Planetary Dance

Marin County's annual solstice celebration: shaman, inviting, simple, powerful, and beautiful

PREVIEW By now the Planetary Dance, Marin County's annual solstice celebration, has become a joyous, all-day event that starts at sunrise — for early trekkers — on top of Mount Tamalpais and ends, after the main event at Santos Meadow in Mount Tamalpais State Park, at a sunset fire at Muir Beach. The idea is to use communal dance as way of healing the earth, a concept and practice as old as humankind. Some hardy souls, event instigator Anna Halprin among them, have been participating since the beginning, 29 years ago. They are now bringing their children and grandchildren. Others drop in for a few years, then drift away. It's worthwhile remembering that the event came out of a tragedy when, in the late '70s, Mount Tam had to be closed because of ongoing murders of young women. Halprin and some friends wanted to take back the park and walked the very trails where the crimes had been committed. A few days later, the perp was caught. Coincidence — or did those simple meditative gestures result in healing the place? Either way, the event developed out of those tragedies by Halprin, its shaman, is inviting, simple, powerful, and beautiful. At the heart lies the three-part "Earth Run," which has been (accurately) described as a "moving mandala." No dance experience is required, and you can come and go as you like.

PLANETARY DANCE Sat/20, 11 a.m. $10–$20 donation (no one turned away for lack of funds).

Santos Meadow, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley.

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