|“To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak…” Hopi“I see dance as being used as communication between body and soul to express what is too deep to find in words…” Ruth St. Denis
“Dance is meditation in movement, a walking into silences where every movement becomes a prayer…”Bernhard Wosien
Sacred dance has told the story of the human spirit before recorded time. Our Sacred Dance Guild embraces, supports, and is an advocate for Dance as a Sacred Art. Sacred Dance creates moments of awe and wonder and nourishes the souls of the givers and receivers and, in doing so, helps to create a more compassionate and peaceful world.
Sacred Dance is dance in which connection to The Divine is the intent. The Sacred Dance Guild, through its members, has been exploring Sacred Dance in all its forms for 52+ years. We warmly invite you to dance along with us on this amazing journey and in daring to define Sacred Dance. We welcome you, as members, to send us your favorite Sacred Dance resources to fill these pages with and to share your inspirational stories. Send them to Pres@sacreddanceguild.org
Hand in hand with Sacred Dance is the MUSIC. Join us in our Music For Sacred Dance section and read about what other rhythms and words Sacred Dancers are using. We’d like to include the music and choreography you have used and found inspiring enough to share. Send your Music for Sacred Dance ideas and creations toPres@sacreddanceguild.org.
No matter where you are in relation to dancing and The Divine,
The Sacred Dance Guild is a joining point where all expressions of dance meet all expressions of The Divine. There are many different styles, techniques, venue forms, and faiths we spiritual beings having a human experience have discovered that can help us to become more connected with spirit in order to heal and move deeper into love. We welcome you to delve deeper into what Sacred Dance Is all about through these writings by our members: The Sacred Dance: A Great Classical Art Is Adapted To The Liturgy by George Proksh, Spiritual And Cultural Exploration Through Dance by Jo Anne Combs, & Universal Truth In Diverse Dances by Jeannine Bunyan.
Even The US Surgeon General, Regina Benjamen knows what is good for us: Dancing! “I love to dance, the exercise that is medicine. It’s better than most pills…” A recent long-term study conducted in Scandinavia sought to discover which activities related to a healthy and happy later life. Three stood out: camping, singing, and dancing…
Worldwide medical experts also acknowledge that dance is one of our complementary medicines. There are many schools that specialize in Dance Therapy in today’s modern world. Yes, dance is recognized as our oldest method of releasing our emotions, prayer and healing. Here’s what a few of our members have written about this connection throughout the years: Prophets Of the Body by Phil Porter, Dancing Prayer With The Physically And Emotionally Handicapped by Babara Lyon, & Jump In! by Suzanne Ferguson. Click here to read the results of a study done on depression & movement. Click here for an article in Psychology Today by Kimerer L. LaMothe, Ph.D. “To Dance is A Radical Act.”
Liturgical Dance, or dancing in worship environments, has been a part of many religions since their birth. There’s not only Christian and Jewish Liturgical Dance performed or shared in their religious ceremonies, but there is also Hindu Temple Dances, Native American Ceremonies, Tantric Buddhist Dances and more that dance their way into our next category of Ethnic Sacred Dances.
Here is an example of a Christian-based Liturgical Dance “A Time For Every Purpose” danced by members of The Sacred Dance Guild at NYC’s Church of the Village, on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
This is an example of a Christian-based seasonal Sacred Dance: The Hand That First Held Mary’s Child recorded on 12/17/2011 during full reheasal for Holy Family’s Annual Advent Concert.
Click here to view SDG members Ann Pomeroy & Marcus Bergler of The Agape Dancers, June 20, 2011, dancing to Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” at The First Congregational United Church of Christ in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
We’d like to receive enough resources and stories, as well as pictures, about Sacred Dance in its many forms from our members so that making many more pages dedicated to what “Sacred Dance Is…” becomes necessary. In the meanwhile, here are more articles to savor; The Christian Body Dances: A History Of Dance In The Christian Church by Karen Josephson, Motion Is A Sacred Thing by Toni Intravia, & View From The Pew by Mary Adamski. Also click here to see what University- based Liturgical Dancers are showcasing these days.Click here for extensive lists of Christian-based Sacred Dance Groups.
Cultural & Ethnic Dances are what keeps this world dancing on into oneness. The Sufi Whirling Dervish Dancers are amazing to receive or experience through watching let alone to whirl into Divine connection with. African Sacred Dance, Hawaiian Kahiko, and Japenese Shinto dances are just a few of the abundant diversity of Sacred Dance forms all over this planet. Ellen Crawley and Kathleen Poerner explore Tai Dance in their articleJesus In The Audience. Sister Martha Annkark & Brother Rufino Zaragoza explore Vietnamese Dance. There is also Martha Ann Kirk’s Gifts From Many Cultures and Sylvia D. Bryant’s Black Church And Sacred Dance. To view an “Earth Prayer” released by Rosemary Partridge and The Sisters of Spin, click here. To view a Sacred Dance Website in Germany, click here.
Body Prayer is our oldest form of prayer and uses repetitive movement, rhythms, meditations & intentions to directly connect with The Divine. Every religious & spiritual tradition has had Body Prayer as part of its individual, group & community practices. SDG’s official song/dance “Moving Mysteries” is a Body Prayer. Click here to see three other Body Prayers taken from our Fall 2010, Spring 2011, and Fall 2011 Journals.
Conscious Dance is any type of movement with intent and goes by many other names, such as Trance Dance, Ecstatic Dance, Contact Improv, Creative Dance, etc. It is freeform movement with deliberate intent. It can also be Circle Dances, Peace Dances, Body Prayers, all used as a means of expression, supplication, connection, and shared experience.
Here’s one example of a form of Conscious Dance:
Two resources for learning more about Conscious Dance by those connected to SDG is Conscious Dancer Magazine (www.consciousdancer.com) and Lisa Michael’s Blog on Conscious Dance. (http://lisamichaels.wetpaint.com)
Modern Professional Sacred Dancers have also danced their way into the sacred, some forming their own schools featuring Sacred Dance techniques and disciplines. We’re blessed to have had the sacred influence of dance teachers such as Ruth St. Denis, Martha Graham, and many more. Click on Muses Of Modern Dance for just a warm up and checkout SDG member Janet Roseman’s book, “Dance Was Her Religion: The Spiritual Choreography of Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and Martha Graham.” Click here for a program on Martha Graham – An Athlete of God …Here’s a message from Ruth St. Denis dictated to SDG Honorary Member Forrest Coggan Sept. 9, 1954 when she was 77 years young.
The Zikr Dance Ensemble, under the artistic direction of SDG member David Taylor, offers a spectrum of works that includes transcendent dance rituals from different ancient and modern world cultures dedicated to promoting spiritual tolerance and multicultural understanding. Here is a sample of their Sacred Dance performances.
Sacred Dance does indeed inspire and heal in many ways. Here’s an invitation from SDG Member, Melissa Michaels (Colorado,USA), to learn more about what has been created from Sacred Dance to inspire and educate future world leaders:
And keep tuning in for the latest installment of “Sacred Dance Is…”