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Ecstatic Dance SLO: A Guide to Dancing Your Heart Out

If you're looking for a fun and unique way to connect with yourself, others, and the universe around you, look no further than ecstatic dance. Ecstatic dance is a form of free-form dance that encourages participants to move their bodies in whatever way feels most authentic and natural to them. It's a powerful and transformative experience that can leave you feeling energized, invigorated, and full of life.

And if you happen to live in San Luis Obispo County, you're in luck. There are plenty of opportunities to experience the joy and magic of ecstatic dance right here on the central coast. In this article, we'll explore what ecstatic dance is, why it's so beneficial, and where you can find ecstatic dance events in San Luis Obispo County.

What is Ecstatic Dance?

Ecstatic dance is a form of dance that encourages participants to move their bodies freely and spontaneously, without any preconceived notions of what dance "should" look like. Unlike traditional dance forms, there are no set steps, routines, or rules to follow. Instead, dancers are encouraged to listen to their bodies and move in whatever way feels most authentic to them.

Ecstatic dance is often accompanied by live or recorded music, which helps to create a vibrant and energizing atmosphere. The music can range from upbeat and lively to slow and meditative, depending on the mood and intention of the dance.

One of the key elements of ecstatic dance is the absence of verbal communication. Participants are encouraged to connect with themselves and others through movement, rather than words. This creates a safe and non-judgmental space where people can feel free to express themselves without fear of criticism or rejection.

Why is Ecstatic Dance Beneficial?

Ecstatic dance is more than just a fun way to get some exercise. It has a number of powerful benefits for both the mind and body, including:

  1. Stress Relief: Dancing is a great way to release stress and tension from the body. It can help to reduce anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of stress.

  2. Increased Self-Awareness: Ecstatic dance encourages participants to connect with their bodies and their emotions on a deeper level. This can help to increase self-awareness and improve overall emotional well-being.

  3. Improved Physical Health: Dancing is a great way to improve cardiovascular health, increase flexibility, and build strength and endurance.

  4. Enhanced Creativity: Ecstatic dance encourages participants to express themselves in new and unique ways, which can help to enhance creativity and unlock new insights and ideas.

  5. Sense of Community: Ecstatic dance is often practiced in a group setting, which can help to create a sense of community and connection among participants.

Where to Find Ecstatic Dance in San Luis Obispo County?

Now that you know the benefits of ecstatic dance, you're probably wondering where you can experience it for yourself. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to practice ecstatic dance in San Luis Obispo County. Here are a few places to check out:

  1. Ecstatic Dance in Arroyo Grande: This is a twice a month ecstatic dance slo event facilitated by a live DJ, a beautiful cacao ceremony, optional closing circles and an occasionally live sound bath. This lively ecstatic dance slo event features a variety of dance styles and music, allowing an emotional and physical arc to occur for full embodiment. Typically the DJ set follows the 5Rhythms modality.

  2. Ecstatic Dance SLO: This is a collective of dancers, DJ's and ecstatic dance slo facilitators in San Luis Obispo. Before the pandemic, ecstatic dance slo events took place on Thursday evenings at the SLO Grange Hall in San Luis Obispo. Now, a range of events feature a live DJ and a welcoming and supportive community of dancers across SLO county.

  3. Ecstatic Dance in Cambria (INNER RHYTHM): This is a beautiful event that occurs every Friday evening from 7:30 - 9:30 at the Joson Community Center. Ecstatic Dance in Cambria occasionally features world-famous artists/DJs (Ryan Herr, BLOOM, etc) and supports a large community of dancers. Music is diverse week over week dependent on the DJ facilitating. It is a beautiful event and group of people.

  4. Open Flow in Morro Bay. Formerly known as Open Floor, Open Flow occurs on Weds evenings at the Morro Bay Community Center. Open Flow focuses on providing a guided movement inquiry practice. Different from typical Ecstatic Dance, each event is verbally facilitated to provide inquiry, embodiment and a deep connection with your body and self. To learn more, go to Facebook and search for the group Open Flow or Ecstatic Dance SLO.

  5. Central Coast Beach Dancers: This community dances on a beach on Saturday mornings. They rotate between two beaches every weekend in Cayucas and Morro Bay. Most of the dancing is far apart from each other with the joy of watching the ocean, having your own space, but able to see each other move from a distance. Music is provided by a shared Spotify list that each dancer listens to with headphones after pushing play at the same time. All spotify lists are provided before the dance starts.

  6. Templeton Ecstatic Dance: At one point, Templeton Ecstatic Dance was a monthly event that took place at the Templeton Community Center in Templeton. The event featured a live DJ and a variety of dance styles, including yoga, contact improv, and more. This event is no longer as active.

  7. 5Rhythms San Luis Obispo: 5Rhythms San Luis Obispo is being reinvigorated and reimagined in 2023 and 2024. The event is a form of ecstatic dance that uses five different rhythms to guide participants through different stages of movement and self-expression.

  8. Groove Tribe: Groove Tribe is no longer in existence. It was a weekly event that took place on Sunday mornings at the Morro Bay Veterans Hall in Morro Bay. The event featured a live DJ and a variety of dance styles, including yoga, meditation, and more.

Tips for Enjoying Ecstatic Dance SLO

If you're new to ecstatic dance, you may be wondering how to make the most of your experience. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Wear comfortable clothing: Ecstatic dance is all about feeling free and uninhibited, so make sure you wear clothing that allows you to move freely and comfortably. For suggestions on what to wear to an ecstatic dance, go here.

  2. Bring water: Dancing can be a strenuous activity, so make sure you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the event.

  3. Listen to your body: Ecstatic dance is all about tuning into your body and moving in whatever way feels most authentic to you. If a certain movement or style doesn't feel right, don't be afraid to try something else.

  4. Respect others: While there is no verbal communication in ecstatic dance, it's important to respect the space and boundaries of others. Avoid getting too close or invading someone else's personal space.

  5. Let go and have fun: Above all, remember that ecstatic dance is a joyful and liberating experience. Let go of any expectations or self-judgments and allow yourself to fully immerse in the moment.

Conclusion about Enjoying Ecstatic Dance in SLO County.

Ecstatic dance is a powerful and transformative experience that can help you connect with your body, your emotions, and the world around you. San Luis Obispo County offers plenty of opportunities to experience the magic of ecstatic dance, from weekly events to monthly gatherings.

Whether you're a seasoned dancer or a complete beginner, there's no better time to start exploring the world of ecstatic dance. So put on your dancing shoes, let go of your inhibitions, and dance your heart out!

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Thank you. How can I find the various groups and times? Are there websites?

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