How is Ecstatic Dance different than dancing at a party or a club?
While there's plenty of fun to be experienced at Ecstatic Dance, it is a journey of movement meditation—an intentional practice to quiet the mind, and to discover what's beyond everyday chatter, judgements, worries, and fixations. At Ecstatic Dance, we use the music to move out of our heads and into our bodies, hearts, and spirits.
What kind of people come to Ecstatic Dance?
Our community is for people of all ages, all creeds, all sexual orientations, and all levels of dance experience. Some prefer to dance alone, while some like to dance in contact with others. Many of us are completely new to dance ("I'm not a dancer"), and find so much joy moving our bodies in whatever ways feel good, regardless of how it looks to others. Some of us took dance lessons at one time or another, and are relieved to be in a space where there is no structure or "right" way to move. Some of us come from other movement traditions (yoga, spinning props, martial arts), which we get to incorporate into our freeform dance here. And still others come for the great music and warm sense of community more than the dancing--it's all good and welcome!
What about the music makes this movement experience "Ecstatic? Is it all joyful and beautiful?
We all have different ideas and preferences for what is "ecstatic" or inspiring when it comes to dance music--sometimes very different preferences--which should come as no surprise considering the vast range of ages and backgrounds represented in our community. It's highly unlikely that everybody is going to like every song in the movement journey, and it's not actually the DJ's role as shaman to achieve that.
In our particular lineage of Ecstatic Dance, "movement as medicine" is intended to cover a wide range of feelings, emotions, and rhythmic sensations across the inner landscape. Joyfulness is ecstatic, but so is Love, Rapture, Devotion, Soulfulness, Sensuality, Playfulness, Wistfulness, and Peacefulness. Nostalgia is welcome too--a beloved classic song may help release an emotional memory stored in the body and support cathartic tears on the dance floor. And even elements of the shadow realm are a part of the landscape of this movement practice--Wildness, Chaos, Intensity, and Grief can be ecstatic, and therefore the journey will not always be beautiful to everyone. You may find some of the songs are provocative or triggering to you personally, which we hope you will take as an opportunity to discover new sources of nourishment and liberation. For more on this whole topic, we highly recommend Gabrielle Roth's book, Maps to Ecstasy.
Why isn't talking permitted on the dance floor?
Refraining from conversation helps to create a sacred space for movement meditation. By letting go of words and associated mental activity, we learn to connect with ourselves and each other in wonderful new ways.
Is Ecstatic Dance religious or affiliated with a church?
Many people find Ecstatic Dance to be a deeply spiritual experience, but it is not in any way associated with a religion or church. Our dances are held in a community center owned by a church--we rent it from them because we think it's a beautiful, majestic space with a nice wood floor.
What should I wear?
Feel free to wear whatever allows you to move comfortably. Some people prefer yoga clothes, some prefer festival wear, and some prefer a simple t-shirt and shorts.
What should I bring?
Please bring a water bottle. Please leave valuables at home.
Why is this dance barefoot? What if I need to wear shoes?
Ecstatic Dance is done barefoot because we love the feel of connecting to the earth with our feet directly on the wood floor. Street shoes are not permitted for reasons of safety (so bare feet don't get stepped on) and hygiene (we don't want to dance barefoot on whatever gets tracked in from the street). Some people need arch support, and are permitted to use special soft-soled dance shoes that are worn only indoors. Some folks like to wear dance paws (do a Google Search) or grippy socks.
Are children permitted to attend?
We support family-togetherness and welcome children of any age. A few important things you should know before bringing children:
⦁ All participants are expected to abide by the same guidelines in the dance space: no talking, move with care and awareness, no street shoes, etc. Parents must take full and active responsibility for their child's behavior (and volume) so as not to disrupt the experience of the other participants. Therefore, we suggest only bringing children who you are confident will weave well into the fabric of a movement meditation practice.
⦁ The music volume can get a bit loud. We do provide complimentary foam ear plugs, but some parents prefer to get sound muffs for younger children (do a Google search).
⦁ Entry for teenagers is $5 each. Children 12 or under may attend for free with a parent or supervising adult.
Why is Ecstatic Dance Corvallis on Friday evenings in summer–fall and Saturday mornings in winter–spring?
Our beloved venue is not available on Friday evenings in the winter, so for consistency sake we considered holding our dance just on Saturday mornings. But feedback from the community is split between preference for Fridays and Saturdays, and during the summer it's much more likely that folks have other daytime plans on Saturdays. So until a better solution emerges, we are trying this split between Fridays and Saturdays.
Why isn't Ecstatic Dance Corvallis donation-based like some other ecstatic dances around the country?
While some variations of ecstatic dance are donation-based, most have a set entry fee (including those in our lineage listed at www.ecstaticdance.org). We're producing Ecstatic Dance Corvallis as professionals to be a premium experience, which comes with high weekly expenses for a majestic venue, high-end audio equipment, and skilled DJs (well beyond using iTunes playlists). There are other significant expenses (insurance, supplies, advertising), plus paying modest hourly wages to those of us who work to make it happen each week. To be financially sustainable, we need to charge a certain minimum. We do offer work-exchange spots for those who would rather help than pay (please contact us for details if you are interested).