Rhythm is The Cure
A Healing Dance and Percussion Workshop by Alessandra Belloni -
REMO Signature Series Artist based on her book and DVD by Mel Bay Publications
Workshop $40 includes light lunch
Based on the roots of an ancient form of music and dance therapy known as tarantella, a precursor of modern day music therapy and how to apply it today.
This workshop will enable participants to experience the healing power of an ancient form of music and dance therapy, known today as tarantella. It has been used in Italy and the Mediterranean for centuries to cure people, mainly women, who suffered a form of mental depression known as tarantismo, attributed to the mythical bite of the tarantula. According to what I have observed in my practice and personal experience in teaching healing workshops around the world, “tarantismo” may be defined as depression, suicide mania, hysteria, aggression, and sexual dysfunction resulting from sexual abuse. In modern day music therapy the tarantella rhythm targets especially women who have been abused and suffer from emotional and physical disorders, including cysts, displasia, irregular bleeding, early menopause .
Begins with short performance of the Tarantella =
The historic Dance of the Tarantula, is a healing trance dance ritual from Southern Italy (in ancient times Magna Greacia, part of Greece) for women from the Greek rites of the "Baccantes, in honor of Dyonusus, God of Ecstasy and wine (Baccus)." Women involved in these rites, later called Tarantate, danced the "Pizzica Tarantata" ("the bite of the spider tarantula," also called "the bite of love"). A bite of love drives them to dance in a wild frenzy in order to free themselves of repressed sexual desires. The dominant music was percussion, with large tambourines playing non-stop to a 12/8 beat, with loud accents. By spinning and stomping their feet, participants symbolically expelled the "poison" of the mythical bite of the tarantula from their bodies. A double row of jingles on the instruments accentuated the madness as dancers, traditionally clad in white with red scarves and ribbons, moved on their backs like spiders. All participants customarily experienced a trance-like state induced by the combination of music and dancing.
DANCE WORKSHOP: Participants in this workshop should be barefoot, and women should preferably wear skirts, and if possible everyone should wear white clothes. The sessions are held giving the students the feeling of being part of the "ritual."
In this workshop featuring Southern Italian folk dances and rituals students will also learn ancient healing chants on the Lydian Scale or Neapolitan scale used to invoke the healing power of the sun and moon, as well as a repertoire of therapeutic dances, accompanied by the beat of Frame drums and tambourines. Alessandra presents these unique dance movements which trace their roots from Southern Italy back to ancient Greece, with connections to North Africa the traditions of the Gypsies.
Participatory Tambourine and frame drum workshop - Put into practice with frame drum technique. Alessandra as facilitator embraces the Tammorriata- 4/4 rhythm in honor of the Black Madonna – making a circle of frame drum players. The focus is to give the music therapists a practical tool to use in their practices, using small percussion instruments such as tambourines with patients, together with movement and exercises for grounding and opening the heart chakra.
The hands-on tambourine and frame drum lesson follows the instructional book and DVD- introducing the students to the Tammorriata and Tarantella technique – It will show the healing and stress relieving effect of these 6/8 and 4/4 rhythms. The workshop will cover basic tambourine techniques, including relaxation of the wrists and hands to allow speed and endurance. Regional styles and variations of the Tarantella will include: Tarantella (fast, obsessive 6/8), Tammorriata (rhythm in 4/4 played in honor of the Black Madonna), Tarantella di San Rocco – a 6/8 rhythm used to heal people from the plague in the Middle Ages.
About the Black Madonna : In ancient times worship of the Mother Earth Goddess (Cybele/Demeter/Gaia) was predominant, and connected to a strong matriarchal society. There is a vestige of this tradition today in the worship of the Black Madonna. The old southern Italian peasant women, who work closely with the earth, and whose ancient faces recall that matriarchal society still chant and drum in honor of the Great Mother. Their drumming tradition is a direct continuation of the ancient rites for the goddesses of the earth, the moon, the sea, and love. In her research, Alessandra found that the Italian frame drum, "tamburello," is an ancient musical instrument connected to rituals often associated with women, dating back to the ancient Egyptian and Sumerian cultures. In Magna Grecia (now Southern Italy) and the Middle East, women used the frame drums for rituals honoring the Moon Goddess. In Rome, women priestesses played the tambourine in rituals honoring Dionysus and Cybele. This instrument is still used today in Italy to accompany the authentic tarantella (originated as music and dance therapy) and the Tammorriata dance in honor of the Black Madonna.