Evansville is located in southern Indiana with its banks on the Ohio River. Nestled at the Kentucky/Illinois border, we are two hours west of Louisville, Kentucky; approximately three hours from Indianapolis and St. Louis and about three hours north of Nashville, Tennessee.

The Evansville Dances of Universal Peace is just one group of hundreds around the world. We belong to a larger family of like-minded people from all walks of life. Lezlie Ward, a yoga teacher who also holds a master’s degree in counseling, first learned about Dances of Universal Peace when she saw a flier advertising a local gathering. “I came, and I loved it. I was very moved by the experience…. It was very effective at shifting me into a more prayerful and peaceful place,” Ward recalled.

At that time, the Evansville dances were held only occasionally, led by an Evansville native named Yaqin Lance Sandleben. Sandleben now lives in Arizona, and he led Evansville dance gatherings when he was in town visiting family. Ward later decided to pursue the training required to become a Dances of Universal Peace leader. Sandleben became her mentor, and she’s participated in retreats in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, New Harmony and Arizona. “I thought it was a valuable service to have here in Evansville, and if I didn’t do it myself no one else would,” she said.

Since its beginnings, new musicians were added as well as new leadership. Lezlie Ward has relocated to Columbus, Indiana where she is starting a new dance group. Under the Mentorship Program with the Dances of Universal Peace and oversight by Yaqin Sandleben, Karim Shelton and Mary Beth Davis have taken the role of co-leading the group. The leadership team wouldn't be complete without the participation and musical gifts of Marla Minton on guitar and cello and JoAnn Wolff on accordion. We are always looking for like-minded musicians to add to the group and of course need dancers to complete the circle.

The Evansville Dances of Universal Peace have led dances in Paducah (KY), St. Meinrad, New Harmony and Oakland City (IN). The word is starting to spread in southwestern Indiana and northwestern Kentucky and the dance group hopes to become a catalyst for other groups in the area in the near future.

If you are in our neighbourhood drop by and experience what others are talking about—and that which is difficult to explain. We welcome each and every person. You do not have to sing or dance well. The only requirement is an open and willing heart. The rest just happens!