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4/18/2011

Ecstatic Dance , A Natural High


Dancing has been present in bars and nightclubs as a means of entertainment, a way to attract a mate, or experienced only when under the influence of some kind of mind altering substance. Often times we forget that the original roots of dance were created to encourage SELF healing and revitalization.

A dance wave has been sweeping across the country that promotes this type of healing and expression through creative movement while ‘Aghast’ being under the influence of nothing at all! This dance wave condones healing, spiritual connectivity and exploration of self.

Ecstatic dance is a dance where individuals can come together and move their bodies as they wish to an eclectic fusion of music. With only the first half hour facilitated by a teacher, the remainder of the event is an “open dance” that supports a judgment, drug, and alcohol free environment where people can let loose and explore their own movement.
Let’s face it, the idea of gathering with a group of strangers to dance without a pre-requisite of slight intoxication sounds incredibly intimidating. Perhaps that’s why one Ecstatic Dance websites acknowledges “we understand that it takes courage to open ourselves up in the presence of others”.  Although the concept does seem intimidating at first, you will find that the people, who regularly gather at these events are extremely welcoming, carefree, and friendly.  They will be more than happy to show you around and dance with you until you feel comfortable.

Ecstatic Dance often begins in the early evening and runs until just before midnight. Studios can also schedule Ecstatic Dance sessions that happen in the afternoon, but more often they are held as a night event.  A music theme can be elected such as “world beats” or “African Vibes” and is facilitated by a live DJ whose compilation of relative music is superb.  Some studios will bring jugs of fresh water, and simple refreshments to keep the party hydrated and feeling alive.

Right now the Ecstatic Dance has more prevalence on the West Coast. Offering Ecstatic Dance events in Portland, San Francisco, Tucson, and Hawaii, the events may be hosted in a private studio or public venue suitable for dancing barefoot… yes barefoot. (Shoes are often times not permitted).

People who have participated in an ecstatic event note the magic that it creates. Too often we forget how it feels to move our bodies fluidly on a regular basis, and many of us only do so when under the influence. A group of likeminded individuals coming together for a purpose to take an inward journey through movement and music is a beautiful occurrence.  Energy is enigmatic, and a sense of community is frequently fostered if you choose to go on a regular basis.  

If you feel the need to shake loose, let go and release scope out a studio near you. Some studios prompt you to ask a question beforehand, and then see if you can come to a conclusion by the end of your dance exploration. Take a chance, and don’t be shy, it can be an extremely liberating experience!!

Below is a list of a few notable studios. 

San Francisco Bay
Seattle
Tucson
Hawaii

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