Dances of Universal Peace are a form of circle dances designed to bring the experience of prayer from many world traditions into the body, voice, heart and spirit.
Here’s a miniature example of a Jewish dance I led at the Jamiat Ahm in Boulder:
And here are a couple links from Vera, put together from a Solstice-ish dance in Denver:
I try to schedule monthly Dances of Universal Peace in Fort Collins and I facilitate a monthly Zikr, the 3rd Saturday of each month in Denver.
Please check the Schedule of Events for details about these gatherings and sign up for my e-mail list to receive announcements.
The Dances I lead are tailored to the unique energy of each circle and designed with an awareness of the cycles and seasons of the earth, the energy and interests of the community, celebrations of different religious traditions, etc. I tend to steer away from partner dances because I love the group energy of the entire circle moving in unison.
The Dances originated in the late 1960’s through the vision of Murshid Samuel Lewis, a Sufi master. The Dances have since been carried around the world, infused with intentions of peace and harmony.
All Dances of Universal Peace are done in circles, which facilitates a communal experience of balance and mutual respect amongst all participants.
Prayers from many world traditions will be taught by a leader who offers pronunciations, translations, melodies and attunements (suggestions for understanding and connecting) for the phrases.
The movements for the Dances are designed to express the deeper intentions of the prayers. Through singing sacred mantras and moving together in a circle, we integrate the prayer energy fully into our beings and we weave a holy atmosphere together, a community of healing and harmony.
The mantras from different faith traditions are often interpreted through a mystical lens that allows the participants to access the deeper heart of the prayers without getting hung up on dogmatic semantics.
One evening of Dance may include prayers and movements from diverse world traditions including, but not limited to: Sufism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Paganism, Universalism, etc..
Dances can be playful, lively, contemplative, expansive, energizing, stimulating, heart-opening, connective, rowdy, gentle…
The music is always live: participants weave in their voices and the Dance leader plays guitar or some other instrument to hold a foundation, often supported by a drummer or other musician.
Because the Dance leader is responsible for, and attentive to, the needs of the circle, all words, melodies and movements are taught piece by piece each and every time.
No experience is necessary.
Really, “If you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing.” And to participate in the Dances, you don’t even need to be able to walk or sing!
Some Finer Points about the Dance:
- The Dances are typically done barefoot or sock-footed (it’s safer for everyone!).
- The Dances often include eye-contact with other participants (designed to be connective, gentle and cooperative, but can be intimidating if you’re not accustomed to it)
- Hands are held in the circle throughout the evening.
- Some dances include a “partner” aspect, but you need not bring a partner to the dance and even if you do, you won’t keep them next to you for long!
- All Dance leaders have their own unique personality, passions, style, strengths, etc. Expect a different energy from different leaders.