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  • Shelby Dominski

What is Ecstatic Dance?

For those of you new to this type of movement, ecstatic dance is a form of self-expression/movement that is free from judgement. I usually explain it as free-form dancing – do whatever you want! There is not a right or wrong way to dance in the class, which is my favorite part.

Growing up I took a lot of dance classes. I never felt completely comfortable because they wanted us to dance a certain way. In this dance form, you can dance on the ground by yourself, contact dance with others, or really anything else. It is great for getting a general workout in, lowering stress levels, creating endorphins, and like the name suggests, making you feel “ecstatic”. I prefer less traditional ways of getting a workout in so was drawn to it right away.

The music varies from studio to studio but usually is more instrumental and has some focus on world music as well as electronic. I discovered it about four years ago and have never looked back. I wanted to share this for those of you who have not heard of this in hopes that you can find this form of expression and benefit from it in some way.

Things to note for the newbies:

  • This is a sober and non-verbal space.

  • You can dance solo or with others although you must get consent (either by eye contact or your voice if it is not clear).

  • When I want to dance with another person(s) I usually start by making eye contact with them and mirroring their moves to see if they want to engage with me. If they smile or make eye contact back, then it is usually a good sign that they want to dance together.

  • I enjoy both negative space dancing with others (no contact but dancing around each other) as well as contact improv (always keeping in physical contact with the other person). There is a time and a place for both.

Check out my article on movement class locations for where to go across the US!

Have you tried ecstatic dance or any other movement classes in your city?! What was your experience and what was the name of the place you go to?


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