About

Welcome to Ecstatic Dance

Our purpose is to grow a worldwide community of healthy people who are empowered to do great things.

Through dance, we believe everyone can discover, explore, unleash, and enhance their individual potential to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. By engaging our senses and listening to our bodies, we connect to others and shape a consciousness that extends beyond our own.

Join us to pray and play through the simple act of dancing.

No reservations required. All are welcome, including People of Color, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Same-Gender Loving People.

We value diversity and inclusivity.

Guidelines

The dance floor is a non-verbal space
We join together to create a safe and sacred space for movement. Eliminating talking on the dance floor allows us to move out of our heads and into our bodies, hearts, and souls. We leave behind the words and worries of the day and connect with spirit and one another in new ways.

The dance floor is a place of respect and safety
Ecstatic Dance has been created as a safe container, whether we’re dancing alone or with others. Ecstatic Dance is contact-friendly, but keep in mind that we all have different levels of comfort when it comes to being approached and touched. Please be mindful and make sure the way you approach other dancers is resonant with them. If somebody offers you a shared dance and you are not interested, simply give them a bow with hands at your heart to say, “no thank you”.

Please keep the dance floor free from:
Talking, street shoes, photos, videos, and scents.

Origins

Donna Carroll, cofounder of Ecstatic Dance Oakland, shares her origins story

Dance as meditation is as ancient as man himself, and free-form sacred dance is present in many cultures and religions.

Ecstatic Dance Oakland began on Sunday, May 24, 2008 at Historic Sweet’s Ballroom in Oakland, California. It was inspired by Max Fathom’s creation of Ecstatic Dance on the Big Island of Hawaii. Max is considered the grandfather of the Western world’s Ecstatic Dance.

_____________________________faq

  • I've heard about Ecstatic Dance. Why should I go?
    Join us and enjoy a safe space to dance without talking, drinking and the nightclub vibe. This is about getting great exercise, freeing your mind and body, and connecting with yourself and others in a safe and healthy space. Ecstatic Dance empowers people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds to freely express themselves; the liberating atmosphere creates a melting pot of acceptance and the fearlessness with which others move gives newbies permission and courage to dance without inhibition.
  • Do I have to know how to dance?
    Ecstatic Dance is about getting out of your head and into your body. It’s not about the way the movement looks. It’s about how it feels. At Ecstatic Dance, you will see a great variety of dances in any given moment – from flowing Tai Chi-esque moves to hopping up and down to break dancing to simply walking or sitting in meditation. You are encouraged to move however you wish.
  • What's the music like?
    Ecstatic Dance is practiced barefoot to an electronic tapestry of soul-stirring world rhythms. The DJ's are professionals specifically chosen for their ability to craft a movement journey designed to help you move, as well as bring you the newest and most exciting music in the electronic and world music scene.
  • What's the 'journey' like?
    The musical journey starts softly and builds to an ecstatic high, slowing down near the end as a live musician takes over for a savasana-like sound healing. Join in the brief closing of those you now know a little bit better (including yourself) as the community ends the dance together.
  • Can I arrive anytime?
    You can arrive anytime during the journey, but we highly suggest you get there as the music begins to familiarize yourself with the space and ease your way into the dance.
  • Why can’t I talk on the dance floor?
    At Ecstatic Dance, we join together to create a sacred space for dancing. Refraining from talking on the dance floor allows us to move out of our heads and into our bodies and hearts. We leave behind the words and worries of the day in order to connect with one another and spirit in new ways.
  • What do I wear?
    Anything that allows you to move comfortably. No shoes required.
  • Can I wear shoes?
    Ecstatic Dance is a barefoot practice. If you need to wear shoes due to health reasons, dance-specific shoes are allowed, but only shoes that have never been worn on the street.
  • What should I bring?
    Bring a water bottle and a towel. Leave valuables at home.
  • Should I come with a dance partner?
    People come to dance alone all the time. You may choose to dance with others once you’re there, you may prefer to dance by yourself, or both!
  • Are children allowed?
    Each Ecstatic Dance location is different. Please check out the city specific local FAQ section on the locations page for more information.
  • What if I have special needs?
    The dance teaches us to cultivate body-centered awareness and is for everyone. Everyone can find a way to feel the music in their bodies and move it through, regardless of individual needs and abilities. We do our best to accommodate special requests. Please don't hesitate to contact each individual location directly with specific questions or concerns.

_____________________________Music

Ecstatic Dance is practiced barefoot to an electronic tapestry of soul-stirring world rhythms. The DJ's are experts specifically chosen for their ability to craft a movement journey designed to help you move, as well as bring you the newest and most exciting music in the electronic and world music scene. The music creates an uplifting and connecting energy field.

Press

  • “The atmosphere is exuberant... the DJ gradually builds the energy to create a church-like atmosphere.”

  • “This silent, interactive dance party invigorates communities... a magical mystery land of music & movement.”

  • “A beautiful historic ballroom... filled with hundreds sweaty bodies dancing to a pounding beat.”

  • “It used to be dance lovers less than enthusiastic about late nights were out of luck. But a new alternative has emerged.”

  • “In essence, we become more whole, happier human beings through the magic of the dance.”

  • "Ecstatic Dance" has built a major following. It's a creative cross between a yoga class, a rave & a church service.”

  • “Ecstatic Dancing is not about looking good, it’s about getting in touch with your higher power.”

  • “Ecstatic Dance... will keep you fit, give you a natural high, and could even change your world view.”

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