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urban retreat lab

Choreography meets Dharma 

Urban Retreat Lab is a new platform for studying what happens at the intersection of choreography and dharma.

 
A meeting between artists and meditators. 
A laboratory for our perceptions of the world. 
Happening in the public and art spaces of the city. 
 

Urban Retreat Lab is a collaboration between Ulrika Wedin and Rachel Fuller

We call what we do a collaboration, but that implies effort and intention. What happens between us is far simpler than that. What I put into words, she manifests in form. And together we point to something beyond the words, beyond the form.
— Rachel Fuller
 Ulrika Wedin, choreographer, dancer and artist

Ulrika Wedin, choreographer, dancer and artist

 Rachel Fuller, dharma and meditation teacher

Rachel Fuller, dharma and meditation teacher

Ulrika Wedin – Choreography

With the Urban Retreat Lab were reflecting on the dharma using our body, movement and choreographic methods. Our body and it’s movement becomes our tool.

We are talking about choreography in its broadest sense, people and things inhabiting space. 

It’s about organising bodies in space, or you’re organising bodies with other bodies, or a body with other bodies in an environment that is organised.
— William Forsythe

To take part you don't need to be a ‘dancer’ or ‘choreographer’, we're borrowing their skills and methods to open up new ways of stepping into the world of dharma.

The spotlight is on the familier movements of ordinary life. They're so easy to miss but make up a fantastic goldmine for us to dig out from.

For professional dancers, choreographers, and artists you can use the URBAN RETREAT as a laboratory to inspire and investigate yourself and your artistic work.

"From the first moment of learning how to meditate I felt the unity of dharma and dance, the unity between sitting still and movement. Ever since that day they've been a parallel trace in my life. Now that trace manifests in URBAN RETREAT LAB such an inspiring and humble luck to collaborate with the fantastic teacher Rachel aka Vajradarshini to continue the journey of exploring and expressing the mysteriousness of life." 

Ulrika Wedin is a choreographer, dancer and artist from Sweden, working as a freelance artist with the base in Stockholm. Started to meditate in 1998 and been practicing Buddhism ever since.

Rachel Fuller – Dharma

The teachings of Buddhism are called dharma, and my training is in these teachings. But the word dharma points to universal truths that can’t really ‘belong’ to any religion. They point to what we find when we step behind the curtain and move closer to reality.

Meditation is not just about tools and techniques. Like the artist the meditator develops certain skills. But meditation, like real art, goes beyond mere expertise. We have to cultivate a certain sensibility, a way of opening to experience, and of perceiving the world that is completely new.

The URBAN RETREAT LAB is about retreating in the city. Instead of leaving ordinary life behind in the search for reality, we shine a light on the everyday. We walk our meditation through the streets, we hear the teachings in the sounds of the subway, and find stillness in the ever-moving city.

“For years I’ve led Buddhist retreats in conventional settings, often smuggling in the art; images, music and film. For me, art illuminated the dharma, and the dharma illuminated art. They shone a light on one another. When I met Ulrika for the first time it felt that there was a wordless understanding between us. We call what we do a collaboration, but that implies effort and intention. What happens between us is far simpler than that. What I can put into words, she manifests in form. And together we point to something beyond the words, beyond the form.”

Rachel Fuller has been practicing Buddhism for 30 years and teaching dharma and meditation for over 20 years, she is from England and lives both there and in Stockholm.  

urban retreat lab happenings

We hope the laboratory will give rise to various events over the coming months and years. The first big event on the calendar is the Urban Retreat 2018 Stockholm City, see below for details. 


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Urban Retreat - Stockholm -2018

3 realms of the city - time, energy, space

The theme of this summer's urban retreat is the three realms of time, space and energy. In each realm there is an opportunity for a unique kind of 'letting go', a particular manifestation of insight. 

In the realm of time we let go of the notions of past, present and future, of beginnings and endings. This insight opens as a perception of clarity and vividness, 

In the realm of energy we let go of the constant push and pull, wanting and not wanting. Bringing a deep sense of trust and 'letting be'. 

In the realm of space we let go of mind made boundaries and divisions, self and other, inner and outer. Their dropping away reveals the spaciousness of awareness, which is the source of all creativity. 

Is the urban retreat for me?

The Core Retreat - The retreat is a meeting between artists and meditators. To participate in the core retreat, you should have a serious dharma practice or art practice. The retreat is over 5 days and you need to be able to commit yourself fully to the retreat for that time, even though some of the time is unstructured. In other words, be able to ‘switch off’ all other activities for 5 days.

Open events - There will be an invitation for anyone to join us various at events during the retreat. These are open to anyone and everyone, of any faith, background, identity and ability. These events are all free of charge.

Public happenings - There will also be aspects of the retreat that happen in public spaces where people who happen to be there are invited to observe and join in.

dates and times

Wednesday 18 – Sunday 22 July

If you are coming from outside of Sweden, you would need to arrive by the 17th and leave on, or after, the 23rd

On the core retreat we’ll practice together for around 5 hours a day, including meditation, teachings, workshops and happenings. Each day you will be free in the morning or evening, and can structure that time yourself, either alone or with others. The hours will vary, sometimes practicing together at night, sometimes in the early mornings.

Where will it happen?

We have a meditation space in the city where we will all meet, but we are also taking the retreat out into the public spaces of the city, and various art spaces.

The city of Stockholm is our coulisse. On a stage, the coulisse are the wings, pieces of scenery at the side of a stage. We are inviting you to take a look behind the coulisse, behind the scenes of the city, into the secret game behind the visible one.

What if I am coming from outside Stockholm?

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This is a non-residential retreat, so if you are coming from outside the city you can choose where you’d like to stay, a hotel, Airbnb etc. Most Stockholmers leave the city in the summer so there is a good chance that we could help you to find somewhere to stay maybe renting someone’s apartment for a small amount of money. The more notice we have the more likely we can find you somewhere, so let us know as soon as you decide to book. 

Cost 

The Urban Retreat consists of 5 days of workshops and costs:

2900 kr (approx 290€)

We can offer a discount of 700 kr for those of you on a low wage. 

FAQ (frequently asked question!) 

Q    Do I have to dance / be a dancer?
A    No, no, no, no, no...(but it's okay if you are!) this is choreography in the widest sense of the word.