Gifts of the Circle: Expressive Movement in Eagle Valley

Expressive Movement in Eagle Valley: Gifts of the Circle 

Friday, 30 November to Sunday, 2 December

Earthrise Mountain Lodge, Eagle Valley, Ficksburg


 “Soon all was ready for the celebration. People and creatures arrived. They feasted, they danced, they sang, and the Earth was a celebration all night long… And then they quietly slept the remainder of the night and dreamed the dream they most needed to follow.”—

excerpt from The Sacred Gift of Song, Dance and Festivity, an Inuit legend


Dance is communal celebration and communication, an ancient practice of bringing joy and rejuvenation to ourselves, each other and the natural world. As 2018 draws to a close, we look to the Expressive Movement form to guide us in coming together in ritual circle, allowing us the opportunity to integrate the gifts and let go of the residue of the year gone by. It is a time for restoring breath, laughter and wellbeing to our systems, and for opening up the circle so that gratitude and vitality can flow.


Join us in the foothills of the Maluti mountains, in a sacred valley in the eastern Free State, as we follow the rhythm of the dance into shamanic fire ritual, Temazcal sweat lodge, mindfulness mountain walks, fresh water swimming, rest in nature… and back again to dance. From Friday night through to Sunday afternoon, we will remain in ceremony to honour, praise and release the individual and collective learnings of 2018.


A special feature of the weekend is the Temazcal sweat, a spiritual ceremony where we reconnect with our essence through the four elements of nature—fire, water, wind, earth—as channeled by meditation, singing and prayer. This sacred medicine is administered under the guidance of the original wisdom holders, and strict protocols are followed. The physical benefits of the vapour as it rises from the stones include cleansing and stimulation of the lungs, the digestive system, and the circulatory system.



Sian Palmer is the Founder of Expressive Movement South Africa, a registered Drama and Movement Therapist (MA University of London) and a trained Family Constellations Facilitator. Sian has been practicing for 9 years in organizations, communities and private settings with both groups and individuals. Sian’s background in embodied drama and movement psychotherapy, movement meditation and Family Constellations enables her to engage with a holistic approach to healing, integrating mindfulness, psychology and African indigenous knowledge systems. With her area of expertise firmly established in embodied practice, Sian is passionate about dance as an accessible holistic healing and meditation practice.




Retreat Hosts:

The Vuka Institute is a workshop and retreat centre that marries the inspirations of Mind to the demands of Matter in an African context. Rooted in a sacred valley in the Maluti foothills, in a place that’s been revered by healers and seers for millennia, the institute looks beyond dogma to where indigenous wisdom and progressive science meet. Our purpose is to explore and understand what it means to be human, and to seek alternative solutions to our shared environmental, economic and social crises.

Kevin Bloom (Vuka Institute; programme director) is a writer and journalist. He is the co-author of Continental Shift: A Journey into Africa’s Changing Fortunes. His first book, Ways of Staying, won the 2010 South African Literary Award for literary journalism. Kevin’s writing has taken him to many of the world’s conflict zones, where he has witnessed the devastation caused by rent-seeking politicians, callous multinationals, desperate warlords and misguided NGOs. As co-founder of the Vuka Institute and a sangoma-in-training, he brings this experience to bear on the search for inward-focused responses to our most urgent collective crises.



The institute is located at Eagle Valley Farm in the Eastern Free State, on the R26 between Ficksburg and Fouriesburg.

Visit for accommodation information.


Programme Outline:


16h00-18h00: Arrival

18h30: Dinner

19h30: Opening of ceremony; sacred fire, drumming and dancing



07hoo: Mountain walk – drum & dance ceremony at Valley of the Ancestors

09h15: Light breakfast

11h00: Expressive Movement morning session

13h30: Lunch

14h00: Free time (swim or relax)

15h30: Temazcal sweat lodge & drum circle at the healing center

19h00: Dinner



07hoo:  Expressive Movement morning session

08h30: Light breakfast

10h00: Expressive Movement – integration sound journey

12h30: Lunch & closing ceremony


Disclaimer: This program may change to accommodate inner and outer weather.


Cost and Bookings

Cost includes two nights’ accommodation and vegatarian meals from Friday night dinner to Sunday lunch, as well as all activities for the weekend.



4 standard rooms with double-beds

2 standard rooms with 2 single beds

En-suite shower

R5 000.00 per person single

R4 500.00 per person sharing


Mountainview and Velvet Comfort

6 x Spacious rooms with double beds

En-suite bathrooms

R6 000.00 per person single

R5 500.00 per person sharing


Tree House

This is ideal accommodation for a family or a group of friends who wish to share. It has two rooms with en suite bathrooms, two loft rooms, and another separate bathroom.

Sleeps 8

2 Double beds

4 Single beds

R4 500.00 per person sharing.


Twin Peaks – 2 units

Three rooms, a kitchenette, a dining area, a lounge and outstanding views of the valley. A perfect choice for a large family or a group.

Sleeps 6

2 Double Beds

2 Single Beds

1 Bathroom

R4 500.00 per person sharing


The Hive

8 beds per room with a shower and toilet. Depending on the number of bookings, please take this as a sharing basis.

R3 500.00 per person sharing.



R1750 per person, maximum 20 people


Contact Marj Murray to book: or 082 561 3637