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Nicole Manieri will perform "Into the Dark Forest," a collection of personal stories and songs, at a fundraiser for her trip to Italy to learn the ancient healing rhythms known as the tarantella.

Healing with rhythm “Prayerformance”

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“Into the Dark Forest,” a one-woman “prayerformance” by Nicole Manieri, will be paired with the “Dance of Liberation” on Friday May 24, at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church.

Manieri shares her personal journey in the form of original songs and theatrical verse that she began creating 13 years ago. She said that the art weaves together her real experiences, her dreamscape and imagination, and that it is an offering of “deep heart to all who are on their healing journey to reclaim their wholeness and embodied wisdom.”

The “Dance of Liberation” is choreographed by Marybeth Wolf and performed by Yellow Springs women. It is rooted in the Southern Italian ancient rhythmic healing traditions, known today as the Tarantella. It has been used in Italy and the Mediterranean for centuries to cure people, especially women, suffering a form of mental depression known as “tarantismo,” attributed to the mythical bite of the tarantula. The malady’s effects are thought to include depression and hysteria resulting from sexual abuse and societal oppression. When a woman was identified as being bitten, they would call in the musicians to play for her while she shook and erotically rolled around on the ground. They would keep playing until the woman was healed through this entrancing rhythm.

Manieri has been invited to begin her apprenticeship this summer with the woman who teaches these ancient healing rhythms today, internationally-renowned singer, percussionist and teacher Alessandra Belloni. The performance is a fundraiser for Manieri’s pilgrimage to Italy to bring back home these healing rhythms of her ancestors.

A donation of $20 is suggested.


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