Kolo danced by hundreds in New York City

By Katarina Tepesh

At an all day event sponsored by "V-Day, Stop Violence Against Women," hundreds of participants danced Vrlicko Kolo from Lika. Nada Khodlova, whose mother Tresnja and grandmother Valentic are from Daruvar, performed and led Kolo.

Nada has a BA in Psychology from University of Maryland, and a Masters of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy. Nada is an expert in crisis intervention and a registered dance/movement therapist, associated with World's largest mental health disaster relief funded program in response to 9/11. Now, Nada works as the Supervisor of Creative Art Therapy at a women's homeless shelter in Bronx, New York.

"Women's bodies historically have been and continue to be the source of great trauma, ridicule, torment, and violence. Women from former Yugoslavia specifically have witnessed or grievously experienced first hand the use of women's bodies as a tool of war. The Serbs, to 'ethnically cleanse' the Muslims through forced pregnancy, violated some 20,000 to 50,000 women. Often beatings and abuse is reenacted in their own homes," says Nada. "Dance is one of the most ancient forms of prayer and healing," continues Nada, whose name means Hope in Croatian language.

A former preschool teacher, Nada is also a member of P.U.R.E. /Public Urban Ritual Experiment Dance Group www.puredance.org . PURE is a collective of over 30 dancers and 6 musicians who have come together to share their love of dance and music with the public for the purposes of healing and peace, as well as charity. PURE already donated to tsunami disaster relief efforts in South Asia.

Given our super busy culture and often-violent world, sanctuary or finding room to imagine a better world is not easy. As a people, a nation, and a world in need of peace, we need to take the time to reflect on what is important to us, so that we can envision and articulate and then help create the kind of world we want.

In conjunction with Eve Ensler's Broadway play "The Good Body," ABC Carpet & Home in Manhattan hosted a series of talks and programs based on themes raised by the play. A huge red tent, a sanctuary created and visited by the thousands while it was open from November 2004 until January 2005. Speakers, such as model and actor Isabella Rossellini spoke on "The Costs of Beauty." Numerous workshops and a photo exhibit on breast cancer epidemic were presented. World famous, Dr. Christiane Northrup participated, as did numerous authors, including Elizabeth Lesser who read from her book "Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow." See www.vday.org

Eve Ensler, author and activist, who traveled to Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina during the 90's says, "I have seen awful things - refugee camps, burned women, skulls on riverbanks - but I have clarity of purpose to end violence toward women." Eve has been a vital force in creating awareness and raising $26 million benefiting over 1000 organizations to put a stop to violence against women. She helped organize V-Day events in Zagreb, Mostar, Sarajevo, Skoplje and Pristina. Ensler wrote a book and created a play called the "Necessary Targets" about brutal experience in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia.

"My goal is to create a world where women thrive, rather than merely survive," says Eve.

An eight-day journey to the Adriatic Sea and its enchanted islands, specifically Kosljun, will take place during Sept. 2005. The only inhabited island in the Krk Archipelago, Kosljun lies close to main island in the northern part of the Adriatic coast in Croatia. The workshop, an invigorating blend of simple pleasures and extraordinary experiences for your body, mind and soul, will take place at the island's magnificent Franciscan Monastery. Contact Marina at mdemoses@aol.com or 954-452-4421.