Direction: Herman Kathan and Ulrike Strobel
A two-year course on music of indigenous trance cults and trance-induced methods.

The upcoming advanced training "Trance-Grooves" will already be the fourth cycle in which rhythms of West African and Brazilian trance cults as well as different trance techniques will be taught and experienced in a well-founded way.

Due to the rich experiences of the past courses, the leadership team will be expanded in the coming cycle. The whole training will be led by Herman Kathan together with Ulrike Strobel. The team will work as a polar structure, complementing each other and thus opening the way for a broad field of experience. Both Herman Kathan and Ulrike Strobel set different focuses, which have already complemented each other fruitfully in their previous cooperation in other seminars. The experience and processing of the trances, embedded in the refreshing learning and making music of traditional trance rhythms, accompanied by the necessary theory about the contents of the training, will represent a broad spectrum from which everyone who enters into the diverse processes can profit richly.

Those who are already familiar with the work of Herman Kathan and Ulrike Strobel may already be familiar with a wide variety of trance-inducing methods, and even the state of a trance may no longer be a novelty. For others, a trance experience can be new territory waiting to be discovered bit by bit with the joy of adventure.

Over the past few decades, our understanding of trance has undergone a significant transformation. Comprehensive scientific inquiry into changed states of waking consciousness has led the broadly defined phenomenon of trance out of a shadowy existence. What was suspected of hysteria until the middle of the last century is now recognised as a means of discovering, articulating and finally realising the potential slumbering within us. Altered states of waking consciousness range from inner attentiveness to deep trance states, from the introverted, complete enstatic calm to the dance in which the individual ecstatically steps out of himself/herself and brings into the world what was previously hidden within. With the inner senses thus opened up, we are able to perceive other realities of our existence, which are expressed in intuition, inspiration and spontaneity.
Today, a wide variety of people make use of the effects of trance: artists derive creativity from it, it helps therapists initiate processes of change and for many, trance plainly and simply provides access to our innate fullness of life.

Trance can open up access to our unconscious and to our resources. Last but not least, states of trance can open up the spiritual dimension of ourselves and music. This can also fundamentally change our relationship to music and our music-making practice.
For musicians, trance is not only a means to an end; it constitutes the immediate creative act of performing live music. In this context trance means submersing oneself into a perceptional structure which puts an immense store of information at your disposal which cannot be tapped into in a state of daily waking consciousness. In the act of performing music, musicians gain access to such information and are able to create genuine music out of it while activating personal processes of change in musical expression. Such processes can also be initiated by merely listening to music which incorporates trance-induced structures.
In light of the comprehensive effect of trance it comes as no surprise that indigenous music, which stands at the center of archaic societies, is full of trance-induced elements.

Conscious of this enormous power throughout their lives, Herman Kathan and Ulrike Strobel have been dealing with different trance structures both theoretically and practically from their own perspective since the beginning of their professional careers. The therapeutic as well as the musical aspects are core competences of both. Ulrike Strobel has focused more on the former, Herman Kathan on the latter.

Kathan has studied the music of trance cults in West Africa and Brazil, in particular those of the Djina cults and the Candomblé, extensively.
Imparting these rhythms and their solo figures including the energetic potential inherent in them is the central focus of the course “Trance Grooves.” Other trance-induced rhythms which are not used explicitly in trance cults will be imparted as well. Philosophical, mythical and – last but not least – practical subject matter connected with this focus supplement the training course.

Sound archetypes are one of the focal points in the work of Ulrike Strobel. They represent a rather Western approach to the wealth of experience that is being developed in African cultures with the help of trance-inducing grooves. The experiences, memories or sometimes even painful traumatic trauma brought on by the trance are worked through in a psychotherapeutically sensitive way. On both ways we will be travelling parallel. Based on western trance-inducing methods, the participants will also be able to experience and explore the traditional music they have learned and use it for the development of their own personal structures.

Trance music of indigenous peoples often possesses the most complex structures produced by these cultures. For this reason they require an experienced and advanced engagement with percussion music. Even professional rhythmists will be challenged by this music. Whoever has taken the course “Djembé Pur” with Kathan or completed a comparable training with other musicians has the best prerequisites for participation in the course “Trance Grooves.”
It should be clearly pointed out here that a very large part of the music taught in trance grooves is very complex. Indigenous trance music should not be confused with what is commonly understood by "meditative" music and what has been marketed for years under the label of "New Age Music".
In contrast, prior experience with trance-inducing methods is not a prerequisite for participation.

Besides being oriented towards interested musicians and music lovers, this course is particularly suited for (music) therapists, teachers and members of other social professions with previous musical training.
In principal all persons are welcome in this course who take an interest in the topic and who wish to engage with the grooves focused on in this course and the effects they generate in a self-exploratory, intensive and practice-oriented manner. This also includes a certain amount of courageous self-reflection and the openness to share with the group.
The amount of time needed to learn the rhythms on the one hand and to experience and work through the music with various trance techniques on the other hand will be roughly balanced.

The leadership team:


Herman Kathan

Ulrike Strobel

certified social pedagogue
Psychotherapist (HP)
Body psychotherapist in own practice ( Pulsing, Wu-Wei massage, trance dance)
20 years of experience in the leadership team (together with W. Strobel and A. Schmucker) of the advanced training cycle "Sound, Rhythm and Body - Paths into altered states of consciousness",
furthermore in the seminar "Sound spaces of the soul" (Odenwald Institute), "Mystery play" and team member of the "Trance-Dance-Trans-Action" with Herman Kathan and Busch-Werk


The next Trance Grooves training is expected to start in 2023.
The dates as well as the costs of the training will be published here in time.


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