Science Direct describes conscious dance as a form of unchoreographed, intentionally nonevaluative mindful movement commonly practiced in a group setting for purposes of authentic self-expression, self-discovery, interpersonal connectedness, and personal healing.
Mindful movement techniques are believed to help participants work through emotions that are buried in their unconscious because they are distressing, scary, or simply too painful to verbalize.
When you move your body to music, it stimulates the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. When you dance and let go, endorphins are released that help change your outlook and process buried emotions.
Here Are 8 Types of Conscious Dance:
1. Ecstatic Dance
Ecstatic dance is a form of dance in which the dancers, sometimes without the need to follow specific steps, abandon themselves to the rhythm and move freely as the music takes them, leading to trance and a feeling of ecstasy. The effects of ecstatic dance begin with ecstasy itself, which may be experienced in differing degrees. Dancers are described as feeling connected to others, and to their own emotions. The dance serves as a form of meditation, helping people to cope with stress and to attain serenity. (Wikipedia)
5Rhythms™ is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. It draws from indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. It also draws from Gestalt therapy, the human potential movement and transpersonal psychology. Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms. (Wikipedia)
3. Somatic Dance
Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. The term is used in movement therapy to signify approaches based on the soma, or "the body as perceived from within." Somatic dance movement refers to techniques whose primary focus is the dancer's personal, physical experience. (Wikipedia)
Chakradance™ is a well-being movement practice. It uses spontaneous dance, to specific chakra-resonant music, for the purpose of healing and re-tuning your whole energy system. The purpose of Chakradance is to help participants to more fully embody the soul. At the heart of Chakradance is the music. The seven major chakras are the energetic gateways through which body, mind and spirit come together, embodying the soul. (chakradance.com)
5. Journey Dance
JourneyDance™ is a transformational dance form that combines freestyle and structured movement to inspire you to get out of your mind and into your body. The JourneyDance™ Transformational Dance Movement Flow leads participants on a ritual journey of physical and emotional transformation. Through breath, sweat, and expression, you gain an experience of yourself as pure powerful energy. (theenergizedbody.com)
6. Nia Technique
The term Nia™ stands for ‘neuromuscular integrative action.’ In Swahili, Nia can translate to meaning 'with purpose'. It's basis is 52 movements that work on the three main areas of the body: base, core, and upper extremities. Nia uses nine "movement forms" to interact with your thoughts and emotions. The nine forms include: Jazz dance, Modern dance, Duncan dance, Tai Chi, TaeKwon Do, Aikido, Yoga, Feldenkrais Method, and the Alexander Technique. (Wikipedia)
7. Open Floor
Open Floor is a resource based movement practice intended to explore new ways of moving and responding to what is happening with intention and purpose. Participants learn to understand habits and patterns for deeper insight and self awareness. The belief is the more you embody different responses in your movements, the more resources you can call on to move through life with flexibility, resilience and ease. (openfloor.org)
8. Medicine Circle
Circles have been used by many indigenous cultures throughout time as a place for ceremony and transformation. Medicine Circle weaves ritual, community, movement, sounds and prayer allowing participants to reconnect with Spirit. In Medicine Circle, you dance, and the circle holds the big, small, quiet, loud, joyful, still, cathartic, and everything-in-between dances. The sounds from drums, rattles, bells, rain sticks, and song are used to call Spirit back in. Participants pray, for themselves, for others and for the greater whole. (syzygydanceproject.org)
There are many forms of conscious dance ranging from 5Rhythms dance to somatic dance movement. Each is considered a type of mindful movement practice to encourage self-expression and discover the wisdom held within the body.
Many of the movement modalities listed in this article could be considered a type of spiritual meditation. Don’t be afraid to move away from your comfort zone and try these different types of conscious dance. Several mentioned here are offered through Syzygy Dance Project. Keep in mind that you may need to attend a class several times before you relax into the rhythm of the movement and let go.
About Sylvie Minot
Sylvie Minot received her BA in Dance from San Jose State University and is a certified 5Rhythms® Teacher who was also trained in the Heartbeat (emotional) map by Gabrielle Roth.
Sylvie has studied psychology, indigenous healing rituals, energy medicine, and sound healing and is inspired by the teachings of Angeles Arrien, Caroline Myss, and Tito La Rosa.
Since 2000, Sylvie has taught weekly dance classes and workshops for a variety of populations. Sylvie is often described as a catalytic shape-shifter because of her ability to meet people right where they are and move with them into new possibilities.
Syzygy Dance Project (SDP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that transforms lives through dance movement. We offer regular dance classes to the public and outreach dance classes for inmates, veterans, recovering addicts, chronically ill patients, and the elderly.
Syzygy Dance Project
P.O. Box 2532
Sausalito CA 94966