Dance and music together create the patterns of sound, movement, and energy that bring the multidimensional mandala of each circle dance into being. Musicians and dancers inspire and respond to one another; as we dance to live music, so our dancing comes more fully alive. Musicians also enable us to bring our dance circles outside into nature, where they were born and where they belong.
Many of Laura's workshops are supported by exquisite and sensitive live music from Kostantis Kourmadias. A master of the violin and the saz, Kostantis specialises in the oldest forms of traditional Greek music, particularly island music and the Greek music of Asia Minor, where his grandparents were born. Kostantis also plays music from the Balkans and the Middle East, honouring the musical and cultural common ground shared by East and West.
The saz is a long-necked lute with roots in ancient Babylon and Sumeria, and has been played in Greece at least since the 5th century BCE. It is the ancestor of the modern guitar and bouzouki. Tuned to Eastern (non-tempered) modes, the saz creates a deeply meditative atmosphere and allows rich emotional expression.
Traditional dance music often gives space for taxim, an improvisation free from rhythm and melody, which is said to symbolise the soul's longing for union with the divine and its journey in search of that fulfilment. As we dance in the living presence of the taxim's love and longing, we receive profound support for our own homecoming to wholeness in earth and spirit, body and soul.
Marija Gimbutas' archaeological research reveals that male bards with stringed instruments have accompanied circles of dancing women in their rituals since the Neolithic era. Kostantis has played for many of Laura's workshops and feels honoured to support women's circles in this time-honoured way.
At workshops with live music, we learn and dance first with recorded music (in a typical weekend workshop, we might dance 75% of the time with CDs). When we are comfortable with the steps and movements, we invite the musicians to play for us, usually in an evening ritual, or perhaps outside in nature. The living presence of traditional music can open and complete our experience and understanding of dance in a way that CDs do not allow.
Sometimes friends or students join in, but usually the music is provided just by Kostantis and Laura. Laura and Kostantis also give concerts together regularly throughout Greece and Europe.