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  • Madrona MindBody Institute 200 Battery Way, Bldg. 310 Port Townsend, WA USA (map)

Long arms wassa- best.jpeg

with Lara McIntosh
Friday, October 11-13, 2013

Join us for a delicious autumn weekend of extended dance sessions and inspiration at one of the Puget Sound's most beautiful resources for movement studies, the Madrona MindBody Institute.

Inspired by the elemental roots of Africa and beyond, we'll immerse in Wassa's unique style of spirited dancing combined with seasonally rich movement meditations and stretching to begin and end each session.

This retreat is designed for people who love to move in a nourishing, structured environment with some of the best music the world has to offer.

Come as you are and let the rhythms take you deeper!

"Wassa Dance is an experience in connecting ancient rhythms to the soul body in motion. It all starts from the ground up. Lara has a way of teaching you how to move with insight, clarity and exuberance. I noticed ways of moving and details of the dance I had never thought of before. Lara has a strong ability to bring your attention to the subtleties of African dance without losing the passion and joy of expression. She has a warrior's heart, a dancer's grace and she can get you shaking your booty in no time flat!" —Kerry Jo Finney: teacher, counselor, dancer, dreamer

ABOUT LARA MCINTOSH: Movement Educator and founder of Wassa Dance

Lara has studied dance all her life and is an active member of Seattle dance, music and public art communities.

Lara is the originator of Wassa Dance, which is inspired by dances and music from the African diaspora. She has been teaching independently in this afro-fusion style since 1997.  Travels to Brazil and Mali, West Africa and ongoing study with locally based teachers are great influences in her work. “Wassa” is the Bambara name Lara received during her first visit to Mali.  It translates as “one who acts for joy and fulfillment.”

Lara's curiosity about movement and cultures are combined with a deep love for music and community building.  She has a long history of collaboration for performance, event production and movement education which include ten years with THREAD DANCE, multiple collaborations with artist Cameron Anne Mason and the Fremont Arts Council for parade and pageant presentations. During her six years on the Board of Directors of the Seattle World Percussion Society (SWPS), she helped oversee the production of the World Rhythm Festival at Seattle Center, which is one of the largest free percussion festivals in the country.

Lara is an adjunct faculty member of the ARC School of Ballet. She also offers school residencies and conducts annual intensive workshops in Washington State and Hawaii.

WASSA DANCE is a lively, accessible mix of traditional and contemporary poly-rhythmic styles, developed with Lara’s unique understanding of afro-fusion sounds and body mechanics. Fresh steps and choreography are blended with the roots of traditional movement.  The simplicity of this format invites each dancer to cultivate their own joyful, personal experience inside guided group movement.

More about Lara and Wassa Dance:

"Imagine an ethnomusicologist combined with a finger-on-the-pulse choreographer, who believes that in everyone exists the joy of dancing. Mali meets Paris meets Rio and the streets of America in a one-hour class. As you’re seduced by her widely tossed net, Lara carefully makes you aware of your own body’s structure and capacity for movement. In words and actions, she teaches what is true and perhaps invisible to you as the music she weaves compels you to move. She’s a consummate teacher, decades into her musical/choreographic work and she really knows her stuff.” —Mary Ann Peters, artist

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Dancers can register for a 2-day residency option, this includes lodging, meals and movement sessions.

We will begin dancing late afternoon Friday with two more intensive sessions Saturday. You are invited to attend MMBI's regular SoulFull Sunday morning session or a quieter Sunday morning session with Wassa, and an extended Wassa segment Sunday afternoon.

Port Townsend Residents: One day passes are available. Prices are $40 for one class and $75 for a two class day pass. This price does not include meals but does include the facility day use fee.

Preliminary 2013 Workshop Schedule*

  • Friday: 5:00pm – 6:30pm
    (check in begins at 3:30pm)
  • Saturday: 9:00am – 7:00pm
    (includes meals & breaks)
  • Sunday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
    (includes lunch break)


LODGING: Single bed lodging at Fort Worden consists of  dorm style accommodations with a common room shared for delicious meals and socializing. All bedding and linens are provided. All bathrooms are shared.


Prepared by Madrona's talented caterers, our healthy and delicious group meals will begin with dinner on Friday evening and end with lunch on Sunday.


Friday afternoon-Sunday afternoon:

  •   Single Rooms (Bldg 225):  $455, per person
  •   1 class single day pass $40
  •   2 class single day pass $75

Spaces are limited. Early registration is advised.

  • $150 deposit secures your reservation. Lodging is on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Payment schedule and detailed cancellation policy will be sent as part of registration.
  • A 3% service fee will be added to all credit/debit transactions.

(Tuition only options are available on a limited basis.)
1 or 2 day Port Townsend resident dance passes are available for Sat. & Sun.
*(State Park fees and all taxes are included)

Earlier Event: October 6