This morning I went to “dance church” as it’s often called around here. Also known as “ecstatic dance” or “sweat your prayers,” I’ve steered way clear of this since landing in Asheville. It always seemed to me to be hokey. I’d seen people I know to be ecstatic dancers dance together; they looked like an amalgamation of circus performers and lovers (with clothes on) – a spectacle and indecent at the same time. They made me uncomfortable. That’s why I’ve stayed generally well clear of “the wave.” Between not knowing much about the 5 Rhythms, its founder Gabrielle Roth, and witnessing only that which made me uncomfortable, I was fine without knowing what was within the four-walls of “dance church” during the last nine years of living in Asheville.
I finally took the plunge into 5 Rhythms last month when Julie and I went to the Asheville Movement Collective’s last Thursday dance at Sol’s Reprieve. I went without expectation and resolved to absolve myself of judgment. After all, a truth I know all to well is that if I stand in judgment it is my burden. The experience was amazing because I was just able to let go, to dance. I do this in my home. I cultivate the “just dance” in THEGROOVE classes I teach, but it was different in this place – with nothing but silence between the dancers in this room full of pulsing music.
I love the experience of feeling myself in my body, releasing stress/fear/anxiety – all the parts of my head that want to supersede my soul, breathing deep. In that place, I fall back in love with myself.
I’ve been back twice since that first dance, a Sunday several weeks ago, then again today.
For all of the parts that are hokey to me, from the writhing of strangers to the group-therapy-like processing in the closing circle of the wave, the overriding satisfaction is far greater. I’m not playing DJ, I’m not thinking. I’m simply moving as I’m moved by the music. That is enough.