Dances of Universal Peace International
The Guidance Council holds in trust the transmission of the Dances of Universal Peace and Walking Meditations in the lineage of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis. Four to six Senior Mentors, appointed by the Pir of the Sufi Ruhaniat International on a rotating basis, have the responsibility of guiding leaders and mentors by encouraging their spiritual expansion and personal development, supporting learning opportunities, determining requirements for level acknowledgement, and upholding standards of conduct and human relationship that are in keeping with the mission of the Dances of Universal Peace.
Darvesha Victoria MacDonald – Chair (Silver City, New Mexico email) has served as chair of the Guidance Council since June 2007 and on the DUP Interantional board of directors since January 2008. She was a member of the original DUP International board (then PeaceWorks INDUP) at the time of its inception in 1987. She has travelled extensively worldwide leading the Dances. Her major focus of the last ten years has been seeding the Dances in South America, particularly in Colombia, and encouraging local leadership and mentorship.
A co-founder of Wilderness Dance Camp, Darvesha has spearheaded revision of the Leader and Mentor guidelines. Darvesha is a Sheikha in the Sufi Ruhaniat International, a Senior Mentor of the Dances of Universal Peace, a Ziraat Farmer, and a Buddhist practitioner.
She writes, "When I found the Dances and Walks in the eighties, I felt
like I was stepping into a swirling Zendo. Here I could continue to do my Buddhist sitting practice of self-witnessing, in action with sound: the perfect place to practice meditation in action." The Dances catalyzed profound changes and transformation in her being. She continues, "I know, from my own experience, that the Dances create a therapeutic and transpersonal environment, where one can dwell in spacious awareness, witnessing one’s own emotions rising and passing, within the loving glance and touch of another, who is there with acceptance and no agenda to ‘fix’ or change. Now, so many years later, I still feel my heart continuing to expand when I am in dance circles." Darvesha's website is http://darvesha.net/.
Tansen Philip O'Donohoe (Dorset, England, United Kingdom (email)
A former President of DUP International and a Senior Mentor III, Tansen
has devoted his life to the Dances for nearly 20 years. As mentor he has led retreats and Leader trainings throughout Europe and in South America
and the United States.
Tansen writes, "I live with my beloved wife Lucinda
Basira in a thatched barn set among the rolling hills of Dorset, England. Golf is
something I really enjoy. Music and guitar playing have always been a passion
as is the reading of poetry. Sufism has been my spiritual path since 1989
under the guidance of Saadi, though for many years before that I also
trained in yoga and the use of sound in healing and spiritual development.
In addition to the dances I operate as a Bio-resonance Coach using
techniques of coaching, bio-energetic testing and a bio-resonance device to
help people remove the resonance of any unwanted patterns of energy and
information they may hold in their systems. Conditioned reactions, fears, selfsabotage and allergies can be wiped out. Coming back to the Dances. Though I continue to lead the dances in a number of different contexts and have concentrated a lot on dance leader trainings, a significant focus of my work is using the dances as a spiritual tool to increase people’s capacity for living life fully and successfully. Lucinda and I often travel to many other countries with the dances." Read more about Tansen at his website http://philipodonohoe.com/.
Munir Peter Reynolds (Corvallis, Montana, USA email) Munir has led the Dances since 1995 and has served on staff at DUP retreats and Leader trainings throughout the western USA. He has co-presented two 3-year Dance leader trainings in Montana, and many weekend trainings elsewhere. His travels with the Dances have led him to Canada, New Zealand and Russia. He first danced with Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz in 1987 while studying Creation Spirituality with Matthew Fox in California. He writes, Dance leading is an amazing path of human development and spiritual awakening. I can't think of anything that brings out more beauty and power in human beings. If we can all truly see the transformative potential of this work in ourselves and others, there is no limit to what is possible."
Munir has served as Executive Director of DUP International since August, 2009. He holds an M.A. degree in arts administration, an M.A. in Culture and Creation Spirituality and has worked in various nonprofit organizations since 1976. From 2002 -2010 Munir was Executive Director of Oneness Project, a Dances of Universal Peace programming and grantmaking organization in the Pacific Northwest USA. His role with Oneness Project included administering grants programs supporting the Dances of Universal Peace world wide.
Munir and his spouse Johara live in a strawbale house homestead they built in 1997 in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana. Together they cultivate most of their own vegetables and a sustainable lifestyle.
Farrunnissa Lila Rosa (Durham, North Carolina, USA email) A Senior Mentor, Sheikha in the Sufi Ruhaniat International, Dance musician, and former MTG Secretariat, Farrunnissa founded the Dance community in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina (www.BeautyCircles.org) and leads Dance meetings, workshops, and Dance leader trainings across the eastern U.S. She enjoys bringing clarity, inspiration, and vision to each Dance circle, and empowering each Dancer's personal experience of the Divine through body, breath, and heart.
She is a life-long musician, singer, and song writer, and featured on five CDs by different artists. She is part of an eclectic women's vocal ensemble called Jewelsong, who shares original music and inspirational songs from many different spiritual traditions. She is the founder of and a core performer with the frame drum ensemble, Sancta (www.BlessedBeats.org), and has taught the basics of frame drumming to over a hundred drummers in the Southeast. She has also served for many years as Secretary to the Ruhaniat Board of Trustees. Farrunnissa writes, "I view life as a joyful opportunity to remember the Divine -- which is to say, to experience our True Self -- in each moment, in every circumstance, in every heartbeat, in every Dance."
Halima Sussman (Cambridge, Massachusetts email) is a Senior Dance Mentor and Murshida for the Sufi Ruhaniat International.
She has served on the Guidance Council since its inception. Halima also served as a Board member for Dances of Universal Peace International from 2009 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Unity Council, the council that birthed the current shape of the organization supporting the Dances of Universal Peace Internationally.
Halima lives in Cambridge, MA. USA with her husband Abraham. Together they guide the local Ruhaniat Center, SAMA. The dances have led Halima to teach Internationally and all over the USA. She writes, "In 1969, I went to SF to go to art school, and by grace, soon found myself at a Sufi Dance meeting with Murshid SAM in Marin County, CA. This encounter changed my life - the spark of that moment still lights my way. The Dances and Walks continue to be one of the foundational practice of my spiritual journey." She is the mother of four beautiful grownup sons, a psychotherapist with a practice in spiritual psychology, a former midwife, passionate gardener, and committed student of life.
For more about Halima, SAMA, and Northeast events visit