The Dances of Universal Peace are a form of spiritual meditative dance conducted in the company of a number of other dancers in a circle. The dances draw on all the world’s spiritual traditions and are led by a teacher who plays guitar or drum accompaniment. Each dance usually has a chant which is sung as the dance is performed.
The emphasis is on participation regardless of ability, the dances are almost never performed before an audience. Dancers of all levels of ability dance together and each dance it usually taught afresh at each performance.
The practise of the dance is claimed to develop the participants' spiritual awareness, awareness of their own body and awareness of the presence of others.
They were originally performed at camps and meetings with a distinctly new age and alternative feel but have increasingly come to be offered in schools, colleges, prisons, hospices, residential homes for those with special needs, and holistic health centres .
The Dances of Universal Peace were first formulated in the late 1960's by Samuel L. Lewis (1896-1971), they were first performed in California but have developed into a global movement.
The original dances were strongly influenced by the Sufi (see Sema and The Whirling Dervishes ) and Zen traditions but dances drawing on teachings of all main religious and spiritual traditions have been added since then. Dances drawing on the traditions of native peoples have also been included.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04