the Caravan Project
What is the Caravan Project that is dancing around the globe?
I’ve had a continuous vision for years, of bringing dancers from around the world together, to dance together, both off and on stage. To meet like-minded folk, who have the Tribal spirit, to share the dance and the heart and soul of what makes each of us live day-to-day.
Our common thread is this dance we do, Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance®, that uses a non-verbal language of movements and variations, in mostly an improvisational way, which is so about being in the moment, a moving meditation of sorts, of creating art with our bodies, of listening to the music that feeds our soul and makes our hips shimmy and our core stay strong. It’s about moving our bodies to the rhythm, the rhythm of our souls and the rhythm of the drums.
I have had several incarnations of this vision, starting with my dance troupe, the Gypsy Caravan Dance Company, International (since 1991), and over the years has been student troupes from my classes–Sister Caravan, Caravan Daughters, Urban Berbers, The Caravan Dance Collective, and Caravan Soul Collective, from hometown Portland, Oregon to now reaching the far corners of the globe–Australia, New Zealand, Wales, Scotland, Russia, Italy, Mexico, and more.
The next phase of this journey
has opened up another way to have this vision come alive, the Caravan Project.
Dancers around the world who have studied my Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® are now coming together, to dance this dance specifically, with its widespread language, and the all encompassing ideas of all ages, all sizes, all backgrounds, because somehow, we all have the same Tribal Spirit. That spirit is one of camaraderie, support and encouragement, trust, love, laughter, with big hearts and souls, the desire to dance strong, and study hard. This dance is not just a dance, but a lifestyle, one of wellness and wholeness, of empowerment and beauty, of living life day to day with the skills the dance has taught us. Skills of improvisation, acceptance, creativity, loving our bodies, and enjoying the art of ornamentation–which is all about self-love and self-care. Of being the best we can be and sharing the joy and celebration of this dance with others…
There is the world-wide connection, the invisible link that touches all of us, that makes us believe even stronger in ourselves to walk us through our day to day life. We love movement, music, and dance. Dance makes us whole, and this dance, because it is based on a group format, means we are there together, with each other. It is for enjoyment as well as sanity.
This dance can be our healer, our savior, our lover, our best friend. It can keep us in our bodies when we would rather escape. It keeps us alive when we don’t feel like moving.
It brings body awareness on all the levels–physical, spiritual, emotional. It can be our prayer, our church, our meditation. It can be our way of getting our groove on, and for sharing it on stage with others. We can pass on the legacy of this dance and how it is not just a useful tool but a way of being. Of where it came from and where it is going, and where it is today. Of being an artist, of being part of something bigger than ourselves. The ego is gone and the community becomes the whole.
Mostly, and above all else, it is just freakin’ fun! Gorgeous movement, great music, enlightened folks who have a similar desire. Feeling great in our bodies and in our lives….
So the Caravan Project is about all that.
Coming together. Dancers in different corners of the world, with a chosen guide, to use this format, to connect and strengthen the bonds and our personal dance, to have a great time. Linked over the internet in a variety of ways, sometimes about performing, sometimes about the connection and the study, to become our best, to highlight our individual heartfelt awesomeness and share it with others.
These troupes are led by my Master Teachers and Gypsy Caravan Certified Teachers…
Caravan Project Italy
Director: Cinzia Di Ciocci
Caravan Project United Kingdom
Director: Deirdre Macdonald
Amanda Jowett, Cayte Lawton, Caroline Bury, Eleanor Shirkie, Julie Keast, Wendy Hughes, Kay Isaacs, Kimbereley Rose, Aileen McLachlan, Jude Jones, June Spraggon, Lorene Morris, Ludmilla Kosmina, Deirdre Macdonald, Carrie Rutherford
Caravan Project South East Queensland
Director: Sue McGee & Laurie McKenzie
L to R: Jodie English, Sue McGee, Laurie Mackenzie, Belinda Hunter, Tracey McCann, Juliana Rasmussen
Caravan Project Southwest Washington
Director: Wanda Walker
Back L to R Anna Shupp, Cynthia Tobiason, Wanda Walker
Front L to R Celinda Travelstead, Valerie Spadt
Caravan Project Sarasota
Director: Misha Cain Nell
L to R Rebecca DeRosa, Sarah Hombeck, Laura Cullumbine, Devonne LaBonte, Steph Rowbottom Johns, Misha Nell,
Wendy Renteria, Lue Ann Hombeck, Cat Welch, Rebecca Porzig
Caravan Project Mexico
Director: Walky Ardaat
Mireya Ayala Vasquez, Laura Pina Gonzalez, Carol Vertiz Kroetzsch, Cinthya Nashiely Lopez Saldana
Caravan Project Florida
Director: Sherry Coffey
From left: Judy Schuh, KiKi Brewsaugh, Sherry Coffey, Elena Pokamestova, Kelia Kharizma
Not shown: Bess Coble, Simone Ching, Nargis Abduvohidava
Caravan Project Australia
Director: Nina Martinez
L to R Nina Martinez, Rebecca Foster, Sienna Krzemien, Richelle Spencer, Patty Brown, Kirsty Rochford
Not shown: Caroline Close, Lisa Newton, Magnolia Brooks, Wendy Clark, Carolyn Hardy, Laurie McKenzie, Sue McGee,
Caroline Miller, Larissa Pretorius, Kristie-Lee Stevens
Caravan Project Queensland
Director: Nina Martinez
Patty Brown, Gaye McCosker, Rebeckha Hoskins, Kathy Brumly, Sienna Krzemien, Caroline Close, Lisa Newton, Magnolia Brooks, Wendy Clark, Carolyn Hardy, Laurie McKenzie, Sue McGee
Caravan Project Gloversville NY
Director: Nancy Berner Smith
Lisa Rougier, Cheryl Huxhold, Nancy Berner Smith
Linda Hodgson, Diane Meyers-Herr, Sarah Miller Kramer
Caravan Project Nottinghamshire
Director: Amanda Jowett
Caravan Project Chillicothe Ohio
Director: Allie Joseph
Dee Carpenter, Allie Joseph, Liza McVicker Guess
Caravan Project North Queensland
Director: Nina Martinez
L to R Wendy Clark, Carolyn Hardy, Nina Martinez, Lisa Newton, Sienna Krzemien
Caravan Project New England
Director: Angie Wimmer
Angie Wimmer, Tanya Gorriarian Goodwin, Raylyn Dipaolo, Mandie Mish, Lauren Shamitz-Crooks,
Cheryl Sulyma Mason, Audrey Jackson, Bobbi Backer
Caravan Project New Zealand
Director: Christine Haviland
Michaela Hunter, Heather Wilkinson, Jill Hurley, Amanda Bound, Olga Poletaeva, Lauren Zanders, Anne Hamilton,
Chris Braid, Jaki Tregoweth, Mel Munitich
Caravan Project Western Austraila
With Richelle Spencer
L to R Leanne Shannon, Kerry Mace, Sienna Krzemein, Nina Martinez Richelle Spencer, Connie Baflie, Kirsty Rochford, Tina Frost
L to R Cat Rowbottam, Leanne Shannon, Richelle Spencer, Kerry Mace, Noelene Harrison, Connie Bafile, Tina Frost
Kerry Mace, Connie Bafile, Tracey Noble, Kellie Routledge, Richelle Spencer, Kirsty Rochford, Leanne Shannon, Tina Frost
Tracy Noble, Tina Frost, Richelle Spencer, Kerry Mace, Kirsty Rochford, Kellie Routledge, Connie Bafile
Caravan Project Russia
Director: Irina Koroleva
Pictured: Veronica Bem, Galina Karameleva, Olga Golovina, Anna Starostina, Maria Sinitsyna (not pictured)
Are you interested in becoming a part of this revolutionary project? We want you!
Interested in becoming a Gypsy Caravan dancer and teacher? Want to direct a Caravan Project in your city? Want to know what being in the Caravan Project means and looks like for you?
Gypsy Caravan Tribal Bellydance® Certified Teachers, we want you to be directors!
And Dancers, we want you to join us! Join the Caravan Project dancers…
We are so excited to see this build and grow and include all of you!
Email me for more information….firstname.lastname@example.org
And the music… with the Caravan Project Band
came together with Ruben Ramirez and Jeff Rees…
they created a CD of music for us to dance with…
Raw, earthy, tribal, simple—the pounding of the drums, the shaking of the different percussion instruments with the underlying beat, the wailing of the zurna or the sinuous melodies of the nay. It takes us back to basic idea of tribe, of dancing together around the campfire at night, like the heartbeat. Basic. That is all. We dance and play together. And the band is inspired by the dancers and the dancers inspire the band. Ancient feelings, contemporary times.
Irina in Russia writes in:
Music from the last album wonderful. I love to train and dance to this music. My favorite tracks for the dance is “Driving Spirits” and “Mendocino”.
“Walk To Nowhere” I like just to listen and see images of nature: rivers, forests, lakes, sunrise and sunset, the warm wind in your face … The track is ideal for relaxation and meditation.
Thank you for your wonderful music.