her original composition and choreography “We are One” (Moving Mysteries) is the Sacred Dance Guild’s official dance and song.

Back to top

Chautauqua Trip

Sunday, July 26 | Optional

Chautauqua Institution is a community in south-western New York that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of arts, education, concerts, lectures and lively discussions. This beautiful and historic lakeside village offers classes and community events in visual and performing arts, as well as interfaith worship and recreational activities.

Our excursion will include:

  • 12:30 pm – Buses leave Mercyhurst.
  • Box lunches will be distributed to participants on the bus.
  • On the way, we’ll stop at a local winery for short tour and tasting.
  • 2:20 pm – Buses arrive at Chautauqua.
  • 2:30 pm – Concert in the Amphitheatre: NYSSSA School of Choral Studies.
  • 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm – Visit the village and offer pop-up dances here, there and everywhere!
  • 5:00 pm – Dinner at the historic Athenaeum Hotel on the shores of Chautauqua Lake.
  • 7:00 pm – Flash mob!
  • 8:00 pm – Evensong in the Amphitheatre.
  • 9:00 pm – Buses leave for Mercyhurst.

Cost: $60 USD – includes transportation, lunch, winery tour, concert and dinner in Chautauqua.

For more information about Chautauqua Institution, visit ciweb.org.

For those not going on the trip, we’ll be organizing an afternoon of pop-up workshops! Letting the moment inspire us, we’ll draw on our own expertise to create a medley of fun sessions.

Back to top


Festival participants and members of the general public will enjoy two sacred dance concerts during the festival. Tickets to these events are included in the festival registration fee.

Festival Concert | Saturday, July 25 – 7:30 pm | Walker Theater
This is a time for Festival participants to experience a great variety of sacred dance presented by our workshop leaders and other invited guests. This informal, “low tech” event creates an intimate atmosphere that draws the festival community closer as it begins its time together. Open to the public.

Tickets (for the public): Give what you can (donations will support the SDG)

Faculty Concert | Tuesday, July 28 – 8:00 pm | Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center
This concert presents the very best of sacred dance today and features the presenters of our in-depth class series — Ronya-Lee Anderson, Deborah Mauldin, Stella Matsuda, Kim Vetter and Barbara Supovitz — as well as the festival musicians and other invited guests. There will be a post-concert Q&A session followed by a reception with light refreshments. Open to the public.

Faculty Concert Poster (PDF)

Tickets (for the public): $20 USD – Available at the Mercyhurst Box Office
Online: www.centerstageticketing.com/sites/mercyhurst
Phone: (814) 824-3000

Back to top


“Sharings” are a cherished festival tradition, stretching back the the SDG’s very first festivals over 50 years ago! A sharing is an informal time to present a dance you have been working on to other festival participants. We provide the space, a CD/MP3 player and a supportive audience. You bring your dance, your music and your costuming, as you need. Festival participants are usually happy to offer feedback, if you’d like. Sharings are often some of the most inspiring moments of festival. This year, there will be three sharings with the suggested themes of Past, Present and Future:

Saturday, July 25 – 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm | Past
Monday, July 27 – 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm | Present
Tuesday, July 28 – 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm | Future

If you have questions or you would like to sign up to present at a sharing in advance, please contact:
Marcia Miller, Sharing Coordinator: treas@patt9.sg-host.com

There are other ways to share our experience at festival too! There will be scheduled times when classroom space will be made available for those who would like to teach a group choreography or other movement practice. There will also be a time for sharing our memories by watching videos together after hours in the hospitality room.

Back to top


Monday, July 27 | 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The festival banquet is a time to celebrate together a successful and joyous festival. This year, our banquet will be “A Taste of Erie” themed event, featuring food stations with local cuisine and wine, as well as local entertainers and artisans.

The banquet will also include a lively “live” auction! This will be a fun time to bid on items of interest to sacred dancers and by doing so financially support the SDG – and take home something exciting! Please look around to see what interesting objets d’art or dance items you might have that could be sold to the highest bidder! (Auction donations should have a value of $100 or more. Also, we have heard that the famous SDG “Travelling Dress” will be part of the auction! While it may not have cost $100 to begin with – it certainly does now that it has quite a history!)

Back to top


The Festival Marketplace will be open all week, where festival participants can buy and sell music, books, jewelry, dance wear, and more! Offering a unique mix of items of interest to sacred dancers, you won’t find this collection of products anywhere else!

For those wishing to sell items, the SDG will staff the store and take care of all the sales and finances for you. All items will be sold on consignment with the SDG retaining 20% of sales.

The Marketplace will also include a “Treasures Table” – where smaller donated items (valued at less than $100), such as jewelry, books and clothing, will be on offer and “sold” by donation. All donations will help support the ongoing work of the SDG – so look through your attics, closets, book shelves and jewelry boxes for something interesting you can donate, and then make sure to come by the table so you make a donation to take someone else’s treasure home!

For questions about the Festival Marketplace, please contact:
Diane Dean, Marketplace Coordinator: festivalstore@patt9.sg-host.com

Back to top



Registration Fees

The full package includes all festival events except Chautauqua trip.

  • Full package – SDG Members & Affiliates: $485 USD
  • Full package – Non-members: $545 USD
  • Full package – Youth (21 and under): $385 USD
  • Day rate – Members/Affiliates/Youth: $120 USD
  • Day rate – Non-members: $135 USD

Early bird special: The first 60 full-week registrants will receive $60 off the full package registration! EARLY BIRD SOLD OUT!

  • Chautauqua Trip: $60 USD – includes transportation, lunch, winery tour, concert and dinner in Chautauqua.

Room and Board

The full package includes five nights of on-campus accommodation (Friday to Tuesday) and meals (dinner on Friday, three meals Saturday to Tuesday, and breakfast on Wednesday).

  • Full package – Single occupancy: $450 USD
  • Full package – Double occupancy: $350 USD (per person)
  • Full package – Meals only (for those staying off-campus): $125 USD


Day participants, guests and the public may purchase tickets to these special events:

  • “A Taste of Erie” Banquet (Monday, July 27): $50 USD
  • Faculty Concert (Tuesday, July 28): $20 USD

Cancellation Policy

Full refunds are available until April 24, 2015. An $80 cancellation fee will be charged after that time. No refunds after July 3, 2015; however, tuition, room and board are transferable.

Back to top


Plan Your Trip


Known as the “Gem City,” Erie, Pennsylvania is located on the shores of the sparkling waters of Lake Erie, one of North America’s Great Lakes. Erie’s Discovery Square boasts historic landmarks, galleries and museums, while the Bayfront District offers a mix of restaurants, shops and parks, and where you can pick up riverboat or sail cruises. There’s lots to see and do around Erie too, including visiting the beaches of Presque Isle State Park, touring the many vineyards and wineries of America’s third largest grape growing region, or discovering the animals at the Erie Zoo.

For more information about Erie, see www.visiteriepa.com.

Founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercyhurst University is guided by the legacy of its founders in educating students in a culture where faith and reason flourish together; where the beauty and power of the liberal arts combine with an appreciation for the dignity of work and a commitment to serving others. The college gates and the stately English gothic design of “Old Main” make the university a city landmark. Mercyhurst has many wonderful gardens and green spaces, including the Grotto, where we will gather each morning.

For more information about Mercyhurst, visit www.mercyhurst.edu.

Back to top

Accommodation and Dining

At Mercyhurst University, festival participants will be staying in Warde Hall. This recently built residence features single and double occupancy rooms with private bathrooms and individually controlled air conditioning. Other amenities include:

  • Full kitchen on the first floor
  • Microwave on each floor
  • All purpose lounges (including flat screen TVs) on each floor
  • Laundry services on each floor
  • Recreation room (two treadmills, one elliptical, one exercise bike and one weight machine)
  • Convenience store on the first floor

Linens and towels will be provided.

Merchyhurst has an excellent full service cafeteria in the Egan Dining Hall, where festival participants will enjoy meals made with the freshest and finest local ingredients. In fact, Mercyhurst has their own farm that grows fresh produce! Their experienced team of managers and chefs are happy to assist guests with any special needs or dietary requests.

If you would prefer to stay off-campus, or you are extending your stay in Erie before or after the festival, there are many accommodation options near the campus.

For more information about places to stay in Erie, see www.visiteriepa.com/where-to-stay.

Back to top


Erie and Mercyhurst are easily accessible by car. In fact, Erie is within one day’s drive of almost half of the US population! Here are the distances from a selection of nearby cities:

  • 92 miles from Buffalo, New York
  • 102 miles from Cleveland, Ohio
  • 123 miles from Akron, Ohio
  • 127 miles from Pittsburgh, PA
  • 257 kilometers from Hamilton, Ontario
  • 312 kilometers from Toronto, Ontario
  • 322 kilometers from Kitchener, Canada
  • 385 kilometers from London, Ontario

Parking on-campus at Mercyhurst University will be free for festival participants.

For detailed driving directions to Mercyhurst, visit www.mercyhurst.edu/about-mu/directions

Are you looking for a ride to festival? Can you offer space in your car? SDG members and registered attendees can login to their SDG account and post a message on the festival transportation “Message Board” to make those carpool connections.

Air and Train Travel
Festival participants can fly into the Erie International Airport, which is served by three major air carriers: US Airways, Delta and United. The airport is just 10 minute taxi ride from campus.

The Cleveland and Buffalo airports are also options, as both are approximately just 95 miles from Erie. Both airports offer car rentals and there is bus service from both cities to Erie.

There is also limited train service to Erie by Amtrak.

For more information about how to get to Erie, see www.visiteriepa.com/transportation.

Back to top


Sponsors and Advertising

There are several opportunities to highlight your company, products or services to our unique audience of sacred dancers, including through sponsorship, print advertising and a consignment sales.

For all the details, download the Sponsorship, Advertising and Sales Opportunities package (PDF).

For questions about sponsorship and advertising, please contact:
Jessica Clark: vp@patt9.sg-host.com

Back to top



Festival Poster (JPG)
Festival Brochure (PDF)
Faculty Concert Poster (PDF)
“At a Glance” Schedule (PDF)
Class Schedule (PDF)
Local One-Page Flyer (PDF)
Registration Form (PDF)
Sponsorship, Advertising and Sales Opportunities (PDF)

Back to top



For general inquiries:

1-877-422-8678 (toll-free in North America)
+1-410-647-5002 (outside of North America, answered by Next Wave Group)

Click the names below to email:

Registrar: Wendy Morrell
Program Directors: Mary Kamp and Elaine Sisler
Faculty Chairs: Peggy Hoffman and Sharon Werth
Media Relations, Sponsorship and Advertising: Jessica Clark
Concert Coordinator: Patricia Fisher
Sharing Coordinator: Marcia Miller
Marketplace Coordinators: Diane Dean and Michelle Shortall
Group Gathering Coordinators: Rick Kesler and Angela Nicolosi
Hospitality Coordinator: Pulelehua (Ruth Marie) Quirk
Local Contact: Noelle Partusch

Back to top