Sober raving is one way to describe ecstatic dancing, a form of freestyle movement that is said to facilitate healing. (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Sober raving? The rise of ecstatic dancing

Free form movement in a judgment free space

For some people letting loose and dancing freely is something that only happens at an underground rave after taking illicit drugs but what happens when ravers grow up?

Ecstatic dance has become increasingly popular throughout Vancouver Island with workshops and studios popping up in downtown Victoria and on Salt Spring Island.

“Ecstatic dance took about 10 years after the rave scene to become a thing, people were maturing in the rave scene and wanted something a little more easier going,” says Alex King-Harris, a local DJ and facilitator of ecstatic dance. “It’s a free space to dance in for people looking for the kind of dance energy similar to a festival or club without the drugs or alcohol.”

READ ALSO: African rhythms, dance performance to help out Sierra Leone charity group

Although to outsiders it may just look like people flailing around on the dance floor, King-Harris — who has a background in music therapy — explains it’s much more than gyrating limbs.

“There’s so much great neuroscience out there now that when the mind is fully synchronized with the body there’s a healing that takes over and you become more open to connecting with other people so their connection can be authentic and real — that in itself is also a healing experience.”

Jaz Snider, co-founder of Dance Temple Victoria, says the freestyle movement is for people of all ages and all backgrounds.

“That’s one of the most important aspects of it, that people are encouraged to move however they wish while being mindful and respectful of others in the space,” says Snider.

It starts off with a guided meditation leading into a facilitated movement to get you “warming into your body.” As the music gets more intense so does people’s dancing.

READ ALSO: What’s different during an all-boys dance class

“It’s difficult to truly articulate what it looks like except to say if you’ve ever seen tribal dancing in African villages it’s more like that than random chaotic movement,” says King-Harris.

Snider agrees, adding the movement isn’t just for your body but “it’s movement for the heart and soul as well.”

According to Snider, one of the most important aspects of the dance style is cultivating that safe space where people feel free to move how they want in order to stimulate a healing response.

“With this particular form of dance it’s allowed me to really tap into my creativity and be in touch with my body; it helps me feel my feelings more fully and to be more accepting of those as they come to the surface when I’m moving,” says Snider.

“I can go into an ecstatic dance session feeling a certain way and then emerge afterwards feeling completely different — often much lighter and clearer.”

While the community is continually growing, Snider says an ideal candidate to test out ecstatic dance would be anyone that liked to dance that maybe hasn’t had the opportunity or the confidence to dance publicly.

“They might be really surprised in a really positive way to discover themselves in this environment and what can emerge,” says Snider.

Classes take place every Sunday morning at the Victoria Dance Temple or Monday and Thursday nights at Salt Spring Dance Temple.

“Usually when we do a show it’s usually 20 to 30 new people and then the regulars that come around a lot,” says King-Harris. “For me that’s been the power of music and movement is the ability to pull people together and find a commonality without words.”

For more information on where to dance ecstatically in Greater Victoria visit Dance Temple Victoria’s Facebook page or Salt Spring Dance Temple’s Facebook page.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Work set to begin on removing Sooke’s derelict boats from waterways

Seven boats earmarked to be removed this spring

Souper Bowls cook up support for Victoria youth

Youth Empowerment Society fundraising event set for April 4 at Crystal Gardens

Victoria Royals look ahead to Game 3 in playoff series

Best of seven series tied 1-1 after weekend play

Increasing cloudiness with a high of 12 C for today

A look ahead at this week’s forecast

BC Ferries warns of short Tsawwassen inconvenience, sailing times not affected

Line painting scheduled overnight between Tuesday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 27

Mueller finds no Trump collusion, leaves obstruction open

But while Mueller fully ruled out criminal collusion, he was more circumspect on presidential obstruction of justice

Kamloops chamber of commerce director let go after controversial Facebook posts

Facebook account had derogatory comments about Muslims, Justin Trudeau

B.C. RCMP officer cleared after Taser incident seriously injures woman

Woman with knives refused to comply with orders therefore officer used appropriate level of force

‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Watchdog has gotten dozens of complaints about company, which has been using fake Vancouver address

Edmonton judge rules Omar Khadr’s sentence has expired

Eight-year sentence imposed in 2010 would have ended last October had Khadr remained in custody

Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

Ice climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall on Vancouver Island

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

Sparks fly as SUV speeds wrong way down Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Most Read