Queen of Samba (2008) by Susan Almazol

Drums from Sergio Mendez announce my arrival

I samba past your white noise machine and

Wiggle my hips before your astonished face,

With each thrust of my hip, I say to you,

Take that!  And that, too!


How dare you say you can’t imagine me dancing samba!

Can’t you see my light shines in all directions?

I pull faces out of wet clay.

I quilt remnants into epics.

I write. I teach. I inspire.


Now I’ll show you!

Shaking my shoulders,

Swinging my hips,

I lower myself to the floor with bent knees,

All the while, keeping my thighs closed.


You’ve seen Brazilians do this on TV, I’m sure.

So what if I am Filipina?

And an aging one at that!

Why would almond eyes and grey hair tell you what I cannot do?

My luminous light gyrates in all directions.


Susan’s Dance Journey

I cleared my 2012 calendar for death, anticipating that my mother’s time would be up the first part of this year.   Instead, life in the form of dance filled the space, both inner and outer!  I am thrilled to be dancing in Uhane with Jill, Terry, and the other unstoppable women. 

When I first participated in Moving Memoirs last fall, Jill and Terry’s visionary workshop for women over 60 with stories to tell, I had just celebrated the one-year anniversary of my double total hip replacement surgery.  But the surgery wasn’t the reason I wasn’t moving.  After all, I had already gone back to my three- times-a-week salsa class.  It was fear that kept me glued to my seat.

Little by little, however, I began to accept the gentle invitations to move freely, without boundaries, without judgment.  Jill and Terry created a generous space for all.  Soon, I was following my own instincts to move.   Although I was still sitting a lot, I felt more and more comfortable in my own body.

Finally, at the end, I danced salsa, shaking my hips and swaying my arms.  It was the first time I had ever danced by myself in public!  

Ellen Levin – on working in a sling

We are working with two very low hung aerial ‘slings’ made of parachute white ’tissue’ – the first day Ellen worked in one of the slings, while Sharon improvised below her there was a beautiful intimacy in what evolved, that inspired a section of ‘Uhane.  Ellen went home and wrote this poem:


My body lies

hanging white isseu,

A silk parachute

Inside, I can not see

what i look like, outside

I am a beached whale

Still breathing

Still moist

From the ocean

I am wondering

If there is a hereafter


Someone crawls under me

On all 4’s

Her back meets my back

I am in contact

Not alone, after all

Her back rippling and folding

Starts my back to move

Something like back to back CPR

Her movements make me feel

I am back in my element

The open sea


there is space around me

People are oohing and aahing

When I emerge,

I am home,


Until I lie down on

the smooth wooden floor

And it holds me too

Like the isseu sling.Image

‘Uhane #1

i have never blogged before.  but, in creating Uhane, and working on my ‘last dance’ here in San Francisco, many thoughts are swirling around.

i cannot stop talking about the Uhane performing group.  10 unstoppable women.  10 funny, brave, beautiful, creative, constantly surprising women who i love to be around.  being in the studio with this group, ‘i love to go to work every day’.  because the average age of the 16 collaborators and performers in this work is over 50, the total of our ages and life experience is 951.  they have a lot to say about anything i ask them about – from ‘who are your ghosts?’ to ‘what do you still want to explore and learn?’  they replied: ‘i want to be scared’, ‘i want to make a difference’, ‘i want to step into my sensuality’, ‘i want to get stronger, and stronger and stronger’….

photos and videos coming soon.