Posted by: Dr Martha Eddy | December 7, 2009

Community Development, Women and Dance in Northern Pakistan

From the moving desk of Deborah Heifetz

Dance to connect

Embody Peace Update

By Deborah Heifetz,  Ph.D., CMA

October 20, 2009

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

  

In Pakistan, we are developing a mentoring/coaching program as well as a Learning and Training Center.  I’m working directly with the woman who is in charge of the Local Support Organization – a graduate from the University of Karachi – who introduces herself as “a radical feminist”.  My work with her at this point is via e-mail and phone via our local Pakistani staff since there are many impediments for me to get back to Pakistan at this time.  We were together over the summer and the work of the community is focused on basic issues of women’s empowerment – home financing, self-awareness and encouraging entrepreneurial enterprise.  Body-related issues are particularly related to health and hygiene – but not only.   There are traditional skin products the older women use and you can see a glow in their faces that lack in the younger women, who have been soaped and store-bought creamed out.  The older women are filled with stories of traditional medicinal remedies and beauty traditions – but do not see themselves as a resource because of their illiteracy, and thus, their sense of self-deprecation.   But that said, there is no running water in this Valley of 4000 meters!   So the cold does not make cleanliness via water very conducive during the freezing winter. 

 

Girls in the Chipursan Valley are better off than most – but this is due to the overriding impact of the Aga Khan and the homogeneity of the Ismaeli community, which is conducive for social change in the direction of enhanced well being. 

 

Additional reflections: Nov 2009

I would like to add a few observations about the dance, given that the Ismaili’s are Sufis and the ecstatic movement of repetitive circling and increasing speed is present.  However I must qualify my comments as cursory and but an initial analysis.  I need both video and more time studying, dancing and watching the dance to more fully describe the movement, its meaning and the experience of the movement for me and for the people.  In the meantime I can offer some descriptions by memory.  Men dance in a consistent choreographed  progression, beginning in lines and rows facing the musicians and gradually sequencing into a larger circle dance, twirling on their own vertical axis at increasing speed and as the music intensifies both in volume and rhythm.  Their movement range is both large and individually expressive, gentle hand gestures, at times with level changes. Their chests open and hands and arms extended to middle and far reach.  The men take up space for they do not dance touching each other.  As the men create a circle, one man leads and the leadership alternates so that eventually all men have a chance to lead the dance initiating movement qualities and sequences that the other men should try to follow. They are free to adapt to each other’s movement with wonderful variations in the range of motion, flow patterns, integrated movement, effort life. They are fully present in space – reaching out towards the musicians, keeping attentive to each other, carving and directing into space. Little pelvic movement but full bodied in expressiveness. Although patterned, within the dance’s structure men express nuances of poise, skill, power and joy.  Many songs bring men to the dancefloor, but only one song does so for the women.   The women’s dance, as far as I currently know, is limited to one dance – at least in the public space. The song and dance called “simisai’ is a wedding dance and song.  In contrast to the open circle, women create a closed circle, facing inward towards each other, slowly slowly ever so slowly moving counter-clockwise, drawing from a minimal range of footwork.  You can see in the picture that women’s movement range is very condensed.  I have not yet danced with them, so I can’t really describe what it feels like.  However, in the several occasions where I witnessed the performance, I was struck by how the embraced women kept all body parts in near reach space, including each other and that they seemed to exert a grounding – sinking their weight down gradually, an effort/time pattern fortified by the strength and tightness of their circle.  Their hands are also expressive, giving a very Persian-like hand gesture, lightness and indulged time from the wrists and fingers.  That said, their expressive range was so remarkably limited particularly in contrast to the men that it was painful for me to watch.   I’ve asked our Pakistani team to send me the words of the song ‘simisai’ in order to better understand the meaning and implication of the dance for the people dancing.   My sense is that there is sadness in the words – a longing and loss since the dance reinforces the condensing inward of women’s lives and lacks reaching out into the future.  But I must be cautious not to project what I know about their lives and their hardships onto their dance.  Posted by EmbodyPeace for Deborah Heifetz

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Posted by: Dr Martha Eddy | April 21, 2008

Dancing can heal broken lives

Learn about a group of emigres who dance to heal from occurences of torture and abuse. href=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5264778.stm”>

Posted by: Dr Martha Eddy | April 14, 2008

Remember to submit videos to Make Talk Work

So many of us know adults and children who really KNOW the skills of conflict resolution… AND… who forget to apply these skills in the real moment of conflict. One key aspect of my experience with expert teachers of conflict resolution was that they modeled peaceable behavior frequently. The more often we model a non-reactive creative and compassionate response to hard situations the more possibility there is for a peaceful world. In order to do this we ne need to counter the mainstream media and inundate, infiltrate, create, positive images of creating connection through conflict.

MakeTalkWork is an opportunity to provide visual samples that model creative and positive responses to conflict. Since the medium for the competition is video body movement is inherently featured. I hope that if you already have video footage on your camera, computer, dvds, or tapes that you’ll consider sharing snippets that can inspire either to Make Talk Work (See Marie Volpe’s entry on the Embody Peace page March 11) or to this site. Perhaps you’ll go create a video tomorrow!

Some info about Make Talk Work™ Bookmarks
They are from CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK DISPUTE RESOLUTION CONSORTIUM at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
MAKE TALK WORK™ bookmark tips were created by dispute resolvers in NYC and funded by the JAMS Foundation.
Check out Bookmark 24


For information regarding hardcopies, email
the CUNY DRC at dispute@jjay.cuny.edu

Lets Walk (and Run, and Leap) the Talk! Looking forward to SEEING your responses!

“Eco-moves for Kids” Curriculum Development Workshop
with Martha Eddy, Jane Vorburger, Judy Isacoff and Dan Roth
Visit the full EarthDance SEEDS festival site
Are you a Pre-K to 12th educator or parent interested in experiential learning and the environment? Please join us on Tuesday August 12th for a laboratory day of fun explorations geared towards environmental education. This day long workshop led by Martha Eddy, somatic educator/curriculum specialist, Jane Vorburger, biology major and dance teacher, together with environmental educators, Judy Isacoff, Daniel Roth and Paula Sager will engage participants in activities including “Sensory and somatic explorations inside and outside” and eco-walks and eco-dances.

“Eco-moves for Kids” Curriculum Development workshop will give childhood educators an opportunity to discuss and explore lesson plans that would foster students’ stewardship of the earth and social development via interdisciplinary coursework that combines creative movement with traditional classroom work. We intend to share at least one series of lesson plans that offer teachers ways of nurturing childrens’ respect for their natural environments as well as respect for the diversity within their human communities.

Examples of eco-themes to be explored:
-the interdependence of organisms in a healthy ecological system
-composting and recycling – cherishing what we have
-conservation and stewardship of natural habitats

The workshop will also include informational discussion, reflective discourse, and lesson brainstorming. Teachers will have an opportunity to explore adaptations to different age groups. The project leaders from CKE will provide supportive materials such as current National (or state) Science Education Standards and sample environmental education syllabi for elementary school children.

Martha Eddy, Director of Somatic Studies/Moving On Center & Center for Kinesthetic Education (www.WellnessCKE.net ), is an internationally recognized leader of somatic education who consults in schools integrating kinesthetic awareness with academic, aesthetic, health, and socio-emotional goals. Jane Vorburger danced with American Ballet Theater and currently teaches residencies in dance in NYC schools.

Eco-MOVES is part of a larger festival called SEEDS during the
INTERDISCIPLINARY week at EARTHDANCE. Plainfield, MA.
REGISTRATION: http://www.earthdance.net/seeds [413] 634 – 5678
Tuition: $10 – 20 + Day rate of $60 (includes meals and one night lodging)
Tuesday August 12th Meets 10am- 4pm (Tuition + $30 for just meals)

The workshop is followed by dinner and then a panel ($10) that engages youth and educators in a moving dialogue on the intersection of themes related to conflict on our planet and embodied responses for community building and peace: Gaia Speaks: Youth Responses to a Planet in Pain at 8pm.

The Center for Kinesthetic Education
Martha Eddy – Director
151 West 30th Street Suite 200
New York, NY 10001
(212) 414-2921
http://www.wellnessCKE.net

Posted by: Dr Martha Eddy | March 11, 2008

Peace through Economic Development

Frieder Krups and Deborah Heifetz – Rhine Chapter Alumni

 

 

We founded HiMaT Grassroots Development Foundation in the spring of 2007 in Pakistani Kashmir in order to coach the 40.000 villagers living at the foot of Nanga Parbat to tackle their abject poverty and build prosperous sustainable communities.

Himat is Urdu for “courage, self-drive, spunk”. The M in HiMat stands for an Urdu word denoting “effort”, and the T for the result – “transformative power”. “HiMaT” thus symbolizes our development philosophy:

“Self-drive and personal effort, create sustainable transformation”.

 

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In 2003, Frieder became fascinated by “community-led” development through a YPO resource who successfully applied similar principles to re-build Bosnian communities. A couple of years later, Frieder championed the “YPO Village Partnership Action Forum” and organized trips to Africa, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Bosnia and Central America to learn from the most reputable practitioners in the field. These included Jeff Sachs’ Millennium Villages in Africa, the Aga Khan Rural Support Program in Africa and Asia and former ABB CEO Percy Barnevik’s highly successful job creation program Hand in Hand in India.

 

In 2006, Deborah, a social anthropologist, joined the Village Partnership Forum to direct her passion for peace building into community-led development in conflict zones.  She brings her academic and practical knowledge of conflict resolution and gender studies from her engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Deborah makes sure that traditional cultural practices and values are well integrated into an over-all “bottom-up” plan for sustainable economic development, and that gender relations – a driving force of all culture – are gently negotiated. 

In our research we found that

Poverty is, in the first instance, a rural phenomenon – 80% of the world’s poor live in rural communities

Successful approaches like microcredit generally don’t reach rural communities and they need to be adapted to fit rural needs

Community-led development works – if communities truly lead the development process

Women’s empowerment is a critical catalyst to leading communities out of poverty

 Our “community-led development program” is therefore built on two pillars:

Encouraging individual engagement to create higher incomes

Our program focuses on what villagers know, where big improvements are possible and where there are local markets:

Yield increases and changes to high-value agriculture and livestock

Simple value-adding processing based on local skills and resources

We help villagers form groups so they can learn from each other and gain access to credit, and we provide training, market access and start-up support.

 

2.     Coaching communities to jointly solve their infrastructure problems

Again, we help villagers form groups to tackle their joint issues, coach them to identify and utilize their own resources and potential, introduce novel ideas and ways of thinking, and provide connections to external know-how and sources of funding.

The key is that villagers learn to build internal organizing mechanisms which are sustainable, and establish internal income streams to finance operating and maintenance expenses as well as future improvements

 We chose to pilot this approach in Pakistani Kashmir because of

the support we received from highly influential YPOers in Pakistan (especially Amin Hashwani, one of the co-founders of PAN)

the abject poverty and the cooperative attitude of the local population

we are dealing with Muslim communities – we want to show that community-led development is an effective way to promote peace

 Most importantly, in Nawab Khan we found a social entrepreneur to lead our activities there who

shares our vision of community-led development

is the ideal partner in terms of integrity, management skills and personal chemistry

has a strong reputation locally and extensive local connections

During the past year, we have invested a substantial amount of our time in helping take the project off the ground, and we have contributed most of the start-up capital. Meanwhile we have demonstrated initial successes with our approach:

 

a tripling of yields with new seeds and farming techniques

successful completion of a number of community-initiated projects (irrigation channels, drinking water supply, health clinics)

active community organizations in 7 villages with 4.000 people in total

initial project funding through listing on a new web-portal championing community-led development (www.christmasfuture.org), and we are confident that as of the second part of 2008, a substantial part of our funding needs will be supplied externally

 

Our larger vision is to gain so much practical learning and reputation with our Kashmiri pilot project that it becomes a model for others in the world to emulate. For this purpose, we have begun to build a “Village Partner Alliance” between the worlds’ most experienced and respected organizations in community-led development to exchange our learning, formulate Best Practices, develop joint training programs and create the necessary critical mass to popularize the success of the “community-led” development approach.

 A key aspect of our vision is to team up socially-minded YPOers with results-oriented social entrepreneurs to rapidly spread “community-led development” in the world. The arithmetic is simple: If 5.000 YPOers each take on communities of 40.000 people, like we do in Kashmir, and convince 10 of their business friends to do the same – then poverty will be no more…. 

Posted by: Dr Martha Eddy | March 7, 2008

WEB Resources for Conflict Resolution through Movement & Dance

WEB Resources for Conflict Resolution through Movement & Dance

(NYC & around the world, with a focus on theater and arts in education)

Compiled by Melissa Stetler* for Martha Eddy’s Class at the

Dance Education Laboratory – 92nd St Harkness Dance Center

www.EmbodyPeace.WordPress.com

 

www.crinfo.org/v3-educators.cfm – This is a really comprehensive guide to many Conflict resolution resources. There are links to lesson plans, funding, international dispute resolution, books, articles,

 

www.artforchange.org  – Based in El Barrio Museum of East Harlem

 

www.communityarts.net – Community arts network has many articles on Education and arts projects, theater and democracy, international conflict resolution projects

 

www.tolerance.org – Linked to the Southern Poverty Law Center this web site has links to many activities for teaching about tolerance and conflict resolutions.

 

http://www.stagework.org.uk/webdav/servlet/XRM?Page/@id=6022&Session/@id=D_6k3CpjJhoDpTOQNomARW&Section/@id=421 – Lesson plan for conflict resolution through improvisation.

 

www.yaindy.org – Has a link to “Teacher Fliers” which shows lessons and principles for Active Listening.

 

www.theatreactionproject.org/index.htm – Another good project to look at for ideas. Theatre Action Project creates and promotes socially relevant, interactive theatre and educational programming that ignites community dialogue, self-discovery and social change.

 

www.brechtforum.org/ – Has links to the Institute for Popular Education which teaches TO techniques and also hosts many workshops in community arts.

 

www.arctheatre.com/offerings.html – Much like Theater action project.

 

www.sojourntheatre.org – Theater organization that has a civic democracy project in schools. Very interesting.

 

http://kcya.org/artspartners/tfya/#ConflictResolution – This is a good website to look at if you have a program in mind you would like to develop to partner with schools and offer workshops. Plans are custom built to suit the curriculum needs and goals of schools and districts. Arts Partners membership provides access to a multitude of programming for the arts that include creative writing, dance, theater, visual arts and music

 

www.itsmypark.org/ – This is the city parks organization with links to ongoing events in the parks and contact information for people involved in specific projects.

 

www.destinyarts.org/programs/dreamperformancecompany.htm – Click on the beat box/Conflict Resolution video to see a great performances piece on CR.

 

www.interacttheatre.org/programs/edu/index.html  Has a good description of how they run their workshops. Theater for dialogue and a somewhat forum theater base.

 

www.nafcm.org/ – National Association for Community Mediation

 

www.intuitiontheatre.com/community.html – Building Theatre for Community-Building

 

http://www.msnepal.org/reports_pubs/ekchhin/oct_dec2001/04.htm – Fascinating detailed description of community theatre for conflict resolution.

 

 

Additional Resources compiled by Martha Eddy and Erin Desmond

A Study of Heroes; The Raoul Wallenburg Committee of the United States, Inc. 575 Lexington Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022, www.raoulwallenberg.org

 

Center for Anti-Violence Education: 1-718-788-1775  (Annie Ellman)

 

Citywide Standards of Discipline and Intervention Measures, The New York City Department of Education

 

Educators for Social Responsibility National: 1-800-370-2515  and Project Renewal

 

Hating Pot: Connecticut Public Television, P.O. Box 82, Hopkinton, MA 01748.  1-800-443-2156.

International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA)  212-229-7666. http://www.ismeta.org

 

Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies NY, NY 1-212-477-4299 http://www.limsonline

 

Moving on Center, Oakland CA 1-510-834-0284 www.movingoncenter.org

 

Opportunity-to-Learn: Standards for Arts Education, developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations: Dance (NDA), Music (MENC), Theatre (AATE), and Visual Arts (NAEA)  Skratch: PMB 223, 17300 17th St. Suite J, Tustin, CA 92780. 1-714-543-1411,  1-714-543-1414.

 

SPLC Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. www.splcenter.org, www.tolerance.org

 

Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Model.  Don Hellison, University of Illinois at Chicago. Kinesiology Department.

 

NYC Model Programs

El Puente Leadership Center

Lower East Side Girls Club

Red Hook Community Justice Center

PAL – Red Hook

City Parks and Recreation Department – Sol Goldman Center

Martha Bowers – Dance, Theater Etc

*Martha Eddy has designed graduate level courses and workshops on the subject Conflict Resolution and Community Building through Movement Dance based on her doctoral research on this subject.  www.WELLNESSCKE.net www.EmbodyPeace.WordPress.Com

*Melissa Stetler is an educator and a graduate of the Conflict Resolution and Community Building through Movement Dance Class taught at DEL.

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