How has Ecstatic Dance influenced Flomotion?
Updated: Sep 9
Once upon a time there was a young woman who loved to dance. Clubs and raving were her thing. As she got older late nights and hangovers weren’t her thing. After that she discovered a way of dancing that felt like raving but without the drugs and alcohol. She loved it so much she decided to spread the word to others. Flomotion was born.
Yeah, okay, it’s a little flowery, but that’s kind of my story in a paragraph. And anyway, who said when you grow up you’ve got to stop having all the fun? Surely after you’ve tackled a few inhibitions that is exactly the time to get out there and free yourself.
It was Gabriel Roth, founder of 5 Rhythms dance who revived Ecstatic Dance in the modern era. Following the social revolution of the 1960s, Gabriel started running sessions in which she encouraged people to dance in spontaneous ways with no fixed steps or prescribed patterns of movement, whilst paying attention to their breath and movement impulses. The invitation was to move and dance entirely without drugs or alcohol.
A Big Sigh of Relief
I breathed a big sigh of relief when I discovered 5 Rhythms dance. In my 40s I realised I would be able to dance again in groups of people and not be old enough to be everyone’s parent, or grandparent! I renewed my pass into the world of spontaneity, chaos, release, sweat, community and beat; no need to think about everything I was doing; letting my body take over was joyful and at times ecstatic.
Ecstatic Awakening Dance (EAD)
Later on, I discovered Ecstatic Dance events, different from 5 Rhythms. There was less facilitation and perhaps a more overt invitation into a trance-like experience. The crowd seemed a bit more clubby, a bit less holistic than on the 5 Rhythms dancefloor. I realised the Ecstatic approach also had a lot to recommend itself and pursued a Teacher Training in Ecstatic Awakening Dance (EAD).
Before doing the EAD training, I had already developed my own dance practice, a forerunner to Flomotion, but the Ecstatic approach provided new ideas and inspiration for the dancefloor. EAD showed me that there was a sizeable audience of (particularly young) people who were feeling jaded by the club scene, and who like myself, still wanted to find ways to dance in groups with others.
Shake It Out
As part of the EAD offer, I learned about ‘The Shake’, a simple movement that is a direct way to shake out stress and tension held in the body. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘trauma release’ and aims to balance different parts of the brain and settle the nervous system. It also revitalises the body and builds resilience. I began to include the Shake in my Flomotion sessions and it caught on.
It’s a Spiritual Thing
There is something unashamedly ‘spiritual’ about Ecstatic dance. We are invited to ‘come home’ to our bodies; to turn down ‘the chatter of the thinking mind’ in order to ‘embody spirit’. As we dance and fully inhabit our bodies, we ‘awaken the life force within fusing Spirit and Matter’. Ecstatic dance refers to Shamanism, direct access to Spirit, the Chakras, Tantra and more.
This aspect of the Ecstatic experience encouraged me to continue to write my own meditations for Flomotion sessions, and to use music that was evocative of spiritual experience. I subsequently took a course in the Chakra system and periodically do a Chakra meditation at the end of a Flomotion session.
Ecstatic dance directly links the moving body with being emotionally fluid. This is something I actively encourage in Flomotion sessions. As we inhabit our bodies with awareness, emotions inevitably become more present. I invite people to allow all feelings in and where possible to express these in movement.
In Flomotion, during the ‘Inner Dance’ we have several tracks of music which we dance to with eyes shut, which was entirely inspired by Ecstatic dance. In Ecstatic Awakening Dance, the whole session is run with eyes shut; we are invited to ‘dance as if no one is watching because no one is’. This can bring about profound experience, and people consistently report that the Inner Dance at Flomotion is the most deep and transformative part.
No booze, no drugs
Ecstatic dance sessions can often begin with a cacao ceremony where a cocoa-like drink with a very mild psychoactive effect, is offered to participants. Alcohol and drug consumption are not encouraged. This ethos is firmly entrenched in the Flomotion model, minus the cacao. Without doubt you can get high on the atmosphere, evidenced by people who begin the session feeling drained and tired, and end the session released and revitalised.
Community building and bonding
Another aspect of the Ecstatic dance experience is to offer a sense of connection between people, even those who have just met. When we move in synchrony with others we feel bonded with them. Clearly this is something that people are seeking in these times of low trust, fake news, social media hype and global conflict. Flomotion values this sense of community, and each session, like in Ecstatic dance, finishes with a sharing circle in which people can briefly say how they are feeling and what they have experienced.
Love to dance
Ecstatic dance has grown and grown in global popularity in the last decade or so. There are Ecstatic dance events happening in London most nights of the week and plenty going on in the online domain. It has birthed a whole generation of people who love to dance but don’t want to stay up late and take drugs anymore. We now even have ‘conscious clubbing’ in city centres where people gather for a (sober) dance before going to work at the office! The success of Ecstatic dance is an inspiration for Flomotion to keep flowing in the same direction.
Flomotion, a Hybrid
Flomotion has been influenced by a number of conscious dance practices as well as considerable footfall in clubs, parties, raves and festivals over the decades.
Look out for the Flomotion Flourish at the Ecstatic Dance event coming up on Saturday 29 October at the Fisheries in London Fields: A Friday morning dance to shake off the stress of the week and begin the weekend with energy and vitality.
Head for www.flomotion.dance for more information.