Ecstatic Dance is a community gathering for people of all ages and abilities to dance freely, move however they wish and express themselves. It’s a type of “movement medicine” that heals people by taking them out of their thinking minds and into their bodies. It brings people into an altered state where healing can happen. Similar to yoga or meditation, this form of dance is spreading like wildfire as people discover its benefits: increased freedom, flexibility, health, happiness, and a greater sense of community connection according to Summer Egland, Ecstatic Dance Placerville founder .
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Ecstatic Dance Placerville is part of a larger, open organization of ecstatic dances worldwide (see ecstaticdance.org).
The largest dance is in Uptown Oakland at the historic Sweet’s Ballroom, drawing more than 300 people twice a week to dance without drugs, alcohol, scents, shoes or talking. Out of the desire to share this healing form of dance, the Oakland founders have given others the ability to start dances in their own cities, freely using the Ecstatic Dance name.
Egland, attended her first ecstatic dance in Auburn in 2012 and immediately got hooked. She soon started driving to Grass Valley each week to attend the thriving Ecstatic Dance there.
When the Auburn dance stopped, she decided it was time to create something for Placerville. A friend suggested the Odd Fellows Hall, 467 Main St. in Placerville, and everything began to take shape.
Most people don’t even know it exists but it’s one of the town’s gems: a gorgeous, pristine, historic dancehall. The floor is spring-loaded, looking a bit like a trampoline when you jump on it. It’s one of only a few left of its kind in the country, said Egland.
The Placerville dance began in June 2013, meeting twice a month and bringing in DJs from the Bay Area, Grass Valley and even Hawaii.
Beginning Sunday, Feb. 23 with DJ Sharu, Ecstatic Dance will be held every week on Sunday mornings from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
In January, Egland organized Sunday morning dances all over California in a statewide rain dance. More than 500 people joined the Facebook event and likely thousands danced and imagined rain together simultaneously. Several weeks later it did rain.
Every dance is different, with the interplay between the dancers, the music, and the DJ creating a unique mood and experience.
What remains is the healing factor. When you move your body in new and different ways, it rewires your nervous system and creates new pathways that affect your thinking and way of being.
This is Egland’s favorite benefit.
“The inner freedom, strength and flexibility I’ve gained through dance has spread to all aspects of my life. The natural high I feel is amazing. I’m so grateful to have a safe and supported space to express whatever I need to. Dance has truly set me free,” said Egland.
Find Ecstatic Dance Placerville on Facebook for more information and cost.