Dancemeditation, a way of self-knowledge which includes, rather than excludes, the body, movement, dance, breath, intuition, and moving into the Subtle, is certainly my calling and my passion. From the beginning I loved to dance—in the living room, twirling around and around. Despite high achievement in professional dance (Juilliard, NYC concert performance, NY Times kudos full bio), I felt alienated from myself and my body. I ached for something deeper. I needed to dance my way into the heart of mysticism. When I did, I knew I’d come home. I know I’m not alone. Many of us know that our evolution, awakening, and becoming fully human happen in the spirit and the flesh. Join me in this seeking and finding, by plunging into our body which is our original gift and the door to understanding who and what we are.
Dunya Dianne McPherson, BFA, MA, is the Founder of Dancemeditation™ and a pioneer in the field of embodied mysticism. An acclaimed authority and meditative leader coming from an extensive background in mysticism and art (Juilliard School, Sufi Foundation of America), her teaching credentials include academic faculties, artist-residencies, and academic department chairmanship (including Barnard College, Princeton University, Swarthmore College, New York University, Hunter College, Oberlin College, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia among others) as well as Featured Presenter at meditation centers & conferences (Netherlands Mystic Festival, Kripalu Center, SAT Institute, The Embodiment Conference.) She is critically acclaimed as both dancer and choreographer, and a recipient of numerous choreographic grants including the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship. She teaches in-depth meditation trainings virtually, nationally and internationally. She is the author of Sojourn the Inner Heaven: Movement Meditations for Awakening, a guidebook and practice companion, and Skin of Glass: Finding Spirit in the Flesh, a literary memoir chronicling her dynamic journey in embodied mysticism.
“Dear inspiring, spirit-filled human, thank you for creating Dancemeditation. Thank you for realizing others need and want it. Thank you for bringing it and you to me. Watching you move is a little talisman of experience in my mind. I pull it out and stroke it and it reminds me to reach for that same sort of center in myself.”
– Sherry S.
“I have experienced many types of inner development, but nothing so reliably returns me to my center as Dunya’s work. She has a rare capacity to create a space in which the inner self can find its own level and unfold through whatever channel of awareness––physical, emotional or spiritual––spontaneously beckons to us. Much of the subtle power of her process is in its effortless joining of the polarities of our experience: still and vibrant, playful and intense, immediate and transcendent. In their essence, Dunya’s workshops go beyond both dance and our common notions of meditation to create a new form, melding the natural delight of the body with the natural freedom of the spirit. ”
– Tom Anderson, Ph.D., psychologist, Austin, TX
“…a modern day Isadora Duncan…approached Ruth St. Denis as she slithered through an impudently sensuous belly dance…a vibrant performer…an unusual and talented choreographer.”
Jennifer Dunning, New York Times
“She knows how to put movement together…ingenious…adds up to good dancing and an original statement.”
New York Times
“…killer creative choreographer…the best belly dancer in the world…
Carman Moore, Village Voice
“I liked Dunya Dianne McPherson’s ‘Clan’ a lot. It was jaunty and it was breezy, but in very solid, unpretentious ways. Tidily structured but not tight-lipped.”
Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice
“Her pure, solid dancing has never seemed so welcome to me…I think I held my breath in delight through the entire dance…The works soundly structured, with all the details meticulously etched, revealed the full extent of McPherson’s talent.”
“…elegant, confident, sensual…”
Kerri Hikida, Whole Life Times, LA
“…she evoked something essentially female, essentially powerful…”
Elizabeth Zimmer, Dance Magazine
“She has the lithe and leggy body of a ballerina and the articulate arm and leg movement of a butoh performer.”
Marene Gustin, Austin-American Statesman
“I see Dunya’s dances floating like feather down to the center of her big, elaborately patterned carpet…They merge with her body, she processes them, and they dance themselves right back out…Dunya’s [performance] is a very clean space on a psychic/spiritual level, a natural resting spot for dances.”
Stephanie Beauchamp, Austin Chronicle
Dunya Dianne McPherson is a writer/author, choreographer/dancer, Shattari Sufi adept, and Founder of Dancemeditation™ specializing in techniques that open the wonderment of deep, subtle, peaceful self-perception.
She holds a BFA in dance from the Juilliard School, MA in Writing from Lesley University, was an Artist Scholar at Columbia University, and trained extensively in yoga with Shri Dharma Mittra. Significant study with Master Dance Teachers whose work has influenced hers includes: Elena Lentini, Anahid Sofian, Janet Panetta and Alfredo Corvino. After 1001 days training in Sufism with Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan, Dunya received teaching permission.
Dunya is the author of Sojourn the Inner Heaven: Movement Meditations for Awakening, a guidebook and practice companion, and Skin of Glass: Finding Spirit in the Flesh, a memoir chronicling her journey of dance & mysticism. She is a contributing author in How Do You Pray.
Dunya’s extensive teaching credits include:
Department Chair: Victorian College of the Arts, Australia * Faculty: Kripalu Center * Master Classes & Residencies: Princeton University, Swarthmore College, Amherst College, Oberlin College, Mt. Holyoke College, University of Texas, New York University, Hunter College , Barnard College, Montclair State College, Mark Morris Dance Center, New York Open Center * Sufi Master: Mystic Festival in Netherlands, and SAT Conference, Colombia * Director & Spiritual Guide: Dervish Society of America
A National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellow, her choreographic commissions include Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Dance Uptown, High School of Performing Arts, Barnard College, Victorian College of the Arts, Santa Fe Performing Arts. She is the recipient of Massachusettes Arts Council grants, CETA Artists Grant, Texas Arts Council grants. Choreographic Vitae
She has performed widely as both concert dancer and as a Middle Eastern dancer. Her whirling veil dance is featured in the film Dances of Ecstasy. She directed the film/dance work, Shafi, for NOLA’s 2007 Dramarama Festival.
Dunya and her Dancemeditation work are widely referenced and profiled in books and journalism including: Your Body Mandala, Mary Bond, 2018; Midnight at the Crossroads: Has Bellydance Lost Its Soul?, Alia Thabit, 2018; Reckoning with Spirit in the Paradigm of Performance, Donnalee Dox, PhD, 2017; Conscious Dancer Magazine, Dancer Magazine, Contact Quarterly, Attitude Magazine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Austin American Statesman, Austin Chronicle, Innerchange Magazine, Spirit of Change Magazine, NYSpirit Magazine, XS Magazine Miami, Cape Cod Times, Whole Life Times LA, Body & Soul, and many others.