Ecstatic dance is something that’s practiced regularly here in Puna, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about that!!
On Friday night, Blaze (my 9 year old son) and I went to Hawaiian Paradise Park for an Ecstatic Dance in a church building. After petting a big, friendly dog that was resting outside the door, I contributed the requested $5.00 donation, shared an embrace with Michael – the man holding space for this event, and entered somewhat of a dream space.
Upon entering we were encouraged to keep hydrated with the water provided, and for those who did not bring their own drinking vessel, disposable cups (and a pen to apply one’s name or symbol) were available.
The front entryway opened to a large open space where a bar (which is also Michael’s kitchen) is set up in the corner. The bar holds potential for juices, smoothies, awa or even something more potent, but at the moment, it serves as Michael’s personal kitchen.
There were several couches and chairs set up in front of and adjacent to the bar where people can engage in conversation or just take a rest. The ample space on the floor around the bar also serves as extra dance space!
The room with the bar opened up to another large room where a disc jockey was set up next to a meditation-style alter. In front of the stage was a large wooden floor where beautiful people were stretching, dancing and playing.
Shortly after our arrival, the DJ called for an opening circle. We all gathered while the DJ explained that ecstatic dance is about letting the music move you – allowing freedom of expression while respecting individual boundaries.
The DJ then asked for someone to volunteer for ‘the invocation’. A lovely woman named Sara (who was expressing a beautiful yogic flow before the circle was called) volunteered and invited all attendees to make the circle very small and tight.
Sara then started singing and rhythmically stomping her feet in the center of the circle as she successively pushed and then touched each person’s shoulders. Then Sara proceed to wedge her body into a seated position between me and another attendee as she began rocking – which essentially created a domino effect for the whole circle.
From there, people began dancing out of the circle, and I supposed this marked the commencement of the ecstatic dance.
The music had a funky dance beat with what I took to be a jazzy, mellow and somewhat latin flavor; and people were dancing in a very expressive and heartfelt manner. The essence of Love and Peace filled the space as every individual and unique expression seemed to effortlessly flow into one another.
My son, Blaze engaged in the dance for awhile, and then feel asleep on a couch – which seemed to be entirely ‘normal’ to everyone there. After about an hour and a half, the music stopped and the DJ called another circle where everyone was invited to share their experience during the dance, then community announcements were made, and to close out the session, the group shared three Om’s.
The event is from 7-9 pm every Friday night, and after 9:00 the attendees are invited to stay and connect some more. Blaze was ready to finish his sleep at home, so we left right after the last Om this time, but we’re open to however it goes down next week!!