• ecstaticdancecairns

Ecstatic Dance: Movement to Transform

Updated: Jan 7

I originally experienced ecstatic dance for the first time at Dancing Ground Festival outside of Melbourne in 2015. 6 months prior to this, I had a nervous break down, my anxiety and my eating disorder was at a peak, once again. I was living with a boyfriend, had finished doing some online health coaching training and was supposed to launch a business helping people with health, but it didn’t feel right: it didn’t feel integral. Because I knew I had many of my own self-empowerment issues to work on, I knew what I needed instead of my desire to help others, was help myself. I stopped that day in a peak experience of overwhelm, to simply put on music and not any music, electronic music…. I can’t remember how I found it, but I know it was through Soundcloud (before Spotify days!) and I somehow fell into melting pot of frequencies and vibrations I had never heard before. I found genres like Sacred Bass, Global Bass, Future Garage and even deep dubstep. I remember the day, those days that changed me - the simplicity of those moments where I chose to let everything go and I rested back, into sound. At that moment, I let music heal me. I let myself be felt and I let myself be found in a place I had long loved as a child the same……. music. 

I began to feel the music move me. My body undulated and could feel spiral, into directions, I had never felt. My hips began to deepen. I felt a lot of fear, there. 

As I surrended into sound, so did my practice of ecstatic dance, begin. Intuitively, I let myself move, I was scared - very scared.

‘What if someone sees me’

‘What if they think I’m too sexy’

The myriad of fears restricted my body movements, but slowly, every day - or at least when I felt I really needed it… I moved. 
I put on awesome music I had never heard before, and allowed myself to move. 

I felt a spaciousness there like I had never, yet, in my life. I found peace, and I began to feel harmony. It was like the home I actually yearned for…. No where to go, nothing to be, no one to become, I guess. Just feeling. And just then ~ just the healing, I needed. 

Music transformed me from that day like a healer - a psycho-spiritual transformation ~ I honestly feel I wouldn’t have ever received from anyone or anything else. But what it did come from: was the intention within the music I was listening too. Music I had heard from creators, well aware, of the healing power of sound. How love, and it’s intention to offer to someone else, to share healing, to also share pain, sorrow, and joy…… within that deep pleasure, arose for me, in being given a gift of the heart: frequencies and vibrations felt DEEPLY in the body. 

As uncomfortable some sounds were, they were sounds I had never heard before in pop music, radio or elsewhere. This music was unique and it ended up taking me into a spiral of investigation and pretty immediate, collecting, making my own dance journeys with Traktor DJ. I didn’t have a controller but I knew I wanted to pick my own music and I felt the intuitive craft of beginning to put a soundscape together, that would give me some ‘rest’ for some moments in time. 

My anxiety decreased, a priority opened in my life to follow pleasure and the body. My eating disorders, slowly over the years, dissipated. In 2022, 7 years on, I am completely free. And I never thought I would get out of it, and get ‘here’, when I was in the thick of it. 


 After this original bursting into love affair with this new music, I made the decision to leave my boyfriend and prioritize a love affair of music and dance for me, I traveled down the east-coast of Australia for 3 months I believe, and I attended so many dance intentional events or spaces and dance classes in that time. I wanted to try and explore it all. Ecstatic Dance however was a movement practice that I continued to take into my home life….. over the years to come, listening to incredible music by incredible current ‘ecstatic dance’ music makers, who’s intention is to uplift, unify and bring healing to a dance floor - that is sober, drug free and usually inspires a message or deeper meaning. Ecstatic Dance music and it’s artists (producers, and then DJs) bring a unique perception, like any other genre or style of music as we have known through times, just like Rock, Blues, EDM, Pop by any of the common artists and music I guess we know on a ‘mass’ scale. 

Ecstatic Dance producers and music, is sometimes created with the intention of being used specifically any soley on the ED floor, however as Ecstatic Dance is an open genre mixed-music journey (meaning any type of genre, tempo and feeling can be expressed, in it’s cumulative typical ‘peak’ experience) as creators of the DJ mix, music often has a more intentional undertone or message, maybe a more truthful feeling, a deeper collective story and or if it doesn’t, the ecstatic dance DJ itself brilliantly, has the power to be able to do that ~ weave a story………. create a healing journey (A feeling journey ~ all feelings, all places, all states and emotions - that is probably the second blog post in it's self now!) 

I guess it was my destiny I found myself in the role, running Ecstatic Dance Cairns today. Not only as originally as dancer, but a devotee of music collecting and the ecstatic dance intention: the creation of healing dance journeys. For it was, what, healed me. I am free :) 

I look forward to sharing more stories about my experience with the practice of ecstatic dance, my love of the music and culture, and more so the intention is brings to community which is a space of self transformation. 

 Yeah sure, people have said to me: "but that’s what I do at home."

And yeah I get it… I did that at home, alone, for years too (BUT along with going to EDances with others at the same time). 

 It isn’t the same. Dancing alone at home is one thing, but dancing together collectively is another. 

The ecstatic dance container, that is held and also intentioned around a group collective or peak experience with the relationship LIVE with music (on good sound systems! By a experienced ED DJ) is really like no other. There is absolutely no comparison, to the indifference (and yes each their own benefit) of at home, yourself, and or with others at an event. 

 Any day, I would vote to go to a group experience. The energy is insane, the vibes are high. We are collective people, we are tribal-group gathering at heart. We are community. We are addicted to communication (online)…. We may as well communicate, authentically, in person, together. 

This is what an ecstatic dance floor is about, and the ways we can communicate to each other, be free, heal and let go… together, I believe are the places and spaces which will transform our cultures, our western minds, bodies and hearts, to a more open and receptive state of being.

 Will you let the music take you?

 There is so much goodness to hear, and to experience!

 With love Ember 
Director, EDCairns (Australia)

#ecstaticdancecairns #cairns #ecstaticdanceaustralia #ecstaticdance

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