Vajra Dance Teacher Training, First Module at Dzamling Gar with Adriana Dal Borgo

April 4-10, 2024

by Philippe Vernerey


I am registered.

I leave and arrive in Tenerife for the first time and I discover Dzamling Gar.

There is something very initiatory for me, who comes from the Rimay community (Lama Denys Rinpoche, Karmaling, France), who is now a disciple of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu without still knowing all the codes, uses or even practices. The only one I know well, it seemed to me, is Vajra Dance.

I had the chance to discover Vajra Dance in Karmaling at the end of 2017 thanks to Lorraine, an instructor, and I followed all her courses for a while!

I was lucky to learn to dance the Vajra Dance of the Song of the Vajra with Stoffelina just before her disappearance. I was also lucky to dance with Prima Mai on the Khalong and in Barcelonnette, at Michel’s, with live musicians ! I also had the chance to do a deepening course with Adriana in Dejamling (France).

I practice Vajra Dance regularly and it even became my main practice.

Lorraine encouraged me to participate in this Teacher Training and as I have been a meditation teacher for a long time in my original Sangha, I feel ready and motivated to land in the main bath of confirmed Dzogchen dancers …

A few words of astonishment on the site. I did not expect to find this center, Dzamling Gar, as much inserted in complexes for idle tourists in search of easy and all-inclusive sun, me who come for an authentic spiritual quest.

There is a dissonance. Something that I still haven’t integrated well. Even if I understood that I have to relax from my prejudices, precisely here. The practice begins.

Arriving the day before the evening of the course, I have the chance to discover the Gönpa in its best lighting, bathed in the sunset. There, there are already five installed mandalas and a circle of 50 cushions. It is very beautiful. Very impressive. It’s also very inspiring. And it puts a little pressure for the next day !!!

First day, first morning. Nine breathings and Guru Yoga. Every moment is a practice. This is one of the lessons. Each practice is a dedicated, sacred moment, with the entry into refuge, a practice and a dedication.

So with each entry into refuge which takes place at the start of each session, I can return to my inspiration, forget the surrounding buildings, this strange, desert and very populated place, come back to my breath, in my interiority, inspire the benefits of the Teaching, the presence of the master and release my fixings and my torments to abandon me to what is.


Then dance.

We all needed this.

We set in motion, in movement, in the movements that we chain feet, arms, coordinated hands, feet in the right place, well oriented points, arms that open or close, precise mudras.

All that we will have to master and clearly explain.

For seven days, we will dissect each step of each dance, Pamo and Pawo in a detail unsuspected by the dancer that I was before arriving!

From the first morning, Adriana offered a pair of participants to explain the first step from OM HA HUM. Phew, it doesn’t fall on me !!! It’s hot. I had been briefed by Lorraine, but I didn’t take a long time to revise or train. And in addition in the excellent demo, very explained and detailed by Adriana, I realize that I only know a very small part of what I have to know!

A small impostor syndrome creeps into me in these first moments!

The following night, the following nights are difficult nights. My tension of what I do here and why I do it manifests in insomnia. I am stressed not to know what there is to know, stressed to have to expose myself, also stressed to be in this place away from my usual landmarks.

The author Philippe dancing on the right with flowered shirt

In the third morning, I’m going to see Adriana to expose my tension to her. Of course Adriana understands my stress and offers me not to get in front of everyone to explain a dance. This very open proposal brings me back to my deep choices. So I can completely say yes, I want to explain, show, be completely in the Teacher Training. It’s very liberating for me. I choose to go to my momentum, even if it’s out of my comfort zone.

When I choose to explain a simple step, Pawo, that I know well in the Dance of the 6 Spaces, I am with Andrei, Russian, who explains in Russian and I complete in English, then guide in rhythm all the other dancers with a lapel microphone.

For dancing, you have to know how to count up to 4. In English, that I get there. You have to know how to add the six syllables of the six spaces, I get there too! And it is also good to sing it while explaining. This is where it gets harder…

The experience of guiding, to synchronize between what I show by moving and what I explain by naming it is an experience of confusion and clarity at the same time.

Throughout this week, I measure the qualities of the instructors who taught me the Vajra Dance. A great gratitude to them. Thank you Lorraine. Thank you Stoffelina.

Dancing on five mandalas is a great chance. A great experience. When we all dance together, better and better, harmoniously, and that, for example, in the mudra of Om Ah Hum, we offer the benefits, all together, all inspired, all inspiring, my heart opens in deep joy. Tears come to my eyes. I’m melting internally. I’m going to be dissolving. I know why I am here, I know why I dance, I know why I am in the Community and I cry hot tears of gratitude to the Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.

During the sessions, Adriana is surrounded by instructors that complement, enrich and dance with us on the different mandalas. I met wonderful people.

Anya’s radiant energy, the clarity of the explanations and the song of Luda, the smile and the enthusiasm of Issa to name only these encounters.

I learned and danced OM AH HUM irregular. A first for me, I admit. And there I had an experience of mirror encounters, non-meeting also, relaxation and pleasure. Pleasure to go out in not fast, accelerate the dance and slow it down to find the Pamos in the last step before the Mudra. A dancing in the shape of a marathon that passes like a breath.

Manifestation during the Teacher Training

I learned to stay in my place, too. To take care of me only on the mandala. We are all independent and responsible. Here it’s a Teacher Training. I understood that my side “let’s be perfect” and “savior” was not suitable when I kindly pointed out, it seems to me, to a participant like me that she was not in the right place to start. His lightning response gave me back to me. I thank this person for having been authentic and his wrath guided me in my posture during this week, as a teaching.

I measure at the end of this intense week, everything I heard, learned and the little that I remember. I have a headache trying to remember everything that an instructor has to know, know how to say and show. There are words to designate movements that are still enigmatic for me today, but I have better understood the meaning of movement, the sense of dance.

  I understand that I can dance in my imperfection simply with the intention of this wonderful practice of moving meditation.

Dance practice is a moment of inspiration for compassion.

The development of Boddhicita.

This is good, this is exactly the source and the goal of my way.

A  big thank you to Adriana who led this course in a contained, clear and relaxed manner, thank you to each instructor present who each facilitated our learning in their own way and thank you to all the participants for each contributing to making this week smooth. and caring. Inspiring.

(This event was the first Vajra Dance Teacher Training held since the passing of Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 2018 with approximately 50 participants from around the world.  Ed note)

Annecy, France.
April 16, 2024.

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