The Crimson Dance


Our short story of the week is a story about a guru by Svetlana Lavochkina.

Svetlana Lavochkina is a Ukrainian-born novelist, poet and translator, residing in Germany. Her work has been widely published in the US and Europe, appearing in AGNINew HumanistPOEMWitnessStraylightCircumferenceSuperstition ReviewSixfoldDrunken Boat and elsewhere. She lives in Leipzig with her husband and two sons. She teaches English at a Waldorf school and is a literary columnist for LeipGlo, a Leipzig-based international English-language magazine.

Svetlana started writing her very first short story in 2005, on a plane to Amsterdam. In 2013, her novella Dam Duchess was chosen as runner-up in the Paris Literary Prize. Her debut novel Zap was shortlisted for the Tibor & Jones Pageturner Prize 2015. Both novels were published by Whisk(e)y Tit, NYC, in 2017 and 2018.  Zap was released in German translation under the title Puschkins Erben by Voland&Quist, Berlin, in the autumn of 2019. Her translations of Ukrainian poetry were published in Words for War and The White Chalk of Days by Academic Studies, Boston and by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.

The Crimson Dance follows a group of young Eastern European migrants in Germany as one of them becomes obsessed with a mysterious form of yoga.


Guru Dan Fennel ambles across the maple floorboards of Yoga Sky Studio. His elegant toes scatter cushions and stroke the cheek of a young disciple, supine on her mat. Dan once travelled from Madras to Seoul on foot. On the way, he threaded the following beads into his string of malas: dharma transmission, monk ordination, chakra distillation and the heirloom of the Xun Yun lineage. In the snowy heights of Nanga Parbat, he conquered the heart of a famous dakini and appropriated her secret teaching, the Crimson Dance. A vitamin bomb for starving souls, Dan Fennel flies from meridian to meridian releasing the prisoners of the mind and delivering them to the gates of Eternal Dawn.

In this debonair attic, I look very alien in my black outfit – sneakers, cycling shorts and sports bra. People here at the seminar wear baggy tunics of blurred rainbow, barefoot and unabashed by their dirty heels: hippies of various ages, a shaggy married couple, an organic mother in felt gingham. I imagine fleas scurrying in their dreadlocks.Read more…