Trance Dance has its origins as a type of ritual dance one that has been used by all cultures to connect to the Divine, to pray and move to ecstasy. Ritual dance has been used and it is used today by many indigenous cultures by the Shaman, the medicine men or woman to invoke to connect with the spirits of nature, the spirit of the earth or the spirits of the sky, the spirit guides. From this place they can access the realm that is normally not visible or visited by the many but as real as the reality that we know as our own. So much we can learn and use today in our every day life in our modern society from Shamanism. Trance Dance is one of the many aspects of Shamanism that we can explore even though we don’t live in an indigenous culture, in TD one of the aspects that is formed is the tribal community, and we come together to explore and celebrate.
This is an opportunity to use and engage the body to access an altered state of consciousness the place where all healing occurs. Ernesto explained that TD is meditation in motion and sometimes that is active meditation and not the quiet silent one, that we where going to explore inner realms we where going to become the Shaman, shape shift our reality become the animal or the angel, or both.
The most important part of the TD session is to allow it to happen.
So the question is how do we create this inner darkness? In ancient times or when we have the opportunity to TD under the canopy of the stars the night provides the darkness that is necessary for the experience. The way we do it today is by the use of a blindfold or a bandanna this is a simple tool that cuts the external reality and gives us the opportunity to go deep within. If you meditate at all, then you know that the moment you close your eyes and take one deep breath you go… Go deep within, this is the same but it lasts a lot longer this way we can have the freedom of knowing we are cutting outside influences for our inner experience.
The second element that is used in TD is the TD breath. Breath is the most powerful tool we have within the self to heal, we can live without water or food for a number of days but we can only last a few minutes without breath. Our breath is the giver of life and we don’t use it effectively during our days or during our life. Breath is the activator the trigger to push us into an altered state of consciousness and that is one of the goals of TD. Ernesto said that in the 18 + years of facilitating TD and Breath related workshops he has not lost a single person by hyperventilating or rapid breathing this made me feel better about breathing during the experience. The TD breath is two rapid and deep inhalations and one rapid exhalation, try this a few times and you will see how with just a few breaths you’ll feel a shift. You are of course not expected to breath like this for the two-hour music session, you breath when you feel you need to be push deeper within.
The music is the magic carpet and the breath is the fuel that makes you fly.
The music is at the core of the sessions it is the heart, what gives life, it is the music that will provide all of the elements that will trigger the feelings and emotions that we should be dancing to. No steps to follow, not dancing with anyone and no one dancing with us. The music started mild, soft, these allows for the body to start moving and exploring as the music progressed we where reminded to breath, the music changed and I started feeling the sensual and undulating rhythms that the music provided I was In my body but outside the body, or was it that I was so deep within the self that all of became one or the same?
The music started creating images and from the images I started having emotions that took me into an inner exploration, I became the inner archeologist, the explorer and with this tremendous excitement to continue dancing, moving, allowing and experiencing. The music went from mild soft, sensual to wild and chaotic and I followed along and became just as wild, sweat was poring down my body, I was drenched and in total union with the self. My spirit and I where completely united in ecstasy and the beauty of it all is that I was aware of it. I could feel, feel everything around me even though we where all blindfolded I could feel the energy of other people around me, I felt like I was dancing with others at times mimicking their moves and at times I was completely along in my own dancing world. I did do what Ernesto had suggested; to use the floor as a blank canvas and to paint a picture of my creation based on my feelings, and what a beautiful picture I painted tonight.
Ritual Trance Dance is definitely for me, it is not only a wonderful exercise but an incredible tool to explore my deep feelings and emotions and to use my body as I dance to let go of what no longer serves me and bring back the ecstasy, the feelings of joy and connection with my self, with spirit and the Divine.
By the end of the session I was in a beautiful quiet space of deep tranquility and peace in a deep space of meditation that for me is very difficult to achieve as I get bombarded with the inner noise of my day-to-day life. The music at the end was angelic, hypnotic, and yes, I was in a space of ecstasy.
Ernesto at the beginning of the session invited us to dance hard, to dance bold, to dance sensual, to dance wild or mild, to bring to the dance session what we had accumulated during the week and use this opportunity to let it go, to allow it to transform into something different, special beautiful and useful.
What a tremendous experience one that I will not forget, one that I will repeat again and again.
© 2011 Ernesto Ortiz, & Journey to the Heart.
From the heart…