Click photo to enlarge
Submitted photo One of last year's performances in Goddess Rising.

BRATTLEBORO >> Belly dancers from all over New England will gather in Brattleboro once again to participate in the Third Annual Goddess Rising celebration on Saturday at the Vermont Jazz Center. The daytime workshops and the evening's enchanting performances are all about spring and honoring fertility, renewal, growth, birth and the goddesses of spring. The day of celebration is also a benefit for Goddess Rising founder Kelsey Captolia Eaton who will be taking a short sabbatical to start SEEDS, a program for self esteem, empowerment, and education through dance and mentorship through a residency in Santa Fe. Appropriately, this celebration has been named Goddess Rising Presents: SEEDS of Spring.

Goddess Rising is all about education and self esteem also. The goal of Eaton and event partners Cyndal Ellis and Shanta Lee for the first Goddess event was to showcase belly dance, separate from other forms of dance, taking place here in Vermont. They invited dancers from all over New England to share the culture and diversity of belly dance and to educate people of its art form through workshops and the final performances.

Lee feels that has been accomplished over the years, and finds that the performances are more cohesive with each year, a uniting bridge between pieces revolves around a theme. The spring theme for this year is quite fitting since Goddess has taken place in the winter in previous years.


There will be two workshops. From 1 to 2:30 p.m. Goo and Layering with Amity Alize. Appropriate for any level of dancer, Alize teaches technique and layering. Learn how to take the mystery out of about connecting movements, how to layer hip movement, snake arms or gyrations in smooth transitions. Learn the differences between muscle and skeletal movements, weight transitions, and combinations. Even though mastering this technique takes time and practice, this workshop makes it all seem less scary and gives you the tools to practice with.

The second workshop from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. is Participation Mystique and the Ecstatic: Ritual and Transformation with Aria Michaels Paradise. This workshop is geared toward theatrically based performances and how to set the mood and embrace the connection between yourself and the audience. Explore the mystical, psychic connection performer and performance and how it draws the audience into the world you are creating.

Both workshops are at the Vermont Jazz Center, second floor of the main complex at Cotton Mill Building. Admission is $30 for single, $55 for both and may be purchased at the door or at

To end the day on a magical note will be the evening's performance at the Jazz Center at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by Alan Blackwell, owner of Metropolis and Arkham night clubs, Goddess Rising will celebrate its creator Eaton along with spring. A total of 19 pieces not more than five minutes each will be performed by belly dancers from across New England. Featured are Amity Alize from New Hampshire, Jessica Salazar Pichette from Massachusetts, Ayla Cengi from New Hampshire, Aria Michaels Paradise, of Brattleboro's Al Amal Belly Dance Company, and other surprises. Lee, also with Al Amal Belly Dance Company will be debuting a piece too, so it's a show not to be missed!

Lee said, "All the pieces are awesome and magical and I think people will find something in every piece they connect with."

Admission to the performances is a $10 to $15 donation. More information is available at

Event organizer Ellis, Sobo Studio manager, dance instructor, and co-founder of Al Amal Belly Dance Company recognizes that Eaton's vision has inspired the growth of the belly dance community. She said, "Our local and regional belly dance community is growing and with it pubic knowledge of the form. Goddess Rising has been key to this growth. I'm expecting a true blossoming of artistry and community with this year's event."

All events take place on Saturday at the Vermont Jazz Center, 72 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro.

Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.