Planetary Dance

June 2th 2024, 9am, outside of Grand Forks

Join us for the 43th annual Planetary Dance – a dance for peace among people and peace with the Earth that will be celebrated in 40 countries around the world. We will dance (run and walk) to create a unified voice strong enough, united enough, determined and joyous enough for our personal prayers to be heard as we face the uncertainties of the world. Bring your family and friends of all ages and abilities. After we celebrate with a potluck, relax and offer our poetry and songs.

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Origins of Planetary Dance

From 1979 to 198I six women were murdered on Mt.| Tamalpais, a cross the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. The trails were closed and the community lived in helplessness and rage. At the time, Anna and Lawrence Halprin were leading a community workshop called “A Search for Living Myths and Rituals.” The participants decided to enact a positive myth in dance: the reclaiming of the mountain. That ritual, called “In and On the Mountain” was performed over several days and included a walk
along the very trails where the killings occurred. A few days after the Ritual, the killer was caught and peace returned to the Mountain.
Don Jose Mitsuwa a Huichol shaman then 109 years old, visited Anna Halprin and heard this story, He said, “This mountain is one of the most sacred places on Earth. I believe in what your people did but to be successful in purifying this mountain you must return to it and dance for five years.”
And so the living myth grew. Inspired by the “coincidental” capture of the killer and mindful of the shaman’s counsel, the dance continued for five years every spring, each time deepening participants’ understanding and expanding their vision. In 1985 the dance was renamed Circle the Earth. Where participants had once danced to reclaim a small measure of peace on the mountain, they now danced to restore health and peace to the planet. People in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa came to participate, helping the dance live its name circling the Earth. People around the world wanted to share in Circle the Earth and so the Planetary Dance was created, using one of the dances from Circle the Earth the Earth Run, as the common
element. People were invited to choose their own theme and add their own preparation and their own reflection but every one shared the Earth Run. The Planetary Dance engaged people strongly enough that it has been performed in dozens of countries for more than two decades.

More About Circle the Earth

The following text is excerpted from Circle the Earth Manual: A Guide for Dancing Peace with the Planet, by Anna Halprin with Allan Stinson and peacemakers around the world, Copyright 1987 by Anna S. Halpin.

CIRCLE THE EARTH is a Dance Ritual. It has a purpose to make Peace. It calls upon a Higher Power; it is a series of moving ceremonies and prayers. It draws the strength it needs to call upon that Higher Power from the collective spirit and vision of the People who create it. Most importantly it is witnessed by People who understand and support its purpose: People committed to the creation of Peace on the Planet.

As a performer, you come to CIRCLE THE EARTH with your own expectations and intentions, and these are valuable both to the process of creating the ritual and to your own growth. However, it is important that you always keep the larger purpose of CIRCLE THE EARTH clear in yow awareness that you place you own individual experience within that context. We are here to create peace. Focusing upon that single
purpose, like a lens that focuses the rays of the sun, is the first step in empowering the ritual.

What you call this Higher Power is not important be it God, Buddha, Allah, Spirit, Group Mind, Nature, Universal Principle, Source, Goddess Father, Energy, Nothing, One, All, I Am, the Self, or yourself. What is important is that you are willing to call upon this Higher Power, as you imagine or know It to be. It does not matter where you place it: in the Sky, in the Earth in the Sea, in the Wind in your Mind, in your Soul, in yow Belly, Everywhere at once or Nowhere at all. The important thing is that you turn there and call upon It. We are many different people on the Planet. Our beliefs are just as many. We do not have to agree on the name, shape, number, size, sex, policies or even the existence of a Higher Power to create Peace. What you must do while creating CIRCLE THE EARTH is remain true to what you trust and respect the truth and trust of others.


Making a peace dance, like making peace, is not a small task. It takes the harmony of many to stop a war that only a few might begin. So CIRCLE THE EARTH needs the wining commitment and contribution of a large and varied group of people to create a circle strong enough for clear images of peace to come through. Although it has been performed by smaller groups, CIRCLE THE EARTH works best with at least 100 performers, 200 feet, to dance upon the Planet for its life and healing- – to find a dance that inspires us to keep the Earth alive.

They are family and friends, neighbours and colleagues. Unlike most audiences, they do not come to be entertained, but to support, encourage and participate. There is a sense of purpose in their presence.
As a performer, you will come to more fully understand your role in the ritual as you go through the workshops prior to performance. You must also understand what it means for you to be witnessed what role the people who come to CIRCLE THE EARTH will take.
A few years ago Anna had the privilege of attending a Native American Sun Dance. The Sun Dance requires a deep commitment on the part of the performers. They must spend a year preparing to do it. This requires that they live according to a strict traditional Indian way of life. Ten days before hand they fast and take sweats. The performer begins the dance with prayers and blessings and then submits to having the leader take sharp bear
claws and penetrate his chest. The bear claws are attached to thongs which stretch out like a maypole to a young green tree planted in the center of the dance space. They dance in rhythm around the pole until it is time to be released. Then they pull away with the weight of their bodies until the bear claws tear open the flesh. At this particular performance one male dancer was unable to release the claws and we saw his excruciating and painful struggle. Anna turned away. Next to her an old Indian woman sitting on tile ground suddenly and fiercely snatched a twig and walloped Anna on the
shins with such force that she doubled over. Anna learned in that one split second that as a witness her role was to support the performer. She was not there to be a judge, to be entertained to see a spectacle – she was there to pray, to encourage to make sure the performers achieve their task and to be totally and irrevocably present, She was there to witness.

CIRCLE THE EARTH is a peace dance. Not a dance about peace. Not a dance for peace. But a peace dance: a dance in the spirit of peace. lt is a dance that embodies our fears of death and destruction, a dance that becomes a bridge and then crosses over into the dynamic state of being called peace.C IRCLE THE EARTH is a dance of peacemakers. A dance that makes peace with itself, makes peace between the performers, makes peace
with the Spirit, and ultimately makes peace with the Earth on which it moves. In a world where war has become a national science, peace making must become a community and planetary art in the deepest sense of the word: an exemplification of our ability to cooperate in creation an expression of our best collective aspirations and a powerful act of magic.
In large group dances an exceptional phenomenon occurs time and time again.When enough people move together in a common pulse with a common purpose, an amazing force, an ecstatic rhythm eventually takes over. People stop moving as individuals and begin to move as if they were parts of a single body, not in uniform motion but in deeply interrelated ways. In these archetypal movements they seem to be tracing out the
forms and patterns of a larger organism, communicating with and being moved by a group spirit. This is an ancient phenomenon in dance. Cultures every where in the world have channeled the power of such a group spirit to help them bring rain, hunt, raise crops, and initiate the young. lt is a power that can renew, inspire, teach, create and heal. In Circle The Earth this power is used towards peace.

Living Myths, like all things born from the seed oft the heart either grow and change with time or die. Fed by experience and nurtured by continuous renewal, a Living Myth can remain vital in a community for centuries. The mythology of peace embodied in Circle The Earth is a living myth; it is constantly informed and reshaped by the lives it touches. It is a young Myth and an open-ended one. The Planetary Dance is an annual all-day ritual of healing and community renewal. It is an invitation to people all over the world to join in a dance for peace in their own communities and for peace with the Earth. It brings people of all ages and abilities together in a beautiful setting to “dance for a purpose,” much as people in traditional
cultures have danced for a bountiful harvest, a successful hunt, or a happy marriage. The Planetary Dance is a participatory dance rather than a theatrical performance. At its heart is the Earth Run a simple dance that everybody can do. Participants are invited to run, walk or simply stand in a series of concentric circles, creating a “moving mandala” as we all move to the steady heartbeat of the drums, we become one collective body. Each step upon the Earth becomes a prayer for healing. There are three runs. Everyone starts sitting in a huge circle with the drums in the center.
For the first run, each person stands, as he/she feels moved to do so and calls out a dedication to run for a person in his/her life who needs healing. This personal dedication can be a powerful experience. ( Example:” I run for my father, who is living with cancer.”) During the second run each person calls out a common cause, such as global warming concerns. (Example: “l run for clean water on all continents and for all people.’) The
third and final run is led by the children dance with a dedication for the future. The children may invite adults to join them. The Planetary Dance is an event for all members of a family.
Each Planetary Dance community around the world creates its own special focus, or theme, for this daylong event, Individual participants dedicate their dance to someone or some intention that connects them personally to this theme. The basic schedule of events involves a preparatory phase, the Earth Run, and a closure. In the Bay Area, for example, the day begins at sunrise on the peak of Mt. Tamalpais with prayers and songs. Around 11a.m. everybody gathers at Santos Meadow, at the base of Mt. Tamalpais, for offerings of stories, songs, poems, and movement, as well as an introduction to the Earth Run. After the Earth Run, we eat together, reflect on the event, and talk about how we will carry the spirit of the Planetary Dance into the rest of our lives.

The Tradition of Dance as Prayer.
In large group dances, something exceptional often occurs. When enough people move together with a common pulse and a common purpose, a profound force can take over. People stop moving as individuals and begin to move as if they were parts of a larger body, a group spirit Cultures everywhere have evoked the power of this group spirit, enacting in dance what they hope to see take place in their lives- bringing rain, succeeding in the hunt, growing crops, initiating the young, and sending the dead to their resting place. It is a power that can renew, inspire, teach, and heal.