What is Circle Dancing?
People have been dancing in circles for thousands of years.. the circle and the spiral are to be see everywhere in nature right from the atom to the galaxies.Perhaps originally people danced to empower themselves before a hunting expedition, then later, as a way to honour births, coming of age, marriages, deaths. Also, as a way to celebrate and give thanks for the seasons , the harvest, the sun the rain...
We can still today see Circle dances done in places like Brittany, Spain, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria , Croatia ..ect keeping their traditions alive and creating community. Many of these village dances have simple but powerful patterns rooted in natural forms, which done together create almost a "mandala" effect, not only giving the dancers a feeling of well being but also as a way of giving to the earth.
In 1976 a man called Bernard Wosien from Poland, who was a classical dancer, choreographer,teacher,graphic artist and painter, who went to the Balkan countries to learn these traditional dances, as well as creating new dances himself, went to the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland . He wanted the dance to be rooted in the community, serving people in their lives, and here was the place to sow the seeds of his vision. He says " What I have realised after a lifetime with dance, is that dance is meditation in movement, a walking into silence where every movement becomes prayer. "
He then went to Findhorn every year bringing both choreographed dances with traditional dances, which reflected his profound understanding of the connection between spirit and movement.
Some dances were lively where pure joy of movement and community celebration was expressed, and some deeply meditational, to classical music.He died in 1986 but the seeds he sowed had taken root, and those who had danced with him, took those seeds out beyond Findhorn, and from there the whole network flourished.
In this world where community is lacking, Circle Dance brings us together, and we can feel a wonderful connection with each other, as well as deeply into ourselves, and to the world through the diversity of the music ( from Bob Marley to Bach, from Eastern European, to Africa ) and the origins of many of the dances.
And for some, the dance connects us to our "higher" self or "spirit" bringing peace, wisdom, creativity, and personal transformation. We can feel our feet on the ground and also allow ourselves open up on many levels.
Many people are now creating new dances to all kinds of music, and taking the Circle Dance to many people and places ..cancer help centres, those with learning difficulties, children, elderly..or just in your town/village/city....dance camp...church ( locally, there is dancing occasionally in York Minster, and Liverpool Cathedral)
Are you new to Circle Dance? Please read on …
WELCOME FROM Sophia …..A few words that might answer some questions …
PRACTICALS …WEAR loose comfy clothes- layers are a good idea so you can layer on + off as required.
Wear soft flat shoes (you can also be barefoot) if you have joint problem you can buy special insoles to put inside shoes. Trainers are OK but can be clumpy + cumbersome.
PLEASE take responsibility for your body – IF you are unsure because of certain conditions it’s a good idea check with your doctor first.
You can also amend dances to suit you.. ie if you can’t turn that’s OK just do the steps in place .. You can also drop out of dance, and watch, if it’s putting strain on a part of you. IF you sit out please keep any chatting for the break.
Tell the group + your dancing neighbor’s if you have a condition that needs greater awareness – like a sore shoulder / arm. “Please be gentle with my arm! “
I feel we are all dancers so if you feel you have 2 left feet, take heart, as probably most people feel the same way when they first start dancing. BUT if you come regularly the dances + steps become much easier, and then you no longer have “think” so much and they become part of your body and it all flows much easier .At first you will find yourself doing different steps – that’s absolutely OK + part of the process- YOU ARE DOING A VARIATION FOR NOW !
DO stand next to people who have been Circle Dancing before – it’s like an osmosis effect! If you end up opposite me you will have to translate mirror images so look to your neighbors for helpful clues DO SAY if you would like me to stand in front of you or you want me to repeat.
Quite often after the dance we stay awhile withheld hands in stillness for a moment. This is so we can appreciate + integrate the qualities of the dance we have just done, or come back to our own still center again. Please respect these moments of stillness.
Some ask the meaning of the things in the center - flowers / candle etc partly it’s practical, because we need to stay within the center of the room; but it can also create a mood of stillness, beauty and focus that enhances the whole session.
Some people ask if Circle Dance is connected to a spiritual organization – are we a cult even! The answer is NO! Sacred Circle dance originated at the Findhorn Foundation, a community in Scotland some 40/50 years ago.. but of course people have been dancing in circles for very much longer – maybe right back to stone age times .
Circle Dance gives me personally many things.. One is connecting to something much greater than myself, which uplift’s + makes me feel whole.
My feeling is, however you feel when you arrive, if you open yourself to the dance you open to the potential of transformation …
“Dancing is a primary way of singing to the earth. It makes a song that resonates through the body down into the earth, just as the earth sends its generous healing resonances up through our feet. Dancing helps keep the earth in alignment and balance in the same way it keeps us in alignment “
From the Ceremonial Circle by Sedonia Cahill + Joshua Halpern .
Up dated October 2023.
"What you create is magic, and that's not just something that happens out of nowhere. You have a really clear teaching style that ensures that the dance makes sense, and is thoroughly learnt. You combine that with long experience of the dance that enables you to know what dances the circle needs, in the moment, to create the right atmosphere, to provide the energy to move us to the magic place that you, in my experience have never failed to create with and for us.