DYB’s purpose is to offer an ecstatic dance movement practice in an accessible, respectful and safe environment.
In Peterborough, Ontario, we dance together each Thursday evening in a beautiful hall for 90 minutes without interruption. In Stellarton, Nova Scotia, dates are occasional at the moment (see the DYB East page). The music varies weekly depending on the dj. We try to use an interesting blend of world music, pop, blues and even classical.
What are the elements we bring together? We find an inspiring space, gather music that is diverse, interesting and vital, put on comfy clothes, and commit to moving our bodies each in our own unique way. First, we provide a solo period for warming up, then we dance straight through for 60-90 minutes, depending on the event. It's a practice of finding our own movement, naturally, without expectation or judgment. This can mean very small, meditative movements, or big, bouncy dance moves, and anything in between. Can we give ourselves total permission to experiment?
Age and ability are not a concern because we move each according to our own body. Dance can mean lying on the floor and simply moving a finger, or sitting in a chair and tapping a toe. We allow ourselves to let go of ideas about dance, and move exactly how we feel it, without apology. Others witness us as they engage in their own unique movement. No partners are needed, and you can even have two left feet. All you have to do is invite yourself to dance like no-one's watching.
Try this: dance ugly and drool! It's a phrase coined by Vinn Marti, creator of SoulMotion dance practice. Perhaps it's a bit of an extreme statement, but the idea is to be real, not beautiful. This means we can each show up in whatever state we happen to be in that day, whether it's tired and frustrated, or energetic and wild. We dance in the way that expresses our own state. If I need to be a slug, groaning and stretching on the floor for most of the time, okay. No problem! Usually, the dance frees us at some point, and we end up with lots more energy than when we arrived.
Although we dance freely, there is a form behind the movement. When we seek ecstatic dance instructors, they give us hints, clues, and ways to help us experiment so we don't feel lost or self-conscious. And it's all very simple. We might be asked to let our elbows do the moving, and to follow with the rest of our body. There are no steps to learn, and nobody will care if you don't stay with the beat.
If you'd like to learn more about the 5Rhythms form of ecstatic dance:
Your nearest certified 5Rhythms teachers around the world can be found at:
In Toronto, there is a small but active community of teachers.
Layah Jane’s website is a good place to look:
To find out about other ecstatic & improvised dance events in southern Ontario: