Festival 2024 – Online Mini Festival

Yesterday, Now, Always | Sacred Dance Festival

65 years!!! What an amazing journey of discovery for this unique organization! 65 years of dancing the sacred, growing, reflecting, shifting, changing, expanding both what is “sacred” and what is “dance” and how they influence, interact and intersect! And WHAT an amazing journey we had at the March 24-25 “min” Festival where we remembered and honored YESTERDAY, danced in the NOW knowing we will ALWAYS find creative and sustaining ways to dance into the future with mind, body and soul connecting!

In celebration of our 65 years in existence we were blessed beyond measure to have SIX of the Sacred Dance Guild’s awesome HONORARY members sharing their journeys with us all at this weekend experience AND two very new SDGers dancing in who continued the adventures in dancing the sacred, moving the world!

SUMMARY! Our tour of the universe through sacred dance began on Friday evening with the SDG Cafe where we so enjoyed connecting and reconnecting with one another in the Zoom Rooms creating movement to YESTERDAY, NOW and ALWAYS! We then danced back in time and peeked into the history of the Sacred Dance Guild with President Wendy Morrell taking us on that journey from 1958 to 2023. Carlynn Reed – from Canada – and author of the FIRST SDG History Book “And We Have Danced” (1978) then premiered her most recent work with the showing of the video “Of Two Minds” exploring relationship and all of us possibilities! The dancing dialogue that followed had much thought provoking conversation. Smile Garcia (from California) and Gizelle Salome (from Australia) ended the evening taking us on a galactic journey where we danced with and through the planets and the stars!

Early Saturday morning (in EDT!!) David Taylor, danced in (even earlier!) from New Mexico and filled our minds and hearts with his words of wisdom on the many transcendent dance expressions around the world and through history. As we breathed in all that David offered we then were transported to Germany where Carola Stieber Paramjyoti had us breathing deeply into each cell in our body to the haunting and beautiful sounds provided by musician Christoph Wiesmann coming to us from Switzerland. We were then warmed up and ready to visit with Laura Shannon in Canterbury, England who took us on another deep dive back in time to the beginnings of sacred dance in Europe and led us in circle dances – along with her husband – to finish our short time together! And on we danced! Where next? Banafsheh Sayyad, dancing in from Southern California, had us flying to her home country of Iran where we witnessed girls dancing together in joy – deep sadness knowing this is something they could be persecuted for…. She then took us on a Dance of Oneness – an adventure through our own bodies. From there – we danced the shorter distance to end in Northern California where our beloved Carla DeSola – along with her colleagues Kristin Burke and David Macauley – had us exploring our yesterdays through videos and dancing in the now with our own moving response to the Beatitudes.

We were all filled – mind, body and soul – with gratitude for our journey together. A short trip back to the SDG Cafe to connect and reconnect in small groups and create new movements to those three small words – YESTERDAY, NOW and ALWAYS…. but a universe of experience for each of us!

See the details below on the presenters, schedule and offerings of Mini Festival 2023!

In the words of Ted Shawn – who was the “director” of the first three Sacred Dance Guild summer festivals at “Jacob’s Pillow” – DANCE WE MUST!


This experience will be limited to a maximum of 100 participants at any one time! Following your registration, you will receive an acknowledgement with details.   The Festival Team is working to keep this as simple as possible!  Registration is for ALL sessions (we do not have a single session registration option for this event). ALL will be open to ALL who register to come and go to any or all sessions as you are able and feel called!   This is YOUR Festival Experience . Come to a few sessions, come to all – you decide if and when you open the ZOOM Door!  (the ZOOM link will be sent to you on March 23rd so DO watch your email in box for that!). Note that most sessions will “close” about five minutes after they start to ensure the best experience for all! Recordings will be available as soon as possible after each session has concluded and all recordings will be available to all participants following the event.



This sacred dance festival will offer you a Friday evening and a full day on Saturday of inspiration and movement experiences along with opportunities to meet and move with fellow sacred dancers.

PLEASE NOTE – ALL TIMES SHOWING ARE IN EDT!!   If you are NOT in EDT, please check your local time!  https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2023

  • 7:00 pm – OPENING GATHERING & SDG Cafe!
  • 7:30 pmHONORING OUR JOURNEY – Of Two Mindswith Carlynn Reed (from Canada)
  • 8:00 pm – FUTURISTIC DANCE PARTY A Galactic Adventure! with Smile Garcia (from California) and Gizelle Salome (from Australia).


  • 8:30 am – DAVID TAYLORTranscendent Dance Expressions (from Colorado, USA)
  • 10:00 am – CAROLA STIEBER Dance of the Heart (from Germany)
  • 11:30 am – LAURA SHANNON  – Ritual Dances of Greece and the Balkans (from Greece)
  • 1:30 pm – BANAFSHEH SAYYAD Dance of Oneness (from California, USA)
  • 3:00 pm – CARLA DESOLA  The Spirit Moves – How Can I Keep from Dancing? (from California, USA)
  • 4:00 pm – CLOSING CELEBRATION & SDG Cafe!      

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

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Workshops offered on Saturday will each be 60 minutes in length. All workshops and sessions will be recorded and made available to participants as soon as possible after they are completed. To the extent possible we have tried to “schedule” workshops to fit the time zone of the presenter and the time zones of the participants! Not an easy task! We compared it to trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube!

PLEASE NOTE:  All times are showing in EDT!  If you are not in EDT, please check times in your local area!  https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html


  • Please arrive on time for workshops and other activities.
  • There will be “Waiting Rooms” set up and the session will “open” a few minutes before start time.
  • Most sessions will “close” 5 minutes after the start to respect both the presenter and other participants.
  • There will be various time “breaks” between all workshops and events to allow participants time for whatever is needed and organizers to technically reset everything between sessions!


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Carlynn Reed “Sacred Dance – Of Two Minds”

Friday, March 24 – 7:30 pm EDT

Dancing in from Toronto, Canada – During this interactive workshop Carlynn will take us on a Journey of Discovery sharing her own personal story of dance as an expression of the sacred she has navigated beginning with showing her 8 minute video “story” of relationship “Of Two Minds” (released today – March 24!). Following the video we will explore with Carlynn the process and insights of telling this type of story through movement and dance.

Carlynn Reed became active in the Sacred Dance Guild in 1971 where she learned how to weave together her faith in God and love of dance.  Carolynn wrote the first “history” book of the Sacred Dance Guild “And We Have Danced”  which was published in 1978 – 45 years ago on the 20th Anniversary of the SDG!  Being a theatre artist as well as dancer, Carlynn has created many works that blend dialogue and movement.  In 2012 she ventured into competitive dance in the cabaret section of the ballroom world (see You Raise Me up – Carlynn Reed with Carlos Zapata performs cabaret dance at 2017 Canada Superstars – YouTube).  This is where she learned to fly, and earned numerous awards. Currently she works from project to project with a dance theatre partner, telling the stories that are important to her (following the death of her beloved son Chris in 2021  – More than Breath – YouTube. ) She also works with kids, writing scripts and preparing them for performances in her church. Carlynn is an Honorary Member of the Sacred Dance Guild and was a Major Presenter as a Living Legacy at the 50th Anniversary Sacred Dance Guild Festival in 2008 at Connecticut College.

Smile Garcia & Gizelle Salome –“A Futuristic Dance Party – A Galactic Adventure!”

Friday, March 24 – 8:00 pm EDT

Dancing in from California and West Australia – During this workshop Smile and Gizelle will take us on a journey travelling back in time through the planets of our Galaxy! We’ll remember, , reconnect, re-center, and create amazing energy for our future sacred dancing! Smile and Gizelle are “new” Sacred Dance Guild members who discovered the village in the Fall at the 2022 Sacred Dance Journey to Bali and they are excited to be joining this amazing community and sharing their journey with us.

Smile Garcia Native Angeleno, was born with a natural gift of rhythmic movement. Throughout her life she continued to develop her skills and excel on receiving her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from Cal State University Northridge. For the past 15 years her vibrant spirit led her to a divine path of service while connecting hearts through dance and yoga. As an International World Dance Educator she has had the honor to teach in Peru, Guatemala, Thailand, Cuba and China. Smile continues to shine vigorously with her passion for dance to teach all over the globe.

Gizelle Salome has a dancing career spanning over 30 years. In her youth she danced in the styles of Jazz, Tap, Ballet and Acrobatics completing exams in following the Commonwealth Society Teachers of Dance (C.S.T.D) syllabus and has been teaching dance for the past 20+ years in WA, ACT and NSW. She is a licensed Zumba Instructor. During her career she has worked closely with many characters in live stage shows. She has also worked on many local productions as Choreographer and Stage Manager and directing Junior theatrical Groups. She is currently studying a diploma in Dance Movement Therapy and is looking forward to sharing her skills and talents with you.

David Taylor – “Transcendent Dance Expressions – Around the World and Throughout History”

Saturday, March 25, 8:30 am EDT

Dancing in from Colorado, USA – During this workshop we will look at numerous transcendent dance rituals including the Mehvlevi Sufi sects’s whirling Dervishes, the Balinese Sanghyang dedari, the Gurdjieff sacred movements and more. We will ask the question, “What are the differences in purpose within the genre of what we call real sacred dance?”

David Taylor has been professionally involved in the Colorado dance community for the past fifty-two years. He began choreographing in 1976 during the course of a twelve-year dance career, and since then has created over one hundred original works. In 1979, he founded the David Taylor Dance Theatre, for thirty-two years one of the Rocky Mountain Region’s most well-known and respected dance organizations, and Denver’s original contemporary ballet company. As the principal choreographer for 27 years, Mr. Taylor’s unique creative focal point became a fascination with the ritual of ancient cultures, metaphysical concepts, and multi-media collaborations which served to put DTDT on the map nationwide as a company to watch. He received the City and County of Denver’s first Individual Artist Fellowship Award for Dance in 1987, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1997, the Carson-Brierly Dance Library’s “Living Legends of Dance” Award in 2006 and became a member of the International Dance Council in 2013. Mr. Taylor is also a recipient of four National Endowment for the Arts grants and his productions of “The Nutcracker” and “Rainforest” have been presented throughout the United States. Mr. Taylor is an authority on dance history and sacred dance and he continues to conduct workshops and lecture demonstrations on these subjects for both statewide and national organizations. Currently, he also serves as the Artistic Director Emeritus and an upper level ballet program faculty member at Denver Ballet Theatre, teaching ballet technique, pointe, pas de deux and dance history. Mr. Taylor founded his new company, the Zikr Dance Ensemble, in 2009. The company’s roster includes some an international roster of some of the finest ballet-trained and contemporary dancers in the world and over the past fourteen years Zikr has presented performances to unanimous standing ovations and critical acclaim throughout the United States. David was named as one of the SIX Honorary Members celebrating the six decades of the Sacred Dance Guild at the 60th Anniversary in 2018 and was interviewed as part of the ‘FIVE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS” 2020 Living Legacy Interview Series – Sacred Dance Guild – Living Legacy Interview Series – YouTube

Website: Zikr Dance Ensemble – Home

Carola Stieber Paramjyoti – “Dance of the Heart – Infinite Dance”

Saturday – March 25 – 10:00 am EDT

Dancing in from Germany – In this workshop Paramjyoti will take us on a meditative dance journey using free movement – the basic tool of her work and the compass of our own hearts. When questions rise, we bring them in breathing into our chest, connecting in spirit and soul to what is dearest to us, listening deeply and speaking truth with every cell of our bodies. Guided by Paramjyoti’s deep understanding and experience what rises from this experience is the dance of your heart supporting us personally and collectively in navigating our journey home.

Carola Stieber Paramjyoti was born and raised in Germany and from a young age was drawn to the arts. After graduating from dance study in AHK Amsterdam/Netherlands with the Diploma for Modern Dance she engaged in studies in meditation, spiritual practice and energy work. She graduated from BPI Berkeley/California as Referent C. Stieber in the United States. At “Center of Unity – Schweibenalp” in Switzerland she learned Puja service in the tradition of Haidakhan Babaji, holding Aarati for Shiva and the Divine Mother.  She has continuously worked on research towards her own expression in dance, as well as holding public performances and offerings. In 2002 she created “Devadasi – Dance of the Heart“ and since then has continuously shared this unfolding art bridging different cultures, spiritual groups and human hearts, and strengthening the connection between the soul and its source.  Paramjyoti is the name given to Carola during the long periods over several years living in India. It is Sanskrit and means “Supreme Light” or “the Light behind the Light”. Using this name as a dancer, Paramjyoti makes herself empty and receptive to heart and body attuning towards whatever form of light pours in. At the 2020 SDG on line “Film Festival” Carola presented “Moving into the Infinite”  which is a pilgrimage, both outward, into the world and inward, towards one’s own heart – a modern fairytale about “the most intimate of all relationships” and what might that be for each individual.  Carola was named as one of the SIX Honorary Members celebrating the six decades of the Sacred Dance Guild at the 60th Anniversary in 2018 and was interviewed as part of the ‘FIVE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS” 2020 Living Legacy Interview Series – Sacred Dance Guild – Living Legacy Interview Series – YouTube

Website: Devadasi School – Dance of the Heart (infinite.dance)

Laura Shannon – “Ritual Dances of Greece and the Balkans:
Yesterday, Now and Always

Saturday – March 25 – 11:30 am EDT

Dancing in from Greece – Ritual dances of Greece and the Balkans have roots in a very long ‘yesterday’, going back to the Neolithic era. In this geographical area, called ‘Old Europe’ by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, peaceful egalitarian societies flourished for thousands of years (7000−3000 BCE). These cultures were based on Partnership rather than Domination, in Riane Eisler’s terms, and an ethic of community, mutual support, and respect for mothers and the mothering principle.    Today in this region, traditional dance rituals continue to embody the same values. The dances express universal themes, honouring the earth and the cycle of life, death and regeneration. They transmit European Indigenous Knowledge, embedded in dance patterns, song words, textile motifs, and seasonal rituals. For dancers today, circle dance offers a therapeutic container to heal trauma, create community, and support physical and mental well-being. The earth-reverent values of Neolithic Old Europe are exactly those we need to cultivate now to ensure a sustainable future for our planet. In this way, the dances and their encoded wisdom may help us live on ‘always’. This session includes an illustrated talk, time for questions, and a taste of circle dancing. 

LAURA Shannon – For more than thirty-five years, Laura Shannon has been researching Greek, Balkan, and Armenian women’s dances, and teaching them all over the world. Her lifelong work explores the inherently healing nature of traditional circle dance, particularly women’s ritual dances, and the hidden wisdom they contain, handed down from the indigenous European ancestors of the human family. Laura is Founding Director of the Athena Institute for Women’s Dance and Culture, and in 2021 was chosen by Carol P. Christ to succeed her as Director of the Ariadne Institute for the Study of Myth and Ritual and the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete.   Since 1999 Laura has been on the faculty of the Sacred Dance Department of the Findhorn Community in Scotland. She has published many articles and book chapters on dance, edited the book ‘String of Pearls: Celebrating 40 Years of Sacred Dance in the Findhorn Community’, and has produced numerous CDs of traditional dance music. Based in Greece and the UK, Laura is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Gloucester, UK. Laura was named as one of the SIX Honorary Members celebrating the six decades of the Sacred Dance Guild at the 60th Anniversary in 2018 and was interviewed as part of the ‘FIVE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS” 2020 Living Legacy Interview Series – Sacred Dance Guild – Living Legacy Interview Series – YouTube

Website: Home (laurashannon.net)

Banafsheh Sayyad – “The Dance of Oneness”

Saturday, March 25 – 1:30 pm EDT

Dancing in from California, USA – In this workshop, Banafsheh will give us a taste of Dance of Oneness to open the gateways of Love in your body through feminine grace, power and pure joy! Dance of Oneness aligns your body, heart, and mind with your soul’s purpose through 3 streams: dance and movement technique and self-expression drawing from Sufi ritual, Persian dance, Flamenco, Gurdjieff Movements and Tai Chi; wisdom teachings based on Sufi, Divine Feminine and Taoist traditions; and healing. Dance of Oneness helps you uncover your authentic self while bringing you into rhythm and harmony with others. We dance to embody joy and activate the power and the resilience to not only survive and endure our individual and collective challenges but to thrive. Dance of Oneness calls you to become a radiant, divine human who can help heal our fragmented world, and it designed for people who love to dance and move to fully embody themselves, including but not limited to dancers, dance teachers, yoga and other movement teachers and artists of all kinds. 

BANAFSHEH Sayyad is a master sacred dancer and living legend. She has dedicated her life to empowering people around the world to embody love. Her students regard her as a highly accessible and profound spiritual teacher. An inspiring example of radiant embodiment, her teaching is considered life changing. Audiences experience her as a Sufi priestess, bringing the presence and power of ancient priestesses to life through her dynamic performances. Banafsheh was named as one of the SIX Honorary Members celebrating the six decades of the Sacred Dance Guild at the 60th Anniversary in 2018 and was interviewed as part of the ‘FIVE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS” 2020 Living Legacy Interview Series- Sacred Dance Guild – Living Legacy Interview Series – YouTube

Website: Banafsheh Dance of Oneness

Carla DeSola – “The Spirit Moves – How Can I Keep from Dancing?”

Saturday – March 25 – 3:00 pm EDT

Dancing in from California, USA – Taking a cue from the Sacred Dance Guild’s theme, Carla will share for “Yesterday” thoughts about sacred dance that were recorded from questions from the SDG and the video of “Beyond Words: An Interfaith Ritual for Peace”, a dance created in 2015 for the Parliament of World Religions. For the “Now” she will adapt a workshop designed for her local Catholic church, Newman Hall/Holy Spirit parish for this spring, ’23). The session (which you are invited to participate in, and is in person at Newman) includes introductory thoughts affirming the inclusion of dance in liturgy, an opening prayer (set to a Taize chant) a gentle warm-up, movement meditations on the Beatitudes (Mt.5: 1-12) followed by a brief video of a dance on the beatitudes Omega West Dance Company offered at Grace Cathedral. Our session ends with a congregational dance suitable for the conclusion of an Easter Vigil. Time is allowed for questions. “Always” will be a greeting of peace…flowing out to you and me…

CARLA DeSola, a pioneer in liturgical dance, has been creating dances and teaching classes and workshops in sacred dance for more than fifty years. With a diploma from the Juilliard School of Music, and a Master’s in Theology & the Arts from the Pacific School of Religion, Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, CA) she proclaims the beauty and union of body, mind and spirit. The breath of the Spirit ignites the dancer. Carla founded the Omega Dance Company on the east and west coasts, and leads movement in churches as well as multi-faith settings. Formed by her time at the Catholic Worker in NYC, she has an abiding interest in dancing for peace. Carla has been a major presenter at many Sacred Dance Guild Festivals including a Living Legacy presenter at the 50th Anniversary Festival at Connecticut College in 2008. Carla was named as an Honorary Member and was interviewed as part of the ‘FIVE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS” 2020 Living Legacy Interview Series – Sacred Dance Guild – Living Legacy Interview Series – YouTube

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Special Events

OpeningFriday Evening – 7:00 pm EDT – JOIN US for a time to connect, to get to know each other, to ask any questions, to create community and dance with the other villagers! The Opening will be followed by the workshops with Carlynn Reed and Smile Garcia & Gizelle Salome. The evening event will end at 9:00 pm

ClosingSaturday – 4:00 pm EDT – celebrate YESTERDAY, dance NOW and stay connected as we continue to expand our community and dance on forward ALWAYS! Note: The Closing will follow directly after Carla DeSola’s workshop and will end at 4:30 pm.

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Registration Fees

The full package includes all festival online events.

  • Full package – SDG Members & Affiliates: $65.00 USD
  • Full package – Non-members: $75.00 USD

Register Online Here


The Sacred Dance Guild is committed to offering programs and opportunities to all.  In these unprecedented  times we know many are struggling so we will also be providing a limited number of partial and full scholarships for those who must dance with us but are financially challenged.  For information on scholarships contact Betsy at betsea2000@gmail.com

Cancellation Policy

A $20 cancellation fee will be charged for refunds up to March 17 . No refunds after Mar. 17 however you can transfer your registration to someone else by advising the registrar at pres@patt9.sg-host.com

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A Festival Waiver is included on the Registration Page. Please read the information provided and select your response. This will be considered your electronic signature.

It is important to note that our online process DOES provide participants the option to turn OFF their video and to change the name displayed. All sessions will be recorded for SDG archives, publicity, and promotion.

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Sharing what we have is how we can all dance together in peace and unity around the world. The Sacred Dance Guild is committed to opening our doors to all who want to dance from their sacred hearts! Your gift provides those who would not otherwise be able to join us an opportunity to dance on into the village. Deep bows to you for sharing your gifts.

This option is available on the Registration form. If you are unable to join us at the Festival but wish to be a sponsor – click HERE to make your donation and we’ll do the rest!

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Technical Notes- For Online Zoomers!

The 2023 Festival will be using ZOOM as our platform for all classes and activities. Details will be sent to all participants before the Festival!

Participant’s Guide to Improving Your Zoom  Experience

Everyone wants a high-quality video and audio connection to the Zoom session where you can see and hear everyone and they can see and hear you. However, we all experience temporary (or ongoing) connection issues or bandwidth problems that can affect our ability to participate in a Zoom event. 

Here are some suggestions that can help to provide the best experience! 

  1. Disconnect other devices on your local network that may be using up bandwidth. Even “uploads” can cause “download” problems. In particular, streaming services (like Netflix) or online gaming via platforms like XBox Live can have a dramatic impact on Zoom quality, so if you’re sharing an internet connection with others, maybe ask them to “pause” while you’re participating in your event!
  2. Use “Speaker View” instead of “Gallery View”.  This is a general suggestion as having only one video stream on screen at a time reduces the bandwidth needed.  Most of the Festival sessions will use “Spotlight” so the presenter will be in the center of the screen so that will override the view you have selected.  In some classes we will want you to use Gallery View so you can see others in the “group”!  Don’t worry though – every session will have “tech” people there with you so should be able to provide advice at the moment!
  3. Turn off your video. Turning off your video during the workshop dips in Internet bandwidth and can help improve your audio.  Sometimes; however, the presenter likes to see those in the session so might ask people to turn their videos ON.  In sessions with a large number of participants turning the video “off” can improve the sound for everyone! 
  4. Quit other applications on your computer that may be using significant processing power. Having lots of open browser tabs can also cause problems. 
  5. Use a wired connection to your home router if possible. WiFi signal quality can vary inside your house.  Don’t worry if you don’t have this option – it’s just a “nice to have” for those who know what this even means!!
  6. Check your internet speed with speedtest.net. Speeds of 600kbps (0.6mbps) are required for Zoom (both download and upload). Speeds of 1.2mbps are required for high quality video. If your speeds are below these values, consider using a smartphone (#4, above) or, if possible, connect to another network. Your internet provider may have options for increasing your bandwidth as well.
  7. Use headphones if you have them and are comfortable doing so. Your audio issue may not be related to bandwidth at all.  Headphones reduce echo and feedback issues. Those with microphones can reduce background noise.

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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

Scholarship Coordinator: Betsy O’Neill

Program Coordinators Deb Donaldson and Jennifer Payne

Participant Contact Deb Donaldson

Tech Contact: Jessica Abejar

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