DATE: May 12 + 13th
TIME: noon-5pm
LOCATION: The Yurt at Tryon Creek Community Farm, Portland, OR. 

{an offering of traditional shamanic drum + dance of southern Italy.}

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Join us

We are so excited to promote culture, connection and embodied healing by hosting Allesandra in a rare two day experience around traditional healing dances from the Meditteranean. Alessandra, a native of Italy, has spent the last 30 years learning these ancient dances from elders in the southern regions.

In this workshop, featuring Southern Italian folk dances and rituals, we will learn chants used to invoke the healing power of the sun and moon, as well as a repertoire of therapeutic dances, accompanied by the beat of frame drums and tambourines.

Alessandra presents these unique dance movements which trace their roots from Southern Italy back to ancient Greece, with connections to Iran, Egypt and Andalusia, as well as to the traditions of the Gypsies who traveled from Rajasthan through North Africa, Morocco and Spain to Sicily and Calabria.

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Experience the healing power of tarantella rhythms and dance with an internationally renowned singer, percussionist, and teacher. Participants will learn the unique style of tambourine playing and the ancient healing trance dance of the tarantella, used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula.

The workshop focuses on releasing blockages of energies, breaking the imaginary "spider web" of the subconscious.

In this workshop you will be introduced you to a very rich tambourine and folk dance culture from Southern Italy as well as to bring people, especially women, back in touch with their lost drumming tradition

This workshop will give people the means to fortify themselves against daily stresses. Students will become empowered through discovery of the ancient art of frame drumming and a technique of music and dance therapy that restores spiritual and physical energy.

The historic Dance of the Tarantula is a healing trance dance ritual from Southern Italy (in ancient times Magna Greacia, part of Greece) for women from the Greek rites of the "Baccantes, in honor of Dyonusus, God of Ecstasy and wine (Baccus)." Women involved in these rites, later called Tarantate, danced the "Pizzica Tarantata" ("the bite of the spider tarantula," also called "the bite of love").  A bite of love drives them to dance in a wild frenzy in order to free themselves of repressed sexual desires.  The dominant music was percussion, with large tambourines playing non-stop to a 12/8 beat, with loud accents. By spinning and stomping their feet, participants symbolically expelled the "poison" of the mythical bite of the tarantula from their bodies.  A double row of jingles on the instruments accentuated the madness as dancers, traditionally clad in white with red scarves and ribbons, moved on their backs like spiders.  All participants customarily experienced a trance-like state induced by the combination of music and dancing.

In ancient times worship of the Mother Earth Goddess (Cybele/Demeter/Gaia) was predominant, and connected to a strong matriarchal society. There is a vestige of this tradition today in the worship of the Black Madonna.  The old southern Italian peasant women, who work closely with the earth, and whose ancient faces recall that matriarchal society still chant and drum in honor of the Great Mother.  Their drumming tradition is a direct continuation of the ancient rites for the goddesses of the earth, the moon, the sea, and love.  In her research, Alessandra found that the Italian frame drum, "tamburello," is an ancient musical instrument connected to rituals often associated with women, dating back to the ancient Egyptian and Sumerian cultures. In Magna Grecia (now Southern Italy) and the Middle East, women used the frame drums for rituals honoring the Moon Goddess. In Rome, women priestesses played the tambourine in rituals honoring Dionysus and Cybele. This instrument is still used today in Italy to accompany the authentic tarantella (originated as music and dance therapy) and the Tammorriata dance in honor of the Black Madonna.


In the workshop we will explore some of these ancient healing dances:

TAMMORRIATA:  The dance movements have a strong Spanish and Middle Eastern flourish, with many recognizable movements of the Flamenco and Belly Dance traditions. These movements are set to the beat of African 4/4 rhythms. The Tammorriata is based upon an improvisational style of drumming and singing usually enacted during the summer rituals in honor of the ancient Earth Goddess Cybele, and later, the Black Madonna.

THE PIZZICA TARANTATA: This erotic and dynamic ritual dance originated as a cure for the mythical bite of the Tarantula, a condition causing a mental disease called tarantismo, which afflicted mainly women (tarantate) in Southern Italy. The wild rhythm of the Pizzica, played on medium size tambourines and accompanied by dance was performed as an exorcism ritual which produced a trance-like state beneficial for the healing of many disorders and imbalances.

RITMO E DANZA DI SAN ROCCO or SPINNING DANCE: This dance originating in Calabria during the Middle Ages evokes the elegant and meditative movements of the Whirling Dervish ceremonies of the Sufis. This dance was used during the time of the plague to heal people and as a release from overpowering fears of death. Due to the trance-inducing movements and incessant spinning many people enter ecstatic states during this dance. The calming and lilting harmonies of this chant combined with the ocean drum guides students into complete relaxation. Participants emerge feeling light and joyful after this healing journey through sound and dance…


WHEN: MAY 12th +  13th 2018| TIME: noon-5pm | LOCATION: The Yurt at Tryon Creek Community Farm, Portland
COST: $400

Register below:

Join us

The date of the workshop is mother’s day weekend and we feel this is a powerful and potent time to make a statement of embodiement through self-care, rhythm and movement. We are the healing forces we have been waiting for.

This ancestral dance and shamanic healing practice has been lost for many of us in the process of  Americanization. Trance dance and drumming has been practiced all over the Earth to help communities cope with trauma, emotional disorders, abuse, PTSD and to reweave a connection to the dark Mother within.

If you have ever been interested in shamanic drumming and are from Southern European descent, then this workshop may be of particular interest to you. All women welcome, no matter where your origins began. 

If you have a frame drum, please bring it. Otherwise, there will be frame drums available to use.


Alessandra Belloni

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Alessandra Belloni is the Artistic Director, Founder and Lead Performer of "I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA", an Italian Music, Theatre and Dance Ensemble who  is Artists-in-Residence at the Cathedral of St.John the Divine in New York City.
She is also the designer of a line of signature series Italian tambourines made by Remo.

She is the only woman in the U.S. and in Italy who specializes in traditional Southern Italian folk dances and percussion combined with singing that she learned in Southern Italy.

An award winning tambourine virtuoso, singer, dancer and actress, Ms.Belloni was born in Rome, Italy and is committed to preserving the strong and rich traditions of her culture.

For the last 16 years she has been holding her special dance & drumming workshop in Tuscany RHYTHM IS THE CURE, with students that come from all over the world. Recipient of the Folk Arts Master Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Her work as teacher and healer brought her to be featured on CUNY TV with her workshop RHYTHM IS THE CURE, and  main feature of the Russian TV Travel Channel The Dancing Planet, the documentary film about her as artist and healer TARANTELLA TRANCE DANCE by French American film maker Manex Ibar. her TV appearance include: ABC TV live in Chicago, National Geographic documentary SPIDER SEX  on the Tarantella, WORLD BEAT on CNN, , GLOBO BRAZILIAN TV,  RAI UNO MATTINAAlso featured on the PBS documentary, "LA FESTA" with The Voyage of the Black Madonna.

She has spent many years also participating in authentic drumming festivals in remote areas of Southern Italy, held as rituals of purification in honor of the Black Madonna.

Learn more about Alessandra's work by watching the video below...



WHEN: MAY 12th +  13th 2018
TIME: noon-5pm
LOCATION: The Yurt at Tryon Creek Community Farm, Portland OR
COST: $400

Register below:

Join us