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 Sleeping Beauty Show Review Article by Marlayna Maclarty


There is a thirst for enlightenment in this new millennium. But in order to understand this newly popular word, we should first understand what it is not. Enlightenment is not a religion, though it is the goal, recognized or not, of many religions. Enlightenment is not a belief. Enlightenment is not faith, and it does not need a group to happen! It does not need a temple or a church. Enlightenment happens within, and it is a deeply personal and unique experience for each individual. It is in the truth of our actions and in the deepest compassion of our souls that we will find enlightenment. It resides in the silences between our purest thoughts, and in those precious, fleeting moments when we sense eternity. You cannot "seek out" enlightenment, yet it is everywhere you want it to be. Dance can be a path to Enlightenment.         

- Rosane Gibson aka Hozuhni from her book
       Enlightenment Through Dance:  Dancing Your Way to Eternal Bliss

"It's all good." Those words will stay with me a long while, possibly far beyond the time it takes for their utterer to return from her unknown realm of consciousness. The issuer in question, Lynda Waters, self-proclaimed "belly dancing, scuba diving, biker chick," also skydived when not working as a schoolteacher inspiring students to reach beyond the stars. That is, until Lynda recently met with the earthbound misfortune of being critically injured in a motorcycle accident, resulting in deep coma. While showing small signs of awareness, her amazing network of family, friends and Enlightenment Through Dancers surrounds her, who this night put on the second show I attended for her benefit.

Formerly, the Enlightenment Through Dance Company promoted Fiesta Gitana in Orlando, comprised of international troupes incorporating belly dance. This time, the show appropriately dubbed "Sleeping Beauty" was more circumscribed in contributors, more concentrated in scope. Beyond the words intermittently honoring the reposing, Lynda's essence could be felt in every earthy step. At times mesmerized by the agility of the gyrating, be they svelte or bounteous, male or female, I could not help feeling transported to her bedside, although I have never actually met this beautiful woman. One by one, each expressionist rendered tribute, underscoring that we all are "goddesses," gracious, generous and glowing, both inside and out.

Lynda was further captured in the original renderings of one of her classmates, Jeanie Wu, who refrained from dancing to give of her talents another way. Younger dancers also stepped back to offer delicious homebaked goods. Local businesses gave discounts and raffled off beautiful baskets, adding to the copious outpouring. By evening's end, a respectable amount had been collected to aid in Lynda's recovery.

From the outset, I felt welcomed into a womb-like warmth. Hozuhni (Rosane Gibson), founding member of Enlightenment Through Dance, author, world-renown teacher and flight attendant, once again proved an amazingly well-grounded hostess as she gifted the room with her dazzling presence. At intermission, I overheard the aunt of the magnificent male dancer Zhor (Andrew Guilfoil) extolling the virtues of her nephew, in whose princely presence I soon found myself. Like Hozuhni, Zhor owns and teaches at his self-founded venue (The Guilfoil Academy of Dance & Performing Arts) after studying and performing internationally. Although they danced together for many years, tonight marked the end of their long hiatus sharing a stage. The American Belly Dance Harem also filled the floor, swirling scarves to musky music, progressively telling the Disney classic in an ancient yet brand-new way.

When I asked Zhor why he took up belly dancing, he modestly explained that he originally trained in (and mastered) classical ballet. From there he went on to pursue most other genres with the exception of the earliest styles, his more recent quest. Zhor holds the distinction of being one of the world's few and finest male belly dancers, I was informed. Amusingly, he also bears a striking resemblance to one of Picasso's self portraits, the image of which occupied my mind the entire time we spoke! Not to be outdone, Hozuhni's face and effervescence reminded me of a younger Ann-Margret. As they say, "it's all in the interpretation," as is this type of dance and its restorative properties. (Interestingly, The Free Dictionary cosmically defines the word "coma" as "the luminous cloud of particles surrounding the frozen nucleus of a comet; forms as the comet approaches the sun and is warmed.")

My hope is that Lynda Waters be the recipient of that outcome, materially and ethereally. Although she has been rendered speechless, she has spoken to me through the magnificence of many tongues. May she never take another nosedive as she could never fall from grace. "It's all good," so long as there's love ... and Lynda.

Marlayna Maclarty