theater of solidarity in solitude




I thought this session, even though I came in a little late, was very empowering and very touching. I was very moved by your presentation; even though you had the translator I really could kind of follow you and your spirit even if she wasn’t here, and so… I really appreciate you, and I really appreciate the work that you’re doing; I think it’s very necessary and I hope that your dream of the 1000 hugs in central park will come true, and I know that hugs are important, they’re very healing, and we definitely need to do that more. And we need to honor each others’ space and ideas and thoughts and respect one another for our differences and continue to empower each other. Thank you.

I really liked the class and I feel like you pushed me out of my comfort zone and you showed me it’s convenient to help yourself, but it’s nice to help other people. Because usually, if someone had to ask me what would be my dream I would say “To get a big house and to get a lot of money", but you said to hug people, and just thinking about that is just… it’s really different, I’m not used to it, but just thinking about it – it’s just nice to help other people.

Honestly, I think this is probably the most powerful workshop I’ve done, and I’ve done a lot of different kinds of workshops.

It’s so different, especially for IYLI, I don’t think I’ve really done anything like this before, at least for as long as I’ve been in this program. So I thought that this was totally out of the box for us, and I loved it. I loved that it was really strange and weird for everyone to get out of their comfort zone to do something totally different that they probably would never have done before. And just your message to everyone: it’s so important to give and not just to take, because when you do give, you always, always get something in return, whether you realize it or not. So I loved that message and the fact that when you hug someone it’s not just about your giving someone the hug, you’re also --- you’re satisfying yourself. You feel that love coming from that person and from yourself, and I love that. I love hugging people, and even though it was kind of strange for me to hug different kinds of people, it still felt familiar. So  I really liked that.

IFETAYO  CULTURAL ARTS ACADEMY                      

I don’t know which activity I liked the best. They all served a purpose and they were also uplifting and informed about certain things like how people can come together or destroy each other, and I feel like this activity really gave me good spirits, these activities we did today, so… thank you again for coming.

I also believe that these activities helped with our chemistry, because we are an ensemble, and I believe that in order for our performance levels to be on the high quality level that we’re supposed to have, our chemistries need to be in sync, and I believe that each activity helped our chemistry between each other, cause not all of us are close to each other as much as some others are, and I believe that it helped our chemistry as an ensemble and built our trust with each other, so thank you.

I would like to thank you so much – obrigada – for doing a couple of things here today.  One, using your skill set, not just with movement but your acting, your research, your desire to go into unfamiliar places in your community and immerse yourself to try to understand others and then bring that to our young people here. I was able to see something.  This is the most advanced group of our entire – I would say over 2000 children we work with a year. This is the most advanced. And they’re teenagers. So they’re with hormones, and energy, and uncomfortability, but although more advanced than the children that are not performing. I still saw something so powerful happen here today with them. Their willingness, their openness to you, their trust in you, their belief in your authenticity, because it’s not just that you were coming and preaching – “do this, love people” --  but you explained how you went out of your comfort zone and immersed yourself somewhere.

So when you do that with young people, they trust you. And instantly I saw them trust you. And children – we need to teach them to be safe, not just to tell them, but show them. And you showed them. And I really really thank you so much for that. I saw some of their spirits open. And so know that some of the seeds you planted, they are going to go out and continue to share it.

I’m a talker, so I’m going to keep going. Also, some of these young people were in Brazil last year at our conference – and I wish someone would translate unless you’re telling me he’s fully understanding me, but at this moment it’s kind of important for me. They were leaders of workshops in Brazil with Brazilian students, and they had the opportunity to exchange and share their artistic goals, their feelings, their social values and try to come to a commonality. So what you were sharing: hopefully the Brazilian children will receive them? They already did last year. So we hope you will join them and the Brazilian students next year in Senegal. So we do one big abraço.


This exercise opened my eyes a little more because I realized that by hugging someone you can spread – well, you can spread comfort, but you can actually change their lives with the comfort and show you’re there for them and support them, and you can spread love.

I hugged Carolyn. I see her every day at school but I don’t really go and hug her I just say her name so today when we had to do all that hugging it felt awkward but it actually felt fun and actually got us talking more.

I thought the exercise was interesting because it helped me realize that hugging brings people together. People don’t always hug just to actually hug they usually hug cause they need to say hi to someone; it’s usually something you have to do in a polite way. But it made me realize that no one really hugs people just to hug them.


The Solidarity In Solitude Workshop was an enlightening experience that opened a higher level of  understanding, worthiness, respect and love for self and others. It is very hard to explain the feelings and rewards I received from this workshop by merging into the activities skillfully and creatively guided by the excellence and openness of Ivan. 

I am the Founding Director of the non-profit organization, My Second Breath Inc. I have been facilitating Sacred Sound meditation sessions, workshops, classes, retreats, treatments, and have worked with the underserved population for harmony and higher consciousness for over 30 years. However, this was an entirely new experience of  profound enlightenment that broke through what I thought I had dealt with years ago. Also, to my amazement, I witnessed a member of my organization who I have worked with for several years, finally arriving at  a freedom state of mind and emotions by discovering the past memories of abuse that was a binding fortress so deeply imbedded.  

This is a workshop that is healing to the Planet. 

 "Emancipate your seIf from mental slavery" Bob Marley sang. This workshop truly does that.

 Yes! for this, I Give Thanks and Gratitude. 

One Love,

Taunya Laya Rivera 

I looked on the website and I thought “Wow, this guy is really amazing! Look what he’s doing! It’s like fantastic! So I said “Well if anything, I have to come meet him in person, because what he’s doing is fantastic. And I wish he could be here – we could do that here too.” Because especially in New York, there’s a lot of snobby people, who look at people in a certain kind of way. And homelessness – you would be surprised who is homeless. You’re sitting on a train, they’re looking just like you, shirt jeans, everything, and they’re going to go to the shelter. They used to say “You’re one paycheck away from being in a shelter yourself” – or fire, or flood, or anything; it’s very expensive here in the city, so people are having a tough time with their kids finding a place they can afford to live.  


In the solidarity/solitude workshop Ivan lead  on October 17th I had no specific expectations except to think I could learn something or grow.

As music and poetry may have form and structure, Ivan's movement and speaking instructions gave us form. Taking the actions and making the movements tripped up my and our analytical subject/object awareness. I was no longer bound by all of my inherited judgements, but playfully tricked to be fully present to each person I encountered.

Not just encountered but fully embraced and accepted in the other's world, simultaneously embracing the person before me newly.

Ivan created with and for us safety, ease and peace, as I and we met and experienced the unknown in each other.

Surprise and nonverbal connections erupted in me and seemed to echo all around me in the others.

Harriotte Hurie Ranvig

Somerville, MA