WHICH DANCE WORKS FOR YOU?
ECSTATIC or CONSCIOUS dance?
Of course, this is only a snippet of what ecstatic dance is.
Very short: it is free-style dancing with others that builds up to a climatic release. A feel-good experience that allows us to reconnect with our inner selves.
Books have been written about the effects to the mind, body and soul of freestyle dancing. It is also known to stimulate connection and the feeling of belonging in a non-verbal environment.
Gabrielle Roth, the woman who brought ecstatic dance back to the Western world in the 70s and who developed the 5Rhythms. Some interesting books written by her: 'Sweat Your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice' and 'Maps to Ecstasy: Teachings of an Urban Shaman'.
There is a big overlap between ecstatic and conscious dance. While ecstatic dance is more about losing yourself in the music and reconnecting with our inner-selves, conscious dance takes it a step further: it is also a learning path. Our movements are expressions of who we are and what happens in our mind (f.e. our habits, the way we want to show up in the world, the way we show up because of things that happend to us in the past,...). In conscious dance we become aware of our posture, habits, and expressions and what lies underneath it. We move in a mindful, controlled way that allows us to explore new horizons within the limits of our bodies. By understanding where our posture and movements come from, we become more embodied and can even change our posture and movements if that serves us better in the world off the dance floor. The dance floor is our playground where we practice tools that can help us in our daily lives.
Being both an ecstatic dance dj and Open Floor conscious dance teacher, I love and value both. In my ED sessions I will always offer the dancers a way into becoming more embodied. I will do this mainly through breath work which should be the basics of every dance, flow, and movement we make if we want body and mind to align. The use of our breath allows the energy to flow, to explore the music with your body and to get creative. Awareness of body parts, emotions, connection with self and others, and breathing deepens the dance experience. In my CD sessions I will always leave lots of room for 'Pure Practice' and give the dancers plenty of time to dance freely and integrate.
Check out the video below to see what I mean...
Open Floor Movement Practice is a conscious dance practice that was developed after Gabrielle Roth passed away. Some of her 5Rhythms colleagues continued developing the curriculum by taking a different approach and leaning more towards dance therapy and dance psychology.