Experiencing Freeform Dance
From Freestyle Dance Jams to
Ecstatic Dance and other Spiritual Movement Practices
– Peace and Well-Being through Dance –
Did you send me email and never got a response? I apologize to everybody who sent me suggestions or requests, and never got a response from me – there were some rough periods in my life, and I also lost some email through a hard disk crash – if you didn’t get a response from me, would you please contact me again?
“Freeform movement for fun, exercise, fellowship, and as a spiritual practice is the greatest”
There is a huge untapped potential in all of us to communicate nonverbally with motion. To experience unfettered movement where everybody is moving, expressing, and communicating at the same time, is to understand why it is commonly called Ecstatic Dance.
Some of the reasons why people participate in freeform dance:
To get an idea of what dance jams are all about, how they can look, and what they feel like, browse through these web sites:
Dance New England www.dne.org
Ecstatic Dance Seattle www.ecstaticdanceseattle.com
Gypsie Nation www.gypsienation.com/AG.html
Radical Suburban Boogie www.southbaydance.com
San Francisco Barefoot Boogie http://sfbarefootboogie.com
- Peace and Well-Being through Dance -
Here is my current interpretation.
Freeform movement means there aren’t prescribed steps to follow, but frequently there is some kind of general method or style being used such as 5Rhythms or Contact Improv, so it could be described as freeform movement within a specific method or type of style.
Freestyle dance means you can pretty much dance any style or form of dance you want, and change styles as fast as you want. Or you can create a brand new completely improvised dance and let it flow with your energy, the music, or fellow dancers.
Freeform dance allows us to actively move and express with our whole being. This is joyful in its self. In addition it helps free up blocks and areas of stagnant energy within us.
Freestyle dance adds an extra layer of creativity on top of freeform dance.
Where are you?
I’m sure there must be people dancing their hearts out in communities of dancers between the west coast and New England. There is a special synergy that happens when there is sharing and interaction between members of different communities, and even more so for dance communities.
Regional web sites support and facilitate this synergistic energy by helping people to find their dancing kin, and by sharing information about special events before they happen.
It takes people connected to their regional grapevine to be able to assemble this information.
These dance jam web sites are good examples of groups encouraging dance in their regions, and helping connect people to other regions. They will also give you an idea of several different approaches to sharing regional dance information.
Dance New England www.dne.org
Community dances and events http://cal.webspiritsystems.com/ashlandinfo
Dance Jam www.movingarts.net
Ecstatic Dance in Portland www.pdxecstaticdance.com
Just imagine the satisfaction of gifting this support to your region, and the joy of dancing in the increased energy.
Hasn’t anybody written about this yet?
I’m looking for written materials to provide suggestions on organizing and facilitating general freestyle dance jams.
There are lots of schools to teach different dance forms, and to teach spiritual movement practices. Facilitating a general freestyle dance jam is much simpler. Many people with some experience leading group activities could do it – if they had some idea of generally how it’s done, and the specific issues they need to work with.
Some simple written materials could of great assistance in helping people start more dances. Please let me know about any materials that are available.
It is fairly well established how healing freeform dancing is. Creating materials to help people start new dances would make a significant contribution to the over all health of our society. Maybe you could even get a grant to write this up.
Freeform dance is continually evolving because after all, it is freeform dance.
Beyond learning the mechanics of dance, and learning how to express your self through dance, there is the experience of creating it.
These books will help provide some understanding of the roots of freeform dance, and what it is like to be on the inside creating it. They are a likely source of inspiration for your dance.
Please let me know if you know of other particularly inspiring books on freeform dance.
West Coast Contact Improvisation Festival www.wccif.com Berkeley CA
Seattle Festival of Alternative Dance and Improvisation (SFADI) www.sfadi.org
Produced by www.danceartgroup.org Seattle WA
Northern California Dance Collective www.ncdcdances.org northern CA
Dance New England Summer Camp www.dne.org/camp/ New England
Many of these sites list other local dances for their area which don’t have their own web sites. Be sure to check the links section on these web sites for more dances in your region.
These dances are listed in order from north to south.
As you travel, add dancing to your trip and new connections to your life by stopping by and joining these communities in their dances! I’m sure there are more dances out there – send me any links that you find.
The Studio Maui www.thestudiomaui.com Maui
Gypsie Nation www.gypsienation.com/AG.html several locations on Hawaii and has an extensive list of dance culture related resources
dance here now www.danceherenow.com Victoria
Studio Alive www.studioalivenelson.com Nelson
Port Townsend Dance Collective www.ptdcdance.com Port Townsend
Dancing Colors www.dancingcolors.com Whidbey Island
Ecstatic Dance www.ecstaticdance.com Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Whidbey Island
Ecstatic Dance Seattle www.ecstaticdanceseattle.com Capital Hill district in Seattle
Motion Lab www.motionlab.surcus.com/introduction.htm Capital Hill district in Seattle
One World Dance www.oneworlddance.com Fremont district in Seattle
Positive Sweat www.positivesweat.com Crown Hill in Seattle
Soul Motion & Cedar Street Massage www.daisyjocompton.com Tacoma
Waves Studio www.waves-studio.com Olympia
ARC Dance www.arcdance.org Crown Hill
Positive Sweat www.positivesweat.com
Dance Underground www.dance-underground.com Capitol Hill
Ecstatic Dance Seattle www.ecstaticdanceseattle.com
Motion Lab www.motionlab.surcus.com/introduction.htm
Fremont Drum School www.congajoy.com/drumschool.html Fremont
One World Dance www.oneworlddance.com
Open Flight Studio www.openflightstudio.org University District
Contact Improv jam
Planet Earth Yoga www.planetearthyoga.com Fremont
Flying Turtle Dance
Yoga Trance Dance
Sonny Newman's Dance Hall www.tangoseattle.com Greenwood
Velocity Dance Center www.velocitydancecenter.org near downtown
Contact Improv classes and jam
To receive announcements and discuss issues related to participatory Movement Arts events in the greater Seattle area, join the Shakers_Movers email list by sending email to:
To receive a monthly email newsletter about Expressive Art events in Seattle, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
African Drum & Dance, Seattle www.larryswanson.com/drum-and-dance-Seattle.htm
Seattle Contact Improvisation Dance www.seattlecontactimprovisation.com
Dance Art Group www.danceartgroup.org
“Promotes the practice and appreciation of dance, movement arts, and somatic education in the Seattle area”
Ecstatic Dance in Portland www.pdxecstaticdance.com Portland
Sacred Circle Dance www.sacredcircledance.org Portland
Soul Motion www.soulmotion.com Portland
Community dances and events http://cal.webspiritsystems.com/ashlandinfo Ashland
Rhythms of Change www.welloflight.com Sacramento
Body Tales www.bodytales.com several locations
BodyInAction www.bodyinaction.com several locations
HumilitySwim http://rodneyj.net/ali/ several locations
Nurturedance http://nurturedance.org several locations
San Francisco Bay Area Contact Improv http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SFBACI/ several locations
Somatic/Expressive Movement Arts www.somaticxpress.com several locations, international
Falling Up Dance http://fallingupdance.com Sebastopol, Sonoma County
Intrinsic Movement http://somasense.com Sonoma County
Twist and Shout www.bodyworksyoga.com/classschedules/ Petaluma, Sonoma County
Anna Halprin www.annahalprin.org Marin County
Dance Weaver www.danceweaver.com Marin County
Groove Gardens www.thegroovegarden.com Fairfax, Marin County
Valley Community DanceJam www.freespiritdance.com San Geronimo, Marin County
Biodanza www.biodanzasf.com San Francisco
CounterPULSE www.counterpulse.org San Francisco
Oberlin Dance Collective www.odcschool.org/v5/main.html San Francisco (freeform and structured classes)
Passion Dance http://passiondance.com San Francisco
Core Connexion www.coreconnexion.net Berkeley (includes Recommended Reading)
Dance Jam www.dancejam.org Berkeley
Temescal Arts Center www.temescalartscenter.org Oakland (freeform and structured classes)
Dance Visions www.danceaction.org Palo Alto (freeform and structured classes)
Radical Suburban Boogie www.southbaydance.com Palo Alto
Ecstatic Productions www.ecstaticproductions.com Santa Cruz
Moving Ventures www.movingventures.com Big Sur, international
Dance Away Santa Barbara http://danceawaysb.com Santa Barbara
Dance Jam Ventura www.waywebby.com/dancejam/ Ventura
Dance Alive www.dancealive.com Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades
Dancing Spirit www.dancing-spirit.org Fallbrook
Heart Song www.loracain.com/heartsong/ Los Angles
movinground www.movinground.com Los Angles
spiritweaves www.spiritweaves.com several locations around Los Angles
Dance Jam www.movingarts.net San Diego
Culture Shock Dance Center www.cultureshockdancecenter.com San Diego
It would be great to list some freeform and freestyle dance sites east of the Cascades and Sierras and west of the Rockies.
Please send me your links.
These are practices that have matured to the point that teachers are being taught, and so classes are available in more than one geographic location.
There are many independent dance forms, which are created and taught by a single person. To find out who is doing this in your area, check the bulletin boards at natural food stores, coffee houses, colleges, and community centers in your area.
Check these sites to find teachers near you teaching classes and holding dances based on these practices.
5Rhythms of Gabrielle Roth www.ravenrecording.com
Authentic Movement www.authenticmovement-usa.com
Janet Adler has written several books on this practice
Biodanza www.biodanza.us San Francisco CA
Continuum Movement www.continuummovement.com
Continuum Montage www.continuummontage.com
Dances of Universal Peace www.dancesofuniversalpeace.org
DanceVision Institute www.dancevisioninstitute.com San Francisco CA
Earthdance, Home for the improvisational dance community www.earthdance.net Plainfield, MA
Kripalu DansKinetics www.meghadance.com/kdk.htm Lenox, MA
Moving On Center www.movingoncenter.org Oakland CA
Soul Motion www.soulmotion.com
Tamalpa Institute www.tamalpa.org Marin County CA
Trance Dance www.trancedance.com
Yoga Meets Dance (previously called Global Dance) www.bethdance.com
Qigong – There are many versions of this practice. In many ways it is a blend of exercise, dance, and spiritual practice.
Good starting points are the links on this site www.embracethemoon.com
Dance New England www.dne.org
Folk Dance Association www.folkdancing.org
Sacred Dance Guild www.sacreddanceguild.org
· “Dance as a Language of Faith and Celebration”
· The provide calendars and resources for nonmembers and more resources for members.
· “These web pages list jams, workshops, classes, and teachers of Contact Improvisation around the world.”
Contact Quarterly www.contactquarterly.com
· “A biannual journal of dance, improvisation, performance, and contemporary movement arts.”
· The web site provides additional resources to support these interests.
Voice of Dance www.voiceofdance.com
· This page has a large list of dance styles to spark your interest and they are building a database of dances and classes for all of them.
Dance Links www.dancer.com/dance-links/
· The focus leans towards the more formal dance styles, and the schools and companies that support them.
I have found www.google.com to be very useful in finding dance studios and locations.
For example, if you are interested in swing dance in Seattle, search on these words:
Swing dance Seattle
Google is pretty good about putting the most useful hits at the top of the list. In this case, the first hit is the Seattle Swing Dance Club!
Several of the dance directories above are a good place to start looking for more information on structured dance, and it that isn’t enough, use the tips in the “Searching for More Dance Links” section.
Many people are more comfortable with dance designed around a specific format that includes steps and movement they can learn.
For some people, the structure frees them up, and others feel constrained by the structure. There are many people, and many dance styles.
For many people new to dance, after they are more comfortable with dancing, they find they are better able to enjoy the freeform dance styles.
Other people find that being able to goof around on the dance floor in a freestyle dance is the easiest way for them to start moving after years of sitting in a cubical.
The only way to find out what works best for you, right now this year, is to try different dance styles. Even after you find favorite forms and styles, be willing to take occasional excursions and try out different dances.
Most long-term dancers in all styles view their dance experience as a life long evolving adventure.
Freeform dance is so important to me that I am drawn to supporting and evangelizing it. My heart is in group freestyle dance where sometimes you and the group become one.
It takes people coming from many different dance styles and practices to provide the synergy to create these experiences. So besides supporting freestyle dance, this web page supports the freeform practices that feed into freestyle dance.
I love most all types of dance. The resources for structured dance styles are much more developed than they are for freeform dance, so this web site is focusing on freeform dance, and provides some links to directories of other types of dance resources.
Some of the resources provided here will be of use to dancers in any area, and provide leads to finding more detailed information for their local area.
This site does focus on Seattle Washington and the region around it because that’s where I live.
Dancers are encouraged to setup web pages with detailed information on their local area, and send me links to these pages.
As a working compromise between wanting to provide lots of detail, and the need to keep the existing information current, specifics on classes or schedules aren’t included on this page. This information needs to be somewhere online where this page can link to. The intent of this site is to help connect people to local and regional resources for their area.
Part the foundation of the culture of freeform dance is its inclusiveness. To the best of my knowledge, the dances listed on this page are open to the public.
- Peace and Well-Being through Dance -
Comments? Send some email
Last updated: January 11, 2006