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Have you ever lost yourself in dance? I certainly have, and for me, dance can be a meditation, a spiritual experience, therapy or simply ecstatic pleasure. Dance is fundamental to being human.

There are three dimensions to dance as an embodied pathway: wellbeing, spirituality and therapy. These three are interwoven together, and it’s not always helpful to try to separate these different dimensions. Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms encompasses all three. For some, a 5Rhythms dance session is about self-expression and release, but the therapeutic or spiritual aspects might go much deeper. As Roth wrote:

“You move away from your surface and get in touch with a deeper, wiser you, one that senses the unity that underlies everything”.

Gabrielle Roth, ‘Sweat Your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice’

Dance can bring a powerful sense of connection, whether it’s a rave, tango or a Ceilidh. Dancers at a rave often feel that they “become one” not just with other dancers but with ‘all that is’. Dance has been part of sacred practice throughout recorded time and most likely long before. Chimpanzees dance, so we can be confident that our early ancestors did too. Dance has always been part of spiritual practice and is found in almost every religion. Sacred dance takes many forms, from formal dances performed as part of a religious ceremony to ecstatic trance dances like those found in the Candomblé tradition in Brazil.

I spoke to Jennifer Tantia, a Somatic Psychotherapist and Dance Movement therapist, about the powerful healing power of dance. Dance can enable us to become more fully embodied, and that can be very revealing. Jennifer explains that because “the body as a gateway between consciousness and unconsciousness”, dropping into the body can lead us to “where our truth is” (Listening Through the Body: Exploring Interoception and the Power of Authentic Movement with Jennifer Tantia).