The Festival Organiser and the Spirit of Oxóssi

This blog post has been playing around in my head for a while and with Tribal Remix V behind me and Tribal Remix VI preparations in full swing it feels like the perfect time to reflect a little and put these thoughts into written words.

First of all, let me tell you about Oxóssi, the Orixa of the hunt. He is the spirit that is associated with forests, animals and wealth. He is the spirit of meals, because it is he who provides food for his community. He is associated with lightness, astuteness, wisdom and craftiness of the hunt. He is the Orixa of contemplation, loving the arts and beautiful things. He hunts with a bow and arrow, hunting for good influences and positive energies.

When dancing the movements associated with Oxóssi , I experience the playfulness of his spirit. Occasionally, while riding his horse through the forest where he hunts to provide for his community, he falls off his horse, but approaches it with a playfulness and gets back on the horse again to continue his mission. He only takes from the forest what he needs to provide for his community in order to preserve its equilibrium.

I've been thinking about Oxóssi a lot while organising Tribal Remix. For me, this festival is about creating a platform for magic to happen. With the right intention in mind I can provide for the dance community and set up opportunities for people to share their love for dance, to connect and to be playful.

Let me tell you something you probably already know but let me tell you anyway: organising a festival is kind of hard work. It's incredibly physically and mentally demanding. And each year while going through it I really wonder why I do it. I'm only just recovering from last month and still trying to get back into my routine of my own dance practice. And every organiser can agree with me that at the end of the festival we think: I cannot wait until next year. Why? Because of the people that show up.

This post is about the people that participate in the event and drink some of the magic. In fact, they bathe in it! And I love this. This is the stuff that feeds the Oxossi spirit in me. It's not about the verbal appreciation and gratitude (although that of course is a nice bonus, thank you all for your kind words during and after the festival), but it's about being part of the experience, the joy, the laughter, the connection. I'm observing all of this while I'm looking around the room and this is what I bathe in!

I'm going through this real change in the last year or two, I'm trying to work more with awareness and authenticity. I try to sit down and ask myself: with this action, what is my intention here? And when I answer myself with authenticity I then ask myself: ok, does that resonate with the person I am right now, or the person that I aspire to be? I ask myself the same questions in relation to others, when conflict arises. What was my intention there and does that resonate with the person I am right now? I used to be a huge people pleaser and my intention was to feel appreciated by those people. When inevitably not every time I felt this appreciation I was hungry for, I'd feel incredibly empty or low and I would feel let down by those people. Now, rather than looking outside for affirmation, I try and look within. Were my intentions and actions coming from a place that feels in alignment with the person I'd like to be? If so, I can let go of the conflict, as I understand that I am not speaking the same language as that person anyway, so any explanation of my intentions seems futile. Now THAT, my friends, is my idea of freedom.

I love Tribal Fusion. I love the philosophy of Tribal Fusion and the global platform it has created for people to play. But this gets lost when the spirit of Oxossi doesn't get fed. When we become greedy, or when people (teachers, students, performers or organisers) start to feel entitled.  I salute all those festival organisers out there, however experienced or inexperienced you are at organising events. Don't let go of your initial intentions, but protect yourself in order to keep your Oxossi spirit alive. I also show my gratitude to all those teachers, performers and participants out there that contribute in keeping the Oxossi energy flowing.

I would like to thank Sophie Enever, Charlotte Wassel, Elise Phillips and Jamie Christos for your support during and before the festival as I couldn't have done this year without you.

Also a thank you to Ana and Dave Winson, Hilton Lijun, Zoe Choomchor, Mandy Rossiter, Sinem Ayman, Samantha Reader, Agnė Denapaitė and Emma Hubbard (and most likely a few others that helped in the background, that perhaps I didn't notice because of the mental state I was in at that time...hah) for stepping in last minute during the festival and helping out. I appreciated your observation skills when you could see I could do with a helping hand (or a glass of wine, thank you, Sinem!).

See you next May!

These images were taken by the wonderful Agnė Denapaitė who stepped in last minute, when my photographer fell through.