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A performance of sacred dances put on by the Movements Project at the 30th Anniversary of a Dzogchen Community in Western Massachusetts
A performance of sacred dances put on by the Movements Project at the 30th Anniversary of a Dzogchen Community in Western Massachusetts
75 backers pledged $8,725 to help bring this project to life.

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Performance to be held at 7:00pm on July 13th at the Mohawk Regional High School, Rt 112, Buckland, MA.

Event and Project Summary

An auspicious occasion:

The Gurdjieff Movements, a form of sacred dance rarely performed in public, will be presented and demonstrated July 13, 2014, in Buckland MA, in collaboration between the European instructor Margit Martinu, and MREC, a Gurdjieff “Work” group, based in Royalston, MA. This will take place as part of a three day celebration called Tsegyalgar 30. The festival is being organized and hosted by the Dzogchen Community in America (Tsegyalgar), located in Conway, and Buckland, MA.

The purpose of the overall event is the inauguration of the Mandala Hall, a unique structure recently constructed on Tsegyalgar’s retreat land in Buckland, MA, which houses a large colorful Mandala for the practice of sacred Vajra Dance. In addition, the event celebrates the 30+ year presence and history of Tsegyalgar, the North American center established by the Tibetan Dzogchen Master, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.

The Kickstarter aims to provide the funds for the preparation of the Movements demonstration. This includes travel expenses relating to at least two intensive seminars, as well as some scholarship funds for some who otherwise could not participate. The aim is to a have a large enough group to adequately create the necessary energy and visual field for the Movements to be effective. Musicians will be needed, and costumes prepared.

Background and Motivation

Leading up to the establishment of Tsegyalgar in 1983, and commencing in the early 1970s, there was an original group which formed as a Gurdjieff “Work” group, under the direction of Paul Anderson, an important direct pupil of G I Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff, a Master of Greek/Armenian origins, brought his teachings to the West in the 1920s; he died in 1949. In the late 1970s, Mr Anderson reformed his group with a focus on studying and working with accomplished Buddhist Masters, primarily in the Tibetan Vajrayana traditions. In 1982, Mr Anderson invited the Master Chogyal Namkhai Norbu to teach Dzogchen in Conway. Upon the teachers’ meeting and mutual recognition, the Conway group embraced a new identity under the direction of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu , and also attracted pupils of his from all sources. Paul Anderson, who passed in February 1983, left his students under the guidance of a living Master of Dzogchen. The Dzogchen teachings, essentially nonreligious, were kept largely secret for centuries in Tibet, and predate Buddhism; they are considered to be the most essential, esoteric path preserved within Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and have been passed down directly by Masters in a lineage to this present day.

The Mandala Hall and Sacred Dance

The Mandala Hall is a structure designed to honor and make possible the practice of the sacred Vajra Dance, a transmission received by Choegyal Namkhai Norbu through dream in the early ‘90s, on the very spot on the Buckland land where the structure is erected. The Vajra Dance will be presented there during the Inauguration. As the Gurdjieff Movements were a core activity of the Anderson group up until the late 1970s, it is a fitting tribute to Paul Anderson and the early history, that they be presented during the Festival. In this way, the role and legacy of sacred dance from different periods of Tsegyalgar’s history will be represented and acknowledged.

John Bennett and Paul Anderson

The MREC Community, has for 40 years kept alive the teachings and trainings received and transmitted by the remarkable teacher, philosopher, and writer John G Bennett, one of the most renowned direct pupils of G I Gurdjieff. Mr Anderson and Mr Bennett had a loose affiliation and shared students in the early 1970s. Some members of the Anderson group were sent to participate in the 9 month seminars organized by Mr Bennett at Sherbourne, England. Young American seekers who contacted Mr Bennett, inspired by his writings, were referred to Mr Anderson, and this was the basis of the Anderson group forming.

In recent years, MREC has invited the Movements teacher, Margit Martinu , to lead periodic intensive seminars with them. Margit, who originally studied at Sherbourne, and subsequently with Mr Anderson, also became an avid pupil of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu; at the same time, with his encouragement, she has taught the Movements for the last 27 years, primarily in Italy and Europe. She is also a teacher of Vajra Dance.

The Movements Project

Based on the many connections of the people and the history, Tsegyalgar has invited MREC, in collaboration with Margit, and other interested parties, to prepare and present the Movements for the event in July. This also serves to develop the “Movements Project”, an initiative evolving out of the collaboration between Margit, MREC, and other groups. This project seeks to both study and bring alive the knowledge that the Movements embody. Performing them in public is challenging, primarily due to the stability of the inner state of presence required, in addition to the overall extensive preparation. The Movements, and Sacred Dance in general, provide a direct experience of what is not accessible to us on an ordinary level.They demand a balanced connection between the body, the emotions, and the mind, resulting in a harmonious state of being.

Performing them near the presence of a living Master, at this unique occasion, has the potential for a significant energy exchange between the performers and the audience, leading to a higher level of experience for all involved. It also creates the possibility of developing connections between people and communities.

Your Participation

You are invited to be part of this event in person, or in whatever way you can. In any case, your financial donation will make this all possible for the benefit of many. We seek donations at all levels to achieve the goal. Please pass this inquiry on to any who may have an interest. Thank you.

In addition to Tsegyalgar 30 (July 11-13), there will also be the Dzogchen teaching retreat from July 16-20 with Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, which is open to all interested, in whole or in part.

Additional Resources

Media

The project photo is of Sacred Dance practice at Sherborne House Academy (1972).

Photos of Paul Anderson:

Photos taken at Khandroling–the sacred Dzogchen Community land in Buckland, MA:

 Our Team

Margit Martinu - Movements Instructor, Project Lead

Stefan Maier - Project Manager

Efrem Marder - Tsegyalgar Contact, Project Advisor

John Gurdebeke - Video Production

Will Szal - Kickstarter Manager

Elan Sicroff - Thomas de Hartmann pianist [including Movement music]

About the Rewards

At the $400 funding level, Efrem Marder is offering some of his original watercolors.  In total we have ten of them available.  They are 11 inches by 15 inches.  View photos of them here.  This reward will also include a copy of the performance.

Risks and challenges

There is a small risk of the event getting postponed or canceled, for example, if Margit wasn’t able to make it due to illness or trouble traveling through international borders.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Digital audio file of one of Elan Sicroff's de Hartmann tracks

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    Digital copy of the performance

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    T-shirt of the event

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    High-quality print of the Mandala Hall

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    DVD of the performance

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    One of Elan Sicroff's Thomas de Hartmann CDs and a recording of the performance

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Two tickets to either of Elan Sicroff's Thomas de Hartmann performances in July in Massachusetts, and a recording of the movements performance

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    One of Efrem Marder's watercolors

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Funding period

- (24 days)