"Dance like nobody is watching", amongst a crowd of over thirty others who feel the same way, and see what happens!
It’s a 10 below zero Sunday morning in New England. Feet are barefoot and calloused from swirling on a wood floor. Some feet are donned in rhinestone leather dance thongs, duck tape, or in battered comfortable shoes. A crystal chandelier glows and softly illuminates faces and bodies radiant and beaded with sweat. Fabrics fill the room with color, textures and lightness.
Enraptured in a rhythm that takes dancers out of their mind and into the moment, they find themselves blissfully moving to music, alone, together or in a group. Bodies twirl and eyes meet, sometimes for a brief moment, other times for more. Sometimes the moment is like a magnet, where men and women find themselves flowing together effortlessly, connecting with the vibe of an unknown force that moves and shapes them like soft clay. Each silhouette becomes a slide show of beautiful images, statues in motion.
Conscious Dance, what is it? What does it feel like? Why should I try it?
Conscious dance is for anyone, regardless of any “dance” skill. It is art in motion. A blissful ecstatic movement meditation. A practice. For many, it is a spiritual practice placing them completely into the moment, present within the body, yet safe enough to have a transformational out of body experience.
“Traditional Dance” includes: Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop and Creative Dance. The term “Conscious Dance”, only pioneered in the last decade, also consists of many classes. These types of dance are reflective of ancient healing dance and martial arts. Both, traditional and conscious dance forms illuminate the soul through movement.
Common conscious dance classes include: 5Rhythms®, by Gabriel Roth; Ecstatic Dance, Max Fathom; Trance Dance, Wilder Alix; Contact Improvisation, Steve Paxton; Dance of Oneness®, Dancing the Devine by, Sanafsheh Sayyard; JourneyDance™, Toni Bergin; Dance Kinetics, Kripalu YogaDance and Shake Your Soul, Dan Levin; Soul Motion, Vinn Marti; Emotion InMotion; Nia® and others.
Class names have been registered, trademarked or named simply by those who created the group, such as the Portland Community Dance group out of Portland, Maine. This group, PCD, came together over a year ago, it stemmed from an Ecstatic Dance format. The group is made up of all types of conscious and traditional dancers, doctors, teachers, psychotherapists, parents, grandparents, carpenters, therapists, acupuncturists, artists and more.
Conscious dance classes have a “flow”, alot like a Yoga flow that starts from floor up and back down. This flow activates an intuitive story the body wants to tell, by opening up the energy body, vs the mind. Conscious dancer, and Kundalini Yoga teacher, Raji Kelley Simpson, said to me, “It is my journey into a blissful mystery!”.
PCD gathers every Sunday morning from 10:15am to 12:15 at the Avant Dance Center, typically used as a ballroom dance studio. Like many of other locations, this dance floor, sometimes a gymnasium, church sanctuary or yoga studio, becomes a temple, a place to connect, disconnect and share a moving meditation. No conversation is heard on the dance floor. There is only music, silence among dancers and the expression of body language grounded in unconsciousness that becomes conscious. This community, is a tribe, bound together in rhythm and movement to create wellbeing.
“The fastest way to still the mind is to move the body.”, Gabriel Roth, 5Rythms®. Her organic, innovative body mind dance work, created in the 1960‘s, was a result of her collaboration with Gestalt creator, Fritz Perls, at Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California.
What to expect when you enter a “Conscious Dance” gathering:
• MUSIC compiled by experienced conscious dance flow DJ’s to create a safe, fun, altered state of conscious dance experience.
• INCLUSIVE community atmosphere
• CASUAL individuals can come and go to dance floor
• DANCE is “free form” (move in your own unique way)
• SUBSTANCE FREE, absence of alcohol and drugs
• FEET are barefoot, though not necessary
• CORE GROUP of organizers, greeters and DJ’s in charge of: social media, sound system, two-hour music set, website and finances.
• SOCIAL quiet social area available to rest.
• CLOSING community circle sitting on the floor.
• FEE for two hours $10 +/- donation.
Years ago, before finding this community of conscious dancers, I recall a friend saying to me, “how do you stay so fit?”. I paused, looking at him, tall, trim, strong and disciplined in his workouts at the gym, running and x-country skiing. My first thought, aside from having an active outdoor lifestyle and work as a gardener was, “I dance.”
“Dance”, it is more than knowing steps or staying fit. Dance is a way to let go of heaviness, mentally and physically. It is inseparable from the inner most part of a person, it gives us a glimpse into a lightness of being, freedom and Spirit.
Dance is soulful art in motion. I look forward to sharing the dance floor with you!
BIO - Lisa Holcomb, M.Ed. is aconscious dance DJ for Portland Community Dance, a licensed JourneyDance™ Facilitator, and a Reiki Teacher that created DanzaRá (dahn-za-ray) Dance, SpiritDance, a conscious dance form that brings individuals through their own life story using internally inspired movement. Her dance is greatly influenced by African and Asian healing dance. You can find Lisa at www.tracprograms.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a call for more information 603-447-3443.