Yogi Dance Party Review: Dancing the Journey - by Cas Wylde



"Would I go again? Yes! Do I think Jesse will go from strength to strength, finding more of his own voice, his own truth expressing through his music and words, taking everyone to deeper and deeper states of transformation? Absolutely. So come along, give it a go."


Dancing the Journey


The flyer described it as yoga, kirtan, ecstatic dance and silent disco. We discussed it with heady mix of trepidation and excitement. Ecstatic dance we had both done before, that wonderful blend of body and soul where a meditative state allows your physical being to move in ways you never thought possible, leaving you with an ecstatic sense of shifting, of freedom. Kirtan, we had experienced a little of, the call and response chanting from a practice that’s ancient, simple and powerful – quite how that would fit with dance we were yet to discover. Yoga, that definitely brought up some fears, we had both done a little, my own preference being yin, a super-sleepy floor-based style, so I was sure it wouldn’t be that. That meant it would probably be something traditional, and difficult, and I worried that if Sanskrit postures were called out, I’d be the idiot in the room standing there looking baffled whilst all around me bent and twisted into warriors and splits. I needn’t have worried. Lastly silent disco, that also brought up concerns, neither of us had done that before either, what would it be like? What if the headphones didn’t work and we were the only ones in the room trying to make it up based on what everyone else was doing? If nothing else, the very idea of Jesse’s Yogi Dance Party was enough to create change through recognising old patterns of fear before we’d even left the house! So, we arrived. The studio was warm, the other participants looking just like us, with phrases such as ‘out of my comfort zone’ floating around the room. We were warmly welcomed and given sturdy headphones with a headband to ensure they stayed in place whilst dancing. We looked like something out of the 80s, we might as well have had leg warmers and sweat-bands; we laughed. The studio was dark and everyone sat in huddled groups, quiet smiles joining us all together as we waited, background music playing through the headphones, reassuring us at least that they worked.


"Jesse’s voice wove around the music, guiding us into gentle stretches that called our bodies to wake up, to warm up, to remember how to move."

And then it began, we found our own space as Jesse’s voice wove around the music, guiding us into gentle stretches that called our bodies to wake up, to warm up, to remember how to move. With much laughter as we bumped into our neighbours, each of us moving at our own pace, as we reached to right and left, up and down, the moves gradually becoming bigger, deeper, morphing as we reached a crescendo into a simple sun salutation that everyone could follow along with, no matter their experience.


"Jesse’s beats encouraged us to move, his words allowing us to let go, as we began to dance. Fears began to release as those around us started exploring their bodies, their space, moving around the room, shifting and changing with the beat."


Truly warmed up, Jesse’s beats encouraged us to move, his words allowing us to let go, as we began to dance. Fears began to release as those around us started exploring their bodies, their space, moving around the room, shifting and changing with the beat. And then came the kirtan, an easy call and response as we moved, not in Sanskrit as expected, but a hey-ya chant reminiscent of the dances of the First Nations of America and Canada. For me personally, this worked. I didn’t have to remember words I couldn’t get my tongue around, but with the beat of the drum live in the room with us, I could feel my heart respond and the chanting follow, beat upon beat, up from the deepest parts of my being, a recall perhaps of lives past.


"He encouraged us to sing each note, or tone as I did, feeling into each energy centre, finding massive expression and release (after all we still had our headphones on and no-one else could hear our own personal noise!)"

Perhaps the most surprising part of the evening was towards the end, as the dancing wound down, and we all found a space on the floor to allow the swirling energies to sink within us, reconstructed, renewed; alive. Often, in ecstatic dance, this is the part of the night where deep relaxation comes in, a final savasana, a conscious rest bringing together mind, body and spirit. Instead, Jesse led us through each of the chakras, from root to crown – the journey wasn’t complete yet. He encouraged us to sing each note, or tone as I did, feeling into each energy centre, finding massive expression and release (after all we still had our headphones on and no-one else could hear our own personal noise!) The atmosphere in the room was joyful, exuberant, excited, cleansing, as each of us expressed our sounds, creating a vibrance that left a buzz around everyone. As I discovered afterwards, for some it was their first experience of sound healing, maybe of even truly finding their own voice, and their most powerful part of the night. As we then sank into a deep wind-down, Jesse played an acoustic song, both beautiful and soulful, evoking memories of being sung to sleep. When we finally did take the headphones off, it was to meet the same expression on everyone’s face, of slightly-sweaty wonder, of enlightenment, of an evening that was not as had been expected, but far more expansive, and even thought provoking.

Would I go again? Yes! Do I think Jesse will go from strength to strength, finding more of his own voice, his own truth expressing through his music and words, taking everyone to deeper and deeper states of transformation? Absolutely. So come along, give it a go. I promise you’re not the only one with fears, so what better place to call in something new, to open to more of the beauty that is you, than in a room full of other people who feel exactly the same. Let’s dance! Cas Wylde


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