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"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

-Emma Goldman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every body holds a dancer.

Every one! 

Ecstatic Dance is an ancient practice where the movement is the teacher.  

Experience connections, freedom and wild wisdom on the dancing path!

This is a workout for the body and soul - a moving meditation.

Dance,
when you're broken open.

Dance,
if you've torn the bandage off.

Dance,
in the middle of fighting.

Dance,
when you're perfectly free.

--Jelaluddin Rumi (13th century)  

 

Ecstatic dance is an ancient movement practice that has been revered as a way to meditate, evoke visionary experience, and connect with spirit and nature.  It is a powerful tool for healing the body, mind, and heart.  Ecstatic dance helps restore the vital flow of energy in the body and recover lost parts of the soul in the process.  By moving our bodies we are able to connect the physical body-mind-heart and move the soul.  We access spirit as the body-mind-heart connected, moving, and in action.  We are each a moving meditation and our dance is a reminder of the medicine we hold in our hearts, minds and bodies.  When we dance, we connect to this power and the medicine moves and is moved by us!

We start our dance by grounding, feeling the Earth supporting us beneath our feet.  We feel how we support the Earth and ourselves.  We feel our own breath and natural rhythms.  We trust our own two feet to guide us in our dance.

Our meditation is a wave of motion, up and down the body, carrying vibrations and motion from the Earth, feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs and hips to our very finger tips, in and out.  We feel the connections we have to ourselves, to others, to community and to the universe.  Vinn Marti calls each of these a dance…Dance Intimate, Dance Communion, Dance Community, and Dance Infinite.

As the beat of the music increases and we feel the energy rise from the ground up, we start to feel and express our dance.  The shapes our body takes in anger, fear, sadness, joy, and surprise.  How does our body respond, how do we feel, what do we see, and what do we think?  These are our patterns.  We put these patterns in motion, repeating them so that we can clearly feel them.  These are the patterns that protect us and also keep us from becoming more.  We find our core, our center, the essence of who we are and what our purpose is, despite the distractions and perceptions.  The movement is the medicine.  Our ancestors, our lineage, and our roots are our guides.

As the beat of the music peaks we shake our entire body, releasing the legs, arms and head.  Bradford Keeney describes the Shaking Medicine of the Bushmen of Botswana, Africa in his book Shaking Medicine.  He says, "We enter the healing and transformative experiences of the shaking body.  Here we find ourselves, maybe for the first time, in the kindergarten of ecstatic wisdom...We experiment with giving up control."  We let go of our bodies to release and withdraw patterns that no longer serve us. We make room for more subtle and yet distinct rhythms…new patterns.  And, as we let our old patterns dissolve, we become like a river dissolving into the ocean.  We become more than any one rhythm, pattern, wave or energy.  The music slows, and we relax into the mystery, awake and connected. 

Our dance becomes a source of personal discovery, wonder and healing.  As we practice over time, we fill our own bodies more fully, feel our emotions more fluidly, and think with more clarity.  We practice being ourselves and are inspired to live our life with more connection, joy and grace.

In the United States, most of us live a stationary life with a very active mind.  In places such as Botswana, Africa where the Bushmen practice ecstatic dance weekly, the body gets to be active and surprisingly, the mind settles down.  Ecstatic dance is one of the best ways I've experienced to increase energy in the body and at the same time, focus the mind and open the heart!  By allowing the body to move in a self-directed way we re-discover our inherent wild wisdom.

Ecstatic Dance classes usually start with a 30 minute self-guided warm-up.  This allows for participants to arrive on the dance floor and start to warm up their body.  After the warm up dance there is a guided meditation and then a brief break for coming together and sharing intentions for the class.  Then, there is a facilitated ecstatic wave (usually about 40-50 minutes of continuous music).   The class ends in a group circle where experiences may be voiced, questions asked, or a single word shared. 

There is absolutely no dance experience necessary, just a willingness to move and be moved. 

photo by Duncan Green

Articles

Visionary for Conscious Dance ~ Ruth St. Denis
by Julie Alessio

Dance as Medicine
by WhiteEagle
 

The Shamanic Path
by Bradford Keeney


Dance and Activism
by Jesse Phillips-Fein



"There are many ways
 leading to God; I have
 chosen that of music
 and dance." ~Rumi



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