About Ecstatic Dance

Ecstatic Dance Lansing was inspired by the Sunday Afternoon Ecstatic Dances in Dallas, Texas and Santa Barbara, California, with its lineage descending from Max Fathom, who started the first Ecstatic Dance at Kalani-Honua on the Big Island of Hawaii when he combined his dance practice of teachings from Gabrielle Roth with the electronic music that he fell in love with at Burning Man.

People all over the world and from every walk of life, generation and gender are discovering Ecstatic Dance; a mixture of movement meditation, carefully architected multi-genre music, creative self-expression, conscious community connection, and soulful sweat. Connecting first with yourself through free and inspired body movement is the true power. From there, connection with a larger life and others happens effortlessly.

According to Wikipedia, ecstatic dance is a form of dance in which the dancers abandon themselves to the rhythm and move freely as the music takes them, leading to trance and a feeling of ecstasy. Dancers are described as feeling connected to others, and to their own emotions. The dance serves as a form of meditation, helping people to cope with stress and to attain serenity.

Humans have danced since time immemorial; for pleasure, ritual, and prayerful purpose. Dance is our birthright. In the ancient and widespread practice of shamanism, ecstatic dance and rhythmic drumming are used to alter consciousness in spiritual practices. Ecstatic sacred dances are known also from religious traditions around the world. Modern ecstatic dance was revived by Gabrielle Roth in the 1970s and formalized in her 5Rhythms practice; it is now found in variants across the western world.

The Ecstatic Dance Community Foundation now lists more than 200 “organized, spontaneous dance practices” across the world, of which Ecstatic Dance Lansing is now one.

FAQs

borrowed from ecstaticdance.org

At most dances, the soundscape is provided by professional DJ’s who mix the music and facilitate the journey. Most sets will include a variety of musical genres, sonic wave of all tempos, a full spectrum of emotions. At some dances you will find the vibe to be more organic and tribal, and at others more electronic, futuristic, or urban. No set is ever the same!

Ecstatic Dance is a Freeform Conscious Dance. As soon as you enter the space, you are invited to let go of judgements and expectations, and allow yourself to feel you emotions, sensations, body, mind, and spirit. Because this is a safe space for movement and expression, we do request that you follow the three main guidelines: no shoes (and wear comfy clothes!), no booze (or any other drugs), no talking (body language only!).  All freedom of expression is welcomed, and there is no ‘right and wrong’ here. Trust in the journey and move through everything that arises.

Our dance inclues:

  • A warm-up activity (such as yoga/contact improv/group movement)
  • An opening circle
  • A 2 hour Ecstatic Dance
  • A wind-down period (such as Sound Healing or Meditation)
  • A Closing Circle

The format and flow varies from dance to dance. You are not required to participate in any part of this which does not feel alive for you. It is completely ok to sit/rest/observe at anytime. Most dances allow you to arrive and leave when you wish, but some dances do close the doors at a certain point in the night.  

The Ecstatic Dance community welcomes people of all ages/genders/religions/ethnicities.  This is a cross-generational community, so often you will see dancers between the ages of 18-80 enjoying the space together. Many dances allow children to attend, but we recommend checking with your local facilitator before bringing a child! We are a non-denominational community, where we come together for the joy of moving and dancing together.  This means that some people come simply for the exercise, some come for the social connection, and some come to use the dance as a form of therapy, emotional catharsis, spiritual practice, or prayer. Whatever your reason for wanting to move, you are welcome at Ecstatic Dance.  

Dress to sweat! We recommend you wear clothes that allow your full range of motion. Bring socks if you wish, but no shoes are allowed on the dancefloor.  Always bring a water bottle, and make sure to stay hydrated through the dance! Water is usually provided for free, and there is sometimes snacks or massage offered on the sidelines for purchase. Most importantly: bring an open mind, a curious spirit, and a body ready to dance!

During COVID dancing together is forbidden based on Ecstatic Dance Lansing’s Safety Policies.

Many Dancers come to dance by themselves in the Group Field.  Some Dancers also enjoy dancing with others, with or without physical contact.  Below is a guide to help your experience at Ecstatic Dance. 

  1. It is always a Good Idea to begin by Dancing with Yourself.  Feel into how you are doing in this moment, and in your Life in general.  Set an Intention for Yourself & for The World at Large at the beginning of the Dance.
  2. If you would like to Dance with someone else, please make sure they are able to Give their Consent to Dance with you before Touching them or entering their Field.  If you are not sure, or their eyes are closed, it is a No. Please respect any No, and try not to take it Personally.
  3. How to say “No” nonverbally?  Turn Away, Move Away, Hand(s) at Your Heart (prayer gesture)
  4. How to say “Yes” nonverbally? Turn Toward, Move Closer, Extend a Hand (open palm)