The Dance of the Twenty-one Taras     
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Experiences and Teachings on the Twenty-one Taras Dance

When I do the Tara dance and song,
I experience that no situations are unworkable, and gain confidence in that. The dance immediately reveals tremendous softness, and also the connection with others that is always there. This soft, awake openness is very powerful; much stronger than any depressions or hesitations. I think this is the way that She is the Swift Liberator; because doubts and fears completely evaporate in the moment of opening the heart to Tara, or as Tara. Even if it doesn’t last that long I can open and shine again and again as I sing and dance.

I asked my Tara teacher how I could relate to others when I felt angry and hurt by them, not wanting to expose myself to them. She suggested that I shine one little ray of light from my heart to them if that’s all I could manage. So when I bumped into Mr. X next time, I sent out one small pencil-beam of light from my heart to his, but the surprise to me was that this was the same as opening completely, and that it was very easy to reverse the karmic direction. To me this is Her special quality of action – swift, peaceful and brave.
Shiwa Datso (Dechen Chöling, France '05, Karmê Chöling, US '05, Dorje Denma Ling, Canada '05)

I was able to participate in just one Tara dance performance. Rehearsals were great, but the final performance in Khenpo Rinpoche’s presence had a really major impact on me. Fear has been a life-long theme for me. In the dance I embodied first the calm person who, as she encounters terrible danger, becomes totally consumed by fear. It felt as real as any life situation had.
But then Tara and the Emanation-Tara’s intervention and blessings helped me move right on and through this state - into awareness and release. The deep experience of this cycle or process, witnessed by an audience within a completely sacred and nurturing space, changed me; It changed my relationship to fear and alienation.      
Kathrin (Dorje Denma Ling, Canada '05)

I find the Tara practice so opening and powerful and joyful. It seems to give such a natural feeling of gathering and expanding, or heart and space at once. And the music increases many subtle qualities of bliss.
Sarah (Dorje Denma Ling, Canada '05)

An intrepid and wild bubble of feminine energy appeared from the deep in my guts, and with the power of its compassion releases the fears of the oceans of beings. I cry and I smile fearlessly.
Mingyur Palmo (Holy Island '05, DagShang Kagyu '06, Panillo '06)
My experience with Tara dance: It was a wonderful way to connect to the energy of Tara and to experience that energy in a non-conceptual way. Because I performed in the Tara dance at DDL with Khenpo Rinpoche presiding, the memory of the song and dance are part of my body, speech and mind. It is an immediate way to connect to the yidam deity and guru.
June (Dorje Denma Ling, Canada '05)

When faced with difficulties, I practice Tara.
Because Tara bears witness to the 16 fears, I can find my own strength.
As for the dance aspect, it’s fun. It makes the practice real and I find that it works with body memory so that remembering Tara is easier.
Kathie (Dorje Denma Ling, Canada '05)
When you begin to dance, mind and space expand and they become united. And in this extensive space, the dance’s energy unfolds and is expressed through movement. As you dance, the dance arises, it expands, it enraptures the senses and it becomes something that is and that is not at the same time, something that appears both real and unreal. An immense joy, a great bliss permeates everything, like a sun that fills everything with its light. It is in this subtle space, where everything is integrated, those who dance and those who do not dance, that a sensation of harmony and solemnity is created.
Carolina Enrech
(Holy Island, Scotland '06, DagShang Kagyu, Spain '06, Panillo, Spain '06)

To talk about Tara and my experience with her dancing is also to speak about the blessings and teachings from Khenpo Rinpoché and Lama Tashi. The experience of performing it is a wonderful way of practicing meditation in action by blending the mind’s calm with movement. But what is really fantastic and amazing is that when I’m dancing within the Tara’s mandala I can feel her blessings emanating from my own deepest heart as the sun emerging from behind the clouds. No words can express it. But during the performance I can perceive Tara’s energy and her qualities as the protector of all sentient beings, cutting the chains of fear and ignorance. This experience has helped me understand and recognize the true nature of mind, and has brought me closer to genuine love and wisdom. Now, after performing her dance a few times, I can feel Tara in my heart and I know she is always by my side protecting me from the fears of every day life. Thanks to Alexandra for teaching us this wonderful meditation.
Esteban Galliera (Holy Island, Scotland '06, DagShang Kagyu, Spain '06, Panillo, Spain '06)
I was overjoyed with the course. I feel much closer to Tara now. I would love to learn the dance and the whole practice again and again because it is a very profound way of developing bodhiçitta and opening one’s heart. It would be a wonderful experience for my daughters if they could learn the dance because it is a very direct way of making contact with your emotions and the true nature of your mind.
Fionnuala Ni Eigeartaigh (Holy Island, Scotland '06; DagShang Kagyu, Spain '06, Panillo, Spain '06)

I started dancing at the age of five. Ever since I was a child, dancing became my way of communicating with my inner world and with the outer world. It was not an easy path – I always had to struggle to be able to do what I most loved in life, which is dancing.
Through dance I have lived the most marvellous moments of my life and the darkest.
Space opened when Alexandra’s wand tinkled, the music sounded and Tara’s dance began. At that moment, I felt all my armour fall off, my fear and pain dissolved.
Tara’s practice wrought the miracle of connecting with the most wounded areas of my soul and healing them.
Tara’s dance creates a loving space where you can open your heart to all suffering beings. It is a space for healing and being healed through Tara’s infinite compassion.
When I came back home, despite all my tiredness, I felt as if I was overflowing with a tremendous energy of happiness and joy.
As a professional dancer, it was a truly wonderful experience. I had a wonderful time, everything flowed, and obstacles became my allies. An immense happiness filled my heart.
I felt that everything was fine, that everything was as it should be and …, now that I connect with that moment again, I could define it as absolute PEACE.
All the experiences I have had with the practice of the Tara dance have surpassed all my expectations, all my wishes… because they have gone far beyond anything I could imagine.
I am grateful to Khenpo Rimpoche, Lama Tashi Lhamo, Alexandra and all my companions, and I pray that we can stay together forever.
Raquel (DagShang Kagyu, Spain '06, Panillo, Spain '06)





pictures by Celia Gradin, Jesus Peris Serrano