E. Shelton © 2011

"You all were fantastic," said one person in an e-mail recently. "That was such a wonderful experience," stated one lady at our recent dance at the Evansville Unitarian Universalist church this past Sunday. And still another person claimed that their pain in their head and neck had disappeared as a result of the dances.

These are just a few of the responses we often receive whenever we dance. However, it is quite obvious to me that it is independent upon any one of us. People naturally look to the individuals which they can see and assume it is because of our gifts of leading, singing, playing of instruments, or dancing abilities that cause the magic they are feeling. However, it is definitely none of these.

It is indeed, the Lord of the Dance. There is an unexplainable event which occurs whenever people of like-mindedness and open hearts come together for one purpose. Whether it be practices of dancing, chanting, singing, or even walking the promise is that there will be a phenomenal occurrence of bodies touching Spirit.

Huston Smith, in a foreword to the book, Essential Sufism edited by James Fadiman and Robert Frager said, "The Sufis are the mystics of Islam. Every upright Muslim expects to see God after death, but the Sufis are the impatient ones. They want God now—moment by moment, day by day, in this very life. And they are willing to undergo the disciplines that make that possible."

I am not suggesting that to have willing musicians, leaders or others is not important. Equally important however are the dancers. Those that enter the circle, join hands and slowly merge towards personal abandonment are the key ingredients to a 'successful' dance experience. Foremost however, is the Lord of Dance. Some religious institutions forbid dancing and declare it is sinful or displeasing to God in some manner.

Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying, 'I should not believe in a God who does not dance." Can I get an 'amen'?

I was equally reminded this past weekend of persons within the circle that were unable to physically dance due to personal injury or other issues. These persons often feel they can't participate fully without their bodies being able to 'keep up' with the group. I had a pleasant conversation afterwards with two such ladies. However, they didn't allow their physical bodies to dominate their participation or their involvement in the experience. They sat merrily on the outside of the dancers and sang with open hearts. The Lord of the Dance met them where they were and sparks were lit beneath their souls. These are the lovely people whom I refer to as the 'Sitters, Singers and Soakers.' All are welcome to the circle of love!

In conclusion then, in the words of Lord George Gordon Byron…"On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined."