5 Rhythms Ecstatic Dance

Imagine you are on the dance floor and something clicks in your head. You feel a subtle “shift” and you suddenly realize that you aren’t the one actually doing the dancing. Well, your body is dancing and yet, you seem to be witnessing that dance. You are no longer controlling how or where your body is actually moving.

How does that sound? Wierd? Unbelievable? Impossible?

Yet, that’s what happens when you stop trying to control it all and just allow yourself to be moved.

I can’t exactly tell you how to do this. At least, not in so many words. Or how long this phenomena takes to achieve.

However, that is the intention of ecstatic dance. And I will venture to say that it has ALWAYS been the intention of ecstatic movement practices, such as Sufi dancing, down through history.

I have been participating in the 5 Rhythms ecstatic dance practice since 2009 or so. For quite a while I didn’t really get the deeper implications of what I was doing. Something in me just wanted to dance.

It took awhile until I started being able to witness myself being moved. And that awareness comes and goes.

It’s really awesome when you are dancing with someone and you are both in that space of witness. I’ve had a number of experiences where I was in the “flow” with another dancer and the feeling just cannot be adequately described. Suffice it to say that those are such treasured moments and I am such deep gratitude for experiencing them.

There have been moments where almost all the dancers on the floor are swept into a grand movement which can be likened to a ballet of sorts. Like a midsummer nights dream experience where we all seem to have a part in some cosmic ballet which is so beautiful and rich that we don’t really know what happened. Only that we seemed to be telling a story or re-enacting some reality from another time and place.

Of fundamental importance to this practice is the setting up and holding sacred space. This means no conversations in the dance space and no distractions such as drums, hula hoops, alcohol etc. This is not a social event. It is a deep and rich soul experience.

I have learned from a number of workshops just how deep and rich this practice is and the learning seems never ending. I have formed a special bond with the other dancers.

We are a tribe participating in the ancient practice of shamanic dance.

5 Rhythms is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 70’s. More can be found here.

1 thought on “5 Rhythms Ecstatic Dance

  1. No better feeling than living “after the fact” (as I call it). The mind realizes after the fact that an action or movement or word has been performed.

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