Ecstatic Dance

By Martina Reinbold, Yoga teacher and Wellness Coach at Udara

Udara Resort offers Ecstatic Dance every Sunday from 10.45 am to 12.15 pm as part of the Udara Sunday, followed by a live Sound Healing journey of 45 minutes. In the last year, this event has become very popular and draws a large crowd from expats, tourists and locals to our beachfront resort in Seseh village. The vibe on Sundays at Udara is truly special and we invite you to come and join. Never been to an Ecstatic Dance before? Great! We’ll share some more information about this dance form with you in this blog article.

Ecstatic dancing is a collective practice has been cultivated throughout human history. But why is it becoming more and more popular nowadays? What draws people from all ages and countries on the dancefloor of Yoga shalas, beaches and festival venues? With this article we like to give you more understanding about the ecstatic dance practice, about its guidelines and benefits.

What is Ecstatic Dance?

Ecstatic dance is a movement practice where people come together and dance in a conscious way. In most locations there will be a live DJ and a facilitator who is holding the space for the dance. In some ecstatic dance events, you will be guided into movement exercises, for example connecting with different parts of your body, certain emotions or the qualities of the music. Other ecstatic dance hosts emphasize the freedom that comes from the possibility to move however you wish, inspired by the music and the collective of dancers.

What differentiates ecstatic dance from disco or party dance is the talk- and drug free space. This is bringing higher levels of consciousness into the event and keeps the focus strongly on the music and the dance.

What are the Guidelines for Ecstatic Dance at Udara?

There are some basic rules that people have agreed upon in the ecstatic dance community. And this makes perfect sense when you reflect upon the purpose and the intention of these dance events.

Move however you wish. Your movements should serve as a vessel for a spontaneous, authentic expression of yourself. You are not dancing to impress anyone including yourself. Instead of letting our egos guide the dance, we tap into our intuitive movements and the feeling of the music. Everyone is welcome on the dancefloor, now matter how experienced you are. When you overcome the first feelings of awkwardness or even shyness, you can experience a renewed sense of confidence, individuality and vitality.

No shoes on the dancefloor. Dancing without shoes is probably one of the most grounding practices that you can engage in. At Udara we have wooden floors in our Yoga Shalas that allow you to really connect to the earth below you and the elements of nature around you as you dance with the amazing backdrop of the ocean.

Ecstatic Dance is a drug & alcohol-free space. When we come to realize that we do not need the use of any stimulants in order to express ourselves fully and honestly, this can be such a liberation. When we feel the energy of the dance and the music, we can reach natural highs, energy bursts and flow states – just by the chemicals that our own bodies produce.

No talking on the dance floor. We know it can be comforting and help you feeling more connected when you share about your experiences with your friends or fellow dancers. But we strongly encourage you to keep the dancefloor free from any talking. Save the words for after the dance and drop into the dance space fully. Having lots of chatting on the dancefloor can be both very distracting not only for your own process but also for the dancers around you.

Please refrain from photos and video. We know that our Ecstatic Dance events and the location of Udara are worthy to capture and share. When we honor the dancefloor as a free expression of ourselves, we also respect that other people might not want to be on any pics or videos. From my experience I know that people feel they can let go more when they don’t feel observed or captured on devices. And when you are filming with your phone in your hand, you might not reach the depths of flow and ecstasy that come when you drop fully into the raw and real experience that you have in the very moment.

Respect the space of another person, your own and the space you are dancing in. We are all in this together with a shared intent to dance collectively. The dance space is an open and welcoming space for anyone, no matter of your age, skin color, country of origin, body shape and size. Respecting another person and yourself means letting go of any judgments, allowing every body to be and move as they are. Respecting each other’s dance space. If you are two people wanting to share a dance together, that’s perfectly fine. Whenever one person wants to continue on his own dance journey, that’s fine too. Respect the choices of the other person and communicate with body language if you need more space. A sign of great respect is actually following these guidelines, helping us to create a beautiful community.

Why should we dance more?

The ecstatic dance helps us to ground and reconnect to the aliveness that we feel in our bodies. It is also an opportunity to go beyond the mind, to find a sense of liberation through movement and to feel uplifted. When many people come together with the same intention and focus, the group energy can become very strong and carry us through the dance.

Cultures from all continents and ages have emphasized collective dance as a way to create community and transcend our everyday lives. There are great reasons to dance such getting a nice physical workout, improving our mood and taking a break from the chatter in our minds. As David Thomas Moore, Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer for Dance With Me USA puts it into beautiful words: ”We do not need to dance to acquire a sound mind and body. So, there must be more reasons why we do so. There must be something glorious about dancing that is more than just intangible… Maybe dance is simply a translator for the human heart. Perhaps dance is the medium through which we show the world who we truly are and who we can be.”

What is the music like at the Ecstatic Dances?

Every time you come to Udara Sunday for dance, you will get a different experience of music. The music that is offered by our live DJ ranges from electronic dance music to World Music with a wide variety of musical genres. Our celebrated inhouse DJ Adhe Well has some playlists on Soundcloud adhe-well, where you get an idea about the music that is been played.

We open the event with a meditation and walking around greeting each other with our hands on our hearts before we move into our individual dance journey. Usually the music follows an arc like structure: it starts slowly to get you exploring body movement and dropping into the space, before the music slowly increases in intensity and speed, reaching to a high point where you can move as wildly as you wish, including using some of our instruments like rattles or drums. This peak is a point where usually the group energy gets very high and cheerful. Towards the end, the music slows down again where you can gradually bring your awareness back inwards and slowly transition to lying down in stillness with the sounds of the ocean in the background. The Ecstatic Dance seamlessly flows into the Live Sound Healing journey of 45 minutes (more about Sound Healing in a following blog article).

Ecstatic Dance is what you make of it…

A Freeform Movement Space where: Dance Expands, Spirit Activates, Boundaries Melt, Boredom Ceases, Creativity Breaks Out, Hope Happens, Beauty Flows, Communities Collaborate, Ritual is Reinvented, Harmony Resonates, The Beat Deepens, As an Electronic Tapestry of World Rhythms, Weave us Together, As Individuals, Within a Greater Family.

About Udara Sundays free Events

From its inception Udara Bali was established with a pure and honest intention to create Udara Sunday as the way to give back to the community. We are here to bring the community together with body, breath and intention. Our classes on Sunday mornings are free for all yoga lovers and we are having lots of people from outside joining our community event every Sunday. The classes are usually quite packed and the energy is busier than usually during the week. Our Udara Sunday is a very special group experience and we welcome you to mingle with the community!