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Alessandra Belloni to Host RHYTHM IS THE CURE Dance & Percussion Workshop at Synod Hall, Begin. 4/26

Internationally renowned singer/percussionist/dancer ALESSANDRA BELLONI, artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine & REMO artist, will present 'RHYTHM IS THE CURE' on Three Saturdays, April 26 & May 3 & 10 at Cathedral of St. John the Divine's Synod Hall. Times are 2-5 pm. Fee: $225 for all three sessions; $75 per session. To register: 212.932.7325 or education@st.johndivine.org.

Alessandra Belloni, internationally known percussionist, announces her Healing Dance and Percussion Workshop "Rhythm is the Cure," featuring the trance dances and rhythms of the tarantella. The healing power of the tarantella trance dance has helped many women over the years, including those who have suffered abuse and violence. A native of Rome, Belloni also acts as a healer/shaman with these powerful workshops. Her work has been featured in the documentary film "Living Shamanism," made by French filmaker Manex Ibar, recorded in Southern Italy where Belloni has an annual one week retreat every summer in Val d'Elsa, located near Florence.

The workshops begin with a short lecture on the Black Madonna and the tarantella trance-dance, which Belloni has researched for years in Southern Italy, where ritual dances and music have been used for centuries for healing. Participants will learn the unique style of tambourine playing and dance originally used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantella. The workshop focuses on releasing blockages of energies, and breaking the imaginary "spider web" of the subconscious. Each session begins with drumming, followed by 1 1/2 hours of dance movements that represent an unbroken chain of inspiration from pre-christian times to the present.

Rhythms and dances taught in the workshops:
TAMMORRIATA - a both elegant and sensual dance from Naples performed by couples playing castenets to the rhythm of a large drum called the Tammorra. The dance is based upon an improvisational of drumming and singing usually enacted during the summer rituals in honor of the ancient Earth Goddess Cybele, now worshipped as the Black Madonna.

PIZZICA TARANTATA - a wild 6/8 rhythm played on medium size tambourines. The healing trance dance is done mainly by women who suffered from depression known as tarantismo and is often used for mental health disorders and imbalances. film clip from the 2013 workshop in Tuscany at http://youtu.be/16-TIZ40ZfU ;

RITMO E DANZA DI SAN ROCCO (Spinning Dance) - originated in Calabria during the Middle Ages during the time of the plague to help people release the overpowering fear of death. Due to the trance-inducing movements and incessant spinning, people often enter ecstatic states during this dance, similar to the Whirling Dervish ceremonies.
film clip from 2013 Tuscany workshop at http://youtu.be/UiFljd6WwRE

TARANTELLA ALLA MONTEMARANESE - a fun Carnevale dance using masks and playing castenets in honor of Bacchus, god of wine and ecstasy, performed in a circle to a very syncopated 6/8 rhythm.

Belloni is known around the world as a superb percussionist specializing in Southern Italian music, dance, and tradition. She has been named "One of the Three Best Percussionists in the World" by Drum Magazine, and Italian American Woman of the Year. She travels the world, appearing as guest, performing solo concerts, and teaching workshops in ritual drumming, dance and healer. She has appeared on PBS National Geographic and many other TV shows; designs her own line of signature series tambourines for REMO, and has published a book/DVD on ritual drumming with Mel Bay Publications.

Belloni is the subject of a recent documentary by French filmmaker Manex Ibar, focusing on her gifts as a shaman/healer. In this capacity, she has helped women around the world by using "the Tarantella," which she refers to as "The Spider Dance," as a releast from pain, abuse, powerlessness, and the feeling of being "caught in a web that binds the women in a partriarchal society.


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