Thursday, February 1, 2018

Apr 20-22: Dancing Our Life Purpose Retreat

Dancers, Save the Date!


What:  Dancing Our Life Purpose: A Dances of Universal Peace Retreat

Over the course of this weekend, we will immerse ourselves in the Dances of Universal Peace and the Elements of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air to clarify and energize our individual sense of Life Purpose.Sessions will be curated by Morgan Rivers, Conie Borchardt, Heather Hayat Godsey, and Saleem Adam Wolter with assistance from dance leaders and musicians in the region. The Sunday morning Universal Worship service will be coordinated by Heather Hayat Godsey with support from cherags in the region.

When:  Friday evening, April 20-Sunday afternoon, April 22, 2018

The Dance Retreat begins on Friday evening with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and continues through lunch at Sunday noon. There will be dance sessions Friday evening, Saturday morning, afternoon, and evening. Sunday morning, the retreat will conclude with Universal Worship.

Where:  Newton Christian Conference Center,
5064 Lincoln Street, Newton, Iowa

The retreat location is the lovely Newton Christian Conference Center just outside of Newton, Iowa. A variety of onsite lodging is available between $29-82 per night and meal packages are available.

Early Bird Registration ($100) for the Full weekend is available until March 1, 2018, midnight. After this date, the Full Weekend is $125. Individual Day Registration is also available.

More Details and Online Registration at

Contact or with questions.

Please invite fellow dancers, leaders, and musicians! 


For Dance Leaders and Musicians

Come and offer your dances and your musical support for the Dances! Let us create these circles together!

We will gather a day earlier to find our attunements and then gather for an hour on Sunday afternoon to reflect on our shared experience. Your service in leading and playing music for the retreat is your registration fee. Room and board is your only financial commitment.

Dance Leaders and Musicians, please contact with questions. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Jan 27: Dances in Rochester

When:  Saturday January 27, 2018 7-9 p.m.
Where:  Rochester's Assisi Heights - TEK Room, lower level

Come and weave a circle of sacred presence with experienced seekers and curious newbies alike. We honor spiritual traditions of the world by singing sacred songs and dancing simple steps in a circle of universal prayer. No former experience is necessary. You'll learn the words, songs and steps we'll be
using in a comfortable setting. There are no performers and no audience members. This is a circle of healing presence. Come and find out more for yourself.

All are welcome.

The leader will be Francis Gurtz, a "Certified Dance Leader" who's been participating in these Dances of Universal Peace for over 25 years.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Jan 7: Sufi Dancing in NE Mpls

Sufi Dancing

Sunday January 7th
7:00 - 9:15 P.M.

at Holistic Gateway

Suggested Donation: $10

Come and weave a circle of sacred presence with experienced seekers and curious newbies alike. We honor all the traditions of the world by singing sacred songs and dancing simple steps in a circle of universal prayer. No former experience is necessary. You'll learn the words, songs and steps we'll be using in a comfortable setting. There are no performers and no audience members. This is a circle of healing presence. Words can't do justice to the beauty that unfolds here. Come and find out more for yourself.

All are welcome

The host of this circle is Saleem Adam Wolter, a Certified Dance Leader who's been participating in the dances since 2010, and has been on a program of intensive study with mentors since April 2014.

He can be reached (text works) at (612)237-6690

For more info on the dances:

Dances of Universal Peace

And the universalist Sufi order they came from:

Sufi Ruhaniat International

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dec 17: Annual Rumi Celebration

What:  Rumi Celebration - 19th Annual evening of music, chanting, poetry, and sacred dance in honor of Sufism's Greatest Poet
When:  Sunday, December 17, 2017, 7-9p
Where:  Tula Yoga & Wellness, 99 Snelling Ave. N, St. Paul, MN (see map below)
Who:  with the Wild Moon Bhaktas, Hakim Bushnell of Light Upon Light Sufi Center, Rev. Ted Tollefson of the Mythos Institute, and you ... Bring a poem to share!
Suggested donation:  $10-15

Dancing December Updates

Where to Dance in December 2017: 

Francis Gurtz
Saturday, December 16, 2017, 7-9 p.m. @ Rochester's Assisi Heights with Francis Gurtz leading

Saturday, December 16, 2017 - NO Dances at St. Mary's Episcopal, St. Paul (for more details about these changes go to Points Of Light Music's page). 

    Hakim Bushnell
Sunday, December 17, 2017, 7-9 p.m. - 19th Annual Rumi Celebration @ Tula Yoga, St. Paul with Hakim Bushnell of Light Upon Light Sufi Center leading dances, along with Wild Moon Bhaktas, and Ted Tollefson from the Mythos Institute.

Saleem Adam Wolter

Monday, December 18, 2017, 7-9 p.m. @ Holistic Gateway, NE Mpls - NEW Dances on the 3rd Monday of the month!

Sunday, December 24 - NO Dances with Light Upon Light Sufi Center (due to the Holiday)

Sunday, January 7, 2018, 7-9 p.m. @ Holistic Gateway, NE Mpls

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Oct 27 in Morris, West Central MN

What:  Dances of Universal Peace
Where:  A Place to Move, 714 Columbia Ave, Morris, MN
When:  Thursday, October 27, 2017, 7-8:30 p.m.

Facebook event link to share with others!  Ask Conie for more details. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

July 2 at Spirit United

A Dance Circle on a Sunday morning!  Come!  Come!  Join us!

When: Sunday, July 2, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Where:  Spirit United (map below),
701 Lexington Parkway N, St. Paul, MN  55104

Saleem and Conie will be your leaders for the morning. 


Monday, May 29, 2017

June Dances in Rochester

Be an instrument of peace.

Join us! 

Saturday, June 24, 7-9 pm
Assisi Heights Spirituality Center
1001 14th St NW, Rochester, MN

Lead by Francis Gurtz.
Questions?  Contact Marion Coit, or 507-398-6028.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Summer Schedule Changes

Beloved Dancers, Please note the following changes on your Dance card:
  • Light Upon Light Sufi Center will be holding its annual sabbatical closing in June this year.  There will be no Dance Circle on the 4th Sunday, June 25
  • The St. Paul 3rd Saturday Dance Circle at St. Mary's has begun its summer vacation.  A regular schedule with resume in September.
  • Saleem, our Dance Leader host at Holistic Gateway, assures me the 1st Sunday Dance Circle will continue unabated.  7-9pm on Sun, Jun 4, Jul 2, and Aug 6.

Kids Dances in Des Moines

Morgan, Certified Dance Leader, invites you saying,
Come, Come…kids of all ages.  ( :
It’s always a blast of JOY.

Feel free to download and use this poster
to invite others at your place of worship or via email. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sat May 20 @ Rochester: Become an Instrument of Peace

From Marion C:  
Join us in the Dances of Universal Peace. 
Francis Gurtz

The dances are spiritual practices in motion. We use the sacred phrases, scripture, and poetry of the many spiritual traditions of the earth. The Dances blend chant, live music and movement into a living experience of unity and peace.

Francis Gurtz will be leading us.

When: SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017, 7-9 PM
Where: Assisi Heights Spirituality Center

1001 14th St NW, Rochester, Minnesota

Free will Donation at the door. 
Francis teaching a dance at the 2015 Villa Maria retreat.
Photos by Dean Johnson.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Newton Retreat Bonus: Fri Night Dance (4/28)

You're invited to the Musician-led Dance Circle that precedes the Anahata-led Dance Retreat on Saturday and Sunday.  The format will be a little different as Anahata will be giving musicians feedback throughout. 

What:  Musician-led Dance Circle
When:  Friday, April 28, 7-9 p.m.
Where:  The Chapel of the Newton Christian Conference Center,
5064 Lincoln Sreet, Newton, IA 50208 * 641-792-1266

Fee:  Free! 

If you'd like to come early for dinner and stay overnight with breakfast in the morning, please let Morgan Rivers know at at your earliest convenience.  Lodging and meal details are listed on this registration form for Saturday and Sunday's retreat. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Mar 26: No Dances at LUL

From Hakim of Light Upon Light Sufi Center:  

Dances of Universal Peace Potluck, scheduled to occur on Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:00 PM has been cancelled. Please update your plans accordingly.

If you have further questions, you can email me through the Contact Us link on Meetup.

Dear Ones, As you see, the Dances of Universal Peace/Potluck at both the Center for Performing Arts and Hakim and Karima's home is cancelled for the month of March. There is a large Sufi meeting in Madison that weekend, the Jamiat Ahm of the Sufi Ruhaniat International. Many of the people who would ordinarily attend the Dance/Potluck will be in Madison winding up a four day retreat. I have attended these retreats before. They are held every year around the country and are an absolute feast of bliss, sound, light, and movement. It is a rare opportunity to have one held this close to us. It is not too late to sign up! An event such as this is a great help in finding one's balance in these upset and upsetting times. It could be just what we need to return to a calm happiness and solid sense of proper direction. It may well be the heart's ease we are missing.

"Nurturing the Heart, Caring for the World".
Al-Jami is to gather, to bring together. The annual Jamiat Aam retreat is an opportunity to draw our community together. We welcome our family from near and far Calling all Seekers, Mureeds, Dancers & Mystics to join us, March 23-26 in Madison, WI.

Much Love, Dear,


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mar 25: Collette's Memorial Meeting

Colette at the 2015 Villa Maria retreat.
Dear Family, friends, Quakers, coworkers, Dancers, Zumberas, cyclists, singers, climbers:

To celebrate the life of Colette Jackman Miller, a Memorial Meeting for Worship will be held, under the care of Rochester Friends Meeting (Quakers). It will be in Crawford Hall at Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Rochester, on Saturday March 25th, 2017 at 2:00 pm. Informal dress is fine.

The Quaker Meeting will consist of an hour of silent worship, with all attenders welcome to “speak out of the silence” if they feel so moved. After the Meeting we will sing a few songs, followed by light refreshments and further informal sharing.

The address of the church is 111 Third Avenue SW. However, please use the west entrance door, which is on Fourth Avenue SW, just north of Second Street SW.

There is free street parking downtown, as well as the Damon parking ramp, whose entrance is on Third Avenue just north of the church and across the street from the Mayo Clinic Gonda Building.

In Love and Light,

p.s. Do contact Francis with any questions, either by email (gurtzmiller AT gmail DOT com) or at (507) 282-8966.

Apr 8: Rumi Meets Sofia: A Love Story

Coleman Barks
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities will be hosting renown Rumi scholar and translator, Coleman Barks, former Poet Laureate of Rhode Island Lisa Starr, and Sofia, a three-person musical ensemble, for a beautiful evening of music, poetry, and interfaith connection. The artists will weave readings of Rumi's mystical poetry with Jesus of Nazareth's Beatitudes sung in their original Aramaic. 

When:  Saturday, April 8, 7-10 p.m.
Where:  Bigelow Chapel
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
3000 5th Street Northwest, New Brighton, MN 55112
For:  The event is also accepting donations for two non-profit organizations as part of the event: Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE) and The Advocates for Human Rights.
Fees:  $50-75
Register:  Eventbrite

Thursday, March 2, 2017

In Memoriam: Colette Miller, 1935-2017

It is with a sad heart to share with the Dances community the obituary for our beloved Colette of Rochester, MN.  Her smile was bright, her enthusiasm undefeatable, and her love was long. 
A Quaker Meeting to Remember is being planned and will be announced here. 

Colette at the 2015 Villa Maria dance retreat.
Please keep Francis and their family in your hearts and prayers during this time. 

Coming Soon: Dances in Winona

Long time Dancers from Winona, MN, Raqiba and Ron, have been chatting with dance leaders about leadings some dances at their intentional community some time this spring/summer. 

Conie took a visit and thinks these spaces will be just right for dances.  What do you think?

Inside their community room.
(don't worry, we'd move the Ping-Pong table and swing some of those couches back against walls)
At the outdoor pavilion:  cover for rain or strong sunshine
and open space for dancing under the blue sky
(sand volleyball, anyone?)
Stay tuned as details develop! 

In Madison: Jamiat Aam, March 23-26

For more information, visit the Special Events page on the Madison Sufis website, 

Dance in Coon Rapids, 4/12

From Will Hale:  

Greetings! I want to invite you to a Dances of Universal Peace event I will be leading. It would be great to have a few experienced dancers to support the expected large group of over 80 intergenerational people with no history in the Dances of Universal Peace.

You can contact me if you have questions.
Thanks! Will Hale


What: Dances of Universal Peace - Aramaic Easter
When: Wednesday, April 12th, 7:00 PM
Where: Unity North,

11499 Martin Street NW,
Coon Rapids, MN 55433
(763) 754-6489

Overnight Retreat in Central Iowa: 4/29-30

Anahata Iradah,
Retreat Guest Dance Leader
From Morgan Rivers, a Dance Leader in Des Moines, IA: 

"You're invited to our 1st ever overnight Dances retreat with guest leader, Anahata Iradah coming from England via many places on the planet, and most recently Georgia. She is delightful.

It will be at the peaceful rural Newton Christian Conference Center. If you would like to come and prefer staying in a motel-style room with private bath rather than a bunk cabin/shared bath, then it would be wise to send in your registration ASAP. There are a few rooms left."

- What:  Planting Divine Qualities, Harvesting the Blessings
- When:  Saturday, April 29, 9:30 a.m. - Sunday, April 30, after lunch, 2017
- Where:  Newton Christian Conference Center
5064 Lincoln Sreet, Newton, IA 50208 * 641-792-1266

- Fees:  $125 for the retreat and meals plus lodging (three types available onsite ranging from $25-100/night); offsite lodging is also available.

- Registration & more information:  Download pdf form and return to Morgan Rivers with $100 deposit by April 1 for early bird registration.

Musicianship Retreat: 4/27-28 & 30

From Morgan Rivers, Dance Leader in Des Moines, IA:

"Greetings Lovers of the Dances,

Here is a unique and special opportunity to view the Dances of Universal Peace through the lens of the music with Anahata Iradah.

Anahata is a senior teacher and mentor in the MTG and a gifted musician. Many of you know her as the author of “Guitars of Universal Peace”.

We will put the music at the center of the Mandala and study how to provide the most beautiful foundation for the dancers to dance upon.

This retreat is meant for musicians and leaders. A special invitation goes out to leaders who are not musicians who wish to learn how to better communicate with musicians and work harmoniously to create the desired sacred atmosphere for the dances.

The training will be followed by a public retreat where musicians and leaders may assist Anahata.

It will all be held at a lovely rural conference center and camp. The Newton Christian Conference Center welcomes diversity and all spiritual paths.

Of note: In order for Anahata to devote time and attention to each participant, enrollment will be limited to ~ 12 for the musicianship training. If this calls to your heart, it would be wise to send in your deposit soon to reserve your place."

To register for this musicianship retreat, please download this pdf brochure and registration form and send it to Morgan Rivers with a $100 deposit by April 1 for early bird pricing. 

2017 Dances in Des Moines

Monday, December 26, 2016

January Holistic Gateway Dance Change

Saleem from Holistic Gateway tells me that because of the New Year's Day holiday, the Dances of Universal Peace regularly scheduled for the 1st Sunday of the month (that Jan 1, 2017) will be on January 8, 2017 instead. 

The Meetup calendars for Dances of Universal Peace and Holistic Gateway are updated. 

May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy.
Peace, peace, peace. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Day Dances

Happy Holy Days Dancing Friends,

The Christian feast day of the birth of Jesus is coming in a few days.  This affects one regular dance meeting and adds a couple of special events.  Read on for the details ...

First from our friends at Light Upon Light Sufi Center:
  • There will be no Dance/Potluck in December 25 (the regular 4th Sunday)
  • But we'll be at the Center the evening of Christmas Day (12/25) to have a mellow, sweet time of interfaith music, prayer and sharing for friends of the Center who need to relax from the holiday or want a little more community before it ends.
Second from Conie: 

"Magnificat" line drawing
Artist unknown.

The Christmas Day Eucharist at St. Mary's Episcopal Church will feature Dances of Universal Peace inspired from the Judeo Christian traditions.  Come and dance the joyful Gloria in excelsis Alleluia, the reflective Ave Maria, the intimate All I ask of you, and the blessed Shalom Benediction.  More information here

Happy (belated) Solstice!
Happy Hanukkah!
Merry Christmas!
Happy Kwanzaa
Merry Festivus!
And Happy New Year!

May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy.
Peace, peace, peace. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rumi Celebration-St. Paul: Sun, Dec 11 at Tula Yoga

Rumi Celebration
Sunday, December 11th, 2016, 7-9 pm.

Tula Yoga and Wellness Center
99 Snelling Avenue North,
St. Paul, MN 55104

Our 18th annual night of music, chanting , poetry, and sacred dance in honor of Sufism's Greatest Poet.
With the Wild Moon Bhaktas,
Hakim Bushnell of Light Upon Light Sufi Center,
Rev. Ted Tollefson of Mythos Institute,
And you!

It will be grand if you bring your favorite Rumi poem to share.
Recommended donation: $10-15

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Dances with Light Upon Light Sufi Center: Now 4th Sunday @ 2p

From Karima & Hakim, our friends at Light Upon Light Sufi Center: 

Dances of Universal Peace will be offered only once a month, but as an expanded event. The new time: Every 4th Sunday of the month, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., followed by potluck at our house, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Dances will meet in the Sunroom except that on Sunday, September 24th we'll be in the Chapel, one floor higher.
Final huddle from the Villa Maria retreat, August 2015
The Aramaic Words of Jesus will be moved to the second Thursday of every month, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. So, Hakim's evenings will be Dervish Class/Zikr for all other Thursdays and Aramaic for the 2nd.

Second Saturday evenings of the month: October, November and December only. Three special presentations on movement, singing, dance, and sound healing. All of these events connect body, mind, emotions and spirit, and each has an individual, wonderful presenter from our own Center community.  October: Alia Arlys will be offering dans*peace Movement Playground on Saturday October 8th 7:00pm-9:00pm. Please see below for more info.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Updates at Light Upon Light

From our dear friends at Light Upon Light Sufi Center (LUL): 

Hakim and Karima
leading meditations of sound and the 99 Names.
Villa Maria 2015
Dear Dances of Universal Peace folk,

Karima and I are back from our August sabbatical and ready to restart zikr (the Sufi Ceremony of the Remembrance of God) and the Dances of Universal Peace. There are some schedule changes.

There will be no more Tuesday night Aramaic Words of Jesus meetings. The Aramaic words of Jesus will meet once a month on the second Thursday of every month instead of the usual zikr.

All other Thursdays will have the usually scheduled zikr meeting. Karima's zikr continues to meet regularly on Wednesdays

There will be just one Dances of Universal Peace meeting a month from here on out. It will be on the 4th Saturday or Sunday. We don't quite know yet, waiting for the Center for Performing Arts to get back to us about room availability. No Dances on September 10th!

We hope to see you soon at one of these events. Lord knows we all could use some relief from the election season, and something that feels calm and true.

Blessings to One and All

Hakim and Karima 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rochester Retreat Update

The retreat with Rev Murshida Tasnim Fernandez & Imam Bilal Hyde is less than three weeks away.  If you're on the fence about attending, here's a few tidbits from the retreat organizers that may entice you:
  • 44 people have registered so far!
  • Hailing from New York, California, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Arizona, Indiana, Illinois and of course, Minnesota!
  • 10 rooms are left at the retreat center (as of 8/30, 4:30p).  We can have up to 50-55 people, so we're getting close to capacity. 
  • The last date to register is September 7th, since we must give our final food & lodging counts by then.
  • If the retreat center fills ups, we have a nice deal with a local hotel.  Details are available at the eventbrite site.

Iowa September Dances

From Morgan, Certified Dance Leader in Des Moines, IA:

Greetings Central Iowa Dances Community,
         It’s the first Sunday again!
         And we’ll be gathering for both Chant and Dances on this holiday week-end.
         You are invited to come and fill yourself up while making a difference in the world at the same time.
         Here’s a comment from Mary R after last month’s gathering:  “What happens in that small gathering ripples out to the entire world and cosmos.”  (Shared with her permission)
1:00 ~ Gathering time for Chant
         1:15 – 2:15 ~ Chant
         2:15 ~ Gathering time for Dances
         2:30 – 4:00 Dances
         No specific charge / Free-Will Donations and Love Offerings Welcomed 
Peace Be With You,
Morgan Rivers
Our local circle is part of a world-wide non-profit organization dedicated to peace, inner and outer, through the arts.
          We create a sacred atmosphere through music, movement and sacred phrases from many of the spiritual traditions around the world.
The Dances are both deep and meaningful as well as uplifting and a great sense of community is generated.
New arrivals and old hands form the circle. 
          There is no audience.
          We say the Dances are not about “performance” but “transformance”.

Fall 2016 Dance Events

Welcome to Fall, where we return to regular work, school, and dance schedules, after breaks, vacations, and sabbaticals.  Sing, eat, dance, and pray together at these following events*.

September 2016
  • 1st Sun, Sept 4, 7-9p @ Holistic Gateway, Mpls
  • 2nd Sat, Sept 10, 7-9p @ Center for the Performing Arts, Mpls
  • Special Event!  Fri, Sept 16-Sun, Sept 18 @ Assisi Heights Spiritual Center, Rochester, MN (registration link)
  • No 3rd Sat, Sept 17 Dances @ St. Mary's Episcopal, St. Paul
  • 4th Sat, Sept 24, 7-9p @ Center for the Performing Arts, Mpls
October 2016
  • 1st Sun, Oct 2, 7-9p @ Holistic Gateway, Mpls
  • 2nd Sat, Oct 8, 7-9p @ Center for Performing Arts, Mpls
  • 3rd Sat, Oct 15, 7-9p @ St. Mary's Episcopal, St. Paul
  • 4th Sat, Oct 22, 7-9p @ Center for Performing Arts, Mpls
November 2016
  • Special Event!  Fri, Nov 4-Sun, Nov 6 @ Madison, WI - more info. 
  • 1st Sun, Nov 6, 7-9p @ Holistic Gateway, Mpls
  • 2nd Sat, Nov 12, 7-9p @ Center for Performing Arts, Mpls
  • 3rd Sat, Nov 19, 7-9p @ St. Mary's Episcopal, St. Paul
  • 4th Sat, Nov 26, 7-9p @ Center for Performing Arts, Mpls
December 2016
  • 1st Sun, Dec 4, 7-9p @ Holistic Gateway, Mpls
  • 2nd Sat, Dec 10, 7-9p @ Center for Performing Arts, Mpls
  • 3rd Sat, Dec 17, 7-9p @ St. Mary's Episcopal, St. Paul
  • 4th Sat, Dec 24, 7-9p @ Center for Performing Arts, Mpls
* Visit often as events are subject to change. 

Madison's Fall retreat: Shahabuddin, Nov 4-6

For more information, visit the Special Events page on the Madison Sufis website, 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

News from Light Upon Light: Picnic (7/30) & No Dances in Aug

Fourth Anniversary Light Upon Light Picnic! 
Saturday, July 30, 2016, 3-7 p.m.

At Hidden Falls Park near where Minnehaha Creek meets the Mississippi. A sheltered space of beauty, often used for outdoor dancing.

1313 Hidden Falls Dr, St. Paul
Enter at North Gate, Magoffin entrance.

There will be: 
  • Dances of Universal Peace
  • Fun and hanging out
  • Potluck picnic supper.
Hakim says, "We feed each other with the Dances and the Sufi practice, and we feed each other in the material world."

Also, the center will be closed in August, so there will be no Dances of Universal Peace on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays (Aug 13 and 27).