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Dances of Universal Peace is a practice of multi-faith prayer and meditation in motion, a celebration of the Divine, of Unity, of our inter-being with all.


Are the Dances for entertainment, just for fun? The Dances can certainly be fun! There is no audience and no performance; everyone joins in the circle to move, sing, and dance together. In a sense, you may get out of the Dances what you bring to them. Long time dancers describe experiencing personal growth, transformation and expansion of compassion and inner peace. The Dances are really all about Love and the Unity we all share.
Do I have to have any experience to participate in the Dances? No! The Dances are very simple, and the movements, melodies and words for each Dance are thoroughly explained during the meeting. It is said that "if you can walk, you can do the Dances of Universal Peace." But, even if you are a chair user, or you have physical challenges, you can also participate.
Do I have to believe in anything? Do I have to believe in God? You do not have to believe in anything! It is helpful to be open to the idea that there is something that all people and all faith traditions have in common, something that unites all beings. The Dances may help to deepen the faith we bring, or they may help us to overcome narrower views and conceptions about ourselves and others so that we may experience greater inner peace, love, harmony and beauty in our lives and world.
Do I have to join any organization if I participate? Definitely not! Some people come once, others fall in love with the Dances and come again and again, but in no case is anyone expected to make any commitment of any kind, and this local circle is not an organization to join. The Dances are meant for everyone to freely attend. For those who want to support the global work of the Dances of Universal Peace, they may support our international and regional non-profits as contributing members or as volunteers at Dance meetings.
Why am I asked to give money to Dance? The spaces where we Dance expect us to provide money, either as rent or as donation to the facility, and there are other nominal expenses associated with publicizing and running a local Dance circle. No one is ever required to pay! Your generous contribution at the door helps keep the Dances vital and operating smoothly. In some spiritual traditions, "exchange of energy" is practiced, so in this way, we may both give and receive in the community. (Read more...)
Do I have to come for the whole meeting, or may I just drop in, or leave early? The Dance events are a form of ritual, so it is helpful to be present throughout the meeting - for the opening invocation and the closing prayer - but anyone is welcome to come when they can and leave when they like, without fear of disrupting the group.
Do I have to do the movements the Dance leader teaches? The Dance leader suggests the movements for the group, most of which will be comfortable for most people, and unity of rhythm and movement enhances the group experience. However, it is most important to honor one's body, so participants are encouraged to move easefully and to honor the physical needs of others in the group. Also, chairs are provided for periods of rest, or to simply sit and absorb the sounds of the Dances.
What if I have special physical needs or sensitivites? Our group is sensitive to the needs of all who attend. Attendees are encouraged to avoid strong fragrances to honor participants with chemical sensitivities. People with physical challenges may sit in chairs, either in the center of the circle for healing (when we have enough dancers to form a large enough circle!), or to sit and just relax and absorb the blessings of the Dances. Our Dance spaces are accessible. If you have special needs, please inform the Dance leader about your needs at the beginning of the Dance.
Is time provided to socialize? Our space opens at least 30 minutes before each Dance. There may be a 5 or 10 minute break in the middle, and folks like to linger for 30 minutes or so as we break down the room. Sometimes, we have tea or cookies to share afterwards, and a few times a year, dancers gather for dinner to celebrate birthdays!
Can I bring children to the Dances? Interested children are welcome to all our Dance events. We have had kids as young as 5 or 6 dance right along with the adults! There is room for parents and children to take breaks for playtime near the space where we dance, as well. Sometimes mothers or fathers will wear happy babies in a sling in order to dance together. Be aware that there may be lit candles or other dangerous objects in the rooms where we dance, so parents are encouraged to attend closely to their children.
Can I bring an instrument and play along with the live music? Live music is provided by the leaders, and sometimes by others who accompany the leader in the center of the circle. Usually, musicians have danced for some time before they sit in as musicians, so that they understand the musical needs of the group and may follow the direction of the leader and of the Dance itself.
May I share something, lead a chant, or lead a Dance? Dance meetings are facilitated by (usually) certified Dance leaders who have many years' experience with leading the Dances of Universal Peace. You may elect to learn to become a Dance leader. Just ask!
Why have the Dances of Universal Peace been called "Sufi Dancing"? Sufis have known music and dance as spiritual practice for hundreds of years, yet it was Murshid SAM’s vision of dancing to the mantras, sacred texts, and poetry of the all world’s spiritual traditions that originated a truly new and universal spiritual practice. (Read more....)
Answers offered by: ~ Shivadam, certified Dance Leader; Board of Directors, Dances of Universal Peace North America


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