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

Victoria man finds out his song will be featured on American Idol after a rough morning

Mike Edel’s song ‘The Finish Line’ was featured on the hit show

West Shore RCMP, Search and Rescue, Langford Fire continue search for missing Langford man

31-year-old Joshua Bennett of Langford went missing on March 9

Saanich councillor questions why Victoria Mayor Helps would shut out public from amalgamation deliberations

Coun. Judy Brownoff says Saanich puts “high standard” on public engagement, openness and transparency.

Victoria-Saanich amalgamation discussions won’t be open to the public

The upcoming citizens’ assembly meetings will be held in camera

Red-tailed hawk’s own bill is killing him

‘Most birds with this syndrome will starve to death without treatment’

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Most Read