I discovered ecstatic dance when I went to Wilderness festival in 2016 with my beautiful friend Natalie and our mum’s.
Nattie and I went off for the morning to a yoga workshop and then headed back to meet up with our mothers. When we saw my mum she was a little frantic with excitement and told us she had managed to get us on to a dancing workshop that was fully booked but if we went right now we were allowed to join in.
We ran off to the edge of the festival site and she told us the workshop was called Dance Your Naked Truth. My first thought was, that can’t mean dancing naked. So I asked what exactly is Dance Your Naked Truth? The answer, we would be dancing naked.
If anyone knows my mother, Rosemary, the fact she signed me, my friend and herself up for this workshop is probably no shock – but taking me dancing naked in a field with a bunch of strangers is one of the more hilariously eccentric things she has done.
We met up with a group and headed off into a clearing in the forest, well away from any other festival goers – thankfully and hopefully no peeping toms behind trees. To begin the beautiful ethereal facilitator Chloe put on some light airy music and we had to float around dancing and meeting the others in the group without words – just looking into each others eyes. This was so fricken awkward and weird I almost left there and then.
I started to get so uncomfortable as the reality of what was going on flooded into my head. We were all about to get naked and be jiggling our pale parts in front of one another. There were men and women from the age of about 20 up to 60. All of these people would be naked. Dancing. It was almost too much for my little mind to comprehend especially with these soon-to-be-naked strangers dancing around me, arms aloft trying to look into my eyes as they passed by.
I leant into my mum and groaned ‘this is weirdddddd’
She simply smiled shrugged and drifted off in her absolute element – ugh. It was just me – was my over analytical and judging mind going to weird me into escaping. Or was I going take a breathe, let it go breathe and just get into it? It was that moment I put my arms down, which were aimlessly and absentmindedly dancing around of their own accord, and was about to march straight back out of this weird circle. At the time the whole YOLO thing was pretty big and it jumped into the forefront of my mind along with – what’s the worst that can happen – you end up with a hilarious story to tell everyone when you go home?
I gritted my teeth, let go and got into it. The music stopped and the beautifully ethereal woman named Chloe started to explain how the workshop would go. we would move through different types of music and through our chakra system (yogic energy system that has energy points called chakras that go from the base of the spin to the crown of the head). Each chair has a different symbolic meaning relating to how we feel, perceive ourselves and life. So as we move through each chakra, any limitations you have that are relevant you put into an item of clothing and then you take that clothing off symbolically letting the limitation go! Chloe also emphasised that you didn’t have to take off clothing – it could be a ring, a hair bobble a sock or you could even put the limitation in the grass or a stick and throw it away. This made me feel a little more at ease.
As the music started I shut my eyes and started to dance, peeking every now and again to see what everyone else was doing. People were just doing their thing, dancing, swaying, moving, lying even a guy hugging a tree (classic hippies). Somewhere between my heart and throat chakra (wheels of energy in the body) I managed to just let go and get into it. I danced like I’d never danced before and felt so ecstatically free, wild with abandonment and I actually ended up being one of the first one with all my clothes of frolicking around the edge of the forest circle.
Dancing like this liberated me from judgement, set my body free to create its own ecstasy a feeling that will forever be embodied in my memory.
I left that workshop higher than I had ever felt in my life – no substances necessary! I felt like I was limitless and floating. Like I had conquered fear and in that found the most glorious freedom in movement. IF I can dance naked with 30 people I can do ANYTHING. I let all that sh*t in my mind go – I got out of my head and into my body and it was bloody fantastic. And of course in a crowd of 75,000 people you WILL bump into those that you danced naked with in a forest!
Although this was a pretty extreme introduction to the whole world of ecstatic dance and free form movement, I still feel that same ‘let go’, evolution into ecstasy that nothing else gives me when I shut my eyes, tune into the music and breathe and allow the movement to take me over.
I trained in Ecstatic Awakening Dance on a 9 month journey into movement, embodiment and shame theory in 2017 with the school of Ecstatic Awakening Movement and I am now hosting and sharing classes on the Isle of Man.
(NB: these classes are FULLY CLOTHED)
Next Event: OMazing Ecstatic Dance & Cacoa Ceremony
Friday 14th December 2018 at 7.30pm-9.30pm
Pilates Yoga & Dance Studio, Ramsey
Check out my Facebook Page ‘OMazing Yoga’ to see details and dates for the New Year.
You cannot save the world, but you can do something about your own little world. And what a difference this would make if we all did our little bit: change yourself and you change the world!