The history of the European dance of life in Lavaldieu

We speak of the dance of life to emphasize that we say yes to life and dance for life.

An essential motivation for each individual to carry their bright visions to the Tree of Life, whether as a dancer, singer or guardian, is the joy of their own existence. We are convinced that this will create a light-filled collective dream that we will send out into the universe at the end of the ceremony.

We start from the central idea that there are two ways to fulfill an intention, which complement and strengthen each other and make dreams come true:

The path of evolution that we have always known: From the simple to the complex, from the substantial to the spiritual principles on the one hand – and on the other hand the path of involution: from spirit to substance. This expresses our certainty that we carry the whole universe within us.

This is how the dance of life should appear in our everyday lives:

In the constant connection with my primal awareness, I am the creator of my life and am responsible for my story yesterday, today and tomorrow. I affirm my salvation and everything that is, wants to unfold and change.

In whatever capacity – I dance in humility and for the good of the greater whole.

The story of Lebenstanz began at the end of the 1980s. Here is a short chronicle of our transformations.

Swift Deer (1941 – 2013), half Cherokee, half Irish, medicine man, member of the Council of Elders of the Twisted Hairs and founder of the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society, brought a form of traditional Native American dreamer sun dances to Europe. In the late 1980s, he organized the first European sun dance in Austria. After an ideal location was found in Lavaldieu, at the foot of the French Pyrenees, another four Sun Dances took place from 1994 to 1997 under the direction of Swift Deer and Batty Gold, with the organization of Swift Deer’s students Barbara Schweizer-Weiss, Birgit Mayer, Günther Gold, Loon Schneider, Renate Weber, Robert Weiss, Sabina Tschudi and Waheo König (sponsor).

The eldest, our Träumertänzer*innen (Barbara Schweizer-Weiss, Birgit Mayer, Günther Gold, Loon Schneider, Renate Weber, Robert Weiss and Waheo König) separated from Swift Deer and led another six dances from 1998 – 2003, which from then on were called Lebenstänze. At the same time, they joined forces to form “Beyond – Association for Individual Growth and Collective Evolution”.

In 2004, our Träumer dancers handed over the leadership of the next eight Lebenstänze to a new leadership team, which was also accepted into the Beyond association: Claudia Frey, Daniel Rähle, Frank Köster, Gabriela Proksch, Gabriella Bugari, Gerhard Proksch, Susie Soltermann and Thomas Schwarz. This team later calls itself the “Pirschertänzer*innen”.

During the dance of life, the dreamer-dancers entered new spaces of experience and development to support this ceremony. Under the direction of Günther Gold, they developed the technique of collective intentional dreaming and changed some of the choreographic processes in and around the dance. The basic alchemy of the Indian sun dances remained the same.

From 2012, the European Life Dance is organized and led by a new team of six, now also members of Beyond: Claudia Schwarz, Gertraud Oberpaul, Herbert Untersteiner, Michael Maringer, Nathalie Buchli and Trojka Christian Keller, who subsequently call themselves the Dragon Dancers.

In 2013, the Dreamer Dancers announced their withdrawal from the Life Dance Ceremony and made this space available to their successors at the time, the Stalker Dancers. Like the dreamer dancers, they offer their knowledge and experience.

After the 2018 dance, a new management team consisting of Andy Arnet, Aniela Wirz, Annett Gröble, Dana Ott and Eva Maringer took over and led the dance through the difficult times of the pandemic. In 2019, you organized and led a dance on site in Lavaldieu. In 2020 and 2021, there were no dances in Lavaldieu due to the coronavirus, so this leadership team organized two decentralized dances in the Spirit and promoted the digitalization of our collective. This allowed the dance to be performed individually and as a ceremony in seven countries. The decentralized dance of life is now an integral part of the ceremony and allows people to take part in this ceremony anywhere without having to travel to Lavaldieu.

In autumn 2021, five people from the collective have come together as a choreography team together with committed people from the Shining Branches to organize the next Life Dance again in Lavaldieu: Anita Schlesak, Irène Muser-Rui, Josef Reichenspurner, Michael Maringer and Marton Radkai. This choreography team was expanded in 2022 by Flurina Campolongo, who left the team for organizational reasons before the start of the 31st Life Dance in 2023. After this life dance in 2023, Michael Maringer also left the choreography team after many years of support. Bärbel Oftring was then recruited as a new member of the choreography team.

May the dance of life continue for our children and future generations!