Dufferin Dance Committee introduces ecstatic dancing

January 6, 2016   ·   0 Comments

IMG_1415By Justine Alkema

The Dufferin Dance Committee is passionate about providing diverse dance opportunities to the Dufferin community. This is why they are so excited about ecstatic dancing.

Ecstatic dancing is all about moving freely. It is a type of meditation that involves responding to the requests of one’s body when listening to music; there are no instructions or specific moves. It can be a form of healing, stress relief, or just a way to experience shared joy.

“There’s a spiritual dimension to it, like yoga,” said committee member Jennifer Damianidis.

The Dufferin Dance Committee is a non-profit organization created last year by dance enthusiasts and instructors Jennifer Damianidis, Michele Johnston, Catherine Carpenko and Ayrlie Mceachern. They have held many local events involving several different kinds of dance, such as salsa, line dancing, and more. 

They had their first ecstatic dance event in November and their second in December. Their next event will be on February 6. They use the facilities of the Citrus Dance Studio at 62 Broadway.

“Sometimes the vision of dance is really narrow,” said Ms. Damianidis. “It’s okay if you didn’t do ballet; we believe dance is for everyone. It’s healthy and helpful for the community to come together and dance.”

Ecstatic dance is a growing trend in Toronto, and the Dufferin Dance Committee noticed that many people were driving all the way there to go to these events. This prompted them to begin hosting events right here in Dufferin County. 

There is a specific form to the music for ecstatic dancing, and it’s called an ecstatic “wave”. The music begins slowly, to help people ease into it. Then the music steadily gets more intense, and eventually “peaks”. After this, the DJ guides everyone down into a calmer state.

“The type of music played can be world music, electronic, tribal,” said Ms. Damianidis. “As long as it’s following the flow of the wave, they can play anything that fits in that.”

Ms. Damianidis said it’s difficult to find a DJ for their events because not many have experience doing these kinds of dances. 

There are several rules for the events, such as no drugs or alcohol, no talking during the dance; bare feet is the norm, and dance with your eyes open. The most important rule is to respect those around you and honour the sacredness of the space.


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