On the Path with Leslie Zehr
I’m anything but objective about the work of Leslie Zehr. She has been a beloved mentor and friend ever since I first visited Cairo, and gave me one of the most useful teachings I’ve ever heard: “This is the country of the River. Give up and go where she wants to take you, and it gets easier. Try to swim against the current . . .” — and the rest did not have to be said. As the years have passed since 2003, her words have seemed to apply to almost everything: exchanges and interactions with people, communications with the Moon, Mother Earth, the Andean plant teachers and other Divine medicine, and with the flow of healing energy through all the bodies of my own consciousness.
Leslie is uniquely qualified to write not only about dance, but specifically about the Alchemy of it. The word comes from Khemt, the ancient word that the people of the Black Land by the Nile called their country before it became more widely known under its Greek name, “Egypt.” She was initiated as a Priestess at the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, has channeled and created the Egyptian Flower Remedies, has led the Cairo Center for Health and Wellbeing since she and other women first founded it in 1996, and has guided countless teachings and ceremonies at sacred sites, all of them unified by the same alchemical theme she presents in The Alchemy of Dance. The book is rich in spiritual lore, as it shows how an evolving pattern of Sacred Dance is present in the arcana of the tarot, the archetypal images of the soul journey, and the symbols of alchemy.
That’s why her book is so unusual. No footwork diagrams or pictures of body positions. And nothing about dance as entertainment, or as something to relieve the stress of the workaday world, or as a way to lose weight and get an ideal dancer’s body. If anything, Leslie affirms that women’s bodies of all sizes, ages and shapes are beautiful as they are. The point of what she does is in the alchemy as an empowering, liberating process of transformation in which one attunes with the rhythms of the Earth, the pulse of the heart and the dream of freedom. In the end, for those who commit to the path Leslie maps out, one can release the fear, the doubt and the distraction, and become one with the Universal Dancer who expresses what is sacred in every breath and every move.
Dan Furst author of Finding Your Best Places: Using Astrocartography to Navigate Your Life Map, Surfing Aquarius: How to Ace the Wave of Change and Dance of the Moon: Celebrating the Sacred Cycles of the Earth
Dance Your Way to Inner Joy
After reading this book I felt inspired to dance around the room, encouraged by the book’s message to reclaim this ancient art form. It is quite a liberating experience, to play some favourite music and dance with yourself, connect with your inner being. Leslie Zehr writes about dance in an original way, showing us that dance can reconnect us with the universe, as we move to higher energy forms—this experience she calls Sacred Dance. Leslie Zehr runs the Centre for Sacred Arts in Cairo , where she teaches her unique method of dance to young and old. Dance is shown to be a mystical experience as we learn to dance from within, channeling movement, positive energies and discharging negativity. Leslie gives examples of how to achieve this: see yourself connected to the earth, moving through the four elements, in four directions through space; your feet grounded in the earth, your crown reaching to the heavens. I love the way the book links this journey with the chakras, tarot cards and alchemy—dance as a form of transmutation, an awakening. I began to see my body as a mini universe, transmitting energy, rhythmic waves, and channeling it outwards. Through her in-depth knowledge, the author calls us back to our ancient ancestors, when we used to dance ourselves into a trance, feeling a sense of oneness. The book reminds us of our dance heritage, especially women, who once danced for the Goddess, celebrating the divine feminine. You don’t have to be a ‘dancer’ to experience this, you just have to allow your body to find its own rhythm and let yourself go, allow the energy to flow through you like water. The Alchemy of Dance shows us how to regain our deeper selves and feel a greater connection with the life-force, moving in harmony with the universe.
Yvonne Harlech author of Mistress of the Temple and Harp of Joy
Discover the Dancing Path to Alchemical Transformation
Leslie Zehr brings the feminine sacred arts to life in her magical book “The Alchemy of Dance.” This book is a must read for any woman who wants to know how to move the subtle energies of creation through the body with dance. I’ve highlighted and worked with each aspect of this book and love the information and insights I’ve gained. Thank you for writing it, Leslie!
Lisa Michaels author of Natural Rhythms: A Sacred Guide into Nature’s Creation Secrets
Por algunas semanas he estado pensando cómo poner en palabras que expresen mi experiencia con Leslie en sus talleres, tanto presenciales como en línea; en sus sesiones individuales y en los círculos de sonido y de mujeres. Conocí a Leslie en Egipto, en una tierra en la cual jamás me imaginé vivir, pero a la cual mi propio camino de sanación directamente me llevó. Las enseñanzas de Leslie fueron como un faro en días en los cuales buscaba respuestas; así ella me brindó su luz para alumbrar cosas que jamás había considerado antes. Sus enseñanzas podrán parecer místicas y complejas, demasiado profundas, sin embargo, son tan simples. Simpleza que no puede comprenderse hasta comenzar a fluir con los movimientos que ella te enseña. Y una vez eres capaz de fluir, entonces sientes que estas viva y te das cuenta que sus enseñanzas van más allá de las palabras hasta tu alma. Y al final de la clase podrías pensar que no has sentido nada o que no has podido tomar mucho de lo que acaba de acontecer, pero permanece segura que vendrá el día que de repente recordarás. Y así para mí a través de los años, sus palabras vuelven a mí cuando más las necesito. Profundamente aprecio y respeto el trabajo de Leslie porque fluye así como su danza, en espirales. Arriba y abajo, con movimientos que quizás al principio no sabes hacer pero que de repente emergen con información de dentro de ti y comienzas a descubrir un mundo que no habías vislumbrado jamás; y todo gracias a las perspectivas diferentes que ella sabiamente inculca en cada estudiante. Entusiásticamente espero por esta traducción al español del trabajo de Leslie, de forma que otras mujeres de habla hispana como yo puedan abrazar y hacer suyas estas enseñanzas, tal como lo hice yo. Gracias Leslie por hacer posible todo esto.”
“I have been thinking for weeks how to put in words that could express my experience with Leslie at her workshops (face-to-face and online), her individual sessions and her sound and women circles. I met Leslie in Egypt, in a land I never considered living but my own healing path took me right to it. Leslie’s teachings were like a beacon in days I was looking for answers and she was able to bring to light things I never considered before. Her teachings might seem full of mysticism and convolution, but they are deeply profound yet simple. Simplicity that you cannot understand until you start flowing with the movements she teaches you. And when you are able to flow, you feel you are alive and the teachings go way beyond words more directed to your soul. And at the end of the class you may think you haven’t feel or catch much of what happened, but rest assure there will be a time you will remember. As for me, through the years, her words keep coming when I need them most. I deeply appreciate and respect Leslie’s work because it flows just as her dance, in spirals. Up and down, with movements that you may not get at the beginning but then slowly emerge with information from within you and you start discovering a world you haven’t realize before,. And all because of the different perspectives that she wisely instils in every student. I am eager to see this translation in Spanish so other Spanish speakers like me can embrace her teachings as I have done. Thank you Leslie for taking the steps to make this possible.
Maricel ~ Maridhavi de SanandaShakti.
This is truly a fabulous book on sacred dance. I’ve been practicing sacred dances for many years and I highly recommend reading it and tell others about it. The author shares her own experience in the magic of dancing alchemy. It was both insightful as well as inspiring and empowering. She brings in the Tarot, the elements , power animals and there are some illustrations of the movements. Even though dance is clearly a kinesthetic experience, it’s a great read.
Maryanne Savino, New York, NY
Sentir los diferentes aliados de poder en con la Alquimia de la danza de Leslie es una experiencia inolvidable.
I absolutely loved “The Alchemy of Dance” for two main reasons. Many people do not think that they can do this kind of dancing and may feel intimidated. The book explains why it is so easy and so natural (instinctively) for us to do so. If you can just let yourself go as explained beautifully in the book, the rest will happen by itself. It is the most liberating experience and I have to say the energy and the vitality it promotes makes it worth trying.
The second reason is how well the spiritual connection is explained. It truly helps get you to a place of “no mind” which for many is easier to achieve by dancing than by meditating. I think the book is well worth reading and more importantly worth trying, meaning: get up and dance!!! All you have to lose are your inhibitions. You can gain flexibility, a sense of connectedness and JOY.
Cathy Rubini, Bologna, Italy
Leslie, yours is a unique perspective and a powerful one. What I appreciated was the way you integrated all levels, physical, mental and spiritual, in your approach to the dance. I also felt that the power of your own personal experience and how you shared it gave the audience a way to relate to the potential of the tools you were sharing as something they too could take the risk to explore. The transformational work you teach is authentic in a way that a lot of New Age processes and tools unfortunately are not, or rather, they are often more superficial or ungrounded. So, thanks again for coming to Mimosa. Let us know if you are back this way again.
Beth Wortzel-Mimosa Books & Gifts, Madison WI, USA
Leslie has been living in Egypt for 20 years and in that time has accessed some very deep energies and knowledge that she feels strongly guided to share. To this end she is traveling worldwide offering this workshop. My experience being and dancing with Leslie is that through her guidance I was able to access the ecstatic and powerful energies of feminine power with greater freedom and joy. And now I can use the simple yet profound movements that I tasted with her to continue that exploration on my own. I was able to take that from just a few hours, now Leslie is offering us an opportunity to be with her for 2 1/2 days!
Elizabeth Ebaugh-Bubbling Springs Holistic Health Center, Silver Springs MD, USA
I’ve had the pleasure to Dance with Leslie in New York and in Cairo. The first time I took Leslie’s class, I knew that Sacred Dance was the direction I had been searching for. I was ready for this dance – live experience to unfold in me. In Cairo, Leslie witnessed my surrendering to the flow of life. I continue to practice this in my every day life and enjoy and honor my divine feminine power.
Leslie’s book, The Alchemy of Dance: Sacred Dance as a Path to the Universal Dancer is always delightful for me to reread for inspiration and I look forward to dancing with her.
Alexandra Sanchez, New York, NY, USA
Like any typical Egyptian female, I have been a natural belly dancer since I was a child; I loved it and never could live without it. Then I read about Sacred Dance in Leslie’s events, and I thought I should try it out, not knowing it was based on the dance I “identify” with.
And the miracle happened; turns out it’s not just the dance I love anymore; it’s the path to delving into my own soul, discovering the Beauty and Majesty of being Woman.
Thank you, Leslie, for showing me the way!
Maryam Massoud, Cairo, Egypt
Leslie provides an inspiring interpretation of the origins of dance, together with a participatory class on the basic elements of oriental dance. Her fun-loving and joyous attitude helped us to feel less self-conscious about our bodies and to enjoy the challenge of learning a style of dance that is often thought of as “foreign” or “exotic” in the West.
Janie Abdel Aziz-Cairo, Egypt
I came to the Sacred Dance workshop with some belly dance experience, but learning the four primal movements – something any beginner to dance could pick up quickly – along with their associated elements and animals brought a depth to the motions that belly dance could never teach.
Time just flew and I feel I made a great deal of progress from the workshop, taking away with me a better sense of my body and how I move in day-to-day life. Lately I’ve been drawing my awareness to just how much I lock my knees and how keeping them loose and open – as well as my hips – brings a much great fluidity and ease of movement; even to walking. I had an absolutely wonderful time. Thank you again Leslie for sharing your wisdom with other women of the world!
Gwendolyn Wilkins, Ballston Spa, NY, USA
“Dan Furst and Leslie Zehr lead a most peaceful tour of the Sacred Valley’s enigmatic and sacred locales. Paced to encourage reflection and meditation amid the sites’ energies, this experience serves to deepen one’s spiritual awareness in ways most unexpected. Leslie and Dan respect participants’ individual path but are always available to assist with one’s growth throughout the process. This isn’t just a tour of the sites; this is a spiritual experience! Don’t miss this opportunity! -LG
I am a travel addict and have been lucky enough to visit many places around the world. In Peru, along with a small very interesting group of people whom I had got to know on the trip, got to “experience” archeological sites for the first time in my life. With almost nothing verbally explained about a site, sitting in silence, we were told stories by Pachamama herself. It was as if I had discovered a whole new level of sensory perception. How linked everything is, amazingly befuddling :)”-ZM