by Jerry Nelson
1 day ago
Conscious Dance Revives Spirits in the Desert
When Adam checked in with his representative at 24/7 Bail Bond for his monthly report, the agent was surprised to learn that Adam had visited Burning Man in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert and learned conscious dance.
Rhythmwave , one of hundreds of theme camps at Burning Man , is built on “conscious dance” founded in 1977 by Gabrielle Roth. When Roth died in 2012, she left more than 250 certified teachers. One of those teachers established a group in Las Vegas, and The Las Vegas affiliate of the Sacred Dance Guild meets in the Fellowship Hall of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in town.
Conscious Dance at Burning Man
An expansive dance floor built of bamboo lies in the middle of the desert in Nevada. The canvas canopy flutters in the wind, and bright ensigns speak to the passersby, encouraging them to join.
All ages of people as well as a variety off contours, and genders merge in the cauldron of dancing. Grown men weep with openness as women lament and stomp their feet. While the music turns from pounding sounds into lyrical themes, bodies combine and emotions line up. A faint voice sings into the mic, “Welcome to Rhythmwave. ”
Conscious dancing is more acceptable. Morning dance experiences are increasing in urban places and can even be seen in New York. Jewish communities incorporating conscious dance from Staten Island to San Francisco; optional Shabbat and services are including dancing and movement. Dancing has long been central to religious tradition. Conscious dance has refreshed it for a current generation, and many are finding it a severely required medication spiritual restoration.
As dancing has perpetually been spiritual, it isn’t unusual that conscious dancing has progressed into regular Jewish practice. Rabbi Minnen recently entertained several “Ecstatic Mincha” assemblies on Shabbat midday events in Brooklyn and Manhattan. In Las Vegas, two adherents created SHUL, a morning service that weaves classical Hebrew prayers and niggunim with dance. “Dancing is a vital part in emerging Jewish neighborhoods,” Rosen said, “as it gives a path for anyone who is not familiar with Jewish rites. ”
Dance teacher Ali Schechter, originator of Full Circle Dance, leads “Move into Shabbat,” a Friday evening conscious dance party in Las Vegas. She facilitates imaginative movement rites for Jewish Renewal congregations as the experiences involved a Yom Kippur gathering and a conscious dance reception as well as Havdalah at Romemu’s annual retreat.
Dance has always been an important part of Jewish worship. In the Torah, Miriam the prophet guides the ladies in dancing and verse with timbrels after the departure from Egypt and traversing the Red Sea.
Recently, at Las Vegas’ conscious dance evening, a Friday night experience featured a “potluck” of rituals led by attendees. People joined hands, circled the tables and shift their feet as their bodies swayed.
Everyone laughed, cried and experienced the ultimate embodiment of joy. Through dance, prayer is made real, and the dance became the essence of Shabbat and joy even when it is hard to feel joy.
In dance our spirits are set free.