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What we do in the Desert

Every summer I lead a group of courageous dancers in a week-long retreat. What do we do out there?

It is difficult to contain with words. We retreat from ourselves, into ourselves. We fall in love with each other, as messy humans, as dancers, as artists. We laugh, a lot. Sometimes there are tears of faith, tears of joy, tears of recognition. We explore our creativity, our movement; we eat really delicious food. We dance and dance in all it’s forms, from drills to play to cathartic release. We leave it in the desert for the dirt to hold it, for the sun to clean it, for the wind to carry it away.

From a recent attendee:

“When I think of my teacher many things come to mind: creativity, depth, artistry, technique, humanity, compassion, challenge, joy, knowledge, wisdom. But the main one and biggest one is simply LOVE. She embraces us with love, and everything she does and says for us is done with love.

I started bellydancing in 2010 and have been studying with Mira Betz since 2015. I am almost sure that if I hadn’t found her, I would have probably given up on dance. Even though she is considered a tribal fusion dancer, and I am more of a weird mix between Am Cab and Egyptian, and even though I didn’t start bellydancing with her, I consider her my teacher and mentor because of everything she has given me so far. Through my first performance intensive with her and the subsequent ones, she set me on a path of self-discovery, knowledge and acceptance. I began doing earnest research about the history of our dance, its roots and influences, and to truly question where it is headed. She made my path through dance a thousand times more complicated, but infinitely deeper and more interesting.

She is now empowering both dancers and non-dancers with neuroplasticity training that she has spent the last three or so years studying, opening up new doors out of pain and physical limitations through nervous system-based performance enhancement.

I have seen eyes light up as ever-present pain fades away and backbends deepen through these neuroplasticity drills. Above all, I have seen the transformations that are possible when those who are hurt and feel small and unseen are given a space to have a voice, a voice that starts very small and gets louder and more beautiful with each passing year.” – E. Figueroa

If you need a different approach to your dance, if you feel frustrated or stuck, unseen. If you just ache for something more… come find us.

2020 Mira Betz NM Retreat

August 15-22, 2020

Registration opens 9/15/19 at 9:00am PST

(p.s. it sells out very quickly!)

Why I Dance

A question fundamental to my teaching philosophy.

A question that gets us closer to goal setting, critical thinking, articulation, and fundamentally closer to understanding ourselves and thus our art. A deepening of spirit, of knowledge, of skill and perception, this is what we crave in the asking. 

Watch with me a practice that is taken to beautiful heights in this collaboration between Francesca Avani and JD Urban produced by Bridge Street Bellydance, featuring dance artists courageously exploring their “why”.

Performance Intensive in Oakland | March 18-23, 2019


Rule the stage!

A unique, versatile approach to the bellydance intensive, a week-long designed for experienced dancers, already performing, who are looking for inspiration from an artistic standpoint and who are interested in honing their ability to express through dance.

This intimate group exploration will stretch your notions of how dance can be striking on stage, and allow you to unlock new areas of creativity in your bodies, and your mind.

The seminar brings together many of the styles and forms from dance to theater which Mira has carefully integrated into an exciting, powerful, liberating approach to creation, including: personal expression, musicality, historical and contemporary contextual analysis, structured improvisation and choreography, focused writing exercises and more.

She will crack you open – but in a safe and supportive environment. 

– J Downum

SOLD OUT in 20 min!

Thank you Thank you!

I feel so honored and blessed to have another Retreat sell out in record time! Each year I take a group of ladies into the desert to dance. But somewhere along the way we fall in love, with one another, with ourselves; we laugh until our cheeks hurt, we collage, drill, stretch, grow and dream. Each year is unique. Each year is special. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for doing the work!

See you in August 2019!

mira betz retreat 80's night

80’s night 2018

 

What Does it mean to be a true performance artist? – Ariellah asks Mira

TribalCon 2009

I adore Ariellah as a performer and as a human, so when she asked me the other day to write a brief paragraph on a subject I can, and (if you have ever found yourself in my classes you know) do tackle often in my workshops, I jumped at the chance. I have a considerable amount to say on the subject, in fact, I have a whole 25 hours intensive addressing this very question. An intensive that attracts powerful women and thus turns out some of the most incredible, courageous dancers I have had the pleasure of touching on their paths.

Here was my abbreviated, a bit scattered by jet-lag and mama brain, submission to her:

A: What does it mean to be a true performance artist? How can we capture the attention of our audience and touch their hearts, as they watch us dance? If this was your goal in your dance path, how would you tackle this,(how would you do this) and what might this feel and look like?

M: “True Performance Artist, is a foreboding title. Anyone can claim they are a “true artist” but I think what’s more pertinent is to ask, what makes you an effective performance artist? I think a truly effective artist is a vulnerable artist. One who speaks their truth from a tender, raw space; a human place. Your truth is yours, it is your body in all its wonder telling us a story. The story does not have to be obvious, it has to be true. It does not have to be languid in order to be tender, it just has to be authentic. Humans are not stupid, we know how to read each and every split second of an eye flicker, the minute shrug of the shoulder, you are not fooling anybody, we can see your thoughts when you are on stage. So the question becomes, How would you like the world to know you? Now that you have their rapt attention, What do you have to SAY?

How would you like the world to know you?

The best we can do as storytellers is to learn our language through which we speak, dance. The more you know, the stronger your vocabulary and articulation are, the richer your stories can be. But don’t underestimate the power of a simple Haiku, a story does not have to be complicated to be effective. That’s why I think vulnerability and honesty prevail. If you are true to your story and work hard in your practice your peers will notice you and name you “artist”. Beware of those who tout the title while skirting the process, mostly those are artists operating from insecurity and fear. I have found most “true artists” don’t need a title to justify their passion, and this shows in their work.”

Thank you Ariellah for including me and thank you for being an authentic artist, I am honored to be a friend, a peer, and a fan. ~mira

Dancing through Motherhood

“I used to think that to become free you had to practice like a samurai warrior, but now I understand that you have to practice like a devoted mother of a newborn child. It takes the same energy but has a completely different quality. It’s compassion and presence rather than having to defeat the enemy in battle.”
Jack Kornfield

I show up and I love

Motherhood changes us.

A rearrangement of priorities and an intimate sharing of one’s life begins. I have not lost myself, my dreams, my ambitions, I have gained a companion who will one day have his own. I see myself reflected in the eyes and actions of another like never before.

I show up and I love, that’s my role as a mother. That is how we must dance, in practice, in performance. For those who have studied with me, you know I talk about trust, about devotion, about focus. These terms have become deepened for me. How do we channel this into our dance? How do we not use our dance to show the world who we want to be, but instead have the world reflect back to us our true sense of devotion, our ability to focus and then trust our audiences with who we are in this moment?

We choose ourselves, we dance.

New Mexico Retreat

Hello out there.

As I sit down to write this blog I can feel my toes chilled by the morning air; I can see the wind beating on a persevering patch of calla lilies, their white trumpets dancing about in the blustery air, their music.

I ask myself, “who am I to ask you to come to take a retreat with me?”

Here’s the answer:

I am Mira Betz and for 20+ years I have, like those perseverant calla lilies, been tossed and beaten by the winds of this dance, yet I am passionate; I cannot stop. I have something to share with you: I see the potential of a life driven by an artistic sentiment; I see a dance that we share, not for mutual attention-seeking satisfaction but in search of a deeper understanding of who we are as women, as mothers, as lovers, as sisters, daughters, and friends. In this retreat I will ask you to look inside, and beyond, yourself for inspiration; to shout out to the world “This is Me!” I will ask you to remove yourself from your daily life, from all the roles you are asked to play, to come to a place where quiet reflection is possible, a place where the beauty of nature roars louder than your inner critic.

This is a place to dance, a place to relax and laugh, to sew with friends (stitch and bitch, oh yeah!), a place to soak, to sleep; this is a place to focus on you. I know the pressures we live under with family, jobs, people who rely on us to be there. We ask ourselves, “how can I possibly get away? How can I afford this?” My answer: effectuality; when you feed yourself you have 10 times the amount to give. So, if we truly want to be effective in our lives, how can we not?

In this retreat, I will share with a very small group my deepest practices of how to bring this into your daily life because dance is not something that is relegated to once a week class, not something you have to “find time to practice”.

Dance is a way of life, an awareness that we bring to everything we do.

Mira Betz Retreat

I invite you to find your passion, the “art of daily living,” come share inspiration, beauty, artistry, dance.

Modern living: why we all need a retreat.