Dance has always been a form of ritualized spiritual expression for individuals and communities. This artistic expression is recorded by ancient scribes all over the world. It was painted on cave walls 30,000 years ago and dance as a form of ecstasy probably predates recorded history.
Today, ecstatic dance is a form of dynamic meditation, whereby people gather in an open space and, with the guidance of a qualified facilitator and skilled DJ, they dance free-style. There is no structure or steps to follow, you simply move in the way your body tells you to. Reaching states of trance and deep meditation is not just some mystical experience which belongs to special people. It belongs to human beings who are prepared and willing to dance themselves into that ecstatic state. During the dancing, we enter deep-body consciousness or “embodiment” that overrides the thinking brain. It is a deep, continuous exploration of yourself in relation to the music and to others.
"Nothing is more revealing than movement." ~ Martha Graham
Conscious Dance events are alcohol-free and talk-free spaces featuring what is often referred to as "a wave"- that is, an organized playlist of music that starts slow and grounded and builds into a pulsating groove followed by a chaotic frenzy and then opens into a joyful celebration and finally resolves with a peaceful, movement meditation. During this wave-like exploration, we move with our whole bodies; rolling, crawling, stretching, jumping, spinning, shaking, traveling through space and surrendering to experience. We allow ourselves to merge with anything that may arise for us on an emotional level. We tell our stories of joy, pain, anger, sadness, confusion etc. to the dance floor. Our bodies are the artistic medium. The space is open and safe and all people are welcomed and celebrated.
“Without music, life would be a mistake”, said the German philosopher Nietzsche. He was quite right because we have a natural instinct that leads us to follow the rhythm of the music. In fact, most children move and clap their hands when they hear a song they like. It is a spontaneous response related to our need to communicate and express our emotions through the movement and the body.
Music and dance do not only activate our bodies, but also the sensory and motor circuits of our brain (the pleasure center). When we dance, our brain releases endorphins and neurotransmitters that create a feeling of relaxation, expansion, joy and oneness. Consequently, music and dance are not only fun and social, but very useful for our physical and mental health. Recent studies revealed that one of the keys to happiness and satisfaction is right on the dance floor.
Here is a wonderful article called, "Why Dancing Makes us Happy":
Here are some other reasons why you should join a conscious dance community.
1. It's a better workout than the gym.
2. It’s a healthy alternative to clubbing and particularly appropriate for those who would rather not be surrounded by people that are drunk and high.
3. It's a great way to relieve stress and release any tension that you’ve been carrying around.
4. You will feel a sense of freedom and elation that you didn’t even think was possible.
5. You will be introduced to a wonderful community of friendly, open and non-judgemental people.
6. You will feel empowered after the event because it takes courage and emotional and physical stamina to continue for 1.5 hours of the wave music playlist.
Finally, to end this article, I will leave you with a beautiful and timeless quote written by the 13th century Persian poet Rumi:
“Dancing is not just getting up painlessly, like a leaf blown on the wind. Dancing is when you tear your heart out and rise out of your body to hang suspended between the worlds.”
ps. I lead conscious dance and DJ for Guelph Groove which happens once a month: http://guelphgroove.com/?page_id=2